This is not an easy article for me to write. Few Americans are as aware as I of the extraordinary contributions Vice President Richard N. Cheney has made to this country, the personal and professional sacrifices — of himself and others — without a moment's hesitation. The long hour away from family and friends, all to make this country something he and he alone could be proud of.
When Dick — I'll always think of him as a Dick — and I last met, it was at the Cosmos Club in Washington, a place where only the elite are allowed to meet. We sat in front of a roaring fire, sipping Hennesey Pierre Richard and smoking…well, yes, Cuban cigars.
"Dick," I finally said. "How can you bear it?"
He smiled that Dick Cheney smile at me. "It's for my country. Only for my country."
I admit it, I'm man enough. I was overcome and choked up. When the waiter Heimliched the olive out of my throat, I was able to speak again.
"What are you doing, putting an olive in the world's finest cognac?" I demanded.
"Nghsr ptmnsq rwtbxvc," said the waiter.
Dick, fluent in Lithuanian, translated, "He said a thousand pardons, son of a camel's hump."
"Is that good?" I asked.
"You're not going to get anything better out of a Lithuanian," he said.
But back to our story.
In the next issue of Time Magazine (Motto: No Matter How Pathetic We Are, We're Still Better than Newsweek,) you will read an interview with our Vice President. I for one, find myself in the category of so many Americans who've gone before me, in saying, "Climb down, asshole, you're blowing the whole megillah."
Time: Mr. Vice President, if you had to take back any one thing you'd said about Iraq, what would it be?
Cheney: I expressed the sentiment some time ago that I thought we were over the hump in terms of violence. I think that was premature. I thought the elections would have created that environment. And it hasn't happened yet.
Okay, honesty from a politician. This is a good thing. This is the kind of good thing that makes Americans stand tall and proud and erect.
So why then, on Wednesday of this week — a mere two days ago — talking to Rush Limbaugh did our Vice President say, "This government has only been in office about five months, five or six months now. They're off to a good start. It is difficult, no question about it, but we've now got over 300,000 Iraqis trained and equipped as part of their security forces. They've had three national elections with higher turnout than we have here in the United States. If you look at the general overall situation, they're doing remarkably well."
Remarkably well. I suppose it all depends on what your definition of well is. How does the Associated Press characterize well?
"The U.S. military acknowledged Thursday that its two-month drive to crush insurgent and militia violence in the Iraqi capital had fallen short, calling the raging bloodshed disheartening and saying it was rethinking its strategy to rein in gunmen, torturers and bombers. The admission by military spokesman Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell came as car bombs, mortar fire and shootings around the country killed at least 66 people and wounded 175. The month is on course to be the deadliest for U.S. forces in nearly two years."
Old General Caldwell was calm in his assessment that we just haven't accomplished what we'd have hoped to at this point, given that attacks in Baghdad had increased by 22 percent just in the first three weeks of RamadamadingDong, the holiest month of the Islamic year.
Let's be fair. That interview with Time could have taken place years ago. Those sleeze-ball mainstream media and their soulless hearts. So what was he talking about with Rush (No More Pills For Me Thanks) Limbaugh? "If you look at the general overall situation, they're doing remarkably well."
According to the AP in a story released today, "The U.S. military acknowledged Thursday that its two-month drive to crush insurgent and militia violence in the Iraqi capital had fallen short, calling the raging bloodshed disheartening and saying it was rethinking its strategy to rein in gunmen, torturers and bombers." Rethinking its strategy to rein in gunmen, torturers and bombers?
The New York Times was, as one would expect, somewhat more circumspect. "The American military’s stepped-up campaign to staunch unrelenting bloodshed in the capital under an ambitious new security plan that was unveiled in August has failed to reduce the violence." Dick, Richard, Ricky, mon ami, what the fuck are you doing there?
There's talk of allowing a military coup to bring some order and stability to the region (I can't source this because my source told me he'd cut off my manhood if I did, but he got it on good authority from a high-level military-type person also at the Cosmos Club.)
As if that wasn't bad enough, the liberal flunky stooge newspaper, The Washington Post, reported today that the Iraqi militias were splintering into radicalized cells. Now Sunnis won't talk to Sunnis, and Shias will ignore Shias. Only the Shunis will survive. In place of broad-based Sunni or Shia militias, we've got South American style hit squads in it for a piece of the action, although how many pieces of Baghdad can be left is a mystery.
But my dear, dear fried Richard maintains that we are making progress. How to tell him…how to break the news that…excuse me while I wipe away tears — "you morons blew the easiest war since Reagan attacked the Cuban custodians in Guatemala…or Puerto Rico…or San Salvador…or wherever the hell he sent Clint Eastwood."
And so one is forced, tears welling up and overflowing, to acknowledge that the Great Cheney has been felled by the same disease that took our great Reagan from us. Irreversible, untreatable, incomprehensible stupidity.