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Dick Cheney, American Warmonger

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San Francisco Chronicle

Dick Cheney, American Warmonger

In which the pallid, angry veep fervently urges bombing the hell out of Iraq, because he just can't help it

By Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist

Friday, September 6, 2002

We have a war-crazed vice president. An addict, a verifiable military junkie. Many of us perhaps do not fully realize this.

We are very unfortunately saddled with one of the least charismatic least interesting most intellectually acrimonious and most desperately hawkish, violence-hungry, soulfully inscrutable vice president in decades, and he wants this country at war, now and always. Oh yes he does.

Here is Dick Cheney, speaking to veterans of foreign wars, hyping up the need for a dramatic, wildly expensive pre-emptive strike against evil Saddam and evil Iraq because Saddam is without a doubt right this minute developing super-evil weapons of mass destruction and probably plans to rain them down on cute American babies and squads of helpless virgin cheerleaders at patriotic college football games any minute now, swear.

Here is Cheney, pounding his tight little fist on the podium and scowling hard and looking like a sad cross between the Pillsbury Doughboy and a mortician, trying not to get too agitated lest the defibrillator kick in, urging war war war now now now and never you mind how Iraq hasn't had weapons-grade plutonium to make nukes in well over a decade, thanks to ongoing UN intervention. This does not matter.

And never you mind how, even if Saddam has developed ugly biological weapons, and even if he were utterly foolish enough to want to aim them at the U.S., his paltry and utterly decimated military doesn't have a single rusty fighter jet or decent missile or otherwise remotely capable delivery method in its entire depleted force to effectively deploy such chemicals any further than a religious zealot can spit.

Does Iraq have chemical weapons? Oh goodness yes, swears an ever-petulant, oddly inanimate Dick. But then again, so do we. And so does Iran. And North Korea.

Shhh. We don't care about them. They do not threaten our oil relations. They do not offer the tantalizing and almost irresistible prospect of unobstructed access to that precious black lucre if we can just overthrow Saddam and set up a nice puppet government, just like -- once more, with feeling -- Afghanistan.

And Iran and North Korea, they do not snicker at us and call us names while openly mocking our attempts to further crush an already pre-crushed Afghan nation, despite how insodoing we apparently thoroughly screwed up and inadvertently allowed thousands of al-Queda fighters to escape into neighboring countries as we pondered how best to turn large Afghan rubble into smaller Afghan rubble. Whoops.

Here is Cheney, calling for quick attack right now let's get that paper tiger boys go go go, despite increased outcry and resistance and many, many voices of dissent, many from his very own conservative political party. Not to mention the complete lack of a single U.S. ally that supports the idea of such an attack. Not one. And why? Because there is simply no verifiable proof Iraq is any sort of significant threat.

But Dick shall not be deterred. He knows no other way. He is a military-manic businessman who raked in millions as CEO of Halliburton, setting up numerous oily deals with Iraq (and Saddam himself) not so long ago, and he knows the possibilities. Dick bleeds slippery military-industrial blood, eats dove ideology like raw jerky, dreams in Technicolor explosions. This is our vice president. And he does not really care what you think.

Because Dick fully realizes how much money there is to be made by his (and Dubya's) grinning corporate cronies if we can just find a way to keep the tanks rolling. Corporate America is already as giddy as schoolgirls at all those multibillion-dollar homeland security contracts coming their way, the biggest federal expenditure since the Cold War. Why stop there? Hey, now that you mention it, North Korea is acting sort of uppity. Hmm.

At some point we must step back and realize that the second most powerful man in the world -- the one who, as everyone knows, substantially controls every decision made by the most powerful man in the world, which hence makes him the de facto most powerful man in the world shhh don't tell Geedubya or he might have a tantrum -- is an outright war-eager hawk, a certifiable military addict, hell-bent on keeping America deeply and perhaps irrevocably engaged in war for as long as his cardio-Duracells have juice.

And we have to realize there is no one in the upper Bush administration who is acting as a balancing voice, who is calling for peace, perhaps urging a major rethinking of our oil and military policies, someone of significant intellectual depth and compassion who understands the nuances of our voracious foreign policy and if you said Colin Powell you haven't seen the pictures, all slumped shoulders and vacant eyes and impotent trips to Israel, emasculated and exhausted. Powell is Cheney's favorite footstool.

So here is Dick Cheney, howling into a vacuum, calling for more and increased violence and major expenditure and further stirring of anti-US hate in the face of almost unanimous global opposition. And Rumsfeld is grinning like mad.

And Bush, well, he's on the horn to his dad every night, slumping in the Oval Office chair as the old man advises and snickers and grumbles about old grudges against Saddam and how we need to rip him a new one dag-nabbit. Poor Dubya is getting it from both sides, his two main puppeteers, urging war, as the world frowns, shakes its head, sighs.


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Mark Morford's Notes & Errata column appears every Wednesday and Friday on SF Gate, unless it appears on Tuesdays and Thursdays, which it never does. He also writes the Morning Fix, a relatively hilarious thrice-weekly email column and newsletter. Subscribe at sfgate.com/newsletters/

Further Reading:

F..W.. Magazine || 9/11: The Archive - The 'Lighter' Side of the New World Order?