A modus operandi is a fancy Latin term for a ‘habitual method of procedure’ and Dick Cheney’s methods during his terms as Vice President have become so habitual as to become virtual fingerprints.
It’s inspiring to see a national vice-leader so committed to an idealism, no matter that the ideals are not borne out by actual facts. But it’s charming. Gutsy, as well.
I had a grandfather like that and he carried a burning faith in his own infallibility through the wreckage of his five daughters’ lives, the destruction of his small-town Iowa reputation and, finally, his doctors’ advice on matters of health. The last infallibility killed him, but not until the reasonably old age of 78. He was, to everyone but his daughters, charming. He charmed me, as a ten-year-old.
And so it is with Cheney, who probably charms his own grandchildren. Steadfastly predicting our invading forces in Iraq would be greeted with flowers in the streets and, as recently as last May, declaring the insurgency to be in it’s ‘last throes,’ he soldiered on.
Clearly beaten but, as yet unbowed, our intrepid advance-man for strange takes on facts from Iraq continues to label the desert-disaster as the necessary removal of a tyrant with ties to al Qaeda and WMD. Fingerprints, Dick, you’re leaving fingerprints all over the scene of the crime.
The latest reversal for the administration comes in the form of a Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) shelving of inconvenient fact. Turns out that the ‘mobile biological laboratories’ the P and VP so stunningly unveiled in May of ’03 were phonies. More interesting, they knew they were bogus before making the claim and knew the facts to be incorrect for months afterward, as they continued to sham and shame the truth.
Now, if you say something that turns out to be untrue, you’re mistaken. Happens to everyone. But if you say something you know to be untrue, you’re a liar. No other word for it. When you knowingly deep-freeze the evidence that proves you knew you were lying and soldiers under your command are dying at the time, it comes dangerously close to . . . well, I don’t really know how to describe what it comes dangerously close to.
But it’s certainly more evidence of fingerprints. And it’s akin to the same lack of moral road-map that allowed the VP to set his chief of staff off to do the ‘family’ dirty-work and then let him swing for it when he got caught. Neither Bush or Cheney came to Scooter Libby’s defense by volunteering the info about de-classification and marching orders to leak. That might not have fit Dick’s habitual method of procedure.
The lovely thing about a free society is that it can be scammed and lied to for only a limited period of time, as we Americans have been scammed and lied to. But the truth eventually surfaces. The great old peg-legged pirates of yesteryear buried their treasure, then shot the diggers of the hole and buried them as well. We don’t (yet) shoot those in the know.
What we do instead is classify the pirate-treasure ‘secret’ and put it on a shelf. Almost as good as in the ground. Nearly as safe from prying eyes. Good as gold.
Joby Warrick’s Washington Post article has President Bush proclaiming
“a fresh victory for his administration in Iraq: Two small trailers captured by U.S. and Kurdish troops had turned out to be long-sought mobile "biological laboratories." He declared, "We have found the weapons of mass destruction."
We have found the weapons of mass destruction— hardware-store pressure gauges, some cannisters and a little bent tubing. Actually, what may have been found in the Iraqi desert was just an ordinary Kentucky moonshine still. No? Ammonia fertilizer, perhaps? Did any of the containers happen to say John Deere on them?
No matter. Dick Cheney had already put the anti-WND report on the shelf. Not to worry, George. Because it was stamped Secret, the nine guys who did the research were unable to say anything in public about it. Disclosing classified information is a big-time federal offense and people go to prison for it.
Unless they’re Dick Cheney, trying to shoot down the credibility of Valerie Plame’s husband, Joe Wilson, and his outing of another Dick Cheney lie. In that case, Dick gets the President to de-classify whatever secret document he needs, leaks it through his hapless chief of staff, complaining all the while of leaks. Scooter goes down to the federal prosecutor, Dick goes quail hunting and all is well amongst the spies and lies. Except for more fingerprints.
And except possibly for Scooter deciding it’s not all that cool to actually fall on his sword for his boss.
They say it’s lonely at the top. Certainly George Bush has gotta be getting more and more lonely, as his credibility takes wing along with advisors, cabinet secretaries and now, most probably his vice president.
Before planes crash, standard drill is to throw everything heavy out the back door. The combined Libby accusation and now the WMD report being ignored, on top of an 18% approval rate, make Dick Cheney too heavy to keep this administration airborne.
But if he goes, who will actually run things?