Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Who Let the Dogs Out? Cheney Dishes Gulag Gumbo

So now they've trotted out Dick Cheney to defend the Bush Regime's GWOT Gulag against the flood of reports detailing systematic torture, abuse and degradation in the highly secretive system. There are few sights more impressive and inspiring than watching a titan of statesmanship enter the arena of public debate, fearlessly confronting his adversaries in forensic combat. And there was Cheney, that man-mountain of character and courage, daring to step into the lion's den that is Larry King Live, taking on the stern inquisitor whose journalistic rigor has wrung salt tears and shattering confessions from such leading public figures as Zsa Zsa Gabor and Siegfried and Roy. Yes, that's the measure of our valiant Veep, a man who never let actual military service interfere with his selfless lifelong devotion to war....

However, sarcasm aside, it must be said that Larry King is actually a tougher interviewer than Cheney's usual pussycat of choice, Tim "Whiffle-Ball" Russert. Still, the show was the usual farce: Cheney, ineradicable sneer firmly in place, belched out Bushist propaganda lines without challenge while King nodded affably and thought about dinner.

There's really not much point in getting all het up about the odious veep. Cheney is an unregenerate member of the Snidely Whiplash school of the hard Right, unwilling or unable to conceal his smirking contempt for the idiotic American public that keeps voting him and his bloodthirsty, ball-breaking faction into power. To steal a line from Gore Vidal, Cheney's open scorn for democracy and the people "makes Coriolanus look like Hubert Humphrey." Whenever Cheney surfaces from the bowels of the White House, you know exactly what you're going to get: horseshit gumbo, served piping hot.

And so it proved this week. Cheney blasted critics of the Gulag as murderous anti-American terrorists "peddling lies" -- neatly overlooking the fact that the vast majority of credible reports about systematic torture and abuse in the system come from two main sources: 1) released prisoners (i.e., men who would not have been released at all if there were the slightest chance that they were actually "individuals who have been actively involved as the enemy, if you will, trying to kill Americans," as Cheney described the Guantanamo detainees); and 2), investigations by the Pentagon, the FBI, the CIA and other U.S. government agencies.

No, in Cheney's gumbo, there are only a few "allegations" of "mistreatment" that, upon investigation, are melted into air, into thin air. Why, it even turns out that the guy who made those slanderous accusations about Korans in the toilet and what all was recently re-interviewed in his cell and "was unable to substantiate his account," Cheney said. Obviously, the concentration camp prisoner should have been able to produce copious documentation -- video, affidavits, photos, paper trails -- for his scurrilous accusations...while hanging chained from the ceiling in a "stress position," of course.

But that's our Dick: lies, elisions, misdirection, false analogies -- the same stew he served up before the Iraq War, when he was the leading dispenser of iron certitude about the imminent threat of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. In fact, the Bush Regime has done us all a favor by unleashing Dick to bark and belch on the subject of American torture. For Cheney is a pole star by which we can all plot our course on the roiling sea of spin and propaganda: whatever he says -- anything, on any subject -- is 100 percent guaranteed to be a lie. If you want to know the truth, simply look to the opposite of Cheney's assertions. If he says Iraq has WMD -- it doesn't. If he says the Bush Regime is not engaged in wholesale torture -- it is.

Thus his appearance on Larry King has provided us with confirmation, at the very highest level, of the horror he and his little meat-puppet George have foisted upon the nation, and the world.