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December 19, 2006



(full size here)

From the beginning, I have used the metaphor of a binge to describe the Administration’s compulsion to invade Iraq.  Because it’s part of a cycle, you can’t have a binge without a morning after.

Of course, its one thing when “abandon” occurs once in a while, as a form of release.  It’s something completely different, however, when that behavior is necessitated, heightened and prolonged as a neurotic process in a weak individual — or a weak organization.

If, for months now, the Administration’s wall of denial has been slowly cracking, it’s just in the past seven to ten days, or so, that large pieces are finally giving way.

I find this shot of Cheney in the Oval Office — posted December 7th to the TIME White House Photo Blog — really remarkable.  In the past month, many of you have sent me messages and links, in some form titled: “The Smirk Is Gone.”  In this case, Cheney is so transformed, he doesn’t even look like the same person.

Truly, it’s a shot I won’t forget.  It captures Cheney as the lone figure in the Oval Office, just steps from Bush’s so-called “Resolution” desk.  The vapor on the glass indicates just how cold the atmosphere is outside.  As well, the clouding is a reminder of the stress of maintaining the insulation. More significantly, it’s the first time I’ve seen him completely unguarded and thoroughly disarmed.

For a long time, I thought Cheney would escape scrutiny for twisting the intelligence, whipping up the hate, and bringing on the war.  Whether he’s ever formally held to account however, this image (in its possibility; in its “morning after”) insures he’s already been measured — and he knows it.

  • Doctor Jay

    There’s nobody I’d like to see get their comeuppance more, but I wonder what this means to our governments ability to function over the next two years. Which is better, cocksure Bush or vindictive loser Bush? Smirking Cheney or window-fogging Cheney.
    The energy has gone out of these guys, everything is sagging.

  • Darryl Pearce

    “Do not rejoice in his defeat, you men. For though the world stood up and stopped the bastard, The bitch that bore him is in heat again. ” –Bertolt Brecht

  • T Paine

    I had assumed from the expression and the fogged windows that he had just farted. Talk about yer WMD…

  • Darryl Pearce

    Here’s an interesting take on Cheney using a cliché: “Did you notice that at every stop on the president’s information-gathering tour last week, there was a very familiar face looming over his shoulder? There was Vice President Dick Cheney, looking as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.
    Should the president suddenly have an original thought or seem to be going wobbly, Cheney will be right there to squelch it or to set him straight.”

  • KansasKowboy

    So these men may know what they have wrought upon the Middle East and our nation. But will they pay for their crimes?

  • smiley

    I think his face is like that because of the botox. I bet he’d keep that flaccid sneer even if he was tied to a table and you were jamming a white-hot coathanger up his ass.
    His crimes are treason, and he should hang for them.

  • stevelaudig

    alone, in the dark, suddenly old [how many times does God have to play "catch and release" with this criminal?] but things are looking up. Soon he’ll be a grandfather. Invidious individuals do make a difference in world history. He’s responsible for more deaths than Hussein, or he’s getting close. He and his partner “fail upward.”

  • thirdeye pushpin

    The curtains have opened and the light is coming in. It is not a warm light. The word pluribus “many” is visible on the flag along with some stars. Many sources are shedding light and after the long walk down the hallway he is alone in the president’s office. His chicanery is unveiled and he is awaiting the inevitable.
    I have no sympathy for Richard Bruce; he should be sentenced to dig irrigation ditches in Sadr City.

  • lowly grunt

    I think the fog in the window looks like a face. The panels at the very top – the middle and on the right – have ovals in them that if you allow your imagination to go with it looks like “angry eyes”. The panels below and to the left look like an open mouth.
    Well, that’s the Rorshach that I see in this picture.

  • margaret

    Cheney is not out of the woods with Patrick Fitzgerald’s investigation and the upcoming trial of his former aid, Scooter Libby. That’s a lot to think about, too, and, probably a more promising means of rendering him less than useful for the next 2 years.

  • Jon Gallagher

    At first glance I was reminded of a character from the neo-cons’ favorite Fox terrorist-torture porn show ‘24′. It’s Mike Novick, the beauraucrat(?) who betrayed one president, then served his successor’s successor (I’m just starting Season 5, so God knows what will happen to him).
    Novick betrayed his president, helping the cabinet to invoke a constitutional shoving aside of the Last Decent Man to take the presidency, and in the end at least had the decency to own up to it.
    The cretin in this photo is reduced to pleading for someone, anyone to believe that he is still right. The rightwing of the blogosphere is evidence that there are some who believe him, but then again they’ve all been revealed as bats**t crazy.

  • dancinfool

    Watertiger has done a magnificent job with this photo.

  • donna

    For what doth it profit a man to gain the whole world, but lose his soul.
    He can’t even publicly be happy for his grandchild on the way and call for Mary and her partner to be allowed to be married.
    And the only pleasurable outlet he has is shooting things.
    Sad, really.
    Too bad nobody could possibly feel sorry for him.

  • Blue Patriot Woman

    Right you are about this photograph. Haunting.
    The snear is completely gone. Without that snear we can finally see the truth: he is a scared old white guy staying one foot ahead of the grim reaper.
    The photos and footage of the “listening tour” reveal joyless Condi, toothless Dick and clueless George walking into walls of reality and hard to face (or fathom?) truths.

  • Santa Claus

    A lot of additional humiliation is heaped on with thie bizarre new twist of his lesbian daughter being pregnant. How does the base reconcile all of this?
    It doesn’t.
    The whole charade is imploding. Only, I don’t want to simply see these goons stand in disgrace — it is insufficient. Just like Hitlers generals, there needs to be a reconing. There is always a reconing. So, when will Cheney have his? It will probably just be a silent passing in the night like Kenneth Lay, the evildoer behind Enron which again, does not fit the crime. Cheney’s morbid black heart will simply die of dryrot and he will be off the hook. However it comes, God forgive me if I ask that it be sooner rather than later.

  • lower_case A

    Darryl Pearce, your use of the Bertolt Brecht quote was chillingly appropriate, and sums up my own private fears. How much have we learned from this lesson, and how quickly will we forget?
    Looking at the fog on the window behind Cheney I am reminded of the American people, and how easily many of them can be counted on again to fall for their next ‘fog’ of lies and spin.
    And, frankly, I don’t think Cheney looks afraid of anything at all. To my eye, he merely appears reflective, which brings to mind a whole new set of questions.

  • jtfromBC

    Following on Darryl Pearce’s quote,
    “They are such charming people
    If you leave them well alone
    While they are fighting to recover
    What has never been their own”

  • itwasntme

    I’m delighted to see this evil person’s face fall as he takes in reality at last. That “inside mind” smirk of his told everyone what he was really thinking: that he knew it all. Now the ego is in pain at the realization that he’s just a smuck after all. Fool. It will hit his vitals and we’ll see something soon. Karma.

  • James

    How small he looks . . .

  • nitpicker

    Through a glass smudgily.

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