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.