Time: Dick Cheney: Why So Chatty All of a Sudden? — The Telegraph (UK) Blog: Dick Cheney is a great American hero — AJC: Washington Post pulls comic featuring Vick, Cheney — Liz Cheney Video — CBS Report: Cheney Thought Bush Showed Moral Weakness — Time: Inside Bush and Cheney’s Final Days
“Be patient and calm – for no one can catch fish in anger.” – Herbert Hoover
Cheney — code-named Angler by the Secret Service — is a lot like fishing in dark water; there’s a lot going on underneath, but you’d never know it from staring at the surface… The former Veep says he’s worried that by dismantling a controversial Bush-era terrorist surveillance program and stepping back from harsh interrogation policies, the Obama Administration is putting the nation at risk. “I think it’s fair to argue,” said Cheney, “that we’re not going to have the same safeguards we’ve had for the last eight years.”
The Telegraph (UK) Blog , By Nile Gardiner, July 17, 2009
It’s a good thing we had Dick Cheney in the Vice President’s office in the days following the 9/11 attacks. Cheney was the right man at the right time in history and was instrumental in launching the counter-attack against al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and across the world, which has kept the United States safe from assault to this day.
It was a strategy that worked, from the detention centre at Guantanamo Bay to the battlefields of south Asia. It also included wiping out thousands of jihadists in Iraq, including much of the leadership of al-Qaeda in the region. Those who say the Iraq War had nothing to do with the battle against Osama bin Laden should look at the immense losses his foot soldiers suffered there at the hands of Allied forces in a humiliating and crushing defeat during the U.S.-led surge
There’s something very refreshing about a fearless leader who was willing to show the enemy no quarter – including reportedly backing a plan to train anti-terrorist hit teams to take out the senior leadership of al-Qaeda on foreign soil. The hardly earth-shattering revelation – the whole thing had been flagged by The Washington Post as early as October 2001 – about the planned operation (which was never even activated due to CIA concerns over practicality), is now provoking self-righteous bouts of condemnation on both sides of the Atlantic, with liberals on Capitol Hill hysterically calling for a witch hunt.
Critics ignore the fact that both branches of the United States Congress approved a joint resolution on September 18, 2001, which authorized the President:
“to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.”
They also conveniently forget that the Obama administration, like the Bush and Clinton administrations before it, implemented the targeted killing of al-Qaeda leaders by unmanned aerial vehicles or missile strikes. Is there any difference in principle between this approach and the sending of covert operatives to physically hunt down the enemy on the ground? The end result is the same – the elimination of terrorists.
Dick Cheney, a great American patriot and huge supporter of the Anglo-American alliance, deserves a medal for his leadership of the war on terror, and not howls of derision. The Vice President was absolutely right to seek to wipe out the al-Qaeda leadership, brutal barbarians responsible for the murder of 3,000 people of dozens of nationalities in New York in 2001 of all religious faiths, as well as hundreds more at the Pentagon and on planes used as suicide bombs.
Cheney rightly recognized that America, Britain and their allies were engaged in a global war against al-Qaeda and its affiliates, not some sort of glorified law and order exercise or an “overseas contingency operation.”
The West is involved in a long war against a barbaric adversary that may take decades to win. It’s a war that must be waged and ultimately won by aggressively taking the fight to the enemy.
By CHRISTIAN BOONE, August 10, 2009
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
You won’t read about Dick Cheney advising the NFL commissioner to kill Michael Vick in today’s Washington Post.
The fictional subplot appeared in the long-running “Tank McNamara” comic strip, about a former football player turned TV sportscaster. Post Managing Editor Raju Narisetti told the paper’s “Comic Riffs” blog that the storyline was deemed “inappropriate.”
The pulled strip features a conversation between the former vice president and NFL chieftain Roger Goodell, who’s seeking counsel on how to handle the reinstatement of Vick. The former Falcons star recently completed an 18-month prison sentence for operating a dogfighting ring.
Goodell: “I have to make a move on Mike Vick.”
Cheney: “Kill him.”
Goodell: “Kill him?!?”
Cheney: “Well, not you personally.”
Why Cheney would tell the commissioner to put a hit on Vick is unclear. The comic’s writer, Jeff Millar, was unavailable for comment Monday, said illustrator Bill Hinds, who referred any questions about content to Millar.
The strip’s syndicator, Universal Press Syndicate, said they weren’t aware of any other cancellations.
“We at Universal Uclick absolutely respect the right of The Washington Post to pull the strips, but we also respect the rights of our creators to write sharp and humorous satire,” according to a statement sent to the AJC Monday afternoon. “For more than 35 years, Jeff [Millar] and Bill [Hinds] have been holding athletes, the sports industry and public figures up to the light. It wouldn’t be Tank McNamara if they didn’t.”
Vick, a free agent, was conditionally reinstated by Goodell in late July. He can immediately take part in preseason practices, workouts and meetings and can play in the final two preseason games but won’t be considered for full reinstatement until Week 6 of the NFL season.
While often topical, “Tank” is rarely controversial. The strip isn’t afraid to name names, however; one of its more popular features is the “Sports Jerk of the Year” award, given one year to former Braves southpaw John Rocker.
CBS Report: Cheney Thought Bush Showed Moral Weakness
Former Vice President Thinks Bush Ignored Advice, Made Concessions To Public Sentiment
The book will cover Cheney’s long career from chief of staff under President Gerald Ford to vice president under Bush.
“When the president made decisions that I didn’t agree with, I still supported him and didn’t go out and undercut him,” Cheney said, according to Stephen Hayes, his authorized biographer. “Now we’re talking about after we’ve left office. I have strong feelings about what happened. … And I don’t have any reason not to forthrightly express those views.”
According to the author of the Post piece, Barton Gellman, who earlier wrote a book on Cheney called “Angler,” the former vice president believes Bush made concessions to public sentiment, something Cheney views as moral weakness. After years of praising Bush as a man of resolve, Cheney now intimates that the former president turned out to be more like an ordinary politician in the end, Gellman says.
“In the second term, he felt Bush was moving away from him,” Gellman quoted a participant in the recent gathering, describing Cheney’s reply. “He said Bush was shackled by the public reaction and the criticism he took. Bush was more malleable to that. The implication was that Bush had gone soft on him, or rather Bush had hardened against Cheney’s advice. He’d showed an independence that Cheney didn’t see coming.”
‘Statute of Limitations Has Expired’ on Many Secrets, Former Vice President Says
In his first few months after leaving office, former vice president Richard B. Cheney threw himself into public combat against the “far left” agenda of the new commander in chief. More private reflections, as his memoir takes shape in slashing longhand on legal pads, have opened a second front against Cheney’s White House partner of eight years, George W. Bush…
…Cheney’s post-White House career is as singular as his vice presidency, a position he transformed into the hub of power. Drained of direct authority and cast aside by much of the public, he is no less urgently focused, friends and family members said, on shaping events.
The former vice president remains convinced of mortal dangers that few other leaders, in his view, face squarely. That fixed belief does much to explain the conduct that so many critics find baffling. He gives no weight, close associates said, to his low approval ratings, to the tradition of statesmanlike White House exits or to the grumbling of Republicans about his effect on the party brand.
John P. Hannah, Cheney’s second-term national security adviser, said the former vice president is driven, now as before, by the nightmare of a hostile state acquiring nuclear weapons and passing them to terrorists. Aaron Friedberg, another of Cheney’s foreign policy advisers, said Cheney believes “that many people find it very difficult to hold that idea in their head, really, and conjure with it, and see what it implies.”
… The depths of Cheney’s distress about another close friend, his former chief of staff and alter ego I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, have only recently become clear. Bush refused a pardon after Libby’s felony convictions in 2007 for perjury and obstruction of an investigation of the leak of a clandestine CIA officer’s identity.
Cheney tried mightily to prevent Libby’s fall, scrawling in a note made public at trial that he would not let anyone “sacrifice the guy that was asked to stick his neck in the meat grinder.” Cheney never explained the allusion, but grand jury transcripts — and independent counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald — suggested that Libby’s false statements aimed above all to protect the vice president.
… Despite an ailing heart and reduced mobility, the former vice president at age 68 retains a prodigious capacity for work. He rises early, reads voraciously about history and current events, and acquired a BlackBerry in modest recompense for the loss of daily intelligence briefings. He allows himself some indulgences, Liz Cheney said in an interview.
She said her father relishes his new freedom to take a morning drive to Starbucks in a black SUV, toting home the decaffeinated latte on which his doctor and his wife, Lynne, insist. He attends the soccer and softball games of his oldest grandchildren, Kate and Elizabeth, and spends more time than he could as vice president fly fishing near his vacation homes in Wyoming and on Maryland’s Eastern Shore…
“What impressed me was his continuing zeal,” said an associate who discussed the book with Cheney. “He hadn’t stepped back a bit from the positions he took in office to a more relaxed, Olympian view. He was still very much in the fray. He’s not going to soften anything or accommodate shifts of conscience.
There was no sense in which he looked back and said, ‘I wish I’d done something differently.’ Rather, there was a sense that they hadn’t gone far enough. If he’d been equipped with a group of people as ideologically rigorous as he was, they’d have been able to push further.”
Some old associates see Cheney’s newfound openness as a breach of principle. For decades, he expressed contempt for departing officials who wrote insider accounts, arguing that candid internal debate was impossible if the president and his advisers could not count on secrecy.
As far back as 1979, one of the heroes in Lynne Cheney’s novel “Executive Privilege” resolved never to write a memoir because “a president deserved at least one person around him whose silence he could depend on.” Cheney lived that vow for the next 30 years.
As vice president, according to one witness, Cheney “was livid” when the memoir of L. Paul Bremer, who led the occupation of Iraq, made the less-than-stunning disclosure that Cheney shared Bremer’s concern about U.S. military strategy. A Cabinet-level Bush appointee recalled that Cheney likewise described revelations by former Treasury secretary Paul H. O’Neill and former White House spokesman Scott McClellan as “beyond the pale.”
…Liz Cheney, whom friends credit with talking her father into writing the book, described the memoir as a record for posterity. “You have to think about his love of history, and when he thinks about this memoir, he thinks about it as a book his grandchildren will read,” she said.
What the former vice president assuredly will not do, according to friends and family, is break a lifetime’s reticence about his feelings. Alluding to Bush’s forthcoming memoir, Cheney told one small group recently that he had no interest “in sharing personal details,” as the former president planned to do.
“He sort of spat the word ‘personal,’ ” said one person in the room.
By Massimo Calabresi and Michael Weisskopf
Hours before they were to leave office after eight troubled years, George W. Bush and Richard B. Cheney had one final and painful piece of business to conclude. For over a month Cheney had been pleading, cajoling, even pestering Bush to pardon the Vice President’s former chief of staff, I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby.
Libby had been convicted nearly two years earlier of obstructing an investigation into the leak of a covert CIA officer’s identity by senior White House officials. The Libby pardon, aides reported, had become something of a crusade for Cheney, who seemed prepared to push his nine-year-old relationship with Bush to the breaking point — and perhaps past it — over the fate of his former aide. “We don’t want to leave anyone on the battlefield,” Cheney argued.
Bush had already decided the week before that Libby was undeserving and told Cheney so, only to see the question raised again. A top adviser to Bush says he had never seen the Vice President focused so single-mindedly on anything over two terms. And so, on his last full day in office, Jan. 19, 2009, Bush would give Cheney his final decision.
These last hours represent a climactic chapter in the mysterious and mostly opaque relationship at the center of a tumultuous period in American history. It reveals how one question — whether to grant a presidential pardon to a top vice-presidential aide — strained the bonds between Bush and his deputy and closest counselor. It reveals a gap in the two men’s views of crime and punishment.
And in a broader way, it uncovers a fundamental difference in how the two men regarded the legacy of the Bush years. As a Cheney confidant puts it, the Vice President believed he and the President could claim the war on terrorism as his greatest legacy only if they defended at all costs the men and women who fought in the trenches. When it came to Libby, Bush felt he had done enough…
After a seven-week trial, Libby was found guilty on March 6, 2007, of obstructing justice, perjury and lying to investigators. He was sentenced to 30 months in prison and a $250,000 fine, a precipitous fall for a man known as the Vice President’s alter ego and formerly a prestigious lawyer at a premier Washington firm. He fought the verdict, his legal bills paid by a defense fund that raised $5 million, but a federal appeals court ruled on July 2, 2007, that Libby had to report to jail.
The White House was prepared for the ruling, in part because after six years in Washington, Bush had finally found himself a White House counsel who was up to the job. Fred Fielding, a genial, white-haired, slightly stooped figure in his late 60s, had cut his teeth as an assistant to John Dean in Richard Nixon’s counsel’s office and served as Ronald Reagan’s top lawyer as well.
He had unrivaled experience managing allegations of White House misconduct. He also was one of the few people in Washington who had served in as many Republican Administrations as Cheney had, which meant he had uncommon stature in the West Wing. And he was everything Bush’s two previous counsels, Alberto Gonzales and Harriet Miers, hadn’t been: strong-willed, independent and fearless. Says an old friend: “Freddy isn’t afraid of anyone. He will slit your throat with a razor blade while he is yawning.”
Fielding’s arrival in early 2007 was one of several signs that the balance of power in the Administration had shifted against the Vice President. Fielding reviewed the Libby case before the appellate verdict came down and recommended against a presidential pardon. Cheney’s longtime aide hadn’t met the criteria: accepting responsibility for the crime, doing time and demonstrating remorse. “Pardons tend to be for the repentant,” says a senior Administration official familiar with the 2007 pardon review, “not for those who think the system was politicized or they were unfairly targeted.”
The verdict was one thing. Libby’s sentence was another matter. Fielding told Bush that the President had wide discretion to determine its fairness. And within hours of the appeals-court ruling, Bush pronounced the jail time “excessive,” commuting Libby’s prison term while leaving in place the fine and, most important, the guilty verdict — which meant Libby would probably never practice law again.
Fielding’s recommendation was widely circulated in the White House before it was announced, and there is no evidence of disagreement. If Cheney and his allies were disappointed with Bush’s decision, they did not show it, several former officials say, in part because they were, as one put it, “so happy that [Scooter] wasn’t going to jail.”
The response was predictable: conservatives cheered the commutation; liberals deplored it. But among Bush aides, the presidential statement was seen as a fail-safe, a device that would prevent a backtrack later on…
Longtime Cheney ally Donald Rumsfeld was eased out as Pentagon chief in late 2006, and Bush replaced him with Robert Gates, a former CIA director and Bush-family ally. Gates was as effective a bureaucratic player as Cheney — and much more of a pragmatist. “Bush was persuaded that the day of the neoconservatives had to be over…
Cheney fought some of these initiatives all the way, “taking it upon himself,” as a top adviser put it, to make the hard-line national-security case to the President. Cheney didn’t lose every fight, but he was no longer winning them all either. And his backup vanished.
Pentagon official Paul Wolfowitz moved to the World Bank in early 2005. Libby was indicted in October of that year and left the government. John Bolton resigned his post as U.S. ambassador to the U.N. the same month Rumsfeld left the Pentagon in 2006. Cheney’s allies no longer manned the key points in the national-security flow chart. “Cheney,” says an ally, “had to fight much harder to win.”
…Petitions for pardons are usually sent in writing to the White House counsel’s office or a specially designated attorney at the Department of Justice. In Libby’s case, Cheney simply carried the message directly to Bush, as he had with so many other issues in the past, pressing the President in one-on-one meetings or in larger settings. A White House veteran was struck by his “extraordinary level of attention” to the case. Cheney’s persistence became nearly as big an issue as the pardon itself. “Cheney really got in the President’s face,” says a longtime Bush-family source. “He just wouldn’t give it up.”
That meant taking up the pardon question again was, as a West Wing veteran put it later, like passing a kidney stone — for the second time. Bolten declined to take a stand, according to several associates. Instead, he lateraled the issue to Fielding, claiming that a legal, not a political, call was required. If the counsel’s office decided a pardon wasn’t merited, says an official involved in the discussions, everyone else would have cover with Cheney. “They could say, Our hands are tied — our lawyers said the guy was guilty.”
And so again the job fell to Fielding. The counsel knew that only one legitimate reason for a pardon remained: if the case against him had been a miscarriage of justice. Because that kind of judgment required a thorough review, Fielding plowed through a thick transcript of the trial himself, examining the evidence supporting each charge. It took Fielding a full week. He prepared his brief for an expected showdown at a pardon meeting in mid-January 2009.
The Vice President argued the case in that Oval Office session, which was attended by the President and his top aides. He made his points in a calm, lawyerly style, saying Libby was a fall guy for critics of the Iraq war, a loyal team player caught up in a political dispute that never should have turned into a legal matter. They went after Scooter, Cheney would say, because they couldn’t get his boss. But Bush pushed past the political dimension. “Did the jury get it right or wrong?” he asked.
… The President had been told by private lawyers in the case that Libby never should have testified before the grand jury and instead should have invoked his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself. Prosecutors can accept that. But lie to them, and it gets personal. “It’s the difference between making mistakes, which everybody does, and making up a story,” a lawyer told Bush. “That is a sin that prosecutors are not going to forgive.”
A few days later, about a week before they would become private citizens, Bush pulled Cheney aside after a morning meeting and told him there would be no pardon. Cheney looked stricken. Most officials respond to a presidential rebuff with a polite thanks for considering the request in the first place. But Cheney, an observer says, “expressed his disappointment and disagreement with the decision … He didn’t take it well.”
Related Previous Posts
* Professional Military Education: An Asset for Peace and Progress : A Report of the Crisis Study Group on Professional Military Education (Csis Report) 1997. ISBN 0-89206-297-5
* Kings of the Hill: How Nine Powerful Men Changed the Course of American History 1996. ISBN 0-8264-0230-5
* Andrews, Elaine. Dick Cheney: A Life Of Public Service. Millbrook Press, 2001. ISBN 0-7613-2306-6
* Gellman, Barton. Angler: The Cheney Vice Presidency. Penguin Press, 2008. ISBN 9781594201868
* Hayes, Stephen. Cheney: The Untold Story of America’s Most Powerful and Controversial Vice President. HarperCollins, 2007. ISBN 0060723467
* Mann, James. Rise of the Vulcans: The History of Bush’s War Cabinet. Viking, 2004. ISBN 0-670-03299-9
* Nichols, John. Dick: The Man Who is President. New Press, 2004. ISBN 1-56584-840-3
Hot Air: CIA memos on interrogation requested by Cheney finally released; Update: Cheney issues statement
The Weekly Standard: Text of Cheney’s AEI Speech
Washington Post: Detainees Shown CIA Officers’ Photos
Washington Post: A Different Understanding With the President, June 24, 2007
Washington Post: Pushing the Envelope on Presidential Power, June 25, 2007
Washington Post: A Strong Push From Backstage, June 26, 2007
Washington Post: Leaving No Tracks, June 27, 2007
Washington Examiner: Cheney defends interrogations, talks history in interview, January 7, 2009
PBS: Cheney Reflects on Legacy, Defends Interrogation Policy, January 14, 2009 (Audio)***MUST LISTEN***
WSJ: CIA Had Secret Al Qaeda Plan, July 13, 2009
NPR: Cheney: A VP With Unprecedented Power, January 15, 2009
NPR: ‘Angler’ Takes Measure Of Cheney’s Influence Sep. 16, 2008
NRO: Papal Economics 101
He’s Fly Fishing…