Is Bush Telling Cheney to Go F*$# Himself?
Then it was the Bush Administration failing to act on their usual grandstanding and beliigerence to the other branches of government by actually reversing their ground on detainees after the Hamdan decision--not just for those at Gitmo, but also for those at CIA prisons worldwide.
And now the third blow in less than a week: The end of unconditional Halliburton contracts in Iraq, and the divvying up up contracting duties to no less than three independent, audited, competing contractors.
These are three pieces of shockingly good news that should take us all aback. I haven't seen this administration go this much on the defensive and actually reconcile themselves to somewhat saner versions of hare-brained policies in the six years since I've been watching them.
And there can be only one reason for this in my mind: a deep and personal rift between President Bush and V.P. Cheney that has now moved into actual policy considerations.
For the record, I have never believed that Bush was evil to the core. I believe he is an arrogant and totally-out-of-touch rich frat-boy. I believe that he is a deeply insecure and spiteful man. I believe he is a sociopath without human compassion.
But at heart, I think he's a privileged little brat who has had everything done for him all his life, and who still thinks he's a big kid--and who's in a job that's WAY too big for him.
Cheney, on the other hand, is an evil bastard. Cheney is a man who, as John Edwards pointed out, voted against meals on wheels and the MLK, Jr. holiday. He's a man who calculated his college attendance, marriage, and even his wife's pregnancy to exactly coincide with draft deferrals from Vietnam. He's a man who was on the inside of the Nixon administration, and felt that Nixon was wronged.
And these policies that are being reversed are Cheney's pet policies.
As many journalists and bloggers have pointed out, the Gitmo detainee policy has been Cheney's brainchild and pet issue. It is Cheney who insisted on the Gitmo policy; Cheney who lashed out at Democrats and the press over torture; Cheney who first and most violently claimed that CIA prisons and extraordinary rendition were absolutely necessary. Bush's defenses of these policies have, by contrast, seemed tepid, petulant and annoyed by comparison.
Interestingly, they have by contrast NOT stood down on the NSA spying after Hamdan. I believe that's because the NSA spying program was more Bush's idea than Cheney's--and that Bush personally stands to lose a great deal politically (possibly even impeachment) by backing down on it.
And Iran? Remember that it was CHENEY who was a member of PNAC. It is Cheney who wants to nuke Iran. Bush have been gung-ho to attack Iraq for on account of various personal demons, corporate allegiances and bad advice, but I doubt very much that Bush has any personal incentive to attack Iran. Bush isn't PNAC, and it's rumored that Bush highly resents his PNAC advisors for their bullshit lies about how the post-war occupation would turn out.
And Halliburton? This is not only the corporation that Cheney used to run and with whom he still has ties, but it's the corporation that continues to line Cheney's pockets. What else can we surmise from a move to hamstring Cheney's favorite little corporation? I doubt very much that the move is to save face politically, since Halliburton's horrible misdeeds in Iraq have not exactly been in the news lately. What about the character of this administration over the last six years would lead us to believe that they would make this move out of the kindness of their own hearts?
No, my friends. Something very deep is at work here. Strange events have been taking place--strange events that would bespeak, for this first time, a shred of sanity in this administration.
And every piece of unexpected good news comes at the price of a policy very near and dear to Cheney's heart.
My suspicion is that little boy Bush has seen the political handwriting on the wall, and told Cheney to go fuck himself in none too equivocal terms. I could be wrong, but that's what my objective analysis tells me.