Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Buck Shot, Buck Fever, Bungling and Dick Cheney

By now almost everyone has an opinion on VEEP Cheney's shooting a lawyer in a hunting accident. One recent poll had 56% of those polled sympathizing with the VEEP in his moment of self-inflicted tribulation... This is in spite of the fact that he was clearly negligent. It is of course possible that poll reflected more a general contempt for lawyers than pity for the VEEP.

Cheney's tour de force as VEEP has been the stuff that is usually found in myths, because it is fraught with disbelief.

As the story goes, GW Bush picked Cheney to head a committee to find a vice presidential candidate as a running mate in 2000---guess what? He picked himself. At the time, despite the temerity, it seemed like a good idea... GW Bush was callow-head big money with family name recognition behind him; but was at best a provincial, regional figure, so Cheney would provide gravitas to the ticket.

Cheney took over the administration of national security and energy policy once elected, and dominated it. Apologists for President Bush like to point out that the president is a Harvard Business School graduate trained to delegate authority, but fail to mention you never delegate responsibility. So Cheney's blunders are in fact Bush's. The exception is that GW Bush did not shoot the lawyer.

Remember Cheney brought tons of falsehoods that helped Bush justify the invasion of Iraq. These consisted of WMDs, contacts between Al Qaeda and Iraq, yellow cake uranium ore, Iraqi oil revenues to pay for the war, no expectation of an insurgency, and limited economic cost of the war. On top of this, his office was key in outing a CIA agent to cover the administration’s tracks on the Yellow Cake fiasco. Libby, his chief pistolero, is under indictment for cover up. Cheney is up to his ears in the Iraqi debacle.

As far as Mr. Cheney’s expertise on energy--when he took power, oil was less than $30.00 a barrel; now it bumps $70.00. Exxon has a record year in profits. Venezuelan Chavez, taunting Bush, sells cut rate oil to poor people in the Northeast US--gasoline at the pump is $2.50

No bid contracts to prosperous Halliburton corporation in Iraq and in Katrina reconstruction are disgusting, and in some instances, now coming under legal scrutiny--Mr. Cheney left the CEO job at Halliburton to be the VEEP or did he?

Cheney has been off point for the last five years. In a recent poll, 45% indicated that the VEEP did not have the best interests of the US at heart. This is startling.

Maybe all this failure has impacted; clouding his judgement when shooting quail. We know the VEEP shot the lawyer, but did he hit the quail? The record to date is silent on the issue. Some believe Mr Cheney suffered from buck fever when he blasted his 78-year-old hunting companion. Buck fever is defined as "nervous excitement of an inexperienced hunter on the approach of game". In the February 20th edition of the WASHINGTON POST, J. Turner writes "Medical studies show that hunters often experience a type of physiological frenzy in the presence of game--or its illusion ......a male’s heart rate can reach 118% of maximum heart rate "

Mr. Cheney's admission of the proverbial beer before the hunt, combined with his heart medicine may explain the delay reporting the incident to avoid routine testing by law officials..

Given the fact the VEEP passed on going BANG BANG with six deferments during the Vietnam war, it is apparent he does not like to shoot at things that shoot back. If he still needs the rush provided by the smell of gun powder and the sound of weapon discharges, he may want to try hovering over Fallujah in a US helicopter for two minutes.

The great irony of Mr. Cheney is that in the Bush aggregate he is by far the most outstanding leader. His record as a US congressman, Chief of staff for President Ford, and Secretary of Defense under the GHW Bush administration during war, clearly demonstrated his leadership. With his authoritarian style, he does not need a cackling staff to make decisions. I like his style in avoiding the gushing press spot light. In the last five years, Mr. Cheney's process in making decisions is not in question. What is in question are the disastrous decisions he has made. It is not his ability to fire, but to aim. Colonel Robert E Bartos USA Ret


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