Cheney's mysterious machinations
April 18, 2006
Kevin Drum points to a great article by Robert Dreyfuss in The American Prospect, Vice Squad, which digs into the inner workings of the Office of the Vice President, revealing how the VP has managed to exert such a significant influence on both national and foreign policy--and who comprises the collection of dedicated enablers that dedicate themselves to making it so.
Larry Wilkerson, formerly a top aide to Secretary of State Colin Powell, is a no-nonsense, ex-military man who has spoken out bluntly about what he calls a "cabal" led by Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and their top aides. Time after time, in various interagency meetings, all the way up to the Cabinet-level "principals committee," Wilkerson would watch in astonishment as Cheney's staffers muscled everyone else.
Wilkerson portrays the vice president's office as the source of a zealous, almost messianic approach to foreign affairs. "There were several remarkable things about the vice president's staff," he says. "One was how empowered they were, and one was how in sync they were. In fact, we used to say about both [Rumsfeld's office] and the vice president's office that they were going to win nine out of ten battles, because they are ruthless, because they have a strategy, and because they never, ever deviate from that strategy Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ They make a decision, and they make it in secret, and they make in a different way than the rest of the bureaucracy makes it, and then suddenly foist it on the government -- and the rest of the government is all confused."The entire article is most assuredly worth your time. From the unrelenting secrecy about everything emanating from the veep's office--including, bizarrely, even who works there--to the bullying and spying performed on behalf of the vice president by his mysterious and true-believing staff, it's nothing less than a playbook of a coup that most of America has failed to notice. From the moment Cheney was tasked with selecting Bush's running mate, and subsequently selected himself, he's endeavored to realize all of his neocon fantasies, changing America--and the world--into what he wants it to be.