Cheney rages in retirementFormer Vice President Dick Cheney is tossing verbal grenades at his successors. Maybe he just can’t stand the loss of power.
By: Helen Thomas, Hearst Newspapers, The Jamestown Sun
WASHINGTON — Former Vice President Dick Cheney is tossing verbal grenades at his successors. Maybe he just can’t stand the loss of power.
He is acting like a man who is one step ahead of the sheriff. Actually, that could be the case.
The true story of Cheney’s manipulations and deceptions during his eight years in the White House is yet to be told. Right now he sees that his best defense is offense. He has accused President Barack Obama of “recklessness” and weakening national security.
Cheney should be grateful to Obama for not throwing the book at him and revealing his true role in helping President George W. Bush lead the U.S. into the Iraq debacle. Obama also has resisted the creation of a truth commission that would review the real impetus for the mindless war there.
Cheney has infused new meaning to the word “deception.” Remember his preinvasion claims that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction? They turned out to be products of his vivid imagination.
Cheney has never had to explain that falsehood.
War with Iraq was on his agenda from the outset of the Bush-Cheney administration. The vice president’s fantasies matched Bush’s goal of major foreign-policy triumphs. It was a marriage of like minds.
This is the same Cheney who had five deferments to stay out of the Vietnam War; he later explained that he had “other priorities” at the time.
Oh, I see.
Cheney has proudly proclaimed that he approved of the Bush administration’s torture of prisoners, a boast that has sullied the nation’s reputation for decency. He blamed “a few sadistic guards” at Abu Ghraib, Iraq’s notorious prison, for brutal treatment of detainees.
Clearly, Cheney had immense power as vice president — perhaps more than anyone who has ever served in the No. 2 spot.
Bush and his father, former President George H.W. Bush, thought Cheney would be a good backup man. He had served as President Gerald Ford’s White House chief of staff and father Bush’s defense secretary.
He also won six terms as a congressman from Wyoming and became a deputy GOP leader in the House.
When Cheney was head of the younger Bush’s search committee for a running mate, he promoted himself.
Except for a few television appearances and preaching to conservative audiences, Cheney was publicly silent during the eight years when he was one heartbeat away from the presidency.
But hear him now!
Before becoming vice president, Cheney’s knowledge as a White House insider helped catapult him to the multimillion-dollar position of CEO of Halliburton, the Texas-based company that later was given a no-bid monopoly to provide support services to the U.S. military in Iraq.
Money will be no problem for him during his retirement. Cheney has taken Bush’s advice to all Americans to fulfill their dreams of becoming homeowners. He owns at least five homes, two top-scale, newly built houses close to Washington — one in McLean, Va., and the other on the Eastern Shore of Maryland — all the while living in the government housing known as the vice president’s mansion. He also has homes in Dallas and Jackson Hole and Casper, Wyo.
Cheney has a loud voice in his retirement. Bush is silent. Both are writing their memoirs. We’ll see if they match.
(Helen Thomas can be reached at 202-263-6400 or at the e-mail address email@example.com).
(c) 2009 Hearst Newspapers
Distributed by King Features Syndicate