Dick Cheney has bought a house in McLean, an upscale community in the largely rural state of Virginia. Although it's conveniently located near Washington, DC, it somehow seems far removed from America's bustling capital. Eight US presidents have been born in this state, and it just might be that Cheney sees himself as standing shoulder-to-shoulder with them since, after all, he has also served as president -- for three and a half years. Or perhaps it'd be more accurate to say that George W. Bush served as president under Cheney, looking after odds and ends, while Cheney took care of the big picture. Dick was responsible for America's strategy in the 21st century.
Cheney is busy writing a memoir. Given the fact that he is a highly secretive man notorious for keeping a tight lid on things, this has raised some eyebrows in America. He is someone who asked questions or silently listened and took notes for his personal use after many meetings in the White House, at the Pentagon and at CIA offices. He is the ultimate insider -- and someone who places little value on recognition from the general public.
In writing a memoir, a man like this is motivated by more than a high opinion of himself. The little that we know about the memoirs comes from those of his faithful followers who have been given the green light to leak that Cheney is using his memoir to set straight a few things that he thinks have been skewed. He blames the unfortunate turn of events of the past few years on George W. Bush, the man who greatly disappointed him during his second term in office by ignoring his advice. As Cheney reportedly sees it, Bush showed moral weakness and failed to realize that the focus of all considerations needed to stay on the "war on terror." This was an unforgivable error of historic proportions, which -- as Cheney has been saying publicly for months -- Barack Obama is prolonging out of ignorance.
Explaining Why You Don't Have to Explain
The war on terror was Cheney's idea. Since 9/11, it has guided America's interactions with the rest of the world, and it became a real war in the real world twice. Starting the war in Afghanistan was essentially a political no-brainer; it has been viewed as a good and just war that unfortunately hasn't lead to the desired results, as the US is slowly beginning to realize. Cheney pushed relentlessly for the war on Iraq and manipulated the justifications for military intervention. From the very beginning, this has been a bad war -- and the wrong war. And, although he pushed hard for it, the war on Iran's nuclear facilities has never materialized.
Now he is busy defending his creation. Since 9/11, he has also been a particularly driven man. In his own imagination, he was chosen to educate his country, to make sure that it really understands the deadly peril that will arise if terrorists get their hands on nuclear weapons. Since the murderous attacks on America eight years ago, he has developed a 'one percent' theory that goes like this: If there is even a remote possibility that individual countries or groups could pose a danger, the US must act as if this threat were already firmly established.
Today, now that the world knows so much about him, Cheney is a political leper. They know about his fondness for expanding presidential powers, the joy he takes in manipulating intelligence agencies and his support for using methods of torture like waterboarding. They know that Cheney is convinced that people like him should never admit errors or mistakes and believes that such people would be wise to give no explanations for their actions. "Never apologize," he says. "Never Explain." It's seems rather strange, then, that Cheney is writing this memoir.