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Dick Cheney is Insane

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In a truly just world, Dick Cheney would be stuffing envelopes at home for a living, or perhaps sorting plastic at a recycling center somewhere. And yet here he is, “in a non-descript suburban office building in McLean, Va., in a suite that could just as easily house a dental clinic,” making his O Face for Politico. It nearly goes without saying that Dick Cheney proved to be one of the nation’s greatest natural catastrophes — a Dust Bowl in human form, the Spanish Flu incarnate — and as such, he merits our enduring scrutiny. Still, it bears remembering that much of what he has to say from now on will be completely insane:

Of one alternative — moving prisoners to the U.S. prisons — Cheney said he has heard from few members of Congress eager for Guantanamo transfers to their home-state prisons, and asked: “Is that really a good idea to take hardened Al Qaeda terrorists who’ve already killed thousands of Americans and put ’em in San Quentin or some other prison facility where they can spread their venom even more widely than it already is?”

Cheney’s mendacity is on full display throughout the piece — citing, for instance, fabricated and debunked figures to the effect that some five dozen “terrorists” have resumed their business of writing editorials and appearing in documentaries. Setting aside for a moment the question of what should be done with the people whom the US purchased from the Northern Alliance or the Pakistani ISI and whom we have since held without charge or trial for seven years, does Cheney actually believe that the Obama administration has the first notion of tossing detainees into the general population at a place like San Quentin?

I suppose he assumes Politico readers will find this plausible, but I’m thinking there’s something more going on here. By mentioning San Quentin, Cheney is subtly reminding Americans of the famous Black Panther George Jackson, who was shot to death in 1970 during one of the most notorious failed prison breaks in US history. (He could be trying to evoke B.B. King or perhaps the memory of Johnny Cash, but since Dick Cheney’s musical enthusiasms are limited to the recorded bleats of calves in a veal pen, I’m doubtful.) If McCain and Palin had adopted the San Quentin — and George Jackson — allusions during the campaign, they might have added a meaningful layer of depth to the charge that Obama was consorting with ’60’s-era radicals like William Ayers. Rather than simply claiming that Obama was friends with someone who endorsed the work of the Black Panthers, or that the Obama logo was an ode to Weatherman, the glue-huffers in the garden-level stairwell could have argued that Obama wanted to bring “two, three many George Jacksons” from Guantanamo to the shores of the homeland.

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