...Hell Is Hot, This I Know...But Be That Sweat I See?
Former Vice President Dick Cheney cares not a whit about...decorum.
He does not care what you and I think.
He is a bitter cocktail of amoral thug and deflective coward...with a shot of self righteous bully—for that extra bit of burn on the way down to the pit of America's soul.
He will shoot you dead in the face and blame you for it, then sneeringly profit from your sons and daughters deaths on a battlefield he lied them into.
He does not care what you and I think.
And yet...there he was last weekend, coughed up from his lined-with-mason-jars-full-of-the-hearts-of-the-innocent hidey hole, furiously defending himself and the actions he signed off on during his VP tenure that violated every protective element of the Geneva Conventions.
He even trotted out his dutiful but punditious-ly pathetic daughter Liz to do the talking head circuit to also defend said deeds—in effect, hiding querulously behind her pant suit like some latter-day “Stinky” from Abbott & Costello as he spat lame barbs at his so-called “tormenters”.
He does not care what you and I think.
But dammit, there he was...caring more than a little bit this past weekend. On the defensive over...what, exactly?
WASHINGTON — Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. named a veteran federal prosecutor on Monday to examine abuse of prisoners held by the Central Intelligence Agency after the Justice Department released a long-secret report showing interrogators choked a prisoner repeatedly and threatened to kill another detainee’s children.
Although large portions of the 109-page report are blacked out, it gives new details about a variety of abuses inside the C.I.A.’s overseas prisons, including suggestions about sexually assaulting members of a detainee’s family, staging mock executions, intimidation with a handgun and power drill, and blowing cigar and cigarette smoke into prisoners’ faces to make them vomit.
I have written here before about George W. Bush's probable legacy to those one would've not long ago rightfully assumed would support him forever—that his pathological stumblebummery during his presidency led in no small part to their anathema that is Barack Obama—would leave him a pariah amongst many right-wingers—fueling an acid-spew of blame from them for the party's falling face-first down the steps to the crunching “curb bite” coda of Obama's election.
Cheney isn't worried about what you or I—crazy moonbats us—think of him. He is however sweating a little bit at how conservatives ultimately remember him. Oh yes, right now he's still for the most part the tough, fuck-the-world, J. Press-suited “Master Of The Universe” they slobber over...but the concern on his part is over what we'll find out he signed off on in terms of “exquisite rendering”...a.k.a. torture of anybody deemed if not dangerous, at the very least, questionable. Let me amend that. It's not over what we'll find out, but rather, what the whole world—especially the Muslim world finds out about just how crazy he was down for us to get “in the name of preserving America”. If the news breaks that the sick he urged on is documented...in detail, and those awful deeds (rape as leverage for information, willy-nilly torture and brutality for scraps of information that meant squat, etc.) become an obvious rallying point behind the likes of an upswing in recruiting for “Al Qaeda 2.1”...then that is the thing more than drunkenly shotgunning a buddy in the face that cracks his tough guy veneer like nothing else could. The flop-sweat on his brow during his
That fear is not of jail. He'd be off to Paraguay to happily embark on his calming hobby of cloning long-dead despots before he'd ever end up in a prison cell for his misdeeds.
The fear is not of rebuke from his so-called peers.
His fear is of his legacy being that of him cast as an idiot. A fool. An unthinking clod who fucked it all up and catalyzed terrorist hellfire thanks to his ill-conceived efforts.
Dick Cheney does not care about being thought of as a jerk. He has appeared to actually get off on that perception. What does makes him crazy though is being thought of as an incompetent, and only an incompetent would sign his name off on the integrity and authority damaging awfulness that he brusquely did. His initial benefactor and mentor Richard Nixon also fed on the hatred he inspired (as Nixonland's Rick Perlstein so aptly described him, “a serial collector of resentments”) and just like Cheney, would absolutely lose his mind at the idea of people thinking him a screw-up. 'Hate me...but respect me.' is the mantra of small, egomaniacal men like these. Cheney's full-court “press” press on this is a direct result of his fear of the great Cheney historical narrative getting a “Sixth Sense”-like shock ending that subsumes the rest of the story. The damage that his unthinking, sadistic, fuck-the-world, bully-boy policy on torture has done to the U.S.'s stature around the world is like a malignant cancer deep in the gut of how we will go on as a world leader—sickening and weakening us from within but leaving us able for a time to stomp about a bit before it metastasizes and leaves us politically bedridden. That self-same damage's worst possible scenario effect—should the most heinous things he lorded over and chuckled at be brought to the bright light wouldn't be a cancer...it'd be a point-blank shotgun blast to the chest. Because those terrible things done in the murky shadows of a post 9-11 'Democracy Gone Wild' would be and have been a call to arms to those who mean this country and its citizens far less than well. If you think that's hyperbole, you might want to ask Cheney's fellow GOP'er John McCain, who in backing away from Cheney on this issue on the same weekend, managed to catch ol' Dickie's belt in the bus' bumper and “Ooops!” kind of rolled over him.
McCAIN: “I think these interrogations, once publicized, helped al Qaeda recruit. I got that from an al Qaeda operative in a prison camp in Iraq... I think that the ability of us to work with our allies was harmed.”
Being blamed for not merely inciting, but borderline justifying horrors done to us because of horrors “we've” done to someone else—with his patently stupid blessings, is the thing he cannot take, because it casts him as not merely bellicose...but a bellicose buffoon.
Being thought the machiavellian evil genius? “Cool”.
Being thought the dumb-assed political goon? “Deep Hurting!”
And as Carly Simon sang, “He Hasn't Got Time For The Pain”.
This is why he's fighting the potential of his misdeeds being brought to light—which points out the cartoonish, jaw-dropping irony of his protestations against the investigation...
AT LEFT: World Renowned Animator Tex Avery's Cartoon Rendition Of You, Me, And Anyone With A Sense Of Fairness Reacting As Noted Above To The Former VP's Protestations.
His railing against a closer look because of so-called intelligence exposure issues is a simultaneous exercise in contempt for common sense and a bold display of how desperately afraid he is of his legacy being forever stoopid-ulated. Remember...this is the same pasty sack of mendacity that outed a CIA officer and with her some pretty delicate covert operations because her husband dared to “sass” George W. Bush (a.k.a. Cheney's Edgar Bergen to Bush's Charlie McCarthy) over his Iraq War impetus and policy. Now this son-of-a-bitch is all...treason-struck?
Take a laugh break on that, everyone. I'll wait.
Okay, now gather yourselves. Come on. (BEAT) Good. We're back.
There's Cheney's ego-driven fear of being viewed as just a stick-swinging dolt, and secondly—and this one he'll never admit to—his fear of the scarlet letters “WC” for “War Criminal” dogging him about for the rest of time. It's an ugly moniker, and one that once stuck, is like duct tape on angora. Remember Christopher Hitchens' revelatory book “The Trial Of Henry Kissinger” on the one-time Secretary Of State's death-fueling, back-channel misdeeds while supposedly “strategizing” the Vietnam War? In that book he famously tagged ol' Hank (and pretty much rightfully so) with the moniker “War Criminal” and left it there an ugly part of him, like a huge, un-ignorable goiter around his neck. It hasn't gone away. In fact that rough re-branding has damaged Kissinger's legacy and stature ever since. Cheney's problem though, is that the evidence we've seen, and based on his panicked defensiveness of late—he appears actually closer to the epicenter of “War Criminal-dom” than Kissinger is. It's to the point where Cheney, unlike any other VP in memory probably cannot travel abroad unfettered due to the risk of being snatched up by freelancing vengeance seekers, agents for aggrieved governments or worse—done in outright by the angriest of either lot based on the depth and breadth of his unlawful actions over Iraq. Should an investigation (a transparent one, mind you) reveal the hollow-hearted evil that too many assume true to just pooh-pooh, the retribution would not just be directed at a relatively well-protected him, but at the less-protected average U.S. citizen daring to move about the world. The day the nadir of his perfidy is brought to light, he will effectively have put the lives of hundreds of thousands—maybe even millions of Americans and more worrisome to him—American Interests (“Cha-CHING!”) in exponentially greater jeopardy than before.
“He does not care what you and I think.”
But he does shit barb wire-wrapped bricks over what you know about him.
His power is his ability to sneak about unseen and do his dirt. He was the shot-caller who made it all happen from his array of “undisclosed locations”. He was the guy who during his VP tenure ordered up those big-ass document shredders “just because, and had the Mosler Company build the even bigger-assed, eight-foot high custom safes to tuck away secrets too awful and unbelievable to ever see day's light in our lifetimes. Thus, he will fight to the ends of the earth to keep what we know about what he did to the barest minimum, and this is why the very idea of an investigation like this has sparked such a knee-jerk-to-the-nuts response from him.
And the more we openly learn about him (Note how he fought like holy hell to keep the particulars and names of who attended his energy confabs during those early months of the Bush presidency. We never found that out.) the more that knowledge recasts him historically. Not your view and my view...but in the grand overview reminiscent of how we mockingly recall a Neville Chamberlain as a laughing stock, because of a massive and ultra-public fuck-up. That, he cannot abide.
With that, there is one other, ohhhh...little ol' bugaboo for him.
While as stated before, “That fear is not of jail. He'd be off to Paraguay to happily embark on his calming hobby of cloning long-dead despots before he'd ever end up in a prison cell for his misdeeds.”, he would be exposed to a near-certain “in absentia” prosecution in the World Court. Again, it is extremely doubtful he'd get within a thousand miles of a Hague detention cell, but that Beyond Kissinger level of disgrace, the kind of thing that gets captioned tsk-tsk-ingly in history books for decades and is directly communicable to one's descendants (fairly or unfairly...tough luck there, Liz with the whole “Sins Of The Fathers” thing )—would be the nuking of the ashes of whatever would be left of his name.
It would be the capper to the ultimate legacy trash-fecta. 1.) Catalyst of death to countless innocent Americans. 2.) Callous Dope. 3. Prosecuted War Criminal.
Former Vice President Dick Cheney does not care what you and I think. “Thinking” you see, is nebulous...uncertain...open to interpretation.
But what the world knows about him? Well...knowing is a whole lot more solid and damning.
What's the old saying? “The Lord moves in mysterious ways”? Fair enough. But along those lines, his infamous polar opposite we also know revels in shadows deeper still. A power-sapping uncloaking...a clear knowing the true depth of one's evil can make even a cold-blooded devil pop sweat.
And irony like that...is one hell of a thing to see, isn't it?