Dr. Phibes Rises Again
By Scott Horton
Yesterday Dick Cheney, doing his best Dr. Phibes, gave an interview in Politico. The United States, he said, faced the prospect of another attack along the lines of 9/11, though perhaps even more catastrophic. Whether we could avert this, he said, “depends whether or not we keep in place policies that have allowed us to defeat all further attempts.” Meaning that Obama’s decision to ban torture means that the United States will suffer another catastrophic terrorist attack. He also said that the new president and his team were more concerned about reading Al Qaeda prisoners their Miranda rights than defending the country. Odd, as the Obama view is the same as the Bush view: the detainees don’t have Miranda rights.
Ex-Vice Presidents are usually off somewhere sunny, golfing, by now. So what’s got Cheney down? It’s probably a combination of the back injury that put him into a wheelchair at the inauguration and the fact that he was recently snubbed by the star of his favorite television program, Fox’s 24. That show’s gloomy hero, Jack Bauer, is widely viewed as a vindication of the world according to Cheney. But in an interview this week, Kiefer Sutherland, who plays Jack Bauer and claims authorship of the character, made clear that he found Cheney’s attitudes loathsome. To the suggestion that Bauer would vote Republican he responds “not a chance.” That must have hurt. If Jack Bauer’s not a Cheney man, who is?
Joe Klein at Time sums up the general opinion on Cheney’s continual hectoring: “Please go away.”
Let’s leave aside the fact that if Dick Cheney and his alleged boss had been more vigilant–if they had listened to the Clinton appointees like Sandy Berger who warned about Al Qaeda, if they had paid attention to their own intelligence reports (notably the one on August 6, 2001)—the September 11 attacks might never have happened. Actually, I can’t leave that aside… but in any case, it is sleazy in the extreme for Cheney to predict another terrorist attack. For several reasons:
Some sort of terrorist attack is likely, eventually, no matter who is President.
Cheney has done here what the Bush Administration did throughout: he has politicized terror. If another attack happens, it’s Obama’s fault. Disgraceful… and ungrateful, since it’s only Obama’s mercy that stands between Cheney and a really serious war crimes investigation.
Which explains of course why Dick and Lynne can’t take that European vacation they’ve been dreaming of for so long.