In these last days of the Bush years, it seems that everyone in the administration is out on the road, doing their best to put a positive spin on the Bush legacy, and some are doing their best to make sure that they themselves are remembered fondly (dare to dream!).
It appears that the Vice-President, unrepentant as ever, has his own group of admirers. They soak up all that the Vice-President has to say about the turbulent times of the last eight years. These people are among those who will be there to revise history, so that future generations will get a ‘clear and proper view’ of what the first years of the twenty-first century were like.
Although the President himself has been stating lately that there are some regrets, showing perhaps that he might be coming back to reality after 8 years of delusion, such is not the case with others, as Cheney and Rice will have none of that.
Just this Sunday, Condoleezza Rice was on CBS Sunday Morning, speaking to Rita Braver about the days winding down in Washington. When asked if she had any doubts about how the Bush years would be remembered, without hesitation, Ms. Rice was quite forceful with her opinion that history would vindicate Bush 43.
Lately, articles about Cheney are popping up everywhere, perhaps as much to remind the less than enthusiastic among the nation as to reinforce the feelings amongst the loyal.
WASHINGTON (AFP) — US President George W. Bush has expressed a few regrets as his eight tumultuous years at the White House draw to a close, but Vice President Dick Cheney…not so much.
On December 1, Bush said that his “biggest regret” was the massive US “intelligence failure” on Saddam Hussein’s purported weapons of mass destruction, the core of the public case for the March 2003 invasion of Iraq.
Bush stopped well short of saying he should not have gone to war, and ducked a question on whether he would have taken a different route had he known that the late dictator had not possessed such arsenals.
“That is a do-over that I can’t do. It’s hard for me to speculate,” said Bush, who just one week earlier had declared that Saddam’s ouster was “the right decision then — and it is the right decision today.”
Mild as they were, the regrets drew the attention of a US public unaccustomed to hearing admissions of error from Bush.
What about Cheney? Any regrets?
“Oh, not a lot, at this stage,” said Cheney, reputed to be the architect of some of the administration’s most controversial policies, from the Iraq war, to interrogation tactics widely seen as torture and an unprecedented spy program.
“I’ll have a chance to reflect on that after I get out of here,” he told ABC News. “Given the circumstances we’ve had to deal with, I think we’ve done pretty well.”
Cheney is even less popular with the US public than Bush, who hands the keys to the White House to successor Barack Obama on January 20, but he remains a rallying figure for many diehard administration supporters.
At a time when the White House is trying to put Bush’s eight years in the best possible light, notably highlighting its cooperation with Obama’s transition into power, Cheney stands uncompromising.
Arguably the most powerful vice president in US history, possibly the most secretive, Cheney has embraced his caricature as “Star Wars” villain Darth Vader — a nickname bestowed by Hillary Clinton, among others.
In a recent series of interviews, Cheney forcefully defended what the Bush administration counts as its most ringing success: The lack of terrorist attacks on the United States since the September 11, 2001 strikes.
“I think the fact that we were able to protect the nation against further attacks from al Qaeda for seven-and-a-half years is a remarkable achievement,” he told Fox News Channel, crediting “unpopular” but necessary policies.
Cheney confirmed that he had taken part in decisions like launching a secret warrantless wiretapping program of Americans and to embrace harsh interrogation techniques widely seen as torture — such as waterboarding, an excruciating form of controlled drowning.
“I think it would have been unethical or immoral for us not to do everything we could in order to protect the nation against further attacks like what happened on 9/11,” he said.
“I feel very good about what we did. I think it was the right thing to do. If I was faced with those circumstances again, I’d do exactly the same thing,” the vice president said.
Cheney confirmed that waterboarding was used on Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind behind the September 11th attacks, as well as two other suspected terrorists, and that 33 of Washington’s “war on terrorism” detainees were also subjected to controversial questioning techniques.
“Was it torture? I don’t believe it was torture,” he said.
Cheney also came down strongly in favor of holding suspected terrorists at the US military base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba calling it “a first-rate facility” that “we absolutely needed and found essential.”
On Iraq, Cheney said he understood Bush’s frustration but underlined that intelligence is “it’s not a science, it’s an art form, in many respects, and you don’t always get it right.”
“The country is better off, the world is better off with Saddam gone. And I think we made the right decision,” he said.
As for history’s verdict, Cheney said the administration would be cast “in a favorable light when it’s time to write the history of this era.”
He may give history a nudge: After serving in four administration, Cheney said he’s not sure what he’ll do next, except go fly fishing and maybe think about writing a book.
“There’s a few stories there,” he said.
The support for Cheney grows, and the formation of an appropriate name for their group was one that took some time to get just the proper one, which quickly and efficiently sums up the purpose. After looking around, it was decided that, in a similar vein to those who are ‘enthusiastically crazy’ about the singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett, Mr. Cheney’s supporters should have an equally unique name.
In case you’re not aware, Mr. Buffett’s fans are called Parrotheads, so, after that fashion, Mr. Cheney’s rabid fans are called Dickheads!
|I really didn’t say everything I said.Yogi Berra|