Cheney, Rumsfeld, and the End of History

Rumsfeld and Cheney
Rumsfeld and Cheney

W.J. Astore

Mark Danner has a probing article at TomDispatch.com on the career arc of Dick Cheney, the self-selected Vice President under George W. Bush.  Cheney’s approach to history, an attitude he shared with Karl Rove and Donald Rumsfeld, was the idea he could make his own reality, independent of history.  Previous precedents on waterboarding as torture?  They don’t matter.  The predictable civil war that resulted from our invasion of Iraq?  Doesn’t matter.  History is made by the big swinging dicks, no regrets, no apologies.

Even when the insurgency in Iraq was obvious to all, Cheney and Rumsfeld sought to deny that reality.  Recall that Cheney said in 2005 that the insurgency was in its last throes even as it was beginning to peak.  Recall that Rumsfeld said in July 2003 “I don’t do quagmires” even as he and the U.S. military were sinking into one in post-invasion Iraq.

History teaches humility, but Cheney and Rumsfeld were having none of that.  History is a sovereign remedy to hubris, but Cheney and Rumsfeld were all about hubris.  Faced with history’s uncertainty, as represented by favorite questions like “Yes, but” and “Are you sure,” Cheney and Rumsfeld hissed like vampires confronting garlic.

The end of history — in the sense of ignoring its lessons — came with Cheney and Rumsfeld.

And like Danner says in his article, we’re left today with the bloody mess these dicks created.

5 thoughts on “Cheney, Rumsfeld, and the End of History

  1. President Obama would no doubt think it rude of me to lampoon his idol and mentor — or both of them — but the DFH Vietnam veteran in me simply can’t resist. Hence:

    Reactionary R and R

    Deputy Dubya went back to the ranch
    He needed another vacation
    He found it hard work spreading lies and deceit,
    Starting wars, and bankrupting the nation

    Sheriff Dick Cheney approved the request
    Having few words for Dubya to mime
    What with checks from his old firm arriving on cue
    Just to count them took most of his time

    “Let us think of the things you have done, little man!”
    The Sheriff intoned solemnly;
    “And the steely-eyed judgement you’ve shown in your job
    Since I picked myself for your V.P.”

    “You’ve announced to the world that you’ve thrown in the towel;
    That in three years or more you’ll look back
    To observe what some others with courage and sense
    Did to clean up our mess in Iraq.”

    “It doesn’t seem now like there’s much you can do
    Not that there ever was, anyway;
    So take some time off from your sleepwalking life
    And enjoy what your dreams have to say.”

    “I can take care of things,” Sheriff Cheney explained,
    “Since I’ve already done the hard part.
    Take another siesta – I mean, get some ‘rest’
    And learn English: at least make a start.”

    So it happened that Dubya returned to his roots
    Making sure not to smirk or to twitch;
    Taking care not to notice the dead soldier’s mom
    Keeping vigil outside in the ditch

    Michael Murry, “The Misfortune Teller,” Copyright © 2006

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  2. Michael.. The best satiric poem I have ever read.!Thank you. The unity of poetry with satire is truly deadly.

    The more I read though, the more I see that all of these current players are just carrying out a long term strategy , initiated right after WW Ii ,into making our country into an authoritarian, militaristic state., and ultimately a proto fascist corporate state reaching for global dominance. We are within a stone’s throw of their reaching their goal in spite of the cartoonish characters your poem depicts. . Will the citizens of our country allow that to happen?

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  3. Any mention of Dubya, Dick, and Don: the Three Stooges of Apocalyptic Messianic Globalism — as a cynical cover for Crony-Corporate Crypto-Fascist Oligarchy — leads directly to a psychiatric assessment of Superpower Syndrome:

    “We have to ask what is happening to our leaders and us as a people when we reach the point of justifying a preventive [i.e., pre-crime] war and taking pride in the fact that less than 200 Americans and British were killed in battle while thousands or perhaps tens of thousands of Iraqis died, or when we wallow in triumphalism — as though this had been a true contest between military equals and a glorious victory, rather than a slaughter as the world’s most powerful military machine simply overwhelmed a relatively small and weak nation. No less disturbing, that triumphalism has been accompanied by a widespread labeling of opponents of the war, or even those insufficiently enthusiastic about it, as ‘unpatriotic,’ ‘un-American,’ ‘traitors,’ or if they were in foreign countries ‘anti-American’ and even ‘enemies’ of America.”

    Dr Robert Jay Lifton, <b<Superpower Syndrome: America’s Apocalyptic Confrontation with the World (2003)

    Or, as a young relative through marriage — a Taiwanese schoolteacher — said to me back in 2003: “It’s easy to rush into a trap. It’s not so easy to get out of one.” Some “superpower.” More like “stupid” power, as I most of the world now sees it.

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  4. Speaking of big dicks and the messes they leave behind for others to clean up, how about …

    Statutory Religion

    Zeus and Yahweh had a fling.
    They liked that earthly female thing:
    A little Greek, a little Jew,
    They did it like the rabbits do.

    In those days, no man’s law applied;
    If gods desired it, mankind cried.
    If old enough to stab, they bled;
    If old enough to bleed, they bred.

    So here we swirl around in pain,
    With more blood pouring down the drain.
    Upon the wheel mankind revolves,
    While life in violence dissolves.

    The Big Spook way up in the sky
    Keeps screwing over you and I;
    Our sisters and our daughters, too;
    And wives in Utah (quite a few).

    The Big Spook’s got an appetite;
    It likes ’em small; It likes ’em tight;
    It likes ’em big; It likes ’em wide;
    It hasn’t got an ounce of pride.

    No crime the Great Big Spook reproves.
    The Spook will screw it if it moves.
    If it can crawl or walk or run,
    The Spook will screw it just for fun.

    The Spook’s now got an inside track
    For buggering those in Iraq,
    For It has heard the nightly pleas
    Of one dumb Texan on his knees.

    Who wants so much to lead the troops,
    But only in his panties poops.
    The Spook, though, lets George have his way,
    And gives him bullshit words to say.

    “Bad” weddings George has bombed to mush;
    “Safe” houses, too, his bombers crush,
    To spread his own “democracy”:
    In his case, schizoid lunacy.

    The hearts and minds he’s failed to win
    Of those who’ve paid so he could sin;
    But still the Big Spook’s curse he stays,
    As on the world the Big Dick sprays.

    Michael Murry, “The Misfortune Teller,” Copyright 2006

    Gotta do something with all this left-over PTSD stuff …

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