Within days after 9/11, Vice President Dick Cheney was engineering a drastic revision of U.S. law that caught then-Secretary of State Colin Powell and national security advisor Condoleeza Rice by surprise. Cheney convinced the president to sign an executive order that would treat prisoners in the war on terror in ways our soldiers, our justice system and our Constitution never fathomed. The order authored by Cheney allowed prisoners to be held indefinitely without charges, without due process and not even the most fundamental American right of habeus corpus: A formal presentation of the accused to some court, any court, before she or he is locked away.
Now it becomes clear that our nation’s poor results in this war aren’t in spite of Cheney’s behind-the-scenes manipulation. It is because of them. By short-circuiting Powell, Rice and the entire process of advising the president, Cheney pursued reckless, unsustainable strategies that faced no internal scrutiny by generals, diplomats and intelligence officers who might have helped.
Of course, these policies also faced little external scrutiny by media such as the Quad-City Times until, belatedly, now. Obviously not just the Quad-City Times but most Americans are complicit in these crimes, if only by their silence. If a scapegoat is required on which complicit Americans can project their own blame so that they can now oppose these policies and actions, start correcting these mistakes and reclaim our country and its good name I can think of no one more deserving for this role than Dick Cheney.