Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Cheney Grabbag

"The University of Wyoming will open the new Dick Cheney Center for International Students. And really, who loves foreigners more than Dick Cheney?"
Jay Leno

"The GOP has so much momentum that they're already looking forward to who can take down Obama in the 2012 election. Last week, the Wall Street Journal suggested Dick Cheney. Which can only mean one thing: Someone at the Wall Street Journal lost a fiddle contest to Dick Cheney."
Stephen Colbert

I thought it might be fun to come in on a lighter note with all the CIA and doom and gloom that usually follow Dick Cheney news like a burst of sulfur, flame and brimstone. So there you go. I think both of those above jokes are pretty funny.

The article Colbert refers to was written by James Taranto on August 31st, where he says:

"If the Bush administration's policies really did keep us safe for 7½ years, then it stands to reason that the Obama administration's policies may be endangering us now. Certainly that is how the public would see it in the event of another terrorist attack.

If that happens, heaven forbid, Obama will be seen to have failed in the most basic presidential duty, and the Bush administration will be vindicated. As inconceivable as it may seem today, the 2012 election may end up turning on national security. Republicans would be wise to nominate someone with both toughness and experience. Under such circumstances, it's hard to think of a better candidate--assuming, of course, that he could be persuaded to run--than Richard B. Cheney."

So he's at least got 1 vote if he decides to run. Taranto must be part of that infamous 10 to 15% who approve of former Vice-President Cheney's policies. Notice how Taranto makes sure to throw in that "heaven forbid" to show that he positively doesn't want the U.S. to be attacked while Obama is President-he may hate the President, but not that much-and he wants to make sure he can cover himself with that.

On the other hand, on the 8th anniversary of 9/11 two former Marines felt it was their duty to address what former VP Cheney said about torture in that FOX News Sunday interview I wrote about. In the interview Cheney basically said he approved of water-boarding and had no problems with the methods used at Guantanamo Bay. You can see my earlier blog for more detail.

The two Marines who felt compelled to respond to this are no lightweights (as if any Marine is-have you ever met one? They're all as tough as a $2 steak in Vegas), but are former Commandant Charles Krulak and Marine General Joseph Hoar who succeeded General "Stormin'" Norman Schwarzkopf at Central Command. Here's what they had to say:

"... we never imagined that we would feel duty-bound to publicly denounce a vice president of the United States, a man who has served our country for many years. In light of the irresponsible statements recently made by former Vice President Dick Cheney, however, we feel we must repudiate his dangerous ideas -- and his scare tactics.

What leaders say matters. So when it comes to light, as it did recently, that U.S. interrogators staged mock executions and held a whirling electric drill close to the body of a naked, hooded detainee, and the former vice president winks and nods, it matters.

The Bush administration had already degraded the rules of war by authorizing techniques that violated the Geneva Conventions and shocked the conscience of the world. Now Cheney has publicly condoned the abuse that went beyond even those weakened standards, leading us down a slippery slope of lawlessness."

Think of the courage it must take for these two Marines to say something like this. I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that I'm pretty sure the majority of their fellow Marines disagree with them about these issues. Still, they went and said this. We should all be grateful that such men serve and protect our country.

Now, as I have said before-in my opinion it is too early to really judge what VP Cheney's legacy will be. History may vindicate the tough decisions he and President Bush had to make. And I have no problem with the U. of Wyoming naming a center after him-he was the major donor, is an alum, and has a long and distinguished service record.

Sometimes I get accused of being partisan here, but I just want to state for the record, that I do my best to look at everything regarding all the VP's from a standpoint of objectivity-from a historians point of view. I've criticized Democratic VP's on the blog here before-like pointing out the racism of Thomas Hendricks. I have said before that no matter what you may think of Cheney's politics, you have to admire the fact that he is so vocal about the issues he believes in and how he really doesn't care about what people think of him-its almost Thoreau like in a way. I think healthy debate without name-calling, the way the former Marines Hoar and Krulak did, is exactly what this country is all about, and is a lot more constructive than just saying "Dick Cheney's the DEVIL!" or "Obama's a COMMIE!" as so many other bloggers and pundits do. Basically what I am saying is: Let's try to elevate the argument above grade-school playground name-calling, and that you can trust "Vice-Precedence" to give you the straight story.

Finally, I ask you all to please keep supporting Vice-Precedence. Get the word out, visit us on YouTube to view the trailer and Rate It with 5 stars and post a response to something you've read here on the blog. Let us know you're out there, because we are grateful for your support and encouragement. It makes a huge difference to know we have your support. Thanks!

Matt Saxe

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