Cheney's memoir: heads really did explode
Critics – including former Secretary of State Colin Powell – fulminate over Dick Cheney's memoir.
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“This is not surprising,” Kaiser continues. “The genre of statesman’s memoir rarely produces self-criticism, or even much candor. Apparently, the point is to redeem your large advance from the publisher with a brisk, self-complimenting account of your life and times, with emphasis on your moment in the limelight.”
Susan Milligan of US News and World Report was similarly unimpressed.
Cheney’s memoir, she wrote, is “so unapologetic as to be a caricature.” Although former President George Bush’s memoir made no apologies either, it wasn’t angry. Cheney’s, by contrast, has done nothing to remove his “Darth Vader” nickname.
“There is characteristically nothing kind or charming or insightful to be found in Cheney's tome,” she writes. “Even the cover is daunting – a grimacing Cheney inside the White House, looking like he's deliberately trying to scare away the tourists.”
Throughout, Cheney has pushed back against critics, defending his stance on waterboarding, the Iraq war, and his harsh comments about his colleagues.
About waterboarding, he says, "The fact is that it worked. We learned valuable, valuable information from that process and we kept the country safe for over seven years."
And on Powell, Cheney had this to say: "I wrote the events as I participated in them," he said, adding that he held Powell in high regard "but a balanced account, I think, also required me to put down what my opinion was, and I think that's what I've done."
Even if his memoir were 576 blank pages, or oodles of doodles, we wouldn’t be surprised by the blowback. After all, it’s penned by the man who left office with a staggeringly low 13 percent approval rating. The man who is among the most reviled politicians in US history. The man who former president Ronald Reagan’s son, Ron Reagan Jr., called a war criminal.
Yes. Heads were exploding long before your memoir was even a stroke on the page, Mr. Cheney.
Husna Haq is a Monitor correspondent.