Cheney, the Ultimate American Terrorist
Wednesday 31 August 2011
by: William Rivers Pitt, Truthout | Op-Ed
Vice President Dick Cheney in a June 20, 2007 file photo. (Photo: Doug Mills / The New York Times)
Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction.
- Dick Cheney
It is axiomatic by now: when someone leaves government service, especially from a high-profile position, they write a book. They all do it, sometimes more than once. Richard Nixon is the main example of one who produced a multi-volume apologia; by the time he went into the ground, he'd penned enough books to fill a wide shelf. Henry Kissinger was similarly prolific, which leads one to wonder about the relationship between criminal activities and the printed page. Nixon was chased from office after a series of crimes that, at the time, had no precedent, and Kissinger is still so infamous that he cannot travel abroad for fear of arrest. Both wrote enough books to take up half the political science section of any local bookstore, perhaps in the vain attempt to explain away the lasting damage their actions did to the republic.
Speaking of damaging the republic, Dick Cheney has a book out. I'm sure you've heard about it by now; he laid the groundwork for its release by claiming the contents would cause heads to explode in
If there were any justice to be found in this deranged country, Dick Cheney would have penned his pestiferous, self-serving little memoir by the light of a bare bulb inside the cell of a federal prison. If there were any justice to be found, Mr. Cheney would be forced to contend with the "Son of Sam Law," which, according to World Law Direct, "refers to a type of law designed to keep criminals from profiting from their crimes, often by selling their stories to publishers. Such laws often authorize the state to seize money earned from such a deal and use it to compensate the criminal's victims."
The Son of Sam, a.k.a. David Berkowitz, killed six people and wounded several others during his notorious summer-long shooting spree in
It would hardly amount to a pittance paid to each injured party - there are so many to account for! - but it would be a kind of justice all the same, for nary a dime of profit would line Dick Cheney's already-stuffed pockets.
Alas, the generations to come will be forced to reckon with one of the great and lasting failures of the Obama administration: the simple, unbelievable fact of Dick Cheney's continued freedom. He and his ilk committed enough brazen crimes to keep a brace of federal prosecutors busy for the next twenty-five years, and yet Mr. Cheney remains unmolested by the system of law he so vigorously disdained. According to Wikileaks, not only has the Obama administration failed to seek a reckoning with Cheney, they worked vigorously behind the scenes to ensure that no such reckoning will ever come to pass.
And so we have Dick, and his book, and yet another hard lesson on the absence of justice. He'll make a few bucks off the thing, which he can bank next to the obscene millions he gained through his nefarious Halliburton war profiteering. He was still getting paid by Halliburton while in office. Remember that? They called it a "deferred retirement benefit," an annual check with six zeroes to the left of the decimal, and all the while Cheney was steering your tax dollars into Halliburton's coffers with a blizzard of bald-faced lies about weapons of mass destruction in
There is so much to remember about Dick Cheney's time in office. There was the Office of Special Plans, which he created to formulate the most effective lies possible about
There was all this, and so much more besides, but one incident stands out in my mind above all else. It was only an accent in the symphony of wrongdoing Cheney directed from his office, and was barely noticed at the time, but I will never forget it.
It was a simple thing, really: the National Archives, by dint of two different federal laws, annually collects the official papers of the Executive Branch for the edification of future historians, researchers and government officials. It is a by-rote requirement, one small cog in the wheelworks of government, but not this time.
Dick Cheney said no. No, you cannot have any papers from the office of the Vice President, and for one reason: the office of the Vice President, because I say so, is not part of the Executive Branch.
It deserves to be written twice: Dick Cheney actually claimed, with his bare face hanging out to all the world, that the office of the Vice President is not part of the Executive Branch. The unmitigated gall required to utter such a claim, especially after so much talk about the "Unitary Executive," is unparalleled in modern American history.
There, right there, is everything you need to know about the man. Dick Cheney is the ultimate American terrorist, one who not only lacks respect for American law and government, but who spent his eight years in office actively working to destroy and dismember the functions of that government. He tore the place up, deliberately and with intent, because he hated the law and the government it supported, and we will be a long time recovering from his deeds. He is directly and personally responsible for thousands of deaths and injuries. If this is not terrorism in the raw, then the word has no meaning.
Dick Cheney has blood on his hands, but will remain free for the foreseeable future because the administration that replaced his lacks the honor, integrity and intestinal fortitude to address what he has done. Until such a reckoning is at hand, all I can do is remind Mr. Cheney, and anyone who will listen, of another fact of law that, God willing, will be brought to bear against him someday.
There is no statute of limitations on murder, and murder is exactly what he did.
William Rivers Pitt is a Truthout editor and columnist. He is also a New York Times and internationally bestselling author of two books: "War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know" and "The Greatest Sedition Is Silence" and "House of Ill Repute: Reflections on War, Lies, and America's Ravaged Reputation." He lives and works in
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"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs