Dick Cheney: The Unofficial Encapsulation
...I just can't resist any longer.
I would do one on Bush as well, but - frankly - Cheney was effectively the Commander in Chief of the United States for the past 8-ish years.
Richard Bruce Cheney is the individual arguably the most personally responsible for the deployment of the American military into Iraq, the obscene treatment received by PoWs in Abu Ghraib Prison and the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base. In my opinion, he is demonstrable psychopath and pathological liar, and should currently be behind bars rather than lounging in his estate for transforming a slowly progressing (if still rather dreary) nation state into a smoldering charnel house.
Cheney's academic record is rather poor, but by no means abysmal: He flunked-out of his first attempt at post-secondary education (in Yale); curiously, Cheney most credits his attitude regarding foreign policy to Professor Bradford Westerfield, whom he failed to attain passing grades from. He later would go on to successfully obtain a BA and MA in Political Science from the University of Wyoming, and then went on to begin working towards a doctorate at the University of Wisconsin Madison (but did not complete his study).
When the U.S. became involved in what would later be known as the Vietnam War, Cheney successfully avoided the draft by submitting deferments he allegedly received in order to complete his college education, which had been prolonged due to poor academic performance. Upon submitting his fifth and final deferment, his new spouse - Lynne Vincent - was 10 weeks pregnant, and Cheney was provided 'Hardship' exemption from entering service until he was no longer of eligible age for the draft.
In 1969, Cheney became involved in the political process; Congressman William A Steiger took him on as an intern, and shortly thereafter, Cheney found himself seated as a staff member of a man who would become his confidant and ally for nearly the rest of his political life: Donald Henry Rumsfeld. As the ties of these two men grew stronger over the next 6 years (to 1975), Cheney at some point drafted a White House memo to Rumsfeld suggesting use of the Justice Department to retaliate (illegally) against Seymour Hersh, an investigative journalist who wrote a story about American naval intelligence gathering in the New York Times.
This would become important later on, both in terms of establishing the relationship between Richard Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld and setting precedent for future actions.
Cheney would be elected as the congressman for Wyoming in 1978, serving as such until 1989 - when George H.W. Bush would nominate him for Secretary of Defense. To be fair, Cheney's term as SecDef (lasting until 1993) was served very well: he tightened absurd military spending, acted to deploy forces to Panama in 1989 to prevent Manuel Antonio Noreiga from establishing a totalitarian foothold over the region, responded relatively responsibly to the blooming food crisis in Somalia and, in 1991, repulsed Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait (Operation Desert Storm / Desert Shield) without embroiling the country in urban warfare. Saddam was left with his nose bloodied, a lesson learned and a stern warning received.
Clinton's election in 1993 saw Cheney exit the White house for the next 7 years, landing a fortune as CEO of Halliburton. The rapport he had built-up with the Bush family, however, led him to another opportunity to work the levers in the White House when George W. Bush Jr. ran for President and won in 2000 - with Cheney picked as his running mate.
On the 11th of September, 2001, the World Trade Center complex was completely destroyed and the Pentagon damaged when hijacked aircraft were used as weapons by Al Qaeda suicide bombers in one of the most shocking terrorist attacks of contemporary times. Following the attack, the Bush/Cheney white house established the 'War on Terror' and launched a military campaign in Afghanistan. After ineffectually searching for Osama Bin Laden, who planned the attack, in the back country of the nation and disrupting the Taliban, Cheney began insinuating that Saddam's Ba'athist party had connections with Al Qaeda (on some occasions even suggesting that there was a 'business relationship' between Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden). These insinuations were entirely false; while the Ba'athists held totalitarian (and at times brutal) control over Iraq, they were among the most progressive political parties in the Middle East at the time - abolishing Sharia Law, establishing proper education for citizens and empowering arabic women. Islamic Fundamentalists like Osama Bin Laden (and the vast majority of Al Qaeda members) viewed Iraq as an ever-growing blight and a bastion of sin.
When the Central Intelligence Agency's director, George Tenet, attempted to correct Cheney's inaccurate assertions about Al Qaeda and Saddam's Ba'athist party having strong ties, the vice president and Donald Rumsfeld blocked him through the creation of the 'Office of Special Plans' which marginalized Tenet - providing the White house instead with 'raw intelligence' that had not been scrutinized by professional intelligence analysts. This information was then often 'leaked' by Cheney to media sources, in order to sew confusion regarding the end of the day responsibility for the 2001 terrorist attacks as well as to provide himself with pseudo-sources to reference as 'supporting evidence' during interviews; this latter practice became particularly evident when the White House began making additional claims (still based on 'raw intelligence' from OSA) that Iraq was purchasing Yellow Cake Uranium from Niger.
Joseph Wilson, a former ambassador to Niger, was sent by the CIA to investigate this claim. It was found to be in error. Despite the investigation that had revealed the intelligence gathering the White House had conducted to be severely flawed and its 'findings' to be bogus, Cheney continued to push the Uranium Cake purchase story. When an outraged Wilson wrote a thorough debunking in the New York Times regarding the White House's allegations, Wilson's spouse - an undercover CIA analyst (spy) - had her life jeopardized when her identity was leaked to the public; a retaliatory move by Cheney (in accordance with precedence he had set several decades ago).
Despite pleas and insistence from the Central Intelligence Agency that no weapons of mass destruction were currently a part of Saddam Hussein's arsenal, the White House pressed on with it's rhetoric (though convincing few outside it's own citizenry, given that Russian and Israeli intelligence agencies had shared with a vast majority of the G8 countries their findings, which were completely parallel to those of the CIA: Iraq posed no credible threat to any country, was not planning to purchase yellow cake uranium and had not been able to secure materials for constructing any weaponry of mass destruction) until, in 2003, the invasion of Iraq was authorized.
It's important to note, again, that Iraq was slowly becoming more progressive. Given sufficient time (and the inevitable succumbing to old age of Saddam Hussein), the country would likely have began to creep further and further forward into modernity. Instead, the abysmal, ideological, lie-driven military action of the Cheney administration shattered the nation, ignited a civil war and had Al Qaeda recruiters and other Islamic Fundamentalists licking their chops at the suddenly rich environment for recruitment. The 'War on Terror' failed on nearly every level; even tactically, the much vaunted military industrial complex of America comprised of conventional tanks, aircraft and soldiers lost it's expensive assets while inflicting, effectively, no meaningful damage to any enemy assets. Dead teenagers and scavenged bombs are a dime a dozen to Al Qaeda.
PoWs captured during the war were tortured into giving false leads and false information, which led to arrests, further tortures, and yet more false leads and bad information until this grotesque game spiraled into it's own little demon. Rumsfeld was finally forced to resign his position over this, but was never criminally charged. Cheney retained his position regardless until the end of Bush's term.
Cheney refused to release documents ordered released by the court system that perhaps implicated him in the Enron scandal, destroyed documents related to Global Warming that the White house had been provided by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and has expressed that he feels the head of state is (and should be), by and large, above the law. He's also had multiple heart attacks in the past, and in my opinion, the fact that they didn't kill him prior to the year 2000 is rather good evidence that no just God exists.
Cheney left office in 2008 with the election of Barack Obama. He had an exiting disapproval rating of 60%.
"Natasha has just come up to the window from the courtyard and opened it wider so that the air may enter more freely into my room. I can see the bright green strip of grass beneath the wall, and the clear blue sky above the wall, and sunlight everywhere. Life is beautiful. Let the future generations cleanse it of all evil, oppression and violence, and enjoy it to the full."
- Leon Trotsky, Last Will & Testament
February 27, 1940