You know I could go on for a while and though I would enjoy it, it takes away from my point.
I spend all this time on Bush's intellectual vacuity being a huge problem, but I rarely do with Cheney, the real power broker in the White House. Oh sure, I call him evil, twisted, heartless and a tool all the time -- and those are all more than just debasing, they are quite fair.
But let's face it, Bush's shallowness only allows Cheney's stupidity to really shine through. Dicky Boy is no Bismark, that's for sure. In fact, he is as stupid and foolish as they come -- all while being incredibly power mad.
I have made my share of Chauncey Gardner jokes about Bush, but to be fair to the Chimperor, there is not a lot of evidence he watches anything on television other than baseball and football. And while neither of those things are edifying, there are only so many times John Madden can say the three things he says before you catch on to the act (talk about a good gig, how much has that guy made from saying "boom"?), watching sports is generally harmless and not confused with what "you" can do.
Cheney, however, seems to watch a LOT of television. From his contracts mandating the television be pre-set to FoxNews (undoubtedly for both vanity and translational purposes), when he has watched quality television he seems unable to distinguish between what he sees on television and reality.
For example, there is now a well-known story (at least on the blogosphere) of how during the First Gulf War Cheney sent both videotapes and military strategy suggestions based on the PBS classic documentary "Ken Burns: The Civil War" to General Schwartzkopf:
Following one White House meeting at which he'd asked for more time and more troops, Stormin' Norman reports, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Colin Powell called to warn the Desert Storm commander that he was being loudly compared, by a top administration official, to George McClellan. "My God," the official supposedly complained. "He's got all the force he needs. Why won't he just attack?" Schwarzkopf notes that the unnamed official who'd made the comment "was a civilian who knew next to nothing about military affairs, but he'd been watching the Civil War documentary on public television and was now an expert."
And then, twenty pages later, Schwarzkopf casually drops the information that he got an inspirational gift from Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney right before the air war finally got under way. Cheney was presenting a gift to a military man, and he chose something with an appropriate theme: "(A) complete set of videotapes of Ken Burns's PBS series, The Civil War."
But that wasn't the only gift that Dick Cheney had for Norman Schwarzkopf. Having figured out that the general was being too cautious with his fourth combat command in three decades of soldiering, Cheney got his staff busy and began presenting Schwarzkopf with his own ideas about how to fight the Iraqis: What if we parachute the 82nd Airborne into the far western part of Iraq, hundreds of miles from Kuwait and totally cut off from any kind of support, and seize a couple of missile sites, then line up along the highway and drive for Baghdad? Schwarzkopf charitably describes the plan as being "as bad as it could possibly be... But despite our criticism, the western excursion wouldn't die: three times in that week alone Powell called with new variations from Cheney's staff. The most bizarre involved capturing a town in western Iraq and offering it to Saddam in exchange for Kuwait." (Throw in a Pete Rose rookie card?) None of this Walter Mitty posturing especially surprised Schwarzkopf, who points out that he'd already known Cheney as "one of the fiercest cold warriors in Congress."
So Cheney & his staff (i.e. Scooter Libby, David Addington) constantly come up with shit-headed schemes straight out of the movies or analogies to long over wars far different than modern warfare ... all because they saw it on "the tee bee".
This comes to mind again because what is the latest scheme for the wild and dark "fictionalized" world of Dick Cheney?
Why torture, and how it is necessary under the "ticking time bomb" scenario. You need that info NOW! goddamit! So you have to beat it out of the guy.
Now, I cannot be the first blogger to notice this, in fact, I'm sure I've seen it before, but this little nugget says something about the why the White House wants to torture:
One of the favorite shows among White House aides has been "24," the Kiefer Sutherland counterterrorism cliffhanger drama. White House aides regularly swap stories about their favorite Sutherland shoot-outs with foreign agents, terrorists and generally bad guys.
This is the fantasy world that Dick Cheney views as reality.
Look, this is rather scary. My grandmother on my father's side was a real tough lady, who lived a long difficult life. I remember her for her classic Minnesota taciturness; her love of making "shake & bake" chicken and church gossip involving people you did not know; if you told her you liked something once, she'd have it for the next 20 years when you visited; and she maintained a substantial collection of decades old stale candy. However, she also thought that the events on "As The World Turns" were real. That the actors were really heartless cads and vile sluts.
Now in her own way, she was a good grandmother and though she never said such things you knew she enjoyed being around us and we loved her in spite of it all.
But I think everyone that knew her would agree, she should NOT be making policy decisions, especially in regard to our relations with "Oakdale".
Dick Cheney is just like my grandmother, only evil; he probably even has the support hose.
UPDATE: It looks like the