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Filed under: prairie musings, Bush and Cheney — Peg Britton @ 2:56 am


Why I won’t read Dick Cheney’s book
The man’s a liar, a killer, a shill for the rich and assorted other unsavory things
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
By Dan Simpson, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Dan Simpson, a former U.S. ambassador, is a Post-Gazette associate editor
In spite of the kerfuffle about former Vice President Dick Cheney’s newly published memoir, I have no intention of buying or reading the book, for the following reasons:

1) He is a liar. Anyone who would take the United States to war based on two false reasons — the claim of Iraq having nuclear weapons and of the Saddam Hussein regime having links to al-Qaida — has no further right to be believed about anything. Mr. Cheney’s approach to these deadly lies was to choose and interpret U.S. intelligence to reinforce his goal, as opposed to arriving at a truth upon which to base U.S. policy.

2) He is a killer. His deliberate actions, probably intended to get himself and President George W. Bush reelected in 2004, led to the deaths of more than 4,400 Americans and countless thousands of Iraqis. Abraham Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, fine; George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, no way.

3) He in no small part ran up the debt burden under which America squirms. His commitment to the unfinanced Iraq war and his unswerving devotion to cutting taxes for the rich and deregulating America’s financial and commercial institutions helped put us where we are now. This week we will see a shocking report on the increase in the number of Americans on food stamps — a 70 percent rise in four years — that points clearly at just where Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney put us.

4) Mr. Cheney played Edgar Bergen to Mr. Bush’s Charlie McCarthy. For my younger readers, Edgar Bergen was a well-known comedian and ventiloquist of the 20th century radio days. Mr. Bergen’s wooden puppet, who sat on his lap and frequently upstaged him, was Charlie McCarthy.

This device employed by Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney enabled the American public to imagine that Mr. Bush, as president, was either disinterested, cutting brush in Texas, or disassociated from the presidency in a combination of noblesse oblige and arrogance or just stupid. Virtually all of the bad decisions taken by the administration could be attributed to Mr. Cheney’s machinations behind the scenes — along with those of White House adviser Karl Rove. Mr. Bush was simply an oaf, or a tool or a ventriloquist’s dummy in their hands. The bad effects of this de facto abdication of responsibility on the part of Mr. Bush are incalculable.

Normally — I won’t say correctly — a vice president’s impact on the country’s governance is fairly low. FDR’s vice president, Harry Truman, apparently didn’t even know about the atomic bomb until the president died. I don’t think Mr. Obama’s vice president, Joe Biden, is that bad, but Americans did not elect him president.

Considerable power and influence was attributed to Mr. Cheney during Mr. Bush’s two terms. Both the allocation of power and the actions of the person wielding it, Mr. Cheney, were damaging to America’s well-being.

5) One clear illustration of Mr. Cheney’s character was his role in the drama of CIA operative Valerie Plame and her husband, Joe Wilson. (I should say that I have known Joe Wilson for a long time. I have not met his wife.) In this case, Mr. Cheney showed two instances of slimy behavior.

When Mr. Wilson brought back from Africa information that was at variance with the line leading to the U.S. attack on Iraq that Mr. Cheney was promoting, Mr. Cheney went after Mr. Wilson’s wife, Valerie Plame, a clandestine CIA operative. He and his allies destroyed her career. They also may have caused the outing of some of her overseas contacts, who may have paid with their lives or liberty.

Mr. Cheney then let his chief of staff, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, take the rap for what he had done. Mr. Libby ended up with no jail time but with his reputation ruined — except among people who thought Mr. Cheney was worth protecting.

6) Speaking of protecting Mr. Cheney, another questionable piece of his career is how he always presents himself as a solid, rugged Westerner, a son of Wyoming where the license plates have a cowboy on them. But when it came to fighting in the Vietnam War, for which he was a potential draftee, Mr. Cheney had “other priorities.” As a candidate he didn’t hide this fact, presuming, obviously correctly, that voters would see his heart problems and evident merit as reasons why it was fine for him to send other young Americans off to fight and possibly die, even though he (and Mr. Bush) hadn’t.

7) Then there was his role at war profiteer Halliburton. No one would begrudge Mr. Cheney the right to find a job in the private sector between his time in the administration of the first Bush president as secretary of defense and as vice president when the Bush dynasty came back into power in 2001. On the other hand, to move from secretary of defense to CEO of a big defense contractor, then back into government to work unstintingly for a war that would make that defense contractor even more prosperous should win Mr. Cheney some kind of prize as the “Dancing with the Stars” champion of the military-industrial complex.

8) Finally, Dick Cheney’s book apparently was co-written by his no-talent daughter, Liz Cheney.

During his time in office, Mr. Cheney “convinced” the Department of State to accept her as principal deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs and coordinator for Middle East and North Africa initiatives, a subject that she knew little about, except for the doctrine she was promoting. This was at a time when the Iraq war was under way, the Arab Spring was showing its first trickles and the Middle East peace process was going nowhere. It was a poor time to have ungifted amateurs playing important roles in U.S. diplomacy.

So, about the book I would say, don’t waste your time reading it. Try something about vampires or werewolves instead.
Dan Simpson, a former U.S. ambassador, is a Post-Gazette associate editor (, 412 263-1976).



Filed under: political musings, Barack Obama, Bush and Cheney — Peg Britton @ 7:56 am

If you are irate over President Obama taking “too many vacation days” on the taxpayer’s dime (61 thus far), you should know that George W. Bush had taken 180 days at the same point in his presidency.

Which U.S. president took the longest vacation while on the job?  James Madison.   The War of 1812 was over. His administration was nearly at an end. So Madison, tired and eager to get away, slipped out of Washington in June 1816 and didn’t return until October. His four-month vacation was the longest of any president. In other years his vacations lasted three months.  Other presidents have been absent from office for longer periods of time for other reasons.

America needs more jobs immediately and can only turn itself around by creating new jobs  and expanding the work force.  There is complaint that Obama is taking time off to be with his family when he should be working on jobs creation.  He’s done too little too late, in this department.  Conservatives insist the wealthiest Americans are “job creators,”  and they are… and that they shouldn’t be taxed more to help reduce the deficit for this reason.  But doesn’t it bother you that all the workers in those jobs they’ve created are not within the U.S. but are positions in India, China and Malaysia where they are doing work our fathers once did?  They should bring those jobs back to our shores or be taxed heavily for not doing so.

Thanks for tuning in…



Filed under: political musings, Tyler Britton USAF, Bush and Cheney — Peg Britton @ 5:35 pm

As of Monday, 4,394 U.S. service members and 13 Defense Department civilians have been reported killed in the Iraq war.  Seven years ago and hundreds and hundreds of deaths since then here is what Bush had to say:

Bush Says Major Combat in Iraq Over

Friday, May 02, 2003

WASHINGTON —  Hours after making an historic landing aboard a moving aircraft carrier, President Bush told sailors manning the USS Abraham Lincoln Thursday that “major combat operations in Iraq have ended.”

“Operation Iraqi Freedom was carried out with a combination of precision, speed and boldness the enemy did not expect, and the world had not seen before,” Bush told a sea of blue and khaki standing on the flight deck. “Marines and soldiers charged to Baghdad across 350 miles of hostile ground, in one of the swiftest advances of heavy arms in history. You have shown the world the skill and might of the American armed forces.

In and around Afghanistan, 1,106 U.S. service members and two Defense Department civilians had been reported killed.

I have no way of knowing for certain, but my grandson who is a CSTARS respiratory therapist stationed in Afghanistan is transporting injured soldiers to Germany. He’s on a run now and I suspect his patients are the soldiers who were injured in the attack yesterday that was shown so vividly on national news.



Filed under: political musings, Bush and Cheney — Peg Britton @ 5:29 pm

The decades technically begin in years ending with ones, not zeroes. But it is so widely accepted that decades start in years ending in zero we’ll just have to go with it, right or not.   Everyone in our family is ready to move on out of this decade and hopes for a better one starting tomorrow or a year from tomorrow, whichever you prefer.

When I was young and someone mentioned “so and so” had a “bomb” in his underwear, the meaning was clear. It means something entirely different today in political circles.  The airwaves will be full of it on Monday.

The Dems are getting blamed for a security breach when one ought to stop and reflect on huge failings of the Bush Cheney administration and their congress.  Remember the security measures set up by them didn’t stop a single Nigerian.

People need to remember that two of the key leaders of Al Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula, the organization claiming credit for the attempt attack on Flight 253, are men who were released by VP Cheney in secret from Guantanamo Bay and sent back to Yemen.  Cheney is personally responsible for that.

The Gitmo detainees that were released by the Bush administration are now part of the al-Qaeda leadership in Yemen….a real hot bed of terrorism facing the U.S.

Cheney in particular forgets the long list of Bush-Cheney failures.  One was the shoe bomber, Richard Reid, who penetrated American airspace with ease.

Barack Obama has seen one man with a bomb in his underwear slip by security.

Bush and Cheney were responsible for 911.  In less than a year after ignoring warnings that Osama bin Laden was intent on flying planes into some of our key U.S. buildings, President Bush presided over our country’s largest terrorist attack. That action tore down our economy and gave what Bush  believed was credence to invade a country that did not attack us. The Bush Doctrine in play.  That led to over 3,000 Americans deaths and the deaths of more than 100,000 innocent people.

And, the dumbest quote of 2009 was by Dana Perino:  “We did not have a terrorist attack on our country during President Bush’s term.”

How quickly some forget.



Filed under: political musings, Bush and Cheney — Peg Britton @ 1:55 pm

HuffPost’s QuickRead…

AP  |  MARK MAZZETTI and DAVID JOHNSTON  |  July 25, 2009 at 12:09 PM

WASHINGTON — The Bush administration in 2002 considered sending U.S. troops into a Buffalo, N.Y., suburb to arrest a group of terror suspects in what would have been a nearly unprecedented use of military power, The New York Times reported.

Vice President Dick Cheney and several other Bush advisers at the time strongly urged that the military be used to apprehend men who were suspected of plotting with al Qaida, who later became known as the Lackawanna Six, the Times reported…


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