Long Read “In the Darkness of Dick Cheney”

Mark Danner in the NY Review of Books, reviews two memoirs and a movie:

When it comes to Cheney’s rise and his persistence we are in the realm of miracles and wonders. In 1969, Cheney was a twenty-eight-year-old fledgling academic wannabe from Wyoming laboring obscurely as an intern on Capitol Hill—and lucky to be there, having twice flunked out of Yale, twice been jailed for drunk driving. Five years later he was Gerald Ford’s White House chief of staff. Can American history offer a more rapid rise to power? Even the firework arc of his mentor Donald Rumsfeld pales before it. He’d owed his rise in large part to Rumsfeld’s patronage, but also to Watergate itself, to the once in a lifetime opportunities offered by the resignation of one president and the humbling of his successor. At close range Cheney, still in his early thirties, had seen the secret organs of executive power, notably the CIA, exposed to the light, humiliated, leashed. If it was true that “after 9/11, the gloves came off,” Cheney, as a young and unlikely power in the Nixon and Ford White Houses, had had a front-row seat to observe the methods by which Congress first put those gloves on…

No turning back would be a good slogan for Dick Cheney. His memoirs are remarkable—and he shares this with Rumsfeld—for an almost perfect lack of second-guessing, regret, or even the mildest reconsideration. “I thought the best way to get on with my life and my career was to do what I thought was right,” he tells Cutler. “I did what I did, it’s all on the public record, and I feel very good about it.” Decisions are now as they were then. If that Mission Accomplished moment in 2003 seemed at the time to be the height of American power and authority, then so it will remain—unquestioned, unaltered, uninflected by subsequent public events that show it quite clearly to have been nothing of the kind. “If I had to do it over again,” says Cheney, “I’d do it in a minute.”

Yet lack of regret, refusal to reconsider, doesn’t alter the train of cause and effect; certainty that decisions were right, no matter how powerful—and the imperturbable perfection of Cheney’s certainty is nothing short of dazzling—cannot obscure evidence that they were wrong. Often the sheer unpopularity of a given course seems to offer to Cheney its own satisfaction, a token of his disinterestedness, as if the lack of political support must serve as a testament to the purity of his motives…

To repeat myself: Gerry Ford’s pious decision to end “our long national nightmare” by letting the criminals in Nixon’s White House scuttle off without a full public accounting of their various misdeeds has proven one of the greatest mistakes in American history.

79 replies
  1. 1
    Corner Stone says:

    Gerry Ford’s pious decision to end “our long national nightmare” by letting the criminals in Nixon’s White House scuttle off without a full public accounting of their various misdeeds has proven one of the greatest mistakes in American history.

    I disagree. That was absolutely the right call for the country at that time. Think of the dysfunction that would have entailed if he hadn’t made the decision to move forward with clean hands.

  2. 2
    Trentrunner says:

    Yes, let’s never look back. Always look forward.

    Which is why the right is fucking bringing up fucking Monica Lewinsky. Fucking.

  3. 3
    slippytoad says:

    @Corner Stone:

    You’re just wrong. The same criminals who destroyed our trust in the 1970’s have continued to do so throughout the rest of the century, and they were mostly responsible for Iraq and the National Security state, and frankly I think it would have been much better if Nixon’s aides had all gone to jail and stayed there with Nixon.

    I mean, it’s an obvious conclusion to come to: we should have stopped, and made an example of those people. Not doing so encouraged them to continue committing crimes and fucking over our country.

  4. 4
    slippytoad says:

    Cheney doesn’t think he has to admit error and that’s hilarious. As the VP of what is now shaping up to be the most contemptible administration in US history, he’s covered in shitstain.

    Soon, thankfully, he will run out of time and then we won’t have to listen to his worthless, unasked-for opinion on national security or himself or anything else, and we can properly write the Dick Cheney story in a way that leaves no question as to what a total son of a bitch he is.

  5. 5
    Botsplainer says:

    OT, but I just got to enjoy telling some high powered Textard bidnessman that Texas is fucked up and doesn’t protect its consumers.

    It felt really good.

  6. 6
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Corner Stone: Well trolled.

  7. 7
    Neutron Flux says:

    Gerry Ford’s pious decision to end “our long national nightmare” by letting the criminals in Nixon’s White House scuttle off without a full public accounting of their various misdeeds has proven one of the greatest mistakes in American history.

    Correct.

  8. 8
    eldorado says:

    off-topic: matt tabbi is joining history’s penultimate monster greenwald over at the intercept.

  9. 9
    AnotherBruce says:

    @Botsplainer: Please more details! Sounds like a heart warming story.

  10. 10
    kindness says:

    I was an even more strident liberal back then. Hadn’t yet had life test me much. I liked Gerry Ford. How could you not after Nixon? Ford reminded me of my father. Didn’t matter. Voted for Carter.

  11. 11
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @slippytoad: The same criminals who destroyed our trust in the 1970′s have continued to do so throughout the rest of the century, and they were mostly responsible for Iraq and the National Security state,

    Which ones, specifically? I am genuinely curious. Rumsfeld and Cheney were bit players in the Nixon White House, mainly on the economic policy side. Perle and Wolfowitz were not in the Nixon White House at all – they were Scoop Jackson staffers. Doug Feith was 21 when Nixon resigned. Bush Sr was UN Ambassador under Nixon, putting him pretty far outside. So whom are you referring to?

  12. 12
    Amir Khalid says:

    @eldorado:
    If Greenwald is history’s penultimate monster, then who is the ultimate monster?

  13. 13
    Baud says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    If you have to ask, it’s you.

  14. 14
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @eldorado: Actually I’ve seen entire threads trashing Taibbi here in the past, so he can be hated on his own two feet, doesn’t need the proximity of Greenwald.

    It’s all about having ever been critical of Barack Obama, or his administration. Instant monster status. For some people anyway.

  15. 15
    Gindy51 says:

    @Corner Stone: The problem is the hands were not clean, have never been clean, and never will be clean.
    As for Cheney, Ted Bundy and his ilk share a lot of the same characteristics as Cheney.

  16. 16
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Baud:
    I’m serious. If GG is only Number 2, who is Number 1? Are the rest of us Number 6?

  17. 17
    MikeJ says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim:

    It’s all about having ever been critical of Barack Obama, or his administration. Instant monster status. For some people anyway.

    Bullshit. It’s about not caring at all about the truth.

    Taibbi is the one that said TARP cost $27 trillion dollars.He doesn’t deserve to be taken seriously.

  18. 18
    Mike E says:

    @Baud: For Whom The Bell Trolls.

  19. 19
    RavenRant says:

    I was researching Cheney’s career, and was surprised to see that he had ZERO private enterprise experience before being appointed CEO of Halliburton.

    Why would a major corporation put a complete novice in the CEO’s office? Because he had already been funneling taxpayer money into their pockets while he was Secretary of Defense. Cheney had hired Brown and Root, (which became KBR, a Halliburton subsidiary), to study the feasibility of outsourcing military functions to private industry. Halliburton concluded that it was a great idea, and they were just the company to provide those services.

    With the election of Clinton, Cheney had no more taxpayer largess to distribute. After toying with the idea of running for president for two years, he became CEO of Halliburton. And, while his tenure is often described as successful, in fact he nearly bankrupted the company. He had acquired Dresser Industries. Dresser had enormous asbestos liabilities, and apparently Cheney gambled on court cases on asbestos going the company’s way. They didn’t and Halliburton stock cratered.

    By this time, however, Cheney had escaped back into ‘public service’. He was Vice President and immediately began funneling billions back into Halliburton.

    Cheney made over $44 million during his tenure as CEO. And it only cost the taxpayers $40 billion or so. And blood. Lots and lots of blood.

  20. 20
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Amir Khalid: Love your reference. But you know the futility of asking who is Number 1.

  21. 21
    Baud says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    You may not know this, but there are a substantial number of people in this country who believe that “penultimate” means the same thing as “ultimate.” Don’t know if that’s the case here.

  22. 22
    Brian R. says:

    @Botsplainer:

    Awesome. Details?

  23. 23
    Brian R. says:

    @eldorado:

    off-topic: matt tabbi is joining history’s penultimate monster greenwald over at the intercept.

    What? Greenwald is the next-to-last monster?

    ETA: I see that snark’s already been dropped. Oh well.

  24. 24
    The Other Chuck says:

    Isn’t the running joke here that Carter is history’s greatest monster?

  25. 25
    catclub says:

    @Neutron Flux: Number two is the press specifically, and the Congress as well, backing off from Iran Contra, in order to avoid ‘another failed presidency’.

    Didn’t need to back off the Democrats who became president.

  26. 26
    Calouste says:

    The greatest mistake in American history was letting the traitor states back in to the Union in their old shape instead of redrawing the map and creating new states with names like Lincoln, Grantland and Shermania. Germans aren’t going on any more about Prussian traditions, because you know what, Prussia no longer exists.

  27. 27
    catclub says:

    Heart of Darkness! I get it! I get it!

  28. 28
    gratuitous says:

    “The sheer unpopularity of a given course seems to offer to Cheney its own satisfaction, a token of his disinterestedness, as if the lack of political support must serve as a testament to the purity of his motives.”

    And curiously, each and every given course Cheney has pursued has advanced his career, lined his pockets, or enriched his cronies. Understanding that, how could anything he’s done possibly be called a mistake?

  29. 29
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Calouste: Real Prussians still know where it is.

  30. 30
    Bill in Section 147 says:

    @The Other Chuck: Well, based on the fact that Republican candidates still run against him, I would say his hold on the title of most influential President in the fever-dreams of conservatives is still untouched. They really hate FDR more but they get puzzled looks from Fox viewers when they mention events before the Civil Rights era.

  31. 31
    Bill in Section 147 says:

    @Calouste: Probably the least intrusive but possibly most successful concept I have seen concerning what to do with the traitor states.

    If the boundaries were changed and gerrymandered to make each new state comprised of no greater than 1/3 population of pre-war voters from any single state there would have been more effort to move forward.

    Lincoln would be too kind, Shermania is better. There is a Unionist side of me that thinks Crapstain would be better. Crapstain Peach or Crapstain Orange makes an interesting license plate concept. And, “Don’t Mess with Crapstain!” is an interesting bumper sticker. And please accept I am being a bit snarky. But I can never say any imaginary slur or comment that comes close to what y’all say about California. Yes. It is an over-taxed hell-hole and blood and violence are how we wash our streets. Please continue to live where you choose to now. We have no jobs. It rains or snows all the time – whatever you hate – we have it in abundance.

  32. 32
    Corner Stone says:

    @slippytoad:

    I mean, it’s an obvious conclusion to come to: we should have stopped, and made an example of those people. Not doing so encouraged them to continue committing crimes and fucking over our country.

    I’m sorry, but I just don’t feel this is the correct response. It seems you’re trying to say that the consequences of making an example of these people outweighed the relative umbrage that Republican partisans would have engaged in. That doesn’t seem like good politics, or good for the country.

  33. 33
    Corner Stone says:

    @Gindy51:

    The problem is the hands were not clean, have never been clean, and never will be clean.

    If hands were not clean, then how could the president have moved forward? Obviously, he had to be satisfied in order to move forward.

  34. 34
    terraformer says:

    We need to think long and hard about how our current civilization and society ensures that sociopaths and misanthropes can (and more often than not, do) attain positions of power and influence. I don’t know what the answer is, but we sure seem to keep going in circles.

  35. 35
    Turgidson says:

    @The Other Chuck:

    Carter as history’s greatest monster was a Simpsons gag. The town wanted to build a statue of Lincoln, but were a few hundred bucks short and went with the shorter Carter instead.

    At the unveiling:
    Mayor Quimby: “Ladies and gentlemen, I uh, give you our 39th president, Jimmy Carter!”

    Citizen: “Aw come on!!!!!”

    Citizen: “He’s history’s greatest monster!!!”

    Riot then ensues.

  36. 36
    Chris says:

    No turning back would be a good slogan for Dick Cheney. His memoirs are remarkable—and he shares this with Rumsfeld—for an almost perfect lack of second-guessing, regret, or even the mildest reconsideration. “I thought the best way to get on with my life and my career was to do what I thought was right,” he tells Cutler. “I did what I did, it’s all on the public record, and I feel very good about it.” Decisions are now as they were then. If that Mission Accomplished moment in 2003 seemed at the time to be the height of American power and authority, then so it will remain—unquestioned, unaltered, uninflected by subsequent public events that show it quite clearly to have been nothing of the kind. “If I had to do it over again,” says Cheney, “I’d do it in a minute.”

    Seriously… when was the last time we had an administration that was this bad? I mean, how many presidents can claim that they did that much damage to our foreign policy and inflicted the worst economic crisis in several generations on us? Especially when you compare that with the strong and prosperous country their predecessor left to them? When was the last time we had a government as spectacularly proficient at turning gold into lead?

    I’m sure some people somewhere must’ve been that bad, or close, or even worse, but I’ll eat my hat if the Bushies aren’t in the bottom five at least.

  37. 37
    Corner Stone says:

    @terraformer:

    We need to think long and hard about how our current civilization and society ensures that sociopaths and misanthropes can (and more often than not, do) attain positions of power and influence

    It’s funny, because I was just reflecting on this last night while watching a special feature on the motorcycle builder Jesse James. He’s such a despicable person, in so many ways, and yet whatever it is that pushes him has allowed him to live a life 99.90% of us can only dream about.

  38. 38
    Chris says:

    @Bill in Section 147:

    They really hate FDR more but they get puzzled looks from Fox viewers when they mention events before the Civil Rights era.

    That, and he was the president during World War Two. And since everything they know about foreign policy, they learned from World War Two action flicks, it’s kind of hard to taint him…

  39. 39

    @Chris: In the wingnut version of history he was responsible for the Great Depression, or at the very least prolonging it. See for example, Shlaes Amity.

  40. 40
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Corner Stone:

    You’re dead to me.

    The only thing good about Gerry Ford’s presidency was Betty.

    Nixon should have gone to prison for his crimes.

    As for Cheney, I’m not kidding about that Dark Lord shit. He’s every bit as evil as Hitler, Stalin, Amin, Pol Pot, or the Ayatollah Khomeini.

  41. 41
    Turgidson says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    And FDR’s Hoot-Smalley tariff. Don’t forget that.

  42. 42
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @The Other Chuck:

    That’s a running joke stolen from Homer Simpson, who himself was mocking the utter scum of the right wing.

  43. 43
    MattF says:

    Another NYRB article– Timothy Snyder on Ukraine:

    http://www.nybooks.com/article.....insrc=hpss

    I’m a cynical boy, but the sheer dishonesty of Putin et. al. leaves me gasping.

  44. 44
    Botsplainer says:

    @AnotherBruce:

    Please more details! Sounds like a heart warming story

    Basically, I was telling him to quit being Texan, and to ditch his sense of entitlement.

  45. 45
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Corner Stone:

    I disagree. That was absolutely the right call for the country at that time. Think of the dysfunction that would have entailed if he hadn’t made the decision to move forward with clean hands.

    Ha.

  46. 46
    mclaren says:

    Gerry Ford’s pious decision to end “our long national nightmare” by letting the criminals in Nixon’s White House scuttle off without a full public accounting of their various misdeeds has proven one of the greatest mistakes in American history.

    That decision spelled the end of the rule of law in America.

    If you want to know why Ronald Reagan was able to ignore the law to the point where environmental groups had to sue Reagan’s EPA to get it to enforce the Clean Water Act, if you want to know why Reagan had no qualms about making an end run around congress and the constitution to run his own secret foreign policy out of the West Wing basement using Ollie North et al., if you want to know why Bill Clinton was able to set up “extraordinary rendition” (AKA kidnapping U.S. citizens without charges or a trial and deliver them to third world countries to be tortured), if you want to know why George W. Bush was able to set up secret prisons, torture U.S. citizens without charges or a trial, illegally invade another country, order the warrantless wiretapping of everyone in America and set up global assassination death squads, and if you want to know why Barack Obama is able to continue Bush’s kidnappings and global assassinations and universal surveillance of every man, woman and child in America as well as ordering the murder of U.S. citizens and women and children in foreign countries in wedding parties without even charging them with a crime — and if you want to know why these presidents were able to commit all these crimes and atrocities without congress lifting a finger to impeach them… The answer is Ford’s decision to let Nixon’s gang of criminals go without subjecting them to criminal charges.

    Once Gerald Ford sent the message that the president and his stooges could commit all manner of felonies and high crimes without having to face a trial, the rule of law for people in high office in America went away.

    We now live in the aftermath. Welcome to post-legal America where the law no longer applies to you if you’ve been elected to high office.

    Once the rule of law goes away, we’re back in the jungle. We the American people now subsist on the good graces of the people in power. As long as our presidents and vice presidents and Attorneys general and U.S. attorneys and Pentagon generals decide not to use their death squads and assassination teams and white phosophorus munitions and napalm on U.S. citizens in America, the American people probably won’t make a fuss.

    But of course if the people in charge do decide to use those secret prisons and torture chambers and death squads on Americans, instead of swarthy foreigners with funny names…then we’re shit outa luck. Because the rule of law has gone away and there isn’t a damn thing we can do about it.

  47. 47
    chopper says:

    @Corner Stone:

    this is why nancy pelosi is the worst person in world history, bar none.

  48. 48
    Corner Stone says:

    @chopper: She refused to honor the pardon of Nixon and went forward with a prosecution?

  49. 49
    mclaren says:

    @Chris:

    Seriously… when was the last time we had an administration that was this bad? I mean, how many presidents can claim that they did that much damage to our foreign policy and inflicted the worst economic crisis in several generations on us?

    Reagan.

    Ronald Reagan nearly got us into a nuclear war on multiple occasions. We escaped another Viet Nam in Central America only by a hairsbreadth. And the economic devastation wrought by Reagan’s 8 years in office was shocking. Look around an American street today in any big city — you’ll see hordes of homeless people. They first appeared during Reagan’s Reign of Error.

    The misrule of the Drunk Driving C Student merely accelerated the trends started by Ronald Reagan: destruction of the rule of law, massive corruption at the highest levels, looting of pensions and public funds by criminal corporations, the wholesale destruction of the middle class, shifting of tax burdens from the wealthy to the bottom 80% (at the start of Reagan’s Reign of Error top tax rates stood above 70%; the end of the Reagan years, top tax rates had plumeted to 28%), the inclusion of religious crazies into the Republican party, use of superstition and religious mania to decide government policy rather than logic and science (Ronald Reagan scheduled his press conferences using an astrologer to determine the exact time) and the crazy military buildup that has turned America into a garrison state under unannounced martial law…

    Every one of those policies began under Ronald Reagan.

  50. 50
    chopper says:

    @Corner Stone:

    she decided to ‘move forward’ and take impeachment of W off the table.

  51. 51
    mclaren says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Nancy Pelosi merely read the signs of the times and acted accordingly.

    If Pelosi had signed off on the prosecution of the criminal Bush administration, the Bush crime family and his co-conspirators would not have been indicted. But Pelosi would have been. Nancy Pelosi would probably have been kidnapped, dragged off in the dead of night with a black bag over her head, put on a CIA lear jet to some third world country, and tortured into insensibility.

    Once the head honcho (Gerald Ford) sets up the principle that high officials are immune from the rule of law, any American who tries to hold high elected official accountable for their crimes becomes a criminal himself.

    Take a look at John Kiriakou. A CIA official who revealed CIA torture — and the torturers never went to prison. They never even got indicted. But Kiriakou was sent to prison.

    Pelosi would have been sent to a secret black site if she’d tried to have the Bush officials indicted, and her children would have been tortured in front of her by JSOC death squads. That’s what happens when the rule of law goes away. You wind up living in the third world.

  52. 52
    Cervantes says:

    @Corner Stone:

    That was absolutely the right call for the country at that time. Think of the dysfunction that would have entailed if he hadn’t made the decision to move forward with clean hands.

    In 1974, you were writing editorials for the New York Times, weren’t you?

  53. 53
    Corner Stone says:

    @chopper: Pelosi is the worst person in the world because she removed the threat of impeachment against GWB?
    What do you propose she should have done instead? Introduced articles of impeachment?
    Not clear on how Ford’s pardon relates to Pelosi. Can you explain further?

  54. 54
    Cervantes says:

    @MikeJ:

    Taibbi is the one that said TARP cost $27 trillion dollars.

    Citation, please. (Thank you.)

  55. 55
    Corner Stone says:

    @Cervantes: In real time that was the right decision for our government and the people of our country.
    Looking back with 20/20 hindsight makes it no less correct now.

  56. 56
    mclaren says:

    @Corner Stone:

    What do you propose she should have done instead? Introduced articles of impeachment? Not clear on how Ford’s pardon relates to Pelosi. Can you explain further?

    Pelosi should have introduced articles of impeachment and then made a citizen’s arrest of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, and most of the rest of the administration. She should have used the capitol police.

    Pelosi’s refusal to allow Bush’s impeachment follows in a direct line from Ford’s refusal to allow Nixon’s criminal trial.

  57. 57
    Mezz (fpa Michael2) says:

    To repeat myself: Gerry Ford’s pious decision to end “our long national nightmare” by letting the criminals in Nixon’s White House scuttle off without a full public accounting of their various misdeeds has proven one of the greatest mistakes in American history.

    A couple other very good suggestions for other Worst Mistakes (Love the dismemberment of the Traitors. LOVE IT.)

    What I fear though, is that in 25 years, future generations are going to be making these same points about Obama not allowing criminal prosecution of the war-mongering asshole that is the subject of the post.

  58. 58
    chopper says:

    @Corner Stone:

    pelosi wanted to ‘move forward’. that makes her the worst person ever. i mean, like hitler bad.

  59. 59
    Corner Stone says:

    @chopper: I’m sorry but I just don’t understand what you’re saying. I didn’t accidentally teleport to a winger site where they speak in code all the time, did I?

  60. 60
    Cervantes says:

    @Corner Stone: That was a trick question. The Times published a number of scorching editorials. Here’s a relevant one (September 9, 1974):

    This blundering intervention is a body blow to the President’s own credibility and to the public’s reviving confidence in the integrity of its Government.

    Another editorial, a day later, was entitled “Pardon for What?” — and that was really the point: keep the whole truth hidden as far as possible.

  61. 61
    chopper says:

    @Corner Stone:

    well hold on, i don’t mean adolph hitler. that dude had a few redeeming qualities. he liked animals.

    i mean doug hitler, the kid that lived down the street from my cousin growing up. that dude was an asshole.

  62. 62
    Corner Stone says:

    @Cervantes:

    Another editorial, a day later, was entitled “Pardon for What?” — and that was really the point: keep the whole truth hidden as far as possible.

    I guess I can kind of understand that line of thinking. What would we have done with the Chief Executive on trial for criminal actions? It would have been a complete circus. Distractions from the peoples’ business, intransigence, hardened partisan feelings.
    Nah, Ford made the right decision to not lift the nations petticoat and expose our less than decorous unmentionables.

  63. 63
    Corner Stone says:

    @chopper: Is there someone we can notify for you? One sign of a stroke is when someone repeats the same word over and over, or calls an object by the wrong name.
    I hope you’re ok.
    Best.

  64. 64
    Cervantes says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Nah, Ford made the right decision to not lift the nations petticoat and expose our less than decorous unmentionables.

    Yes, if those unmentionables had been mentioned out loud and strong, we might have learned something. In particular, we might not have today a chorus of ignorant children reassuring us in dulcet tones that illegal surveillance by the government of its own people is only a make-believe problem.

  65. 65
    mclaren says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Actually a remarkable number of people on this forum hold essentially wingnut views, expressed in quasi-progressive code. Example: burnspbesq has repeatedly tried to defend the AUMF, an nconstitutional document that allegedly gives the president of the United States the athority to order the unilateral invasion of countries we’re not at war with, to send death squads to every corner of the earth and kill women and children for no reason, to kidnap and torture and murder U.S. cities without trial or charges, to place entire U.S. citizens under effective martial law (Boston after the marathon bombing), and so on. The only place I’ve seen people seriously defend these kinds of atrocities as legal other than cesspools of craziness like Red State is…Balloon Juice.

    So, yes, large segments of the Democratic party have now morphed into wingers. That’s what happens when the Republican party goes batshit insane. The Republicans advocate torture and abolishing the IRS and ending welfare. If you call yourself a Democrat and merely advocate kidnapping U.S. citizens but not torture, why, then you qualify as a “progressive.”

    The Overton Window has shifted so far into Vlad the Impaler territory that anyone who balks at the worst crimes gets labeled a “liberal” nowadays.

  66. 66
    chopper says:

    @Corner Stone:

    is one sign of a stroke a complete inability to see sarcasm?

  67. 67
    mclaren says:

    @Cervantes:

    In this instance I agree with you and strongly disagree with Corner Stone. Unlike so many members of this forum, however, when Corner Stone differs with other commenters he doesn’t subside into hysterical name-calling, accusing other people of having “butt rabies,” and so on.

    Compare with raven, whose response to being disagreed with involves phrases like “You’re a dog-fucking piece of shit of the lowest common denominator.” Agree or disagree with him, Corner Stone typically adds something productive to the conversation.

    Commenters like raven and burnspbesq and mnemosyne and eemom and Yutsano, by contrast, reduce the intelligence and level of knowledge of the conversation when they enter it.

  68. 68
    Corner Stone says:

    @chopper: I’m not sure as I am not an MD. Are you not sure about something? Is there some contact point we should alert to your potentially failing mental health?

  69. 69
    Mnemosyne says:

    @mclaren:

    he doesn’t subside into hysterical name-calling, accusing other people of having “butt rabies,” and so on.

    Or accuse people of whacking off to Holocaust footage from the concentration camps?

    That must be some other commenter who did that.

  70. 70
    James E. Powell says:

    To repeat myself: Gerry Ford’s pious decision to end “our long national nightmare” by letting the criminals in Nixon’s White House scuttle off without a full public accounting of their various misdeeds has proven one of the greatest mistakes in American history.

    I realize I’m arriving late to this thread, but I have to agree. I thought so at the time and I certainly was not alone.

    I would add that whenever elected officials have done the “looking forward” whitewash it has resulted in lasting damage.

    I’d start with the War of Treason in Defense of Slavery. There should have been more hangings, there should have been a permanent loss of political power, and there should have been reparations paid to the freed slaves paid out of the sale of the slaveowners’ lands and personal property.

    There should have been a complete reorganization of the Pentagon and the intelligence services after the debacle known as the Viet Nam War. Anyone who wasn’t outright lying was a bloody incompetent.

    Nixon, right, we know just enough to know that the investigations should have kept going until we have the facts and until we had Kissinger.

    Iran-Contra, what a joke. And then this latest horror show of the Bush/Cheney Junta. Where was the commission on war profiteering? How much money did we spend on this second stupidest idea in American history?

    So much we will never know because people in power decided we would be better off not knowing.

  71. 71
    Ian says:

    @mclaren:

    Pelosi would have been sent to a secret black site if she’d tried to have the Bush officials indicted

    Jesus f’ing a donkey…
    Lets rachet this up a notch- If pelosi had done this, they would have strapped pelosi onto a jetliner and crashed her into the rubble of the world trade center.

    Or maybe put pelosi onto a rocketship and sent her to Mars to give the Martians aids.

    Seriously. This is the United States. some pretty fucked up shit happens here, but kidnapping the leader of a political party by the government does not happen. This is not Zimbabwe. Hell, even the Russians just arrest them, not make them disappear.

  72. 72
    Chris says:

    @mclaren:

    Respectfully, I’ve never understood this “it started with Watergate” mentality.

    Prior to Watergate, you had an FBI chaired by J. Edgar Hoover for forty years, and he was the undisputed master of these kinds of things. It’s blurrier at CIA because so much of their work is outside American jurisdiction, but a lot of what they did was just as shady as COINTELPRO. And the measures taken during the world wars in the name of National Security were even more criminal than anything we’ve done since 9/11.

    Before the rise of the modern security state, it was even simpler – and worse. In its place, you had things like the Pinkertons, who weren’t even nominally answerable to the people or their elected representatives. They were just the bosses’ privatized secret police.

    Watergate was a missed opportunity to bring that kind of lawlessness under control. But I don’t see how it triggered anything new. “The rule of law in America,” in that sense, has been broken since long before 1973.

  73. 73
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    (And in case CS is suddenly wondering if he posted something in a blackout … it was another commenter.)

  74. 74
    Corner Stone says:

    @Mnemosyne: I wasn’t wondering. It’s SOP for you to just make up whatever shit that trundles round your head and attribute it to other commenters.

  75. 75
    Cervantes says:

    @mclaren:

    In this instance I agree with you and strongly disagree with Corner Stone.

    Variety — that’s what makes the world go ’round.

    (Well, that and money.)

    Unlike so many members of this forum, however, when Corner Stone differs with other commenters he doesn’t subside into hysterical name-calling, accusing other people of having “butt rabies,” and so on.

    Nobody’s perfect.

    Seriously, Corner Stone and I go way back. Weeks, at least. Salt o’ the earth and all that sort of thing.

    Commenters like raven and burnspbesq and mnemosyne and eemom and Yutsano, by contrast, reduce the intelligence and level of knowledge of the conversation when they enter it.

    Specific comments made by anyone I am happy to discuss with you; generalizations less so. You may be right; it’s just that I haven’t paid enough attention to draw useful conclusions.

    In any event, thanks.

  76. 76
    Cervantes says:

    @eldorado:

    off-topic: matt tabbi is joining history’s penultimate monster greenwald over at the intercept.

    Not exactly off topic.

  77. 77
    Cervantes says:

    @slippytoad:

    The same criminals who destroyed our trust in the 1970′s have continued to do so throughout the rest of the century, and they were mostly responsible for Iraq and the National Security state

    To be clear: the National Security state pre-dates the ’70s by quite a few years.

    To illustrate, here are Paragraphs 1-3 (excerpts) of a (now widely known) internal CIA memorandum:

    The purpose of this memorandum is to forward for your personal review summaries of activities conducted either by or under the sponsorship of the Office of Security in the past which in my opinion conflict with the provisions of the National Security Act of 1947.

    These activities cover the period from March 1959 to date and represent as accurate a record as is available in our files.

    I have gone back to March 1959 because I believe that the activities occurring since that time still have a viable “flap potential” in that many of the people involved, both Agency and non-Agency are still alive and through their knowledge of the activity represent a possible potential threat or embarrassment to the Agency.

    The memo was written in May, 1973.

  78. 78
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @slippytoad:

    I mean, it’s an obvious conclusion to come to: we should have stopped, and made an example of those people. Not doing so encouraged them to continue committing crimes and fucking over our country.

    Would that have effected Dick Cheny? His rise to power was because Watergate wiped out the people above him and he was to new to be part of the nastiness. I doubt if they had tried Nixon would have made a difference to Cheny with his whole “I am right even when I am wrong” mentality. I think the real question is why it took everyone so long to figure out Cheny is insane.

  79. 79
    chopper says:

    @Cervantes:

    hey, we all know CS would never gratuitously insult anybody. amirite?

Comments are closed.