Dick Cheney: America’s Greatest Asshole?

TRS-UB-Illing

Iraq is making national headlines again. The country is ablaze. Militants have seized several key cities, and the Iraqi people are hopelessly divided along sectarian lines. In other words, the dream of erecting a Jeffersonian democracy in the heart of the Middle East is officially dead.

There are a hundred different reasons why our misadventure in Iraq was destined to end this way, but that’s not what this article is about. This article is about hypocrisy. It’s about the shameless gasbags who’ve taken to the airwaves in recent days to explain to all of us what went wrong and how we ought to fix it. In short, it’s about Dick Cheney.

Of all the people who were wrong about Iraq, one asshole truly stands out: Dick Cheney.

Whatever you think (or thought) about the decision to go to war in Iraq, I suspect most people now agree that it was, in retrospect, a terrible idea. And even if you think the war was worth fighting, you’d probably grant that the people who planned it were spectacularly wrong – wrong about the costs, wrong about the consequences, wrong about damn near everything.

There were many important people who got Iraq wrong: George Bush, Bill Kristol, Donald Rumseld, Paul Wolfowitz, Hillary Clinton, and Condoleezza Rice – to name a few. As expected, some of these same people are among the gasbags presently offering sage advice (on TV and in print) about what to do in Iraq.

However, of all the people who were wrong about Iraq, one asshole truly stands out: Dick Cheney. Now, Cheney’s pathological dickishness is well-documented. So I’m not breaking any news here. But even by Cheney standards, what happened last week is something to behold.

asshole_dick-cheneyCase in point: A few days ago, Cheney emerged from his Wyoming cave to pen a column for the Wall Street Journal about the current state of Iraq. The piece is stupid from start to finish, but the following zinger about Barack Obama is especially egregious: “Rarely has a U.S. president,” he writes, “been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many.” Let the irony of that statement detonate in your brain for a second.

If you’re thinking, “Where does this guy get the Jurassic-sized balls to say something like that?,” you’re right. Recall that in 2005, when asked about the war in Iraq, Cheney said the following: “I think we may well have some kind of presence there over a period of time, but the level of activity that we see today from a military standpoint will clearly decline. I think they’re [the insurgency] in the last throes.” Naturally, almost immediately after he said this, the insurgency intensified and the war raged on for several more years.

But he was wrong about so much more. He said there were weapons of mass destruction that posed an imminent danger to the United States; that a sectarian battleground was fertile soil for democracy; that there was a link between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaida; that we wouldn’t need a large ground force to hold the territory; that oil money from Iraq would fund the war. These claims were not merely false, but they justified decisions that got people killed – a lot of people, in fact.

In the annals of assholery, Cheney is indeed a special case.

Over 4,000 American soldiers are dead. Tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians are dead. Countless veterans are wounded and permanently scarred. Our economy is still hemorrhaging from the money spent and the resources diverted. Cheney, incomparable prick that he is, has refused to take responsibility for any of this.

So, to recap: the man who conceived, executed, and championed the war, who was wrong about everything of significance, now has the gall to blame Obama for the consequences of his own wrongness. Even more astonishingly, his latest screed manages to give an account of the recent history of Iraq without even mentioning his decision to unilaterally invade the country. Nor does it mention the Bush administration’s role in setting in motion events that would eventually upend the entire region, which, incidentally, he calls the greatest threat to America’s national security. Instead, the article is stuffed with half-baked critiques of Obama and platitudinous appeals to freedom.

If you find any of this hard to believe, you don’t get Dick Cheney. This malignant mammal would bathe in children’s tears if he thought it would score him a few political points. He’s just that kind of guy – amoral, unreflexive, self-satisfied, and cocksure of his own rightness.  

In the annals of assholery, Cheney is indeed a special case. Although he lacks the focused insanity of a Hitler or the murderous zeal of a Pol Pot, he is simply peerless in his ability to be wrong and unaccountable. He is, I submit, the most cartoonishly evil and non-self-aware person in American politics.

And he once shot his good friend in the face.

What an asshole.RedShtick-Top-ColumnStop


Sean Illing is a reluctant academic with a penchant for pissing people off with words. He has found an outlet for his smartassery here at The Red Shtick. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_illing, or learn more about the man at SeanIlling.com.

About Sean Illing

Sean Illing
Sean Illing is a reluctant academic with a penchant for pissing people off with words. He has found an outlet for his smartassery here at The Red Shtick.

Check Also

Last Known Jindal Supporter Throws in the Towel

Gov. Bobby Jindal’s last known supporter in the state of Louisiana has finally thrown in the towel.