Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Living on fear

There he was, advocating torture, pure and simple, in no uncertain terms. He said he would use water-boarding in a heartbeat (if it would lead to any terrorist information).

I never did like Dick Cheney, and I didn’t expect to like him when I saw him interviewed on television last month. The man widely believed to be the force - the force for evil, many say - behind President George W. Bush was making a very rare appearance to promote his recently published memoir, and, not surprisingly perhaps, he didn’t pull any punches.

What was surprising was that, even as he was spewing awful things, I found myself having feeling, having heart, for Dick Cheney. That’s because he literally doesn’t have a heart.

In the interview, Cheney sat in a room and walked around his Wyoming ranch wearing a bulky vest loaded with batteries and wires. Quite eerily, he looked like a suicide bomber, but these batteries and wires keep his heart going after so many heart attacks. The interviewer panicked when, at one point, he disconnected the batteries and it beeped.

This may make Cheney look even more like Darth Vader, with powered breathing, but it occurred to me, as I watched all this, that this is a scared man, a man living in fear. His life is based on fear. To Cheney, death - never mind illness and disability - is imminent, and he has done everything, to the extent possible, to shield, if not arm, himself against it.

Unfortunately, perhaps because he is not good at dealing with this fear, he made everyone else feel it and the need for shielding and arming. And unfortunately, this fear was all too evident in many of the wall-to-wall commentaries and events marking Sunday’s tenth anniversary of the September 11 attacks.

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