THE BLOG
07/17/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Missing the Point -- Again!

We are very sorry about the mixup between the Cheney daughters in the original posting. This new posting corrects the error and we submit it with our most sincere apologies!

Having devoted at whole chapter in our latest book, Staying Sane in a Crazy World, to the subject of "Irrational Thinking" and another one on the specific, psychological problem of personality fragmentation, we could not resist commenting on Jason Linkins' excellent piece, "Liz Cheney Restates Iraq-9/11 Link her Father Disavowed..." (The Huffington Post, 06/04, 2009).
In an interview with NBC News' Andrea Mitchell, Ms. Cheney insisted with "Orwellian logic," as Jason Linkins says, her father had lately disavowed the notion that there was a link between Iraq and Al Qaeda and the attack on the twin towers in New York, on that infamous September 11. A bit late, but better than never!

However, Liz Cheney still defends the notion of such a link -- and she is not the only one doing so: remember that not so long ago the Bush government propaganda machine had managed to convince 60% of the American public of such a link!

In the news interview with Andrea Mitchell, Ms. Cheney brought up the old canard: "for a while, it looked like there was such a link because Mohammad Atta was said to have been seen in Prague, prior to the attack," the assumption being to meet with representatives of Saddam Hussein.

When Mitchell reminded Ms. Cheney, according to Jason Linkins, that both such a visit by Atta, as well as the assumption of any collaboration between Al Qaeda and Saddam had been quickly disproven, she did not dispute it. However, she insisted that her father and the Bush administration had said so but that "there's been a real attempt in my view to blur the distinction."

True, indeed! But who had been responsible for that kind of persistent "blurring"? Ms. Cheney did not say. However, the interviewer Andrea Mitchell cited to Ms. Cheney indisputable evidence from official government documents that it was the G.W. Bush administration, including her father, himself, who had been (and still are) responsible for the deliberate "blurring" of the facts about a Saddam/Al Qaeda link, to which Ms. Cheney was referring.

Ms. Cheney then, disingenuously, shifted the argument about an Iraq and Al Qaeda link to the presence of some Al Qaeda operatives in today's post-invasion Iraq. That, however, had nothing to do with the issue under discussion -- the alleged link between 9/11 and Al Qaeda -- and, furthermore, it never amounted, according to our own American intelligence sources, to more than a tiny 2.5% to 5% of the total Sunni insurgency. Nor did it ever amount to "any collaborative operational relationship" (as Jason Linkins' had also pointed out).

Ms. Cheney, though, undeterred by all this official evidence, just used the tactic of shifting ground again. Her argument now was that there had been evidence about the presence of the Ansar al-Islam operative Abu Musab al-Zarquawi in Iraq, at some time, prior to the war. Ms. Cheney's argument, though, was illogical once again for, according to the AP, Abu Musab operated only in a far-northern area of Iraq that had been outside of Saddam's control.

"It honestly baffles the mind," our colleague at the Huffington Post laments, "that one has to keep going over these facts again and again." However, these glimpses of Ms. Cheney's "Orwellian" logic pale when compared to the illogic of the Cheney family's whole private life. There was, for instance, Mary Cheney: She was, on the one hand, the daughter of the man who was the real string-puller and eminence grise (shadow eminence) behind the boy-king, George W. Bush's "throne." His whole administration was openly hostile to gays and lesbians and totally committed against gay and lesbian marriage.

Yet, Dick Cheney's daughter, Mary, was not only living openly in a lesbian relationship but even wrote about it and had the nerve of letting herself be artificially impregnated, so she and her lesbian partner could both experience the joys of motherhood they would deny others!

Mary Cheney is not the only avowed Republican openly living a very un-Republican life-style. As we have pointed out in our earlier mentioned book, there are many other gay and lesbian Republicans who want to have it both ways. However, this kind of irrationality runs contrary to mental health and has a way of spreading, like metastasizing cancer, to other areas of life. Mental health simply requires a high degree of consistency in one's thinking and whole lifestyle. There's just no way of having your cake and eat it, too!

Unfortunately, this kind of irrationality is not uncommon, and not a few prominent personalities have come to grief over it. In our book we discuss the fragmentation of even the great Thomas Jefferson (the race issue), as was still more evident in the case of Strom Thurmond (a stolid segregationist fathering a Mulatto daughter) and, of course, Richard Nixon (split right down the middle). Needless to mention that Bill Clinton also was far from being of one piece, but split between his political ambitions and his insatiable, physical appetites!

Of contemporary foreign politicians, Vladimir Putin seems to be in a class by himself, as a master-splitter! As one Russian contemporary who knew him well put it, "He has a dark angel on one shoulder and a light angel on the other one." How could it be otherwise, as an American observer said, for someone "with a background as a former autocratic security agent and a new democratic politician both struggling for predominance."

This sort of "splitting" does, of course, go on not only in politics, but in all areas of life. For instance, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, musical genius that he was, is said by at least one knowledgeable contemporary, to have otherwise had, "not a single, serious thought in his head," as well as being given to engage in gross vulgarity.

Among more recent personalities, we need only mention the Beat writer, Jack Kerouac, and the famous "feminist," Betty Friedan. Jack Kerouac, for instance, who once said he wished to have been born black, did not even dare inviting one of his closest friends, Allen Ginsberg, to his house because of his mother's anti-Semitic bigotry. Worse, while boasting about his female conquests, he conveniently "forgot" about his homosexual encounters. As his biographer, Ellis Amburn, says in his book, Subterranean Kerouac, "...it was [not] alcohol, that killed him, [but] because he couldn't accept his sexuality," meaning his basic homosexuality.

Similarly "fragmented" was -- alas! -- Betty Friedan. In her own memoir she at least admits, honorably enough, that throughout her years of feminist activism, she had allowed her husband to beat her up regularly!

That is why we are saying that even the mere act of putting on different social selves for different people and occasions (an art that J. F. Kennedy seems to have perfected), is psychologically very dangerous. In Kennedy's case, though, he seems to have managed to avoid the kind of pervasive personality fragmentation that had been so characteristic of Nixon.

Liz Cheney is far too insignificant overall, to justify taking her seriously. However, her "Orwellian logic" is, unfortunately, far too widespread to ignore.

To "holistic" thinking there can be no such thing as, "Gay but Republican," as had been the title of an article in the New York Times, some time ago. Any such thing represents simply denial and irrationality. Hence, such fragmentation is strictly to be rejected and avoided in the interest of mental health, both in politics as in private life.