Dick Cheney--slicker than crude.
Oil that is, black gold, Texas tea-you know the song. A less slippery politician than Cheney would've long ago been held accountable for his many crimes and misdemeanors.
Just how slick is Cheney? We may all find out thanks to a sly move by Dennis Kucinich. He'll never be president, but he's been right all along when it comes to WMDs, al-Qaeda, torture, domestic spying, global warming, crooked energy deals, Valerie Plame, and he's right about impeaching Cheney.
Despite Cheney's odd ability to float above waves of scandal, the bill Kucinich floated last month to impeach Cheney is profound because it puts us all on the spot. As Lee Iacocca says in a new book--we all should be screaming bloody murder for what our leaders have done to our country, our world, and especially to Iraq.
In two wars in which Cheney played key roles and for which he's reaped fantastic monetary and political rewards, more than 1 million people have died, more than 3 million refugees have been created, more than 7 million have been wounded physically or emotionally.
You don't believe it? Fair enough. A courtroom exists for probing charges of this magnitude. It's called Congress, and sooner or later it will have to go on record. Already, the move to impeach has picked up three co-sponsors: Albert Wynn of Maryland has joined Democratic Reps. William Lacy Clay of Missouri and Jan Schakowsky of Illiniois-both moderates--in signing on. So bring on the vote. Let's put everyone on record.
You can sign on by visiting this link: http://www.democrats.com/peoplesemailnetwork/88 or pasting it into your browser.
A vote against impeachment is a vote for corruption and for nuking Iran one dismal day, I'd maintain (see Article III in sidebar, below), just as it's a vote for the lies that got us mired down in Iraq. Politicians who say they were tricked into voting for war and yet simultaneously say we should not impeach the tricksters who got us into it are guilty of a terrible inconsistency. Kucinich goes easy on Cheney in his impeachment bill. He accuses him of misleading us into war in Iraq, twisting the intelligence, and banging the drums to start a war with Iran.
I can think of a dozen other crimes and misdemeanors in Cheney's epic story of corruption, violence and conflicts of interest:
Let's start in 1990-91 when, as Secretary of Defense under Bush I, Cheney directed the Gulf War against Iraq. While thousands were dying, Cheney hired a Halliburton subsidiary to study how the private sector could fill military contracts. Surprise, that subsidiary recommended hiring Halliburton. After the war, that's what Cheney did. He hired Halliburton to rebuild oil wells, pipelines and other structures in Iraq.
Three years later, Cheney took the job as CEO of Halliburton, where he accepted multi-billion dollar contracts from the Pentagon using the system he'd set up as Secretary of Defense. Are you taking all this in?
As CEO, Cheney used offshore dummy companies to do business with Iran, Libya and other "rogue nations," including Iraq, according to a "60 Minutes" report that aired Sunday Jan. 25, 2004. As a side benefit, they avoided federal taxes because they claimed to operate from an office in the Cayman Islands. "60 Minutes" cameras revealed those offices to be empty, however, and traced corporate billing back to Houston, in clear violation of the law.
When Dubya came along in 2000 and asked Cheney to conduct a search for a VP candidate, surprise, Cheney chose himself. Because Cheney, like Bush, was a resident of Texas at the time--he lived, voted and paid taxes there according to an in-depth article in "Rolling Stone," September, 2004--that put him and Bush in violation of federal law, which forbids presidential and vice-presidential nominees from the same state running on the same ticket. Who knew?
As VP, Cheney beat the drums for another war with Iraq, which he'd just helped to rebuild. We bombed Iraq again, thousands more died. Before, during and after this war, Halliburton again received billions to help tear down and then rebuild Iraq's infrastructure.
In short, Cheney twice blew Iraq apart, and twice built it up again, and every stage of the process was marked by deceit and profiteering on one level or another. So far, about 4,000 Americans, counting private contractors, have died, and many thousands more will never be the same. So for now, let's forget about Valerie Plame, secret meetings with Enron, the Texas hunting fiasco, allegations of bribery and corruption on the part of Halliburton in Kuwait and Nigeria. Just focusing on Iraq, one has to wonder how Cheney could've so brazenly played so many sides against so many middles without being called to account. Gee, must be that "liberal media" at work.
Only when it comes to killing strangers and sending America's youth into harm's way do such practices go curiously un-named and mostly un-acknowledged. To be fair, many have benefited similarly from war. Congress should do its best to make sure Cheney's generation is the last to get away with it.
Dennis Kucinich's bill of impeachment against Dick Cheney contains the following allegations:Article I states... "In his conduct while Vice President of the United States, Richard B. Cheney, in violation of his constitutional oath to faithfully execute the office of Vice President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has purposely manipulated the intelligence process to deceive the citizens and Congress of the United States by fabricating a threat of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction to justify the use of the United States Armed Forces against the nation of Iraq in a manner damaging to our national security interests..." The full text, widely available on the Internet, laboriously tracks how Cheney, among other crimes, sabotaged the National Intelligence Estimate of Oct. 1, 2002, in time for the Oct. 10 vote in Congress to authorize force. Article II states that Cheney... "purposely manipulated the intelligence process to deceive the citizens and Congress of the United States about an alleged relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda in order to justify the use of the United States Armed Forces against the nation of Iraq in a manner damaging to our national security interests..." Again, specifics are offered. Article III states that Cheney... "has openly threatened aggression against the Republic of Iran absent any real threat to the United States, and done so with the United States' proven capability to carry out such threats, thus undermining the national security of the United States...." Accountability, anyone?
Don Williams is a prize-winning columnist, short story writer, freelancer, and the founding editor and publisher of New Millennium Writings, an annual anthology of literary stories, essays and poems. His awards include a National Endowment for the (more...