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Everybody knows that the dice are loaded. 
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed. 
Everybody knows the war is over. 
Everybody knows the good guys lost. 
Everybody knows the fight was fixed. 
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich. 
That's how it goes.  Everybody knows.
~~Leonard Cohen

The fate of millions was sealed the moment Dick Cheney selected himself as The Destroyer whose charge to keep for the next eight years would be -- as Capitol Hill Blue's Doug Thompson so succinctly described George W. Bush -- a "criminally insane, pill-popping dry drunk." I don't know about that. I've seen some drunks in my time -- even dry ones -- and George Bush appears to be more than a little moist.

Bush was the perfect foil for Cheney. The Scalia-driven 2000 election coup catapulted Bush to the top of the political heap. For the first time in his worthless, impotent, cruelly indifferent life, Bush was suddenly important -- the most powerful man on the face of the earth -- and all because he had been told to scream, "Jezus! Jezus is my philosopher!" to the swooning masses. Makes one wonder at the rigid consent of those same "believers" for the ensuing slaughter of so many innocents -- when murdering even one in the name of Jesus should have sent a collective shriek reverberating throughout the religious universe. (See Matthew 18:14; Mark 9:42; Luke 17:2)

Everybody knows that Bush isn't remotely qualified to be at the helm of the world's superpower. He can neither think nor speak coherently, can recognize little other than Texas on a map, has completely torpedoed every business venture he attempted, and admittedly was a hard-partying sot until he was 40. Cheney was another matter. He was a household word. He had been a public servant throughout his career. He served as President Gerald Ford's chief of staff, earned six terms in the House of Representatives where he ascended to the position of minority whip and, finally, was the elder Bush's Secretary of Defense.

We trusted Cheney to keep Bush from making rash decisions. Was it not Cheney who, at the conclusion of the 1991 Desert Storm assault, made the assessment that to expand the exercise to include regime change in Iraq was not morally sustainable because of the chaotic bloodletting -- the needless toll on our uniformed military?

We were wrong. Had we bothered to check the "other priorities" that allowed Cheney to dodge the draft five times on his rise to power, his chilling congressional voting record, his efforts to enrich the military industrial complex by privatizing defense duties and granting massive contracts to Halliburton, we would have known that Cheney was consumed with lust for power and money. We would have known Cheney had been champing at the bit for more than a decade to impose a new order wherein the American Empire controls the world and its resources.

Had we checked, we would have known Dick Cheney was the wrong babysitter for a kid who gets his jollies by blowing things up.

Cheney Unbound

In 1991, Cheney was in the wrong place at the wrong time. But the upheaval of the following decade, the 1994 Republican takeover of Congress, and the expanding manipulative power of the corporate media created the axis of corruption necessary for a Cheney reign of terror. Cheney was ready, as were the militant warmongers of the Project for the New American Century who had been demanding Saddam Hussein's head for years. At least 12 of the 18 co-signers of the
January 1998 letter to President Bill Clinton, and another letter four months later to then House Speaker Newt Gingrich, demanding the overthrow of Saddam were given key positions on Cheney's destructive team.

The fix was in. Four days before the 2001 inauguration, PNAC's deputy director, Thomas Donnelly, wrote a
memorandum to "Opinion Leaders," reminding them that "the task of removing Saddam Hussein’s regime from power still remains...Many in the incoming Bush Administration understand this challenge..."

Four months after the inauguration, the White House issued a
press release warning that the threat of terrorist-nations using weapons of mass destruction against the American "homeland" was very real. To counter this danger, Cheney put himself in charge of the entire government -- departments of Defense, Justice, Health and Human Services, Energy, Environmental Protection Agency, FEMA, and "other federal agencies," which would naturally include both FAA and NORAD. A new department -- the Office of National Preparedness -- was created so Cheney could protect us from catastrophic harm and deal with "consequence" management.

The next four months were busy ones. With malicious indifference, Cheney set about screwing the American people; destroying 225-year Constitutional protections, passing secret laws to seize
unlimited executive power, and locking both Congress and the public out of the legislative process. Bush provided cover by regaling us with hilarious "Benny Hill" bits of linguistic derring-do, strutting from one presidential photo op to another, falling off couches and bicycles, choking on pretzels, and attacking brush with a chainsaw at his Crawford ranch.

Cheney in Charge

Then it was 9-11. Suddenly Bush was no longer a spoiled, bumbling, schizophrenic little president. In an instant, he was transformed into a loaded codpiece -- The Commander in Chief, The Decider of life and death -- a modern-day Caligula towering above mankind with lighted depleted uranium firecrackers gripped in both fists. Cheney could not have picked a more willing accomplice to export death and violence to the four corners of the earth...

With smoke still rising from the ashes of Afghanistan, the drive to topple Saddam, who was demanding Euro for his oil, quickly turned into a crusade. It was Cheney-orchestrated and Cheney-driven. Under the deepening shadows of mushroom clouds, administration neoconservatives teamed up with ecstatic
corporate media co-conspirators to terrify an already traumatized public. Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith launched a separate intelligence unit, the Office of Special Plans, to create the propaganda needed to invade Iraq.

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Sheila Samples is an Oklahoma writer and a former civilian US Army Public Information Officer. She is a Managing Editor for OpEd News, and a regular contributor for a variety of Internet sites.

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