In an interview with Politico published on Wednesday, Cheney essentially says, if the Obama team only understood what the Bush Administration was trying to do they would “backtrack” on their stated intentions. Only understood? Here’s what a lot of Obama supporters understand: Cheney used one horrific terrorist attack to subvert the rule of law for seven years, keep the entire nation in a state of terrorist anxiety and embroil us in a useless Iraqi war. Oh, but if we only understood.
Essentially Cheney is selling the same line he’s always sold: It’s about him.
On the big things for eight years the Bush Administration failed. Rather than subside quietly into retirement, Cheney’s self-will is on display by giving interviews like the one he did with Politico. Historically, it’s been thought of as crass and ill-advised for outgoing principals in one Administration to open their pie holes during the early days (or years) of the next. For all of the talk about “respect for the office” that came out of the Bush Administration, Cheney is now dissing the office.
There is a book I would recommend for anyone who is interested generally in late 20th century U.S. History and specifically in taking a long walk through the context of the Viet Nam Era. The book is They Marched Into Sunlight, by David Maraniss.
Maraniss tells a tale of the Viet Nam war that shifts from the Pentagon and the decision makers, to a single battle on the ground in Southeast Asia, and to the homefront in the Southwestern U.S. and on the campus of the University of Wisconsin. It’s a tale of humanity and history with figures both famous and forgotten. Dick Cheney is in the story.
As the battle rages in a Vietnamese jungle, Maraniss recounts the battle raging on the Wisconsin campus and spilling into the town of Madison. There are generally two sides – the activists on campus versus the establishment on campus and in town. Cheney was a graduate student at the time. What I remember from the book is that while all hell is breaking loose around him, while people are working passionately for and against the war, Cheney is shuffling back and forth across campus with his computer data taking care of Cheney. The man has no soul.