by BAR Editor and Senior Columnist Margaret Kimberley
The Bush administration is a putrid swamp of career criminals, who operate with impunity both inside and outside the boundaries of the executive branch of government. Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld camps in offices just outside the Pentagon, an “unpaid” consultant with seven paid staffers and full access to “secrets” he may have invented in the first place. Vice President Dick Cheney’s career is built on mountains of mega-lying over decades. In the Bush world, criminal insanity is eminently rational.
Freedom Rider: Crazy, Greedy White Men
by Margaret Kimberley
"Rumsfeld is a career criminal who refuses to give up his way of life."
Insanity, avarice and dismal failure aren't barriers to success for powerful white men. They are allowed to make up nonsense to get what they want, kill thousands of people, display jaw dropping incompetence, lie to Congress, the CIA (if necessary), and the American people, and still maintain their positions of authority and political power.
Dick Cheney, Vice President of the United States of America, is a perfect example of this phenomenon of untouchability. In the 1970s Cheney served as Chief of Staff to then president Gerald Ford and Donald Rumsfeld was Secretary of Defense. Along with people like Paul Wolfowitz, they argued that the Soviet Union was stronger than anyone, even the CIA, believed it to be.
They claimed that the Soviets had a weapon of mass destruction, nuclear submarines that could not be detected by sonar. How did they have this information that eluded everyone else? It is simple, they just made it up and claimed that military spending needed to increase to protect America from a threat that only they and their friends knew about. Their invention of undetectable Soviet subs was quite rightly labeled "a complete fiction" by the CIA.
In an awful twist of fate, in 2001 these people returned from their wilderness years, spent making money from the defense industries they promoted, and began running the American foreign policy establishment. Dick Cheney had been the CEO of the Halliburton, and he made sure that it got its fingers in the public trough from the moment the Bush administration moved furniture into the oval office.
"The neocons' dreams of personal profit and empire building are both terribly dangerous and put all human life in jeopardy."
His Halliburton stock options rose in value from $241,000 to more than $8 million within one year. You won't find out if you pick up a newspaper, but he has used the office of Vice President to become a very wealthy man through his corporate connections.
It is hard to tell if the neocons' desire for an American empire is greater than their desire for personal gain. The two always manage to go hand and hand. Their dreams of personal profit and empire building are both terribly dangerous and put all human life in jeopardy.
The Cheney gang didn't change their behavior with time when they decided to invade Iraq. They picked up where they left off three decades earlier, making up convenient "facts" as they went along. Wolfowitz, formerly Deputy Secretary of Defense, admitted as much. "For bureaucratic reasons we settled on one issue, weapons of mass destruction, because it was the one reason everyone could agree on."
"Cheney ended up incriminating himself with his attempt at slickness."
Like all unpunished criminals, Cheney has only become bolder and sloppier. The Vice President recently told reporters on Air Force Two that he would speak to them only on the condition that he not be quoted directly but instead be identified as a "senior administration official." Like any common, not so smart crook, Cheney ended up incriminating himself with his attempt at slickness. His words made it clear to anyone paying attention that the Vice President was the mysterious official:
"I've seen some press reporting that says, 'Cheney went in to beat up on them, threaten them.' That's not the way I work."
His attempt at secrecy was rendered moot by his stupidity. Cheney's comfort with such gross ineptitude is actually quite understandable. He has not only gotten a pass on his past wrong doing, but profited from it. Why worry about looking stupid now?
Even when these men appear to go away they really haven't. Donald Rumsfeld allegedly resigned as Defense Secretary back in November 2006. He is now a "non-paid consultant" with an office near the Pentagon and seven paid staffers. He is entitled to this arrangement as part of his transition and he still has access to top secret materials. His predecessors managed to clean out their offices quickly and didn't need to hang on indefinitely. Then again they weren't committed to permanent warfare.
Rummy is different, a career criminal who refuses to give up his way of life. Is he shredding proof of "ghost prisoners" kidnapped by the U.S.? Perhaps he is helping plan an attack on Iran. Like bad pennies, he and his friends will keep showing up.
"Barack Obama and the other Democratic presidential candidates make it clear that they will not stand in the way of war with Iran."
It doesn't seem to matter that Rumsfeld and Cheney armed Saddam Hussein with chemical weapons and cried wolf about non-existent weapons. They are now claiming that Iran is arming the so-called insurgency in Iraq and is capable of destroying Israel with nukes it doesn't have.
The odds are that they will succeed in starting a war if that is what they choose to do. Very few Democrats have said that war is unacceptable. Quite the opposite, they toe the party line that Iran, which has no nukes, is a danger to Israel, which has several hundred. Barack Obama and the other Democratic presidential candidates make it clear that they will not stand in the way of war. "[W]e should take no option, including military action, off the table," said Obama
If Cheney, Rummy and friends decide to go to war against Iran, the Democrats won't stand in the way. They will make quiet noises about authorization but in the end they will say yes and Cheney will have been proven right. It doesn't matter if he shoots hunting partners, or gives himself up when he is trying to be secretive. His stock options haven't disappeared either. Perhaps he isn't so crazy after all.
Margaret Kimberley's Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BA R. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgandaReport.Com. Ms. Kimberley' maintains an edifying and frequently updated blog at freedomrider.blogspot.com. More of her work is also available at her Black Agenda Report archive page.