by Ian de Stains OBE

For a man who, while in office, was passionate about secrecy and secure locations, Dick Cheney seems set in retirement to upset the apple cart. For a politician who avoided interviews with all the vigor that others invited them, Dick Cheney appears to be changing his mind. Reports coming out of Washington DC suggest that the ex-vice president’s forth- coming memoir (due out 2011) might just be the first strike in a White House pillow fight. I can’t wait to watch the feathers fly.

By all accounts, Cheney still believes he was right in his assess- ment of the threats to the US and the extraordinary (some would say unconstitutional) measures needed to counter them. He is, apparently, unrepentant about the fact that the image of the US has been severely damaged in the eyes of many of its allies (let alone its foes), and seems unable to grasp the fact that such bile manifests itself as the utmost arrogance. Further, he feels that the younger and less experienced commander-in-chief let the side down in his second term by “going soft;” by listening to some of those who didn’t quite have the stomach for the VP’s more Caligula-like approach to justice. W’s dismissal of the appallingly smug Donald Rumsfeld and his refusal to pardon Dick’s other pal, ‘Scooter’ Libby, are also said to have proved signifi- cant in what the Independent newspaper in the UK claims sent Bush “from hero to zero” in Cheney’s hooded eyes.

The Washington Post recently hinted that Cheney’s book will make some startling revelations, suggesting this was possible in part because the statute of limitations had expired in regard to many issues during the period covered. If that is truly the case, there is a genuine opportunity to analyze an important period in recent history and to debate the impact events have had on the very idea of constitutional government and the role it plays in promoting and maintaining democracy both at home and abroad. That is very welcome; such analysis and debate is necessary and could be very healing. The fear must be, though, that the opportu- nity will be squandered and it will instead turn out to be a self-serving attempt to justify Cheney’s position.

There will be many who will seize on the publication of this memoir as a welcome chance to rebut many of the positions it takes, whatever they may be. The burning question is, will Number 43 himself enter the fray? There can surely be no shortage of ghost writers waiting in the wings (and to be sure, at least one will be necessary). The former president deserves the chance to set out his own stall; to tell us—if he will—what motivated him to make the choices he made. Pillows at dawn!

External Link:
Dick Cheney, Wikipedia