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by James Corbett
March 27, 2012
Until last Saturday, those who called former Vice President Dick Cheney “heartless” would have been more or less technically correct. Since 2010, the now 71 year old with a history of heart troubles has been using a HeartMate II, a left ventricle assist device that helped his heart to pump blood to his organs. Unlike other technologies that seek to emulate the beating of the heart, the HeartMate uses a pump to create a continuous flow of blood through the circulatory system, meaning that patients, including Dick Cheney, have no pulse while using the device.
For someone who has long been likened to Darth Vader for his increasingly improbable medical longevity and his penchant for projecting an aura of evil and unconcern, the talking heads on both the left and right of the controlled political paradigm seem to have gone out of their way to avoid raising any of the issues surrounding the former Vice President or his time in office in their coverage of the incident.
What such gentle coverage obscures is that far from a respected and respectable public servant with whom some people on the other side of the aisle had some trifling political disagreements, Dick Cheney is in fact one of the world’s most reviled unindicted war criminals, a man who has consistently demonstrated a contempt for the electorate who put him into office, who has helped to engineer the current Department of Fatherland Security paradigm, who has paved the way for the rise of Blackwater and the privatization of the military, who has spearheaded the use of torture techniques as an acceptable practice by US forces, and who led the US into two separate illegal wars of aggression based on lies.
The Dick Cheney story started in January 1941, when Richard Bruce Cheney was born in Lincoln, Nebraska. Raised in Wyoming and a captain of his high school football team, Dick Cheney’s life of privilege got off to an early start when a family friend pulled some strings to get him into Yale. A lackluster and uninterested student, he managed to flunk out twice, then got arrested for drunk driving. When the country became embroiled in the Vietnam war, Cheney managed to dodge the draft every single year that he was eligible.
Cheney’s first project as a Republican congressional aide was to write a law that would allow the government to punish colleges that allowed anti-war protests.
He soon managed to team up with Donald Rumsfeld, who brought him into the White House in the 70s as Ford’s deputy chief of staff. Even after leaving the White House and becoming a congressman, Cheney was still at the heart of the American political apparatus.
His regard for the voting public during his time as an elected official was perhaps best summed up during some candid remarks at a meeting of the Council on Foreign Relations, a group whose directorship he kept hidden from his constituency during his years in Washington.
During the 1980s, while he served as a congressman and Rumsfeld helped G.D. Searle & Co. win FDA approval for aspartame, the two met once a year to participate in Reagan Administration planning exercises for continuity of government operations. Under a cover of secrecy so complete that even their wives were not told where they were going, forty to sixty federal officials flew to a remote, undisclosed location to create procedures for the government to implement in the case of a national emergency. It was in these meetings that Rumsfeld, Cheney and others drew up the plans for the very continuity of government protocols that would be implemented just over a decade later, on September 11, 2001, while Rumsfeld sat in the Pentagon and Cheney coordinated the response from a bunker under the White House.
Cheney was back at the heart of the administration during the George H.W. Bush presidency, when he served as Defense Secretary during the first Gulf War. At the time, Cheney’s pentagon claimed to have top secret satellite photos showing that the Iraqis had amassed 250,000 troops and 1500 tanks on the border of Saudi Arabia, presumably readying for an invasion.
That, however, was a lie.
Perhaps one of his most important acts during his tenure as Secretary of Defense, however, came after the Gulf War was over. Under the pretense of downsizing the American military to implement George H.W. Bush’s post-Soviet New World Order, Cheney’s pentagon awarded a contract to KBR, a Halliburton subsidiary, to investigate the possibility of contracting out military services to private companies. Unsurprisingly, KBR concluded this would be a good thing, and soon Halliburton and other private companies were receiving a larger and larger slice of the Washington defense budget pie. Also unsurprisingly, Cheney left his post as Defense Secretary at the end of the Bush Administration and became CEO of Halliburton.
During this time, Cheney was asked about whether or not the US erred by not invading Baghdad during the first Gulf War.
Sadly, from the moment that the second Bush Administration was in office, with Dick Cheney in the VP office and long-time cohort Rumsfeld in charge of the pentagon, creating that very quagmire in Iraq was at the top of Cheney’s to-do list. By now the story of how Cheney and his friends in the Bush Administration lied the American people into an illegal war of aggression, the supreme war crime as established by the Nuremberg trials, is all too familiar. All too familiar, too, is Cheney’s role in overseeing the illegal torture techniques, including waterboarding, authorized under his watch to wage the so-called “war on terror.”
Given all of the evidence amassed against Dick Cheney, the evidence that paints a clear and unambiguous picture of the former Vice President’s repeated greed, abuse of power, violation of the public trust, and criminal activities up to and including crimes against humanity, the so-called mainstream media’s willingness to begin papering over this history in favor of the tv-friendly soft sell of Cheney as a hard-working, honest but perhaps misguided servant of the public trust is utterly damning, if not surprising.
No, the revolution will not be televised, which is precisely why no one listens to the MSM talking heads or the endless echo chamber of the beltway insiders who live only for the preservation of the illusion that their system is fundamentally sound. Instead, the people are making their voices heard in ways that the establishment media would never dare to broadcast, exactly as happened during Dick Cheney’s speaking engagement in Vancouver, British Columbia last year.
Perhaps it is too late for Cheney ever to be brought to justice. Given his long-standing record of serious medical problems, and the high-risk nature of the heart transplant he has just received, it is unlikely that Cheney would survive long enough to be brought to trial and found guilty of his crimes against humanity.
But perhaps there is a certain form of justice in the people standing up to these war criminals and would-be tyrants, reminding them that the power is in the hands of the people and that, no matter how powerful the so-called political elite believe themselves to be, they only ever govern with at least the tacit support of the public. And once that support is taken away and the people find their voice, these self-proclaimed elite suddenly find the world they presume to run becoming noticeably smaller. Just ask Bush why he wouldn’t fly to Switzerland to deliver a speech last year, or why Henry Kissinger flies around the world in constant fear of his flight being diverted to Paris.
Still, though, the outrage over the unspeakable atrocities committed by and on behalf of these unindicted war criminals leave many with a bitter taste in their mouth. How can it be that people like this can die comfortably in their beds of natural causes while untold millions have been slaughtered, their lives, families and homes ripped apart as a direct result of the calculated lies that feed the American war machine?
It may be naive, but there is still the chance for some measure of justice in this situation. One can only hope that Dick Cheney’s literal change of heart will bring with it a figurative one, and that we may still have time to witness Cheney’s repentance and atonement for his past conduct. After all, strange things have been known to take place in patients after a heart transplant…