Monday, June 25, 2007

"I have a different understanding with the president"

Anyone even vaguely interested in the drift of this nation under the ministrations of Vice President Dick Cheney will want to read the multi-part series that debuted in the WashPost yesterday. Part I is here, and Part II is here. Parts III & IV come tomorrow and Wednesday.

The quote that we're using as the title for this post is what Cheney told former V.P. Dan Quayle, when Quayle warned him that as vice president he'd mainly be attending a lot of funerals. "A different understanding," but did Bush understand it?

The sources of the current stand-off with Congress -- Cheney's bizarre argument that he is neither a member of the executive branch nor of the legislative branch and is therefore not subject to any of the rules that apply to either branch -- are all laid out here. Cheney's "understanding" with El Presidente gave him unusual powers to "reach down" into any cabinet-level policy-making council and to impose himself on decisions, to sit with the president during daily briefings, to keep all his own daily contacts and briefings utterly secret.

Clearly, he began even before 9/11 to fashion a rationale for an imperial presidency beyond the power of any of the other branches of government, a presidency that could indefinitely imprison and could use cruel and inhumane treatment on anybody considered an enemy, without legal niceties. 9/11 gave him the justification to seize power.

All of this we've known but hardly in the detail offered in the WashPost series.

"Most of his operational agenda, in practice if not in principle, remains in place .... an insurrection against legal limits on the commander in chief ... bypassing Congress and the courts .... Cheney turned his attention to the practical business of crushing a captive's will to resist .... Many of the harsh measures he championed, and some of the broadest principles undergirding them, have survived intact but out of public view."

Eventually, they will come to public view, though it'll be too late.

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