Sunday April 29, 2012

RICHMOND

How many of you stood up and cheered when you heard former Vice President Dick Cheney was getting a new heart? And did you have a party when the operation was successfully concluded? Personally, I was torn. I consider Dick Cheney an unscrupulous man, one who cares neither for the public good nor improving the lot of those who need help. He and President George Walker Bush lied to get us involved with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, enriched the rich in this country while lower-casing the rest of us and saddling us with burdens making it tougher for the non-rich to just get by.

Many people were concerned that this 71-year-old with a history of five heart attacks was getting the heart because of his wealth and connections rather than waiting his turn on the national waiting list. It is an uncommon event when precedence is given to an older person rather than a younger one who might get many more years of service from it. But no one has come up with a smoking scalpel and there was no real public outcry, despite the multitude of stories surrounding the event.

So the operation proceeded successfully and Cheney withdrew into his convalescent period. It was then I started to think about Cheney even more than when he was publicizing the imaginary Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and espousing torture as a legal way of extracting information from Taliban captives. Even though they denied they were sinning, the Bush-Cheney cadre took steps to destroy any information that might be used against them. In some, they succeeded but in others they didn't.

There was Cheney lying in bed somewhere with doctors and nurses all around him while a temporary pump moved the blood through his veins and arteries, and then there was Cheney with a new heart wondering if it would hold up and whether the potent medications would keep his body from rejecting the interloper.

And then all of a sudden, out of nowhere, only three weeks after his operation, Cheney showed up at the Republican state convention in Wyoming and spoke flawlessly for an hour and 15 minutes about how essential it was to back Mitt Romney and send Barack Obama packing.

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Referring to Obama, Cheney said that he has been "an unmitigated disaster to the country." Referring to Rom ney, Cheney said he was going to do "a whale of a job" in bringing the nation back to where the Republicans could fix everything wrong and run it the way it should be run.

Cheney also provided a pep talk about use of waterboarding in interrogating prisoners.

"It produced a wealth of information," he said. "Don't let anybody tell you the enhanced interrogation didn't work. It did."

The crowd of 300 gave him a standing ovation. This has been his and Bush's advice on all their shenanigans in office. When questioned about them, their stock answer has been that this is all top secret and not suitable for the ears of the ordinary citizen. Some day the truth may come out about what this country really learned by inflicting torture, but right now we have to take their word for it.

One of the quarrels I have with President Obama is that he decided to let bygones be bygones and not make waves when he assumed the power of the presidency. "We must look forward," he said, "not back." So there we have Dick Cheney with his new heart, new strength and old determination. He is going to be ripping the Democrats and repeating his lies ad infinitum. We should have a law in this country where all the secret dealings of an administration must be revealed in a workable number of years. Republican, Demo crat or What-Have-You. We deserve the truth.

Because we are the ones who suffer from the lies while the perpetrators go about their merry ways, getting heart after heart after heart.

Milton Bass is a regular Eagle
contributor.