WASHINGTON, D.C.–Cheney’s temper tantrum against the
Democrats at a Republican dinner Wednesday night reflects the growing
pressure both he and Bush are coming under for the
war in Iraq. The latest developments–allegations that Shiites tortured
Sunni prisoners in a secret jail as Americans stood by–is
sure to raise charges that far from trying to quell hints of civil war and hold Iraq together, Bush-Cheney
are now embarked on another devilish twist, this one
aimed at breaking the country apart, by sparking a civil war that
can only end in a partition.
The BBC captured Cheney’s fit this way:
The vice-president called the Democrats “opportunists” who were peddling “cynical and pernicious falsehoods” to gain political advantage while US soldiers died in Iraq.
“The president and I cannot prevent certain politicians from losing their memory or their backbone–but we’re not going to sit by and let them rewrite history,” he said.
Instead of marshalling support for the Bush
administration, Cheney’s remarks resulted in a
stinging demand by a conservative-minded Democrat to
get the troops out of Iraq.
“The U.S. cannot accomplish
anything further in Iraq militarily. It is time to
bring them home,” said Representative John Murtha of
Pennsylvania, a senior Democrat on the subcommittee
that oversees military spending, ABC reported this
Meanwhile, Cheney’s world is continuing to crack. Not only is he widely viewed as the administration
official who launched the campaign to out Valerie
Plame and almost certainly will be the focus of a
struggle in court with Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald seeking his
sworn testimony, but there are suspicions Washington
Post star Bob Woodward’s source was Cheney. (On the other hand, Raw Story says the source may well have been National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley.)
has dismissed the Plame affair as a trivial matter. He
has acknowledged learning of the outing early on from
some unnamed official, but kept it to himself.
Meanwhile, his paper’s reporters struggled to find out
who was leaking and to whom–little knowing their
celebrity byline knew all along.
The Senate is demanding that executives from Big Oil
return to testify about a secret meeting with Cheney
on energy policy that took place soon after Bush came
to office. The Big Oil men denied knowledge of the
gathering in earlier testimony. But that testimony was
not under oath so they cannot be charged with perjury.
Cheney has been vigorously trying to keep secret what
happened at this meeting. It is suspected the vice
president and the oil companies hammered out an
aggressive energy policy, and possibly discussed the
administration’s plans to go to war in Iraq, well before 9-11. Cutting up Iraqi oil and the future of OPEC would
certainly have been on the table. The new
administration would certainly have needed the
acquiescence of the oil industry in waging war in an
area where the companies are so deeply involved. Oil
has always been the bottom-line issue in the Iraq war—although in public Bush eschewed any interest
in the subject, arguing instead he was just pushing the
spread of democracy.
Now Democratic senator Frank Lautenberg
demanded a full investigation. According to the Las Vegas Sun:
“I want to be certain
that this gets an appropriate review, so I’ve written
to the attorney general asking him to investigate
whether any of these oil company CEOs broke the law by
making false statements to the Congress,” Lautenberg
said. “Gas prices, everyone knows, are more than
double what were at the end of 2001, and in September
we all saw the average price of gas go above three
dollars,” he said.
“Whatever was discussed at that White House energy
task force meeting, it seems to turn out very well for
the big oil companies, but it’s been disastrous, daily
disastrous for the American
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on November 15, 2005