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.
Oh my God. I mean, oh my God. Do not look too closely, for too long, at this photo,
as it has been known to cause sever colorectral spasming following prolonged viewing.
This is either a photo of Vice President Cheney, speaking to several hundred probably
very frightened and deeply disturbed members of the Chosin Few, a Korean War veterans
group, in San Antonio, Thursday, Aug. 29, 2002, or it is a cast reject photo from
Planet of the Lost Mutant Morticians, the Musical. Either way, it's sort of sad.
Associated Press photo by Eric Gay
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
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 made millions from Halliburton's oily deals with Iraq 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 he 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 American 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.
-- Thoughts for the author? E-mail him.
©2002 SF Gate