I heard yesterday that Dick Cheney called the Obama presidency an “unmitigated disaster”. I don’t know what else he said because I don’t listen to Dick Cheney anymore. Some time ago I realized he would not allow interviews with tough questions, so I gave up listening (*1).
If I were the interviewer I would first bring up his assertion years ago that we’d be welcomed as liberators in Iraq (showing him the old tape acting as if there was no doubt). I’d ask him how he could have been so wrong. And when he’d blame the CIA, as he would, I’d point out George Tenet’s rebuttal in a book and… Well, we’d never get that far. He’d give me one of his classic snarls and stomp off, maybe spitting a profane word or two in my direction with that gravelly Darth Vader stage whisper he so adores.
Cheney reminds me of the episode in Seinfeld of the “bubble boy” who is encased in a bubble because of an immune deficiency. My theory is Cheney’s mind is wrapped in a mental bubble, which protects him from reality. Of course, I’m not a trained professional, so I thought I’d run this theory by Dr. Sigmund Von Aufderwahl, a noted psychotherapist and social psychologist (who also has been rumored to have CIA connections) for some insights (*2).
Me: Doctor, can you give some insights into how Dick Cheney can be so critical of President Obama and so uncritical of his own past?
Dr: I can’t say this with authority, but I have heard he had a secret operation on his brain. He began to feel guilt and regret, like Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara did after the Vietnam War. It started to distract from the mean, tougher than nails persona he likes to display, so he got something or other clipped in his noggin.
Me: Is that just a rumor or something more?
Dr: Well, it had to be something like that. I’d say it’s a bit more than a rumor and a bit less than a fact. But, he’s done some strange things in the past you know, stuff tied in with the CIA. I can’t tell you all of it, of course, but since he blamed the Iraq war on them, using the CIA to CYA, if you will, they won’t mind if I share a little.
Me: Like what?
Dr: Like the vampire experiment. CIA thought there might be some truth to this whole vampire thing, so they experimented with creating a vampire. Cheney was one of the volunteers.
Me: That’s hard to believe, but go on.
Dr: Well, it did work, but only partially. Like regular vampires, he shows no image in a mirror and he became a bit more blood thirsty, but not in a full fledged vampire sort of way. The CIA scrapped the experiment, but what’s done is done. Cheney still can’t see himself in a mirror.
Me: Wow! That’s strange.
Dr: Well, he’s a strange dude. Wasn’t always, of course. During the Gulf War and before he seemed steady as a rock, but Irock got to him (don’t you love word play?). But after that war it was revealed that the CIA had underestimated the progress Saddam had made with his weapons of mass destruction program, especially chemicals (*3). He’d been much further along that we thought. That unnerved the Chenster.
And then when 9/11 shocked us all, he turned him into a freakin’ paranoid. He decided he could not count on CIA info, and figured the only way to BE TOTALLY SAFE is to conquer the entire world. We’d already gotten warmed up in Afghan. Just needed images of a mushroom cloud or two and….. off we went into Iraq. Better to be safe than sorry. Of course, it was supposed to be easy.
That’s what’s so funny about Dickie C. blaming the CIA for tipping the balance towards invading Iraq. They didn’t have much information on those W. M. D.’s (Why would they? They weren’t there.) But, he didn’t believe a word they said anyway, except for whatever suited his purposes.
You know the CIA chief wrote a book, but nobody seems to have read it. I still hear people talk about the “slam dunk” statement that propelled us into that war. as if Tenet’s comment was the veritable tipping point. He says that portrayal is a bunch of bull (*4).
Me: It seems to me you’re exaggerating at this point Doctor.
Dr: Exaggerating? Not about that book and hell, boy, you don’t know the half of it.
(TO BE CONTINUED)
(*1) I am inferring this as I haven’t seen Cheney asked a tough question since the Tim Russert days. We can blame our news “stenographers” for being feckless, but like so many things these days, the process is structured to stifle excellence. Unlike the days of Walter Cronkite, newsrooms are expected to draw enough viewers to make money. Dick Cheney comments draw viewers because they are always controversial. If you asked tough questions, he might walk out and never come back. So you skip the tough questions.
(*2) I wanted to get this “to press” right away, so I didn’t have time to check out the doctor’s credentials. I accepted his word that he was “noted” and Googled his last name and found a number of entries, but they are all in German, so…. Anyone speak German?
(*3) I recall reading this somewhere years ago, but you might want to verify this on the net.
(*4) I read the book, Center of the Storm, and Tenet makes a good case for the CIA being pushed for information that supported Cheney’s intentions, not for an “objective” analysis. Bob Woodward wrote a more popular book which emphasized the significance of the “slam dunk” phrase, but he had to get his story from one of the other participants who, I would suspect, didn’t mind leaving Tenet holding the bag if things didn’t go well.