From center, former Vice President Dick Cheney, Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo, Vice President Joe Biden in the Capitol Visitor Center’s Emancipation Hall, December 3, 2015.
Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/AP
But now, the Obama administration has moved from legally protecting Bush-era war criminals to honoring and gushing over them in public. Yesterday, the House of Representatives unveiled a marble bust of former Vice President Cheney, which — until a person of conscience vandalizes or destroys it — will reside in Emancipation Hall of the U.S. Capitol.
At the unveiling ceremony, Cheney was, in the playful words of NPR, “lightly roasted” — as though he’s some sort of grumpy though beloved avuncular stand-up comic. Along with George W. Bush, one of the speakers in attendance was Vice President Joe Biden, who spoke movingly of Cheney’s kind and generous soul:
As I look around this room and up on the platform, I want to say thank you for letting me crash your family reunion. I’m afraid I’ve blown his cover. I actually like Dick Cheney. … I can say without fear of contradiction, there’s never one single time been a harsh word, not one single time in our entire relationship.
Leading American news outlets got in on the fun, as they always do, using the joviality of the event to promote their news accounts and generate visits to their sites:
Yesterday, the U.S. government unambiguously signaled to the world that not only does it regard itself as entirely exempt from the laws of wars, the principal Nuremberg prohibition against aggressive invasions, and global prohibitions on torture (something that has been self-evident for many years), but believes that the official perpetrators should be honored and memorialized provided they engage in these crimes on behalf of the U.S. government. That’s a message that most of the U.S. media and thus large parts of the American population will not hear, but much of the world will hear it quite loudly and clearly. How could they not?
In other news, U.S. officials this week conceded that a man kept in a cage for 13 years at Guantánamo, the now 37-year-old Mustafa al-Aziz al-Shamiri, was there due to “mistaken identity.” As Joe Biden said yesterday, “I actually like Dick Cheney.”