An editorial in Sunday’s New York Times tears Dick the Dick a new one —
The Associated Press reported that Mr. Cheneyâ€™s office ordered the Secret Service last September to destroy all records of visitors to the official vice presidential mansion â€” right after The Washington Post sued for access to the logs. That move was made in secret, naturally. It came out only because of another lawsuit, filed by a private group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, seeking the names of conservative religious figures who visited the vice presidentâ€™s residence.
This disdain for accountability is distressing, but not surprising. Mr. Cheney has had it on display from his first days in office, when he refused to name the energy-industry executives who met with him behind closed doors to draft an energy policy.
In a similar way, Mr. Cheney seems unconcerned about little things like checks and balances and traditional American notions of judicial process. At one point, he gave himself the power to selectively declassify documents and selectively leak them to reporters. In a recent commencement address, he declaimed against prisoners who had the gall to â€œdemand the protections of the Geneva Convention and the Constitution of the United States.â€
Mr. Cheney is the driving force behind the Bush administrationâ€™s theory of the â€œunitary executive,â€ which holds that no one, including Congress and the courts, has the power to supervise or regulate the actions of the president. Just as he pays little attention to old-fangled notions of the separation of powers, Mr. Cheney does not overly bother himself about the bright line that should exist between his last job as chief of the energy giant Halliburton and his current one on the public payroll.
From 2001 to 2005, Mr. Cheney received â€œdeferred salary paymentsâ€ from Halliburton that far exceeded what taxpayers gave him. Mr. Cheney still holds hundreds of thousands of stock options that have ballooned by millions of dollars as Halliburton profited handsomely from the war in Iraq.
Every now and then someone will bring up the stock option issue, and it gets slapped down almost immediately. In any other administration this would be a major scandal. But with the Bushies it barely qualifies as background noise.
Another editorial in the Times discusses the shocking and growing backlog of disability claims submitted by our troops —
Whenever and however American troops withdraw from Iraq, a flood of wounded and psychologically damaged veterans will present the nation for decades to come with costly needs that already are overwhelming government services.
The backlog of disability claims stands at more than 405,000, with cases averaging 177 days to be processed â€” almost twice the backlog for civilians. Experts estimate that an additional 400,000 claims will be filed in the next two years. …
… Clearly, the administration has failed in more than its battle strategy in Iraq and Afghanistan. While talking a lot about supporting the troops and using them shamelessly in Congressional battles and election years, the administration has systematically shortchanged the wounded and maimed who make it back from harmâ€™s way. The nation has a moral obligation to help them face a whole new challenge of survival.