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Citizen Cheney: Unbowed -- and Unhinged?

Two weeks as a private citizen doesn't appear to have mellowed Dick Cheney one bit.

Far from going quietly, Cheney is lashing out with some pretty low blows against the new administration -- saying that President Obama is the putting the nation at increased risk of a devastating attack because some members of his team are "more concerned about reading the rights to an Al Qaeda terrorist than they are with protecting the United States against people who are absolutely committed to do anything they can to kill Americans."

John F. Harris, Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei write in Politico this morning: "Former Vice President Dick Cheney warned that there is a 'high probability' that terrorists will attempt a catastrophic nuclear or biological attack in coming years, and said he fears the Obama administration’s policies will make it more likely the attempt will succeed.

"In an interview Tuesday with Politico, Cheney unyieldingly defended the Bush administration’s support for the Guantanamo Bay prison and coercive interrogation of terrorism suspects.

"And he asserted that President Obama will either backtrack on his stated intentions to end those policies or put the county at risk in ways more severe than most Americans—and, he charged, many members of Obama’s own team—understand.

"'When we get people who are more concerned about reading the rights to an Al Qaeda terrorist than they are with protecting the United States against people who are absolutely committed to do anything they can to kill Americans, then I worry,' Cheney said....

"'The United States needs to be not so much loved as it needs to be respected. Sometimes, that requires us to take actions that generate controversy. I’m not at all sure that that’s what the Obama administration believes.'"

The Politicos write that Cheney "expressed confidence that files will some day be publicly accessible offering specific evidence that waterboarding and other policies he promoted—over sharp internal dissent from colleagues and harsh public criticism—were directly responsible for averting new September 11-style attacks."

As I've written many times, most recently in this post, that position appears to be mostly fantasy.

Readers looking for a little context in Politico's story will have to satisfy themselves with one paragraph in which the three writers note that "many of the top Democratic legal and national security players have long viewed Cheney as a man who became unhinged by his fears, responsible for major misjudgments in Iraq and Afghanistan, willing to bend or break legal precedents and constitutional principles to advance his aims. Polls show he is one of the most unpopular people in national life."

By Dan Froomkin  |  February 4, 2009; 9:15 AM ET
Categories:  Looking Backward  
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If only were as simple as Dick Cheney being "unhinged". I feel that Cheney has opened a Pandora's box to the dismantling of the American way of life as we know it. If a few freedoms here and there can be spied on because of Al Qaida, what's going to happen when the GOP really gets back into top form against the rest of us who disagree with them? I think the GOP is really only one or two people away from totalitarianism. Agree with them, or don't exist, is what they say. Just wait until they enforce that against Americans using the Patriot Act as their justification.

Posted by: SYWanda | February 4, 2009 11:31 AM | Report abuse

He's tortured by going cold turkey on the withdrawal of absolute power from his veins post-inauguration.

Posted by: Patriot3 | February 4, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

He's marching out-of-step because Bush did not declare martial law.

Posted by: Patriot3 | February 4, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

He's angling for a bipartisan appointment of him as head of the Fatherland Security department.

Posted by: Patriot3 | February 4, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse

"The United States needs to be not so much loved as it needs to be respected."

Yet, through his actions, Cheney does neither.

Posted by: mobedda | February 4, 2009 11:46 AM | Report abuse

I wouldn't put much stock in what Cheney says anymore. No one is listening to him.

I think his approval rating is down to himself and that Thiessen guy.

Posted by: troyd2009 | February 4, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Cheney of course was in a position to release those very documents that he hopes we all will see "someday". The fact that he didn't release any documents backing up his stories then shows how little he thinks of the American people and, mostly likely, that he is simply lying.

Posted by: fletc3her | February 4, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

The only peace Cheney's way of doing business leads to is the peace of the grave. There are tens of thousands more terrorists in the world now than there were in 2000. Cheney's approach would be counterproductive, if his goals were what he claims them to be.

OTOH, if his goals were to establish war and chaos as the status quo, and to indulge his fantasies of world domination, he's been making loads of progress.

Cheney's way has never been the American way. If somebody picks a fight with us, we lay him down, but justice and liberty are the most central of American traditions, and Cheney dismisses those American values as dross.

Say goodnight, (you) Dick. Your paranoia is a disease, your expediency is that of a coward, and your mendacity is simply stunning.

Posted by: lonquest | February 4, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone else get the feeling he means "feared" when he says "respected"? That seems to sum up his feelings of how to use power.

Posted by: WestCoaster | February 4, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse


I see they've made you into a cartoon character. Glad you're finally being taken seriously.

Posted by: davidbn27 | February 4, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

These people are unbelievable. Cheney is flat out admitting yet again that he authorized torture. You're supposed to be tried as a war criminal for this. Until this is done, he'll continue with his delusions of grandeur...

Posted by: JCinCT | February 4, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Lets just say it and have done with it. Cheney, you are a traitor to the Constitution. You are a mass murderer of American and Iraqi citizens.

I hope Pelosi launches an investigation that the Justice Department can't overlook. I would gladly pay the first month cost of your incarceration.

Posted by: Thatsnuts | February 4, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Nice that we can write these comments living in a country that hasn't been attacked since 9/11. Maybe you don't remember that little thing that happened in NYC. I guess it was Froomkin's good writing style that has led to us being safe, but maybe not.

Posted by: mmourges | February 4, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Cheney is correct.
The barbarians don't care one bit about how kindly we treat them. They will always find a grievance to justify mass murder of innocents.
What were their grievances before 9/11?

Posted by: spamsux1 | February 4, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Cheney's always good for a scare "Boogah Boogah." Embarrassing, really.

Hate the new format. Go back to the old. Makes it too hard to read the entire column altho I can see the timesaving in posting items as you write them.

Posted by: goaway41 | February 4, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

I think the Dick is only concern for his own ass. The Dick has made so many enemies that he is now paranoid. Watch your back Dick and stop blaming President Barack Obama for the enemies you've made for yourself. Here is your security plan Dick. Just stay inside and hide like Saddam did... You'll be alright. It's a freaking shame how the Dick and the rebot party is trying to blame OUR President for his very own personal issue's. The rest of the Country will be alright Dick.

Posted by: opp88 | February 4, 2009 2:49 PM | Report abuse

I think the Dick is only concern for his own arss. The Dick has made so many enemies that he is now paranoid. Just watch your back Dick and stop blaming President Barack Obama for the enemies you've made for yourself. Here is your security plan Dick. Just stay inside and hide like Saddam did... You'll be alright. It's a freaking shame how the Dick and the rebot party is trying to blame OUR President for his very own personal issue's. The rest of the Country will be alright Dick.

Posted by: opp88 | February 4, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

"The barbarians don't care one bit about how kindly we treat them."

That doesn't matter. Take your straw men and go home. The point is that these suspects should be dealt with legally, so we can try them legally and put them in prison if they are indeed guilty.

And by the way, you can point to your sweet little arse all you like and yell that it has to be safe, safe, safe!! It won't do you a bit of good when you're being tried for war crimes.

Posted by: fzdybel | February 4, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Can someone donate a pair of shoes to throw at this guy.

Posted by: lynchd | February 4, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe somebody felt the neeed to interview Cheney.

Neither he nor Bush would know the unvarnished truth if it jumped up and backhanded their mendacious, smirking faces.

Posted by: crix | February 4, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Does it concern anyone else that Cheney seems to be set up in an office leased by the GSA when he is a private citizen? This was the one thing in the Politico piece that disturbed me the most. Can an investigative reporter check into this for the rest of us? Thanks.

Posted by: lwrs | February 4, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Is it just stupidity or a very short memory span that causes people to forget that 9/11 happened on the watch of the administration "who kept us safe?"

Posted by: lowercaselarry | February 4, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Cheney remains consistent at least but just as wrong headed. The "read them their rights" jibe is shorthand for the Bush/Cheney response to critics who wanted to approach Al Qaeda and other terrorists as a criminal problem rather than a global war. As it turns out, the greatest successes in combating AQ have been achieved by following police methods. The result of the great WOT was turning thugs into heroes and pathology into a cause. Ultimately Bush/Cheney and their supporters helped expand AQ and its offshoots. I can't wait for Cheney to reprise other themes from 2001-2006 such as how unpatriotic anyone is who disagrees with his hamfisted approach to terrorism.

Posted by: gratianus | February 4, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

If citizen Cheney is so confident about his actions as VP, why didn't they declassify all the actions and risk prosecution, so we can have an open debate when he is alive, rather than be vindicated by history, after he is dead.

Posted by: thinkagain | February 4, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Bush / Cheney Security Record:

9/11 style attacks allowed - 1

9/11 style attacks prevented - ?

Nations attacked without WMD, links to 9/11 or posing a credible threat - 1

5+ year wars that ended in Victory - 0

Respect lost around the world - priceless

Posted by: uiucarc | February 4, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Not only did 9/11 happen during Dickless' tenure, he and his chimp sarcastically ignored the evidence/intelligence presented to them.

Posted by: osmor | February 4, 2009 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Who am I more scared of concerning the longterm future of a country? Cheney or some guy in a cave? The cave guy can kill a few people; Cheney can kill everything that makes this country special.

Posted by: nick4 | February 4, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

When Cheney was VP he loved to say, "If you knew what I know", presumably from the presidential daily briefs, as evidence for his corrupted views. Now that's he's out of power, can't someone point out that he doesn't know anything anymore either?

Posted by: DigiMark | February 4, 2009 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Every time I hear Cheney or one of his dittoheads repeat a variation of "Well, you whiners about torture and/ or the Constitution! What we did worked, since you'll notice we haven't had another terror attack since 911" I always think of the Aztecs. "Well, you pantywaists who complain about human sacrifice! We cut out the hearts of another dozen 12 yr olds yesterday, and just like we said, the sun came up this morning!"

Posted by: mountainMuscle1 | February 4, 2009 5:42 PM | Report abuse

And this from a guy who IGNORED warnings from outgoing Clinton administration that terrorism would be their number 1 priority!

I seem to recall that on Day 1 it is documented that his priority was abolishing the ABM treaty, gutting funding for finding loose nukes and destroying former Soviet nuclear warheads, as well as invading Iraq.

In short, this is the guy who has NO CREDIBILITY.

Posted by: boscobobb | February 4, 2009 6:14 PM | Report abuse

The media and the country should say to Dick C. the same thing he said to Sen. Leahy on the Senate floor: "Go f____ your self." And I would add to that: "Shut up and go the f_____ away and stay away."

Posted by: Nashville10 | February 4, 2009 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Dick does not go gentle into that good night, does he? Thrashing, growling and gnashing his teeth all the way. What a guy! I hurl an old shoe or two in his general direction.

Posted by: H5N1 | February 4, 2009 7:16 PM | Report abuse

Its a shame Cheney could not predict a terrorist attack before 9/11. Its a shame Cheney could not get OBL after 9/11.

Posted by: Stormharbinger | February 4, 2009 8:29 PM | Report abuse

No one has challenged the claim by Bush/Cheney that they kept us safe from another attack on American soil. It's true we haven't had another attack, but it's because al Qaeda chose to peel away our allies with attacks in Bali (Australia), England, and Spain. They knew too well the thinking of Bush and his minions: that they could bring democracy to the world at the point of a gun no matter what the cost. Well $5 Trillion later, we see the cost. The Bush/Cheney administration ("deficits don't matter") - not al Qaeda - has brought America, and a great number of its allies, to its knees. It's exactly what Osama said he wanted - to bankrupt America, to drain our treasury. He's won hasn't he? He didn't need to attack us again. Cheney IS unhinged!!!

Posted by: donaldeasley | February 4, 2009 9:14 PM | Report abuse

When did Cheney say that? Last I knew he was down at Red Cross headquarters around midnight sucking on the fresh bags of blood with the rest of the vampires...nobody gives a sh!t what Dracul has to say about anything anymore...he should crawl bacck into his crypt and wait for somebody to drive a stake through his heart, if they can find it....

Posted by: Jerryvov | February 4, 2009 9:25 PM | Report abuse

What I'll most miss about Dick Cheney:

1) "The fact of the matter is..." - he made that line famous, but after a while it became clear he meant, "I'm making this up...."

2) Managing to get the secrets of the Republican elite by pretending to have them run for vice president, and then using this information to blackmail them.

3) Upon entering office, creating the notion of the OVP (Office of the Vice President) to control the government.

4) Using the power of the OVP to coerce the NSA to allow his wiretapping and eavesdropping on Americans BEFORE 9/11. Using this power to control other cabinet members, elected officials, and government employees.

5) Assuring the nation went to war in Iraq by preventing both US and foreign intelligence that disproved the WMD premise, and keeping it so classified that it wouldn't become public knowledge.

6) Cooking up the absurd superfecta of the Habbush memo attempting to pass it off as real. The 4th win was undermining the credibility of Habbush who verified the lack of WMD before the invasion.

Posted by: boscobobb | February 5, 2009 2:49 AM | Report abuse


chris mathews on the night of 2/4/2009 said that in addition to some 4,000 u.s. soldiers killed, there were 15,000 u.s. soldiers injured..


hey CHRIS????

earth to chris.. earth to chris...

there are ALMOST 44,000....

quit pretending you and your network are the ABSOLUTE source of information. you i can tolerate.. keith? ummmm... no comment. but that bone-head rachel? give me a break. i'm waiting for her to show up with a 4 inch board in her lower lip. i'd rather watch big bird tell the news. at least big bird doesn't pretend to know more than he does... rachel is a friggin goofy moron.

it's too bad tim russert isn't around anymore. the line is you never know what you have until you lose it? well, that's so true.

i just kinda think it sucks that when i am gone.. nobody will even notice..

:| <---- me.

Posted by: DriveByPoster | February 5, 2009 3:37 AM | Report abuse

Do not forget that six of the 9/11 terrorists have turned up alive in the middle east after Bush and Cheney allowed a Saudi Airlines to fly out of the U.S. on 9/12. Do not forget that one of George Bush's brothers was the head of security at the twin towers and two weeks before 9/11 he removed all bomb sniffing dogs from the two towers. Do not forget that the eyewitnesses in the two towers on 9/11 reported bombs going off as the two towers started to collapse. Do not forget that news reports first reported that a small plane had struck the first tower. Do not forget that a Fox News reporter reported from a neighboring building that the plane that struck the second tower had no windows. Military planes have no windows, commercial airliners have windows. Do not forget that the U.S. Air Force reported that a truck bomb had gone off at the Pentagon. Do not forget that the two nine foot high, six ton engines on the Boeing 757 which supposedly hit the Pentagon and which would have been traveling at 520 miles per hour left no mark on the face of the Pentagon when they struck it. The lawn of the Pentagon was covered by millions of peices of carbon fiber particles which would have only come from a military Global Hawk drone and not from an airliner with an aluminum skin. Do not forget that Cheney needed an excuse to attack the constitution, our freedoms, and Iraq.

Posted by: meadowrock | February 5, 2009 8:56 AM | Report abuse

We instituted policies of torture and warrantless surveillance, and there was no followup to 9/11


I have never gotten a speeding ticked while wearing sneakers.

Also True

Only a fool would assert a causal link on such skinny evidence. Cheney is an intellectually dishonest coward. And to our detriment, George Bush and many Americans swallowed his logical non sequiturs hook, line and sinker.

Posted by: xSamplex | February 5, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

I thought higher of Politico than that - giving Sith Lord Cheney any attention is like rewarding a child who broke the cookie jar with a cookie. As so many have said, he needs to crawl back under his rock and stay there, and everyone except Fox News should ignore him. BTW did you see who 'managed' the interview? His Nazi daughter Liz! I am not sure who is more scary, but I would love to be a fly on the wall during the Cheney family dinners! Hey Dad, what part of the Constitution should we mess with now!

Posted by: cpusss | February 5, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse

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