Dick "I had other priorities in the 60s than military service" Cheney received 5 deferments to avoid service in Vietnam. He did no more than what many did at the time. Still it is a very strange start for one who prides himself on being a superhawk and who views our relations with the rest of the world as a matter of will, and paranoia. As Vice President, he has been the extremist behind the throne, one of the few for whom 911 was a godsend because it furnished him the opportunity to realize his most radical tendencies. Unlike Karl Rove who believes in turning government into an extension of the Republican Party, Cheney believes in making government a direct extension of the President. And if that President is weak and uninvolved, well then all that accumulated power flows quite naturally to the next person in line who is more engaged, the Vice President say. Of course, Cheney will only use this power against our enemies. Unfortunately, he sees enemies everywhere.
Cheney understands that sometimes lies must be used to serve a higher truth and that even after being exposed they still have power, hence the repetition of even the most thoroughly debunked assertions, like the connection between Saddam and al Qaeda or that the Vice Presidency is not part of the Executive Branch. It doesn’t matter that they are untrue. They take up time and energy. They delay, misdirect, and confuse action on issues.
While Cheney has been spectacularly successful in acquiring power, he has been a disaster in using it. The results are a preventive and preventable war in Iraq, domestic spying, welfare for the rich, largesse for Halliburton, a mania for secrecy, and a whittling away of Constitutional rights and safeguards, in other words a country less safe, more unequal, and less free.