Submitted by Pater Tenebrarum – The Acting Man Blog
From Political Realist to Insane Warmonger
We really don’t know what happened to famous “face shooter” Dick Cheney between the first and the second Iraq war. All we know is that he changed quite dramatically, from a political realist and pragmatist to an unrestrained interventionist and warmonger, firmly hypnotized into neo-con membership.
Dick Cheney hewn in stone – fireprooof variant
Image via ANTIMEDIA
He was never a “nice guy”, but then he wasn’t supposed to be a nice guy – that simply wasn’t his function. As secretary of defense under George Herbert Walker Bush, his role was to play the tough guy. No-one knew yet that he couldn’t even shoot straight.
Dick Cheney among friends, evidently happy with his new gun. To the right, the somewhat less happy Harry Whittington, a famous victim of Cheney’s over-enthusiasm during hunting trips, who is reportedly still waiting for an apology for getting shot in the face by the then Veep. Of course, Whittington could easily be mistaken for a quail, so we can see why he might not be deserving of an apology. Or maybe our mental picture of the species “quail” is wrong. Actually, after recovering from a heart attack he suffered right after the shooting, it seems Whittington apologized to Cheney for the “deep distress” the incident may have caused the latter! What can one say to that, except “good boy!”
Image credit: Matt Freed / PG, Rachel Denny Clow / Associated Press
We have to admit that back in the day when Bush senior decided to militarily intervene in Iraq, our own anti-interventionist instincts were not as well developed yet as they are today. This happened after Saddam had willy-nilly invaded and occupied the Western petrol station known as Kuwait – declaring it to be Iraq’s long-lost “19th province”, information he came by in one of his dreams, in which the Prophet himself allegedly frequently dispensed strategic and tactical advice to the tinpot dictator.
In other words, we supported the cause as a righteous one at the time, naively believing the infamous “incubator babies hoax” and other assorted propaganda lobbed at the public. In fact, we may well have supported it even if we had known more than we did, especially in light of the very narrow and specific military objective set by a then still reasonably sane Dick Cheney.
Saddam meets the Emir of Kuwait, Sheik Jaber al Ahmad al Sabah in Baghdad in 1989 on occasion of a pilgrimage. It is possible that the idea to take over from the royals occurred to him right then and there.
Photo via Reuters
In brief, the task the coalition pursued was to simply liberate Kuwait from the occupation (left unsaid was that the occasion would be used to degrade Saddam’s military a bit as well, an action that later came to be known as the “Turkey Shoot” on Iraq’s Highway of Death). Regime change and “nation building” exercises were deliberately left off the table.
Here is what Cheney at the time supplied by way of explanation:
“Well, just as it’s important, I think, for a president to know when to commit U.S. forces to combat, it’s also important to know when not to commit U.S. forces to combat. I think for us to get American military personnel involved in a civil war inside Iraq would literally be a quagmire.
Once we got to Baghdad, what would we do? Who would we put in power? What kind of government would we have? Would it be a Sunni government, a Shi’a government, a Kurdish government? Would it be secular, along the lines of the Ba’ath Party? Would it be fundamentalist Islamic?
I do not think the United States wants to have U.S. military forces accept casualties and accept the responsibility of trying to govern Iraq. I think it makes no sense at all.”
Here is a video from 1994, in which Cheney goes into even more detail on this particular point; once again we hear the term “quagmire” mentioned:
A comment on Iraq, back when Cheney was still reasonably sane. At the time he seemed to knowexactly what would happen if the US invaded Iraq and toppled Saddam.
One from the “You Couldn’t Make This Up” Department
So what happened to Cheney the political realist, who showed such a well-developed analytical ability, forecasting with eerie precision what would happen if the US bulldozed the garage in order to kill a spider on the wall? He lost his sanity for some reason. He became a confused murderous git, one of the main drivers of a policy that has thrown the entire region into chaos. The cost in terms of lives and property is nigh unimaginable and continues to pile up day after day.
He’s given us blood and toil, tears and sweat, and shock and awe…
Cartoon by Steve Bell
We actually think he deserves to be indicted for war crimes in the wake of the Iraq war of 2003 and its deadly consequences (along with several others). A war that was trumped up under a false pretext, with Cheney himself actively providing and promoting many if the bald-faced lies that were used to justify it. He has the blood of both thousands of US soldiers and countless Iraqi citizens on his hands, and it could well be argued that he has contributed decisively to altering the course of history in such a way that a huge calamity for all of humanity is unfolding.
The revised anniversary edition of Cheney’s WMD evidence…
Cartoon by Steve Bell
Instead, he is being honored. Color us shocked, but by no means surprised. After all, the US political class loves to celebrate its greatest warmongers. In this case, we are not only speaking of a warmonger, but anunapologetic instigator and supporter of torture as well (as he himself stresses, even torturing innocent people is perfectly fine with him, “as long as ‘we’ achieve our objectives”). As we all know, humanity should live by the motto “the end justifies the means”. Dick Cheney only reminds us of this healthy, humane maxim. After all, it says so in the bib…no, wait, sorry. It actually says so in Machiavelli’s Il Principe.
He is a shining beacon of light in other words, who apparently represents some of the best our civilization has to offer. What should one do with such a swell guy if not erect a statue of him and put it up in the hallowed halls of the Capitol, so posterity will remember him and his great deeds forever?
Realizing the urgent need for such a monument, the ruling class has proceeded to do just that:
Former Vice President Dick Cheney looks on as his wife, Lynne Cheney, unveils a marble bust of her husband with their grandchildren in attendance at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, December 3, 2015.
Photo credit: James Lawler Duggan / Reuters
No, this is not a satire. It really just happened. Since the bust is inside a well-guarded building, activist birds won’t get a chance to improve it by leaving their droppings on it. We nevertheless believe the bust should be modified to add to its realism. Perhaps the drawing below can provide some inspiration:
The Dick Cheney of today.
Cartoon by: Horsey
In some US states, if one is caught committing a criminal offense for the third time (this can include quite trivialmisdeeds such as stealing a pair of socks, or taking a test for a driver’s license on behalf of someone else), one can be sent to prison for the rest of one’s life.
Obviously, these criminals haven’t aimed high enough. Become responsible for the death of hundreds of thousands, make millions lose their homes and all their earthly possessions, plunge an entire region into never-ending civil war, be one of the midwifes of one of the most frightful terror organizations ever to emerge, publicly defend torture, and they will erect a monument of you.
Who knows, one of these days they may well name a sausage or a ham after Cheney as well. After all, Napoleon eventually did become a cognac.