No Comment — February 5, 2009, 11:46 am

Dr. Phibes Rises Again

Yesterday Dick Cheney, doing his best Dr. Phibes, gave an interview in Politico. The United States, he said, faced the prospect of another attack along the lines of 9/11, though perhaps even more catastrophic. Whether we could avert this, he said, “depends whether or not we keep in place policies that have allowed us to defeat all further attempts.” Meaning that Obama’s decision to ban torture means that the United States will suffer another catastrophic terrorist attack. He also said that the new president and his team were more concerned about reading Al Qaeda prisoners their Miranda rights than defending the country. Odd, as the Obama view is the same as the Bush view: the detainees don’t have Miranda rights.

Ex-Vice Presidents are usually off somewhere sunny, golfing, by now. So what’s got Cheney down? It’s probably a combination of the back injury that put him into a wheelchair at the inauguration and the fact that he was recently snubbed by the star of his favorite television program, Fox’s 24. That show’s gloomy hero, Jack Bauer, is widely viewed as a vindication of the world according to Cheney. But in an interview this week, Kiefer Sutherland, who plays Jack Bauer and claims authorship of the character, made clear that he found Cheney’s attitudes loathsome. To the suggestion that Bauer would vote Republican he responds “not a chance.” That must have hurt. If Jack Bauer’s not a Cheney man, who is?

Joe Klein at Time sums up the general opinion on Cheney’s continual hectoring: “Please go away.”

Let’s leave aside the fact that if Dick Cheney and his alleged boss had been more vigilant–if they had listened to the Clinton appointees like Sandy Berger who warned about Al Qaeda, if they had paid attention to their own intelligence reports (notably the one on August 6, 2001)—the September 11 attacks might never have happened. Actually, I can’t leave that aside… but in any case, it is sleazy in the extreme for Cheney to predict another terrorist attack. For several reasons:

  1. Some sort of terrorist attack is likely, eventually, no matter who is President.

  2. Cheney has done here what the Bush Administration did throughout: he has politicized terror. If another attack happens, it’s Obama’s fault. Disgraceful… and ungrateful, since it’s only Obama’s mercy that stands between Cheney and a really serious war crimes investigation.

Which explains of course why Dick and Lynne can’t take that European vacation they’ve been dreaming of for so long.

Share
Single Page

More from Scott Horton:

Conversation March 30, 2016, 3:44 pm

Burn Pits

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.

Context, No Comment August 28, 2015, 12:16 pm

Beltway Secrecy

In five easy lessons

From the April 2015 issue

Company Men

Torture, treachery, and the CIA

Get access to 165 years of
Harper’s for only $45.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

August 2016

Atlas Aggregated

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Origins of Speech

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Four in Verse

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

A Sigh and a Salute

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Four in Prose

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Don the Realtor

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Post
Martin Amis on the rise of Trump, Tom Wolfe on the origins of speech, Art Spiegelman on Si Lewen, fiction by Diane Williams, and more

In Havana, the past year has been marked by a parade of bold-faced names from the north — John Kerry reopening the United States Embassy; Andrew Cuomo bringing a delegation of American business leaders; celebrities ranging from Joe Torre, traveling on behalf of Major League Baseball to oversee an exhibition game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban national team, to Jimmy Buffett, said to be considering opening one of his Margaritaville restaurants there. All this culminated with a three-day trip in March by Barack Obama, the first American president to visit Cuba since Calvin Coolidge in 1928. But to those who know the city well, perhaps nothing said as much about the transformation of political relations between the United States and Cuba that began in December 2014 as a concert in the Tribuna Antiimperialista.

Illustration by Darrel Rees
Article
Don the Realtor·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

"If you have ever wondered what it’s like, being a young and avaricious teetotal German-American philistine on the make in Manhattan, then your curiosity will be quenched by The Art of the Deal."
Photograph (detail) © Polly Borland/Exclusive by Getty Images
Article
The Origins of Speech·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

"To Chomsky...every child’s language organ could use the 'deep structure,' 'universal grammar,' and 'language acquisition device' he was born with to express what he had to say, no matter whether it came out of his mouth in English or Urdu or Nagamese."
Illustration (detail) by Darrel Rees. Source photograph © Miroslav Dakov/Alamy Live News
Article
A Sigh and a Salute·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

"Si told me that various paintings had spoken to him, but he wished they had been hung closer together 'so they could talk to each other.' This observation planted a seed that would come to fruition years later in his mature work."
Artwork (detail) by Si Lewen
Article
El Bloqueo·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

"Amid the festivities and the flood of celebrities, it would be easy for Americans to miss that the central plank of the long-standing cold war against Cuba — the economic embargo — remains very much alive and well."
Photograph (detail) by Rose Marie Cromwell

Ratio of the amount J. P. Morgan paid a man to fight in his place in the Civil War to what he spent on cigars in 1863:

1:1

The Food and Drug Administration asked restaurants to help Americans eat less.

Pope Francis announced that nuns could use social media, and a priest flew a hot-air balloon around the world.

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

HARPER’S FINEST

Mississippi Drift

By

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.'

Subscribe Today