Yesterday, at the end of a long day of strategic communications, the usual route home was blocked by police barriers, the sort of thing traffic reporters call a “police incident,” a long, unexplained delay leading to gridlock.
The barriers, it turned out, were for former U.S. vice-president Dick Cheney, who was giving a talk at the Vancouver Club, the local pinnacle of snoot, and for the horde of protesters milling around the club demanding his speedy arrest, trial and conviction as a war criminal.
It’s bad enough he’s thought of as a war criminal. He compounds his Darth Vader reputation by impeding the free flow of traffic.
Dick Cheney: putative war criminal … and pylon.
Cheney was invited to speak in Vancouver by the Bon Mot Book Club, which has a definite “Let them eat cake” lilt to it. And speaking of cake, I hope they serve cherry slice at their meetings, and if they do, I hope they invite me. It’s my favourite.
Meanwhile, out on the street, at the barricades, the righteously indignant from the StopWar Coalition et al. wanted Cheney and the Bon Mot members to choke on their $500-a-plate rubber chicken. They see Cheney as the evil mastermind of all that’s wrong with U.S. foreign policy going back to the ’80s, when as the congressman from Wyoming he voted against an initiative to free Nelson Mandela. It hasn’t helped his brand that he managed to dodge the draft at the beginning of his career and, near the end, shot his hunting buddy instead of a quail. Oops.
In between, he waged war on half the world and approved of interrogation ‘techniques’ such as water boarding and sleep deprivation, also known as ‘torture.’ A hard man to like.
Even worse, he remains truculently unapologetic for any of it. His memoir, which he’s currently flogging, is a 576-page un-apology that infuriates his critics. He has even infuriated his colleagues, such as former Secretaries of State Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, by calling them sissies.
Still, to stomp your feet and holler inarticulate clichés does nothing to thwart a nasty old hombre like Dick Cheney. Maybe it makes you feel better, but it leads to indigestion among the members of the Bon Mot Book Club and doesn’t do much for weary columnists who would really like to get home, thank you. You’ve got to wonder who they’re going to invite to their next meeting. Hitler’s dead … isn’t he?