Why has Cheney, on two occasions following the election, publicly derogated Obama and his administration’s policies? It is, so far as I can discover, an unprecedented violation of protocol for him to have done so immediately upon leaving office as VP.
Andrew Sullivan has a good piece on this here. He correctly observes that Cheney is trying to counter the emerging narrative (which has been emerging for several years…no WMD found, photos from Abu Ghraib, snippets from the torture memos, revelations from Britain). But as Andrew points out, the internal information held so closely by the Bush/Cheney administration, and which looks likely to be seriously damaging to Cheney’s (and others’) reputations but which also may quite possibly result in criminal proceedings against them, are now slowly emerging into the light with a real possibility that subsequent information will be utterly damaging.
God only knows what Cheney et al are doing out of sight (likely their greatest area of expertise) but Cheney is clearly, as Andrew suggests, also trying to wage preventive propaganda right now. But why? Who does he expect to influence? Is he counting on the conservative movement base to cause such a loud ruckus that Obama, with all on his plate, might go easy on Cheney and crowd? It seems unlikely he’s worried about his his legacy (less so about Bush’s legacy) but perhaps it’s a consideration. He’s been deeply committed for some years now (since Nixon) to an ideology which seeks expanded powers for the Presidency and may fear that, just as post-Watergate, this ideology is in serious jeopardy of being again discredited.
It’s a bit of a puzzle. But motivations are often difficult to comprehend or ascertain and certainty most particularly so when the person who’s motives are subject to the inquiry borders on the pathological, which I believe Cheney does.
Update: An entirely relevant matter…the ongoing legal proceedings in Spain
Spanish human rights attorney: ‘I would recommend that Mr. Feith…get a very good lawyer.’
Last week, a Spanish court agreed to consider “opening a criminal case against six former Bush administration officials…over allegations they gave legal cover for torture at Guantanamo Bay.” Former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Doug Feith said the charges “make no sense,” adding, “they criticize me for promoting a controversial position that I never advocated.” Gonzalo Boye, one of the lawyers filing the complaint, responded to Feith, saying, “If they [Bush officials] are innocent,they shouldn’t be afraid” to come to court:
“I would recommend that Mr. Feith first of all read the complaint, and secondly that he get a very good lawyer,” Boye said. “If he is so sure of what he is saying — then the address of the national court is #22 Genova Street, second floor.”
Feith often expresses amnesia about his central role in approving torture. “I strongly championed a policy of respect” for the Geneva Conventions, he told Congress last year. In reality, British international lawyer Philippe Sands reported that Feith “took the steps to ensure thatnone of these detainees could rely on Geneva.”