No Comment — June 4, 2007, 8:07 am

A Vice President Above the Law

The hallmark of the Bush Administration is impunity. The last leader of the English-speaking world to openly hold himself above the law wound up having his head separated from his body by a sharp blade in 1649. But Cheney succeeds where others before him were brought to a fall. And his formula for success is simple: complete and utter contempt for the law. Of course it’s nothing new for American vice presidents to dabble in the criminal – Aaron Burr was a murderer; and Spiro Agnew involved himself in petty Maryland construction scams. But Cheney’s unseemliness far outstrips Burr or Agnew. The New York Times editorial today recounts Cheney’s long list of corrupt acts:

  • His obsession with secrecy in all respects surrounding himself; his arrangement for the destruction of public records to eliminate a trail of his meetings;
  • His receipt of salary payments from Halliburton during his period as vice president which exceed the pay he draws from the Treasury. And, as Time magazine showed, Halliburton got its money’s worth, since Cheney intervened to support a raft of no-bid multibillion dollar contracts that it secured after Cheney moved back to Washington.
  • His sponsorship of terrorism as the new Cheney-style American way; and his decision to give a Memorial Day speech at West Point denigrating the Constitution and the Geneva Conventions – such outmoded thinking!

They sum it up:

Reviewing this record — secrecy, impatience with government regulations, backroom dealings, handsome paydays — it dawned on us that Mr. Cheney is in step with the times. He has privatized the job of vice president of the United States.

Of course, this list is only a beginning. What about war crimes? What about his conspiracy to out a covert CIA agent? Still, one solution for the public is to take a cue from Maureen Dowd and shorten Cheney’s job title. From now on, let’s just make it “vice.” It’s such a fitting name for him.

Share
Single Page

More from Scott Horton:

No Comment, Six Questions June 4, 2014, 8:00 am

Uncovering the Cover Ups: Death Camp in Delta

Mark Denbeaux on the NCIS cover-up of three “suicides” at Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp

From the June 2014 issue

The Guantánamo “Suicides,” Revisited

A missing document suggests a possible CIA cover-up

No Comment March 28, 2014, 12:32 pm

Scott Horton Debates John Rizzo on Democracy Now!

On CIA secrecy, torture, and war-making powers

Get access to 164 years of
Harper’s for only $39.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

October 2014

Cassandra Among the
Creeps

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“Today Is Better Than Tomorrow”

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

PBS Self-Destructs

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Monkey Did It

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Post
“This is not a fable about a young woman whose dreams were dashed by a sexual predator. Maya’s narrative is one of institutional failure at a school desperately trying to adapt.”
Photograph © AP/Josh Reynolds
Article
Kandahar’s Mystery Executions·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“He told me he was made to stand on an ice block for thirty minutes at a time, and would then be forced to run barefoot across the gravel while an officer cable-whipped him.”
Photograph (detail) © Victor J. Blue
Article
The Tale of the Tape·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“Heroin isn’t the weakness Art Pepper submits to; it’s the passion he revels in.”
Photograph (detail) © Laurie Pepper
Post
Art Beyond Politics·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Arab artists take up — and look past — regional politics
“When everyday life regularly throws up images of terror and drama and the technological sublime, how can a photographer compete?”
“Qalandia 2087, 2009,” by Wafa Hourani
Criticism
The Soft-Kill Solution·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

"Policymakers, recognizing the growing influence of civil disobedience and riots on the direction of the nation, had already begun turning to science for a response."
Illustration by Richard Mia

Chance that a civilian who died in a 20th-century war was American:

1 in 62,000

A physicist calculated that mass worldwide conversion to a vegetarian diet would do more to slow global warming than cutting back on oil and gas use.

“All I saw,” said a 12-year-old neighbor of visits to the man’s house, “was just cats in little diapers.”

Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!

HARPER’S FINEST

In Praise of Idleness

By

I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.

Subscribe Today