Dick Cheney is an enemy of democracy in America and a war criminal. His warm reception on the floor of Congress by Democrats yesterday at the January 6 Capitol riot commemoration was shameful and disgusting.

By Chip Gibbons, Jacobin

Yesterday marked one year since pro-Trump fanatics stormed the US Capitol under the belief that they could halt the counting of electoral votes and install the loser of an election as president. Democrats marked the occasion by remembering the breaching of the Capitol as an attack on democracy (featuring a bizarre musical interlude from the cast of Hamilton); Republicans were less eager to do so. During the official congressional ceremony, only two Republicans chose to attend. One was Liz Cheney, currently a US representative for Wyoming; the other was her father, Dick Cheney (as a former member of Congress, Cheney has lifetime congressional floor privileges). Numerous Democrats reportedly walked over to Cheney to shake his hand.

I find it difficult to put into words how shameful venerating Cheney like this is by anyone, much less the country’s supposed left-wing party — and it’s particularly jarring given that Cheney has dedicated his career to attacking democracy, the very thing the ceremony was supposedly in opposition to.

dick cheney should be in jail
Photo by Gage Skidmore

It’s necessary to remember a bit of history here.  Cheney was the most powerful vice president in US history. He is most remembered for his role in promoting the Iraq War, an illegal war of aggression predicated on lies, as well as pushing the nation to the “dark side” after 9/11, which included torture, detention without trial (including of US citizens), warrantless surveillance, and other egregious departures from liberal norms of democracy.

All this was predicated on a shocking legal theory that gave the president sweeping wartime powers that neither Congress nor the courts could check. As they were fighting a global war with no borders, this meant that not even US citizens in the United States were safe from the wartime president’s rampages. This was illustrated by the case of José Padilla, who was arrested at the Chicago airport, declared an enemy combatant by George W. Bush, and held in a military prison for three and half years.

These are not the actions of a “defender of democracy” but of someone who constantly attacked and undermined and disregarded it. And while Cheney’s worst abuses came during the “war on terror,” they were the culminations of decades of his scheming against American democracy. Cheney’s long political career has been devoted to skirting and ignoring democratic norms however he sees fit.

Read More