Monday, March 23, 2009

Comparing Dick Cheney to a Mafia Godfather

The Mafia has its methods in politics and its role in economy. Its minds (agents) are planted in the State's essential institutions. They form lobbies. They are active in the media, cultural, and leisure fields (British historian Eric Hobsbawm). The reference of all the agents, employees and lawyers is the greater godfather. The godfather is the arbitrator of conflicts. He gives orders. He protects those who need protection. He mediates for the promotion or the dismissal of this or that person. Dick Cheney was the godfather during President George Bush's term. He planted neocons in his office, in the State Department, at the Department of Defense, in the judicial power, in newspapers, in research centers. At the time, mafia behavior came together with cowboy behavior.

Because a godfather would die rather than resign, Cheney - after taking his walking stick and leaving the White House - is acting like a governor in Africa or the Middle East; or like Marlon Brando in the famous movie, or like Al Pacino and Robert de Niro in its second part.

After former US Republican presidential candidate John McCain, Cheney is waging a campaign against President Barack Obama and his efforts towards a dialogue with America's enemies, and the 'axis of evil'; against his choosing Christopher Hill as US Ambassador to Iraq because of his lack of Middle East experience, as he said - and also because he was able to reach an agreement with North Korea to stop its nuclear activities. The godfather fears that he will repeat the same experience with Iran. He assures that he pressured Bush to adopt a more stringent stance against Tehran and Pyongyang.

Hill might not be any better than his predecessor Ryan Crocker in Iraq or Jeffrey Feltman in Lebanon, for in the end, he does nothing but represent his administration's policy. But the godfather does not like this policy. He is against the ambassador because he will supervise the liquidation of Bush's legacy (his own, in fact) in that country and the area surrounding it. Doesn't the Mafia try to preserve its legacy, unheeding of social, historic, or political developments? Isn't this what the US Mafia did in the 1920s when agrarian society turned into a society of industry and consumption? Isn't this what happened in Iraq after the State and society were disassembled? Isn't the demand for the privatization of the army and turning it into a security guard against the theft of the companies supervised by small godfathers similar to Mafia actions?

Domestically, the godfather did not pass over the defense of his legacy. He considered all the measures that violate the US Constitution such as torture in prison, phone tapping, and arrest without trial to be "necessary for collecting information that allowed us to foil attack attempts against the United States". He said that this is the law, despite the opposition of opponents. But Cheney still blames Bush for accepting a judgment that indicted his Chief of Staff Lewis "Scooter" Libby for perjury and disclosing secret intelligence information - although the sentence was commuted two and a half years. Bush refused to issue a pardon for Libby before he left the White House.

The godfather is disgruntled. He was not able to protect one of his men. He has nothing to console him in his isolation except memories and futile interference in the affairs of the administration. He is awaiting the time of revenge that might not come while he is alive.

Thanks to Mostafa Zein

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