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Dick Cheney’s Book Is Less Memoir Than Caricature

Self-reflection is not something we have come to expect in  elected officials, particularly those who have left office fairly recently. But  could former Vice President Dick Cheney have not even made the slightest effort  to convince people he didn’t deserve the “Darth Vader” moniker assigned by  his foes?

Cheney’s  memoir, written with his daughter, Liz Cheney, is so  unapologetic as to be a  caricature. One could hardly imagine that  Cheney—or even anyone from the  recently-departed Bush  administration—would suddenly decide that the war in  Iraq had been a  mistake, based on lies. But he might have acknowledged that the  basis  for going to war—even if one believes that it was an honest   misunderstanding, instead of a craven lie—turned out to be (oops!) not  true.  He chides the nation for failing to live within its means, but  fails to  consider the fiscal impact of two wars, massive tax cuts and a  huge Medicare  drug entitlement program. And his no-apology book tour  confirms the theme;  Cheney told the Today show that he  thinks waterboarding is an acceptable way for the United States to get  information out of suspected terrorists, but says he’d object if another nation  did it to a U.S. citizens.

Former  President George Bush certainly offered no apologies in his  memoir, and that’s  to be expected. But Bush wasn’t mean or angry in his  book. He even told a  rather charming story of how an African-American  staffer had brought his two  young boys to the White House during the  waning days of the presidency, and  that one of the boys had asked,  “Where’s Barack Obama?” There is  characteristically nothing kind or  charming or insightful to be found in  Cheney’s tome. Even the cover is  daunting—a grimacing Cheney inside the White  House, looking like he’s deliberately trying to scare away the tourists.

The  shot against former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is  inexcusable: Cheney  tells a story about how Rice had “tearfully”  admitted to him that she was  wrong to tell Bush that he should have  apologized for misleading the American public  about Saddam Hussein’s  alleged attempt to secure yellowcake uranium from Niger.  Whether Rice  broke down before Cheney, we may never know. But to turn an   accomplished woman like Rice into some silly, weak little girl is  unforgivable.  Agree with Rice or not. Slam her for misstating or  misreading intelligence  before and after 9-11 or not. But she is  brilliant; she has dedicated her life  to scholarship and public  service, and she deserves to be treated better.

Former  Secretary of State Colin Powell—who preceded Rice, and whom  Cheney seems to  believe was somehow hounded from office, although  Powell said he had always  intended to stay just one term—offers the  best summation: Cheney took some  “cheap shots” in the book. That’s not  the reflective mindset necessary for a  memoir.

 

By: Susan Milligan, U.S. News and World Report, August 30, 2011

August 30, 2011 Posted by | Conservatives, Dick Cheney, Foreign Policy, GOP, Homeland Security, Iraq, Middle East, National Security, Neo-Cons, Politics, President Obama, Public, Public Opinion, Republicans, Right Wing | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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