Peripatetic, itinerant, eclectic musings about books, politics, history, language, culture, and anything else that interests me.
Dick Cheney’s memoir has been out for two and a half years. I haven’t read it, and don’t intend to. I limit my intake of psychopathy to Criminal Minds. That said, reviews of and essays about the book and Cheney himself can be interesting–as this one in the current issue of New York Review of Books. Here’s an extended quote:
No turning back would be a good slogan for Dick Cheney. His memoirs are remarkable—and he shares this with Rumsfeld—for an almost perfect lack of second-guessing, regret, or even the mildest reconsideration. “I thought the best way to get on with my life and my career was to do what I thought was right,” he tells Cutler. “I did what I did, it’s all on the public record, and I feel very good about it.” Decisions are now as they were then. If that Mission Accomplished moment in 2003 seemed at the time to be the height of American power and authority, then so it will remain—unquestioned, unaltered, uninflected by subsequent public events that show it quite clearly to have been nothing of the kind. “If I had to do it over again,” says Cheney, “I’d do it in a minute.”
Yet lack of regret, refusal to reconsider, doesn’t alter the train of cause and effect; certainty that decisions were right, no matter how powerful—and the imperturbable perfection of Cheney’s certainty is nothing short of dazzling—cannot obscure evidence that they were wrong. Often the sheer unpopularity of a given course seems to offer to Cheney its own satisfaction, a token of his disinterestedness, as if the lack of political support must serve as a testament to the purity of his motives. …