By Robert Schlesinger, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
When last we saw Dick Cheney, he looked like a caricature of a movie villain. He was apparently not satisfied with the mere image of caricature, but decided to prove it by opening his mouth in an interview with Politico.
So the reclusive villain has emerged from his shadowy lair to issue a new videotaped warning of impending terrorist attacks.
And as with many caricatures, his latest appearance (in an interview with Politico) is a (perhaps not intentional) comedic triumph.
His main message: Bin Ladin [sic] determined to strike in US. (Wait, where have we heard that before?)
Of course, he was quick to take credit for the lack of such attacks in the United States (just ignore the ones around the rest of the world) over the last seven years.
"If it hadn't been for what we did—with respect to the terrorist surveillance program, or enhanced interrogation techniques for high-value detainees, the Patriot Act, and so forth—then we would have been attacked again," he said. "Those policies we put in place, in my opinion, were absolutely crucial to getting us through the last seven-plus years without a major-casualty attack on the U.S."
He expressed confidence that files will someday be publicly accessible offering specific evidence that waterboarding and other policies he promoted—over sharp internal dissent from colleagues and harsh public criticism—were directly responsible for averting new September 11-style attacks.
Ah, that famous Cheney humor—the notion that he would ever favor the release of any documents pertaining to anything, let alone national security, is a gut-buster.
Not content to wait for a historical verdict, Cheney said he is set to plunge into his own memoirs, feeling liberated to describe behind-the-scenes roles over several decades in government now that the "statute of limitations has expired" on many of the most sensitive episodes.
The "statute of limitations" quip was undoubtedly a joke—we all know that his execu-legislative authorities put Cheney beyond the grasp of mere laws.
Cheney embraced another caricature as well—if anyone doubted that Machiavelli was his guiding political philosopher, check out this gem:
"The United States needs to be not so much loved as it needs to be respected. Sometimes, that requires us to take actions that generate controversy. I'm not at all sure that that's what the Obama administration believes."
And speaking of caricatures, while he may have as vice president ruled a secret underground lair, Cheney now is relegated to the kind of surreal office space that one would expect Mike Myers to put Dr. Evil into for the start of the next Austin powers flick:
If Cheney's language was dramatic, the setting for the comments was almost bizarrely pedestrian. His office is in a non-descript suburban office building in McLean, Va., in a suite that could just as easily house a dental clinic. The office is across the hall from a quick-copy store. The door is marked by nothing except a paper sign, held up by tape, saying the unit is occupied by the General Services Administration.
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