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A Way of Seeing Dick Cheney for What He Is

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Dick Cheney's resume: President's chief of staff. Congressman. Secretary of Defense. Vice President. This last one practically self-appointed-- brought on to find a running mate for W, and lo and behold, "I'm the one."

This is a guy who has maneuvered his way his whole adult life to get close to the summit of power. A man on a career that encircles the central levers of power in the American system of government.

Something has drawn him toward it, mightily.

That in itself is not an indictment of the man. All those who get to those positions are, inevitably, people who are attracted to power, who want power.

The question is, what is it they want the power for?

With Dick Cheney, now we know. We know that for six years he's been wielding, from his position as Vice President, practically presidential powers. And now we can see what he's been so eager to express in the world through access to the most potent levers of American power.

And what an ugly picture it is.

Angry. Dismissive. Dishonest. Secretive. Unrestrained by respect for any limits to his power.

He shows no sign that he regards the power he wields as something he holds in trust, no sign that he regards that power as imposing upon himself any commensurate responsibility. As far as he’s concerned: THAT POWER IS HIS! It’s not something we have bestowed on him.

For us, he has only contempt, having fooled so many millions of people into thinking that he somehow had something to do with righteousness, something sober and careful, something competent and trustworthy.

That power he's wanted all his life he now wields in ways that reflect clearly the spirit that drove him. Making war, based on lies, where no war was warranted. Torturing people. Tramping the rule of law.

Now we see what has driven him. We see the dark picture of a man with a sick lust for power and a capacity to make a mess of everything he touches.

We see, in other words, the workings of evil.
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Andy Schmookler, an award-winning author, political commentator, radio talk-show host, and teacher, was the Democratic nominee for Congress from Virginia's 6th District. His new book -- written to have an impact on the central political battle of our time -- is (more...)
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