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Last winter, making arrangements for a law of armed conflict conference I was putting together with some friends from West Point and Princeton, I had a lunch with one of the former SACEURs (Supreme Allied Commander Europe) I was hoping to bring in as a keynote speaker. He started talking about Dick Cheney. “I read the statement that Brent Scowcroft made, where he said ‘I don’t recognize this Dick Cheney’ and thought ‘how true.’ I also knew and worked with Dick Cheney for years. He was alert, serious, sober and cautious. And nothing at all like this man who sits in the White House today. It’s enough to get one thinking about the ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers.’ Something happened.”
Well, maybe the something is the physical and psychological consequences of a heart attack and a series of microstrokes. They are capable of having life and thought-changing consequences for their victims, and as Jon Stewart recently reminded us, Dick Cheney and Larry King together could keep a ward of cardiologists going full time. Or maybe we’ll ultimately learn that Dick Cheney really is the Manchurian Candidate. Who knows. One thing’s for certain: he’s not the old Dick Cheney.
So here’s a terrific YouTube: a glimpse at the old Dick Cheney. The one who was mentally alert, intelligent and objective. And not at all like the delusional figure who currently directs foreign and national security policy for our dauphin-president. In an appearance at the American Enterprise Institute from April 15, 1994, Cheney explains that invading Baghdad would have been a bad decision—it would have produced a quagmire and would have cost us the support of key allies. He got that right.
More from Scott Horton:
Conversation — March 30, 2016, 3:44 pm
Joseph Hickman discusses his new book, The Burn Pits, which tells the story of thousands of U.S. soldiers who, after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, have developed rare cancers and respiratory diseases.
The new docudrama The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story (FX) isn’t really about Orenthal James Simpson. It’s about the trials that ran alongside his — those informal, unboundaried, court-of-public-opinion trials in which evidence was heard for and against the murder victims, the defense and the prosecution, the judge, the jury, and the Los Angeles Police Department, to say nothing of white and black America. History has freed us from suspense about Simpson’s verdict, so that the man himself (played here by Cuba Gooding Jr.) is less the tragic hero he seemed in the mid-Nineties than a curiously minor character. He comes to the center of our attention only once, in Episode 2, at the end of the lengthy Ford Bronco chase scene — which in real life was followed by a surreal cavalcade of police cars and media helicopters, as well as an estimated 95 million live viewers — when Simpson repeatedly, and with apparent sincerity, apologizes for taking up so much of so many people’s time. It is an uncannily ordinary moment of social decorum, a sort of could-you-please-pass-the-salt gesture on a sinking Titanic, in which Simpson briefly becomes more than just an archetype.
Amount an auditor estimated last year that Oregon could save each year by feeding prisoners less food:
Kentucky is the saddest state.
An Italian economist was questioned on suspicion of terrorism after a fellow passenger on an American Airlines flight witnessed him writing differential equations on a pad of paper.
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“Matt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'”