"Their cruelty is not rebuked by human suffering, only fed by it."
~ Vice President Richard Cheney, May 26, 2007, West Point
Hey there Dead Eye, usually I write to George, but you know… you’re special too.
Just the other day after a hearty breakfast of cheese blintzes I had that… how shall I put this delicately? I had that je ne sais quoi feeling in the lower tract. Then it hit me! And it wasn’t the blintzes, either.
‘Twas a delayed reaction to your commencement speech to the West Point graduating class of 2007!
The first time I read it, I was in stitches. You’re such a witty character. There were some real howlers.
And it was inspirational, too. It got the red, white and blue blood flowing. Joseph Goebbels couldn’t have done it better. What were you trying to do, get more people to watch "24"?
That was no easy audience before which to perform either. I mean… what do you tell a group of young men and women 70% of who are about to be sent out to a permanent sandstorm to maim and kill or to be maimed and killed? Do you think the graduates knew how to decode "securing freedom?"
Buttering up your audience is the mark of real showman. You started off with the usual crap: greatest military academy in the world… privilege to be in your company… a few inside jokes… Hail Caesar. Blah, blah, blah…
So far, so good.
Then… Drum roll please! The Vice President is about to dredge up the vintage fear-mongering bovine excrement from the past six years! (Wild applause.)
You said: "We’re fighting a war on terror because the enemy attacked us first and hit us hard."
Wow: You’re so quick on the draw. Just ask your lawyer.
Ever wonder why the enemy attacked us? Don’t tell us they hate us for our freedoms. What freedoms? You, George and Alberto, along with your Puppet Congress, have done a swell job making sure al-Qaeda lacks that excuse! How come you didn’t bring up the fine work you’ve done destroying the Constitution with all those presidential findings and executive orders and signing statements.
But you could have used more bang. Were you just being modest when you failed to mention the Military Commissions Act?
Trot that one out and you could have had those West Point graduating cadets eating out of your hand! You must know that in any school, razzing freshmen is a totally awesome pastime. By offering the carrot of torture, you could have had that audience really pumped up.
Wait a minute. My mistake. You did mention torture when you said:
"Capture one of these killers, and he’ll be quick to demand the protections of the Geneva Convention and the Constitution of the United States. Yet when they wage attacks or take captives, their delicate sensibilities seem to fall away. These are men who glorify murder and suicide. Their cruelty is not rebuked by human suffering, only fed by it. They have given themselves to an ideology that rejects tolerance, denies freedom of conscience, and demands that women be pushed to the margins of society. The terrorists are defined entirely by their hatreds, and they hate nothing more than the country you have volunteered to defend."
Gosh Dick… them’s strong words! But just to make sure there’s no misunderstanding, you were talking about al-Qaeda and not the Bush Administration, right? For a moment there, I was kind of confused.
With that happy thought in mind, you stated:
"The terrorists know what they want and they will stop at nothing to get it. By force and intimidation, they seek to impose a dictatorship of fear, under which every man, woman, and child lives in total obedience to their ideology. Their ultimate goal is to establish a totalitarian empire, a caliphate, with Baghdad as its capital. They view the world as a battlefield and they yearn to hit us again. And now they have chosen to make Iraq the central front in their war against civilization."
Yeeowza! A caliphate! That’ll get those graduating cadets trembling in their jack-boots. Now would that be a caliphate like the Umayyads, the Abbasids or the Fatimid caliphates? Or is it just possible that you don’t have a clue what you are talking about? I think you’re using the word "caliphate" to frighten young, innocent men and women. Ignorance is bliss.
And what’s this nonsense about making Baghdad the capital? I thought Baghdad was the capital… of Iraq… not the whole Middle East. Give us a break here Dick. Do you seriously think Saudi Arabia, Jordan, UAE, Dubai, Qatar, Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Morocco, The Sudan, Iran, Syria, Turkey, Pakistan and even Lebanon are going to sit still and let some guys hiding in a cave take over the whole kit and caboodle? You are a funny guy! You need to take your act on the road! How about the University of Massachusetts for your next gig?
However, I’m not sure satire was your goal. Allow me to help you out. How’s this:
The American Neocons know what they want and they will stop at nothing to get it. By force and intimidation, they seek to impose a dictatorship of fear, under which every man, woman, and child lives in total obedience to their ideology. Their ultimate goal is to establish a totalitarian empire, a Democratic Dictatorship, with Washington DC as its capital. They view the world as a battlefield and they yearn to hit Iran and Syria next. And now they have chosen to make Iraq the central front in their war against civilization.
There. That’s much better.
Elizabeth Gyllensvard contributed to and edited this story.
Tom Chartier [send him mail] played lead guitar in legendary Los Angeles punk band The Rotters for 26 years until their final appearance in January of 2004. He has lived in Tokyo and Los Angeles. Currently he resides somewhere in the Caribbean.