Out of all the possible speakers the Wyoming State Bar could have invited to deliver the keynote address for its Sept. 10 annual banquet in Cheyenne, the honor predictably and appallingly went to Dick Cheney.
We realize the former vice president is the go-to guy when it comes to Republican fundraisers in Wyoming or for candidates “from” our state, i.e., the dinner Cheney spoke at for daughter Liz in Washington, D.C., last year when the long-time Virginia resident was still trying to foist herself on Equality State voters.
The Lincoln, Neb.-born Dick Cheney is and always will be the favorite son of the Wyoming GOP, no matter how many people or other nations object to his changing the definition of water-boarding to an “enhanced interrogation technique” instead of torture, or numerous allegations of war crimes and war profiteering in Iraq.
But the Wyoming State Bar isn’t supposed to be politically partisan — as The Associated Press recently noted in reporting on the event, it’s “a quasi-governmental entity that administers the legal profession using some taxpayer money” — and it should have occurred to organizers there would be a backlash from members who consider Cheney a wholly unacceptable guest speaker. In addition to his crazy, self-appointed position as the GOP’s elder statesman and foreign policy expert, it’s an affront to Bar members, who have all sworn to uphold the law.
One of our fundamental laws — predicated upon sheer human decency — is that America doesn’t torture anyone.
Ever notice that Cheney hasn’t spent his time out of office globetrotting, as so many ex-Veeps like to do? There aren’t many foreign countries Cheney is welcome to visit, because he knows there are international prosecutors who would like nothing better than to haul him before The Hague. As much as Wyoming Republicans respect him, there are many states where others — even Republicans — loathe Cheney for betraying his fellow Americans when he lobbied his boss to invade Iraq under the lie it had weapons of mass destruction.
Cheney has been the most unpopular vice president in our nation’s history. Why can’t he just leave us alone? What the heck did we do to him?
As the recipient of five draft deferments during the Vietnam War because he had “other priorities” than serving in the military, Cheney’s declaration that waterboarding isn’t torture is an outrageous insult to American World War II veterans who were subjected to the inhumane treatment at the hands of their Japanese captors. Could Cheney look these vets in the eye and tell them they weren’t tortured?
Well, yes, he probably could. He doesn’t seem to care who he insults with his twisted views of the world around him, but that’s precisely why he’s such a lousy choice by the Wyoming State Bar.
In March 2008, ABC-TV’s Lesley Raddatz prefaced a question to Cheney by noting, “Two-thirds of Americans don’t believe (the Iraq War) is worth fighting.”
“So?” Cheney interrupted.
“So?” Raddatz replied. “You don’t care what the American people think?”
“No,” the Veep answered. “I think you cannot be blown off course by the fluctuations in the public opinion polls.”
He continues to try to defend the indefensible. Asked earlier this summer if he had any regrets about the horrendous decisions the Bush-Cheney administration made in Iraq, he couldn’t think of any, outside of not bombing Iran at the same time.
In making its announcement Cheney would be its keynote speaker, the Wyoming Bar printed his bio verbatim from his latest book, including a passage that declared after he and George W. Bush left office, “President Obama began to dismantle the security policies that had kept this country safe. His policy decisions have led to a reversal of the gains America made in the war on terror in countries like Iraq and Afghanistan, and a weakening of America across the globe.”
Bush and Cheney kept us safe? Anyone else recall who was in the White House on Sept. 11, 2001, or has there been a massive outbreak of amnesia? The idea that anyone can take seriously anything Cheney says about anything — but particularly the U.S.’s domestic and foreign policies — is laughable.
In its latest publication, the Wyoming State Bar apologized and said it would re-examine its longstanding practice of printing speakers’ biographical materials without editing them.
State Bar officials simply don’t get it. Sure, it was appropriate for the organization to apologize, but what it should really be sorry about is even considering Cheney as a speaker, much less actually inviting him.
Sometimes, at least before she suspended her doomed Wyoming Senate race against Sen. Mike Enzi, Liz Cheney used to bring Papa along as a special surprise guest. Maybe he’ll reciprocate next Wednesday and ask his daughter to share the podium.
After all, she knows Cheney’s life as well as he does, having co-authored two of his autobiographies. She vigorously defends her father’s views on torture, and she’s widely experienced at insulting Obama. It sounds like she would fit right in at the Wyoming State Bar festivities.