Dick Cheney- Corporate Criminal

Their Master's Voice
by Maureen Dowd

WASHINGTON — It must be the voice.

It is the basso pretendo profundo voice of the dean of boys in a strict private school. At the tables of power, he speaks so sparsely and softly in that low hypnotic monotone, with that lower jaw tilting to the side in a self-assured "I only talk out of one side of my mouth" kind of way, that others at the table have no choice but to listen up. He is the one who must be obeyed.

Dick Cheney's dry Wyoming voice has the same effect on some male Republicans, starting at the very top, and even some journalists, that a high-pitched whistle has on a dog. How else to explain the vice president's success in creating a parallel universe inside the White House that is shaping the real universe?

Congressman Charles Rangel of New York introduced a resolution this week urging President Bush to fire Donald Rumsfeld for misleading the American public about how well the war and the occupation are going, and for sending American forces into battle "without adequate planning" and showing "a lack of sensitivity" about U.S. casualties.

Certainly, Rummy is a worthy target. But maybe Mr. Rangel should aim higher. If the Pentagon is responsible for mismanaging the occupation in Iraq, it is the vice president's office that is responsible for the paranoid vision — the "with us or against us" biceps flex against the world — that got us into this long, hard slog.

This week's Newsweek cover story on the vice president characterized a recent article by Seymour Hersh in The New Yorker as raising the question of whether "Cheney had, in effect, become the dupe of a cabal of neoconservative full-mooners, the Pentagon's mysteriously named Office of Special Plans, and the patsy of an alleged bank swindler and would-be ruler of Iraq, Ahmad Chalabi."

Mr. Cheney's parallel universe is a Bizarro world where no doubts exist. He indulges in extremes of judgment, overpessimistic about our ability to contain Saddam and overoptimistic about the gratitude we would encounter as "liberators" in Iraq.

In Cheneyworld, the invasion of Iraq has made the world a safer place (tell it to the Italians), W.M.D. are still concealed in all those Iraqi basements, every Iraqi insurgent is a card-carrying member of Al Qaeda, and the increase in attacks on Americans reflects the guerrillas' desperation, not their strengths. Guerrilla attacks on American soldiers are labeled acts of terrorism rather than acts of war, even though the official U.S. definition describes terrorism as attacks on civilians.

As Eric Schmitt reported in The Times this week, Mr. Cheney has implied in recent speeches that Al Qaeda is responsible for the major attacks in Iraq this past summer, even though senior military and intelligence officials say there is no conclusive evidence for that. Clearly, Mr. Cheney remains oblivious to the fact that the president has already had to correct the vice president's previous assertion that the government did not know whether Saddam Hussein had a connection to the 9/11 attacks. Mr. Bush conceded that "no, we've had no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with September the 11th."

But while some have suggested that the president feels let down by Mr. Rumsfeld, he still seems seduced by the siren call of that deep Cheney voice and lugubrious Cheney world view. As Newsweek suggested, quoting those who know him: "Cheney has always had a Hobbesian view of life. The world is a dangerous place; war is the natural state of mankind; enemies lurk."

Mr. Cheney's darkness ends up dominating Mr. Bush's lightness.

As Newsweek noted, the vice president cherry-picks the intelligence, then feeds his version of reality to Mr. Bush. The president leaves himself open to manipulation because, by his own admission, he doesn't read the papers and relies on his inner circle to filter information to him.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported yesterday that the C.I.A. had issued a top-secret report from Iraq, endorsed by Paul Bremer, warning that growing numbers of Iraqis are concluding that the U.S. can be defeated and are supporting the insurgents.

The question is whether other voices can ever break through that sonorous ominous murmuring in the president's ear.

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

High Court Asked to Reject Cheney on Energy Report

Friday, October 31, 2003; 3:04 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Vice President Dick Cheney should be forced to divulge information about his energy task force, a government watchdog group told the Supreme Court on Friday, arguing that his claim of immunity was laughable.

In papers filed with the top U.S. court, Judicial Watch, said Cheney should be made to comply with a lower court order to release information about the task force's contacts with the energy industry in 2001.

Cheney has made "repeated attempts to transform the actual issues ... into ones of urgent constitutional concern," lawyers for Judicial Watch said, but: "No such issues exist."

Cheney's claim to be immune from having to produce documents was "risible" after a 1997 Supreme Court decision that discovery could proceed against then-President Clinton in a case brought by sexual-harassment accuser Paula Jones, Judicial Watch said.

Judicial Watch sued two years ago to find out how the vice president's energy task force operated in 2001 and the role of industry groups in shaping administration policy.

Last month, the U.S. Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia ruled that Cheney should obey a lower court order to release some documents in the case.

Justice Department lawyers then asked the Supreme Court to hear the case, saying judicial power cannot extend to ordering the vice president to disclose details about the way the president gets advice.

The Supreme Court is expected to act on the government's request by the end of the year.

Judicial Watch and the environmentalist group Sierra Club contend that Cheney consulted with industry executives like former Enron Corp. chief Kenneth Lay, making them effectively members of the energy task force, while ignoring environmentalists.

Cheney was chief executive of energy and construction company Halliburton Co. from 1995 to 2000. His task force, which announced its policy in the spring of 2001, called for more oil and gas drilling and a nuclear power revival.

Cheney has acknowledged meeting Lay, but his lawyers say the energy task force was comprised of government officials, not corporate chieftains. The Bush administration has released thousands of pages of information from agencies involved in drafting the energy policy, but none from the White House.

In their filing with the Supreme Court, Judicial Watch argued that Cheney's lawyers had not shown he would suffer any harm by releasing White House papers, and were transparently trying to delay the case while the Bush administration's energy policy moved through Congress.