Thursday, February 05, 2009

Barton Gellman: Angler: The Cheney Vice Presidency (Penguin) These days Dick Cheney haters appear happy to move forward along with our handsome new commander in chief, blocking from collective memories the torturous Cheney/Bush administration. Not to throw out trite remarks about history and repetition, but Cheney and his presidential sidekick might be out of office, but the damage they inflicted upon this country and the planet remain, regardless of what history thinks about all of this. Barton Gellman is an old school journalist who does not put opinion before his story. Such an approach does not best serve all stories. In the instance of telling the behind the scenes tale of the Cheney vice-presidency, Gellman’s technique is perfect. And his story is riveting. There is one man who surely does not give a shit what history has to say about Cheney. That would be Dick Cheney himself. Not known for his sense of humor, Cheney had me guffawing when he responded to ABC reporter Matha Raddatz’s lengthy question regarding how the American public had turned against the war in Iraq with one word, “his eyes locked on Raddatz”, he said: “So.” There is nothing about Cheney’s policy prerogatives that I do not find repugnant, but at times it is difficult not to admire this relentless Machiavellian tactician. Cheney’s ties to Halliburton are normally amongst the first weapon employed by the VP’s detractors. Yet, there is not much evidence of graft in the pages of Angler. On the other hand, there is much evidence of Cheney’s efforts to remake the U.S. executive into a monarchy. Once his king was firmly entrenched, Cheney used the power of the office and his power as un-elected co-president to fight his global war on terror using any means necessary, including deceit, secrecy, torture and blitzkrieg. I strongly recommend this book to anyone who cares about this country, where its been and where it is going.


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