Saturday, September 03, 2011

A strong defense of Dick Cheney. But is it right?

If there was an American politician hated more than George Bush during his presidency than it was Vice President Dick Cheney.

Now, he, like many people who were part of the Bush administration, are writing their memoirs. Mr. Cheney's is titled "In My Time", and Wall Street Journal editorial page editor Paul Gigot suggests it is a must read.

Mr. Gigot suggests that Mr. Cheney's main treatise -- defending the U.S. after 9-11 -- is one he ought to be proud of:
[The book's main purpose] was national security and the Herculean effort to prevent another attack on the U.S. homeland. On that overarching mission, the evidence 10 years after 9/11 is that he succeeded. Americans are safer because Dick Cheney was willing to be hated by all the right people.
The New York Times' Michiko Kakutani sees it differently.
Written with his daughter Liz, "In My Time" reiterates Cheney's aggressive approach to foreign policy and hard-line views on national security, while sidestepping questions about the Bush administration's more controversial decisions, by either cherry-picking information or skipping over awkward subjects with loudly voiced assertions. Ironically, Cheney -- who succeeded in promulgating so many policy ideas through his sheer mastery of bureaucratic detail -- has written a book that is lacking in detail.
In U.S. News, Jamie Stiehm says much the same thing.
No other vice president in American history comes close to his trifecta of traits: secretive, belligerent and pernicious. Aaron Burr, Thomas Jefferson's intriguing vice president, shot Alexander Hamilton dead in a tragic duel and was tried for treason—but Burr was a great guy, a barrel of fun compared to grim Cheney. The Bush-Cheney reign was akin to an eight-year Siberian sentence on a thriving nation—but that was another country, so ten years ago.
Threshold Editions is the publisher, and you can access its website here.

At the end of the day, Mr. Cheney is not going to apologize for what he did; and if the standard for success is the absence of another terror attack at home, then an argument can be made that he did succeed. But do those ends justify the means?

Depending upon how you answer that question determines what you ultimately think of Mr. Cheney. As for the book, you'll also have to decide if it's worth reading.

No comments: