FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Tough Guys Don’t Walk

by DAVE LINDORFF

Vice President Dick Cheney has cultivated the image of a serious tough guy, with his grim, scowling vissage, his dismissive “So?” comments when things go badly, his unrepentant defense of torture, including waterboarding, and his brash statements confirming that he approved the interrogation measures that clearly violated US criminal statutes and the Geneva Conventions.

But it appears we willl in a few days get to discover whether Cheney really is a tough guy, or whether he is in truth just the same corpulent, self-centered hypocrite and gutless coward that he was back in the 1960s when, despite being a vocal backer of the Vietnam War, he ducked the draft not once but five times by arranging for student and marriage deferments, which he later defended by saying he had “other priorities” than serving his country.

If, as most people expect, Cheney is offered a pardon by outgoing President George Bush for his role in approving the systematic torture of US captives in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, for his role in the outing of CIA undercover operative Valerie Plame and the subsequent coverup of that crime, and for his role in lying about the alleged threats posed by Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, the vice president will be admitting that he is guilty of those crimes. He will also be taking the coward’s way out, after earlier strutting about and claiming to be in the right.

It would be vintage Cheney–talking big but hiding from responsibility for his statements and his actions.

If Cheney were for real, he would tell Bush he doesn’t want no stinkin’ pardon. He’d say he backed a policy of torture of captives because they deserved it, because it would save American lives, and because he had no respect for international law. He would dare the US government, and other governments around the world that have a policy of universal jurisdiction, to indict him and put him on trial for his actions.

But that’s not Dick Cheney’s way. His way is to duck responsibility and to let lesser people take the heat for him.

We’ve seen his MO already. This is a guy who would furtively destroy the career of a dedicated undercover agent, putting not just her, but all of her in-country contacts in places like Iran at risk for their lives, and then let a subordinate, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, take the fall for him. Libby, recall, was convicted of lying about his role in exposing Plame’s identity in a federal trial that included considerable evidence that it was his boss, Cheney, who was actually behind the effort. He ended up being convicted and sentenced to prison, though he was spared being locked up by a presidential clemency order. Cheney didn’t lift a finger to protect Libby, who remains a convicted felon, unable to return to his practice of law.

If Bush pardons Cheney, and if Cheney accepts that pardon, he will be admitting that he is a war criminal, willing to let a few low-ranking soldiers who simply did what he says he wanted them to do take the heat for him and his criminal actions.

While we’re at it, it will also be interesting to see whether Bush, whose media handlers have also spent the last eight years constucting an image of him as a swaggering, tough-talkin’ Texas cowboy, will grant himself a broad pardon for his many crimes in office.

My guess is he will do both, confirming that this has been an administration not of tough guys, but of cowards, hypocrites and professional buckpassers.

DAVE LINDORFF is a Philadelphia-based journalist and columnist. His latest book is “The Case for Impeachment” (St. Martin’s Press, 2006 and now available in paperback). His work is available at www.thiscantbehappening.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dave Lindorff is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, an online newspaper collective, and is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

January 23, 2017
John Wight
Trump’s Inauguration: Hail Caesar!
Mark Schuller
So What am I Doing Here? Reflections on the Inauguration Day Protests
Patrick Cockburn
The Rise of Trump and Isis Have More in Common Than You Might Think
Binoy Kampmark
Ignored Ironies: Women, Protest and Donald Trump
Gregory Barrett
Flag, Cap and Screen: Hollywood’s Propaganda Machine
Gareth Porter
US Intervention in Syria? Not Under Trump
L. Ali Khan
Trump’s Holy War against Islam
Gary Leupp
An Al-Qaeda Attack in Mali:  Just Another Ripple of the Endless, Bogus “War on Terror”
Norman Pollack
America: Banana Republic? Far Worse
Bob Fitrakis - Harvey Wasserman
We Mourn, But We March!
Kim Nicolini
Trump Dump: One Woman March and Personal Shit as Political
William Hawes
We Are on Our Own Now
Martin Billheimer
Last Tango in Moscow
Colin Todhunter
Development and India: Why GM Mustard Really Matters
Mel Gurtov
Trump’s America—and Ours
David Mattson
Fog of Science II: Apples, Oranges and Grizzly Bear Numbers
Clancy Sigal
Who’s Up for This Long War?
Weekend Edition
January 20, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Divide and Rule: Class, Hate, and the 2016 Election
Andrew Levine
When Was America Great?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: This Ain’t a Dream No More, It’s the Real Thing
Yoav Litvin
Making Israel Greater Again: Justice for Palestinians in the Age of Trump
Linda Pentz Gunter
Nuclear Fiddling While the Planet Burns
Ruth Fowler
Standing With Standing Rock: Of Pipelines and Protests
David Green
Why Trump Won: the 50 Percenters Have Spoken
Dave Lindorff
Imagining a Sanders Presidency Beginning on Jan. 20
Pete Dolack
Eight People Own as Much as Half the World
Roger Harris
Too Many People in the World: Names Named
Steve Horn
Under Tillerson, Exxon Maintained Ties with Saudi Arabia, Despite Dismal Human Rights Record
John Berger
The Nature of Mass Demonstrations
Stephen Zielinski
It’s the End of the World as We Know It
David Swanson
Six Things We Should Do Better As Everything Gets Worse
Alci Rengifo
Trump Rex: Ancient Rome’s Shadow Over the Oval Office
Brian Cloughley
What Money Can Buy: the Quiet British-Israeli Scandal
Mel Gurtov
Donald Trump’s Lies And Team Trump’s Headaches
Kent Paterson
Mexico’s Great Winter of Discontent
Norman Solomon
Trump, the Democrats and the Logan Act
David Macaray
Attention, Feminists
Yves Engler
Demanding More From Our Media
James A Haught
Religious Madness in Ulster
Dean Baker
The Economics of the Affordable Care Act
Patrick Bond
Tripping Up Trumpism Through Global Boycott Divestment Sanctions
Robert Fisk
How a Trump Presidency Could Have Been Avoided
Robert Fantina
Trump: What Changes and What Remains the Same
David Rosen
Globalization vs. Empire: Can Trump Contain the Growing Split?
Elliot Sperber
Dystopia
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail