Sunday, September 10, 2006

"Cheney's Power No Longer Unchallenged"

Image of Original Painting Used With Permission

Your intrepid Demon reporter was up very early this morning, drinking her demonically strong coffee & catching up on the news, when this article in the New York Times (title bar) caught her eye. Excerpts follow.

"WASHINGTON, Sept. 9 — From those first moments five years ago when Secret Service agents burst into Vice President Dick Cheney's office on Sept. 11, lifted him off his feet and propelled him to the underground Presidential Emergency Operations Center, the man who had returned to Washington that year to remake the powers of the presidency seemed unstoppable.

"Within minutes, Mr. Cheney was directing the government’s response to an attack that was still under way. Within weeks, he was overseeing the surveillance program that tracked suspected terrorist communications into and out of the United States without warrants. Within months, he and his staff, guided by a loyal aide, David S. Addington, were championing the reinterpretation of the rules of war so that they could detain 'enemy combatants' and interrogate them at secret detention facilities run by the C.I.A. around the world.

"It was Mr. Cheney and his staff who helped shape the rules under which members of the Taliban and Al Qaeda were denied some of the core rights of the Geneva Conventions and would be tried by 'military commissions' at Guantánamo Bay — if they faced trial at all."

'I believe in a strong, robust executive authority, and I think that the world we live in demands it,' Mr. Cheney said in December on a flight from Pakistan to Oman. 'You know,' he added, 'it’s not an accident that we haven’t been hit in four years.'

"But as the nation observes the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Mr. Cheney finds the powers he has asserted under attack and his influence challenged. Congress and the Supreme Court have pushed back at his claim that the president alone, as commander in chief, can set the rules for detention, interrogation and domestic spying.

"On Wednesday afternoon in the East Room of the White House, Mr. Cheney sat silently as President Bush urged Congress to restore to him the powers, stripped away by the Supreme Court in a 5-to-3 ruling in June, to create military commissions and define the precise meaning of the Geneva Conventions when it comes to interrogations.

"There is little question that Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney still share the goal of expanding the power of the presidency: legislation they have sent to Congress would essentially allow them to set the rules of evidence, define interrogation techniques and intercept domestic communications as they have for the past five years.

"But they have been stymied in their effort to simply assert those powers and carry them out with minimal oversight, as part of Mr. Cheney’s declared goal to restore to the presidency an authority that he believed was dangerously eroded after Vietnam and Watergate.

"On national security issues, Mr. Cheney, once the unchallenged adviser to a president who came to office with little experience in foreign affairs, remains a pivotal figure but now vies for influence with other officials like Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Stephen J. Hadley, the national security adviser. Over the past 18 months, Mr. Cheney appears to have reluctantly given ground on detention practices and, at least for now, on policy disputes involving Iran and North Korea.

"On Friday, the Senate Intelligence Committee — controlled by Mr. Cheney’s Republican allies — declared that there had been no basis for Mr. Cheney’s repeated claims that Saddam Hussein had harbored an Qaeda leader and had ties to the group. But Mr. Cheney has never conceded that his statement was in error.

"His prediction in 2002 that overthrowing Mr. Hussein would force radical extremists 'to rethink their strategy of jihad' proved wrong, as Mr. Bush implicitly acknowledged last week when he described how the array of enemies facing America has multiplied. Mr. Cheney’s friends and former aides said they were mystified about how the same man who as defense secretary in 1991 warned that 'for us to get American military personnel involved in a civil war inside Iraq would literally be a quagmire' managed, 15 years later, to find himself facing that prospect."

Couldn't happen to a nicer guy, nor one with more hands-on experience of war. Cheney says he'll wait for history to judge him.

BushAwol Action Figures

ou go on & read the rest of the article. I'll be looking for my little violin.


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