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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:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”