Monday, July 13, 2009

Cheney's Quiet Coup

Last year's debate over whether the Vice President was part of the executive or legislative arm of government is being mooted by revelations that Dick Cheney was operating as a separate branch of his own.

Now we learn from Leon Panetta that he was running a secret counterterrorism program that the CIA withheld from Congress for eight years on his direct orders. Add this to Seymour Hersh's recent charge that Cheney had been running "an executive assassination ring...going into countries... and finding people on a list and executing them," and the picture emerges of a Vice President running his own post-9/11 war against Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

President Obama himself adds fuel to the fire in a CNN interview, telling Anderson Cooper that "the Bush administration resisted efforts to investigate a CIA-backed Afghan warlord over the killings of hundreds of Taliban prisoners in 2001."

As much as the President and the rest of us want to put the Bush era to rest, the ghosts of Cheney's secret and illegal private war within the war on terror keep coming up and haunting us with questions of how much power one man can exercise unchecked in the administration of a president who calls himself the Decider but, where it counts, isn’t.

That past won't stay buried until we see it all fully and clearly.

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