At [Thursday's] gathering of world leaders in southern Poland to mark the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the United States was represented by Vice President Cheney. The ceremony at the Nazi death camp was outdoors, so those in attendance, such as French President Jacques Chirac and Russian President Vladimir Putin, were wearing dark, formal overcoats and dress shoes or boots. Because it was cold and snowing, they were also wearing gentlemen's hats. In short, they were dressed for the inclement weather as well as the sobriety and dignity of the event.There is no excuse for it. Cheney is essentially thumbing his nose at Europe and yes, the Europeans were insulted. It was cold for the Inauguration but the Vice President dressed with all due solemnity for that occasion. Can you imagine going to Auschwitz and wearing a ski cap that says "Staff" on it???
The vice president, however, was dressed in the kind of attire one typically wears to operate a snow blower.
Cheney stood out in a sea of black-coated world leaders because he was wearing an olive drab parka with a fur-trimmed hood. It is embroidered with his name. It reminded one of the way in which children's clothes are inscribed with their names before they are sent away to camp. And indeed, the vice president looked like an awkward boy amid the well-dressed adults.
Like other attendees, the vice president was wearing a hat. But it was not a fedora or a Stetson or a fur hat or any kind of hat that one might wear to a memorial service as the representative of one's country. Instead, it was a knit ski cap, embroidered with the words "Staff 2001." It was the kind of hat a conventioneer might find in a goodie bag.
It is also worth mentioning that Cheney was wearing hiking boots -- thick, brown, lace-up ones. Did he think he was going to have to hike the 44 miles from Krakow -- where he had made remarks earlier in the day -- to Auschwitz?
Not only was his attire inappropriate but he used the opportunity he had to speak in order to score points for the administration's warmongering agenda. Mike Whitney writes the following:
The appearance of Dick Cheney at the 60 year commemoration of the liberation of Auschwitz is an affront to anyone who has even minimal regard for the horrendous suffering of the victims of the Holocaust. Cheney is the driving force behind America's global resource-war and is personally liable for the estimated 100,000 dead Iraqis and countless others maimed or wounded. To hear Cheney recite his duplicitous platitudes about "freedom" and "evil" is enough to leave even the most hardened cynic among us retching.
"The story of the camps reminds us that evil is real and it must be called by its name and it must be confronted," Cheney opined.
Yes, Dick, and we also appreciate the "banality of evil" that appears in the form of dumpy, mid-level, plant managers whose meaningless lives of plodding mediocrity are only enriched by rising to power, where their fascination with inflicting pain on other human beings can be fully realized.
Is there a more apt summary of Cheney's miserable tenure in government?
How could the architect of Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib and Bagram Air force base and the countless other gulags in the Cheney archipelago of concentration camps, be invited to speak at Auschwitz?
It boggles the mind.
Are the Jews who suffered under Hitler's despotic boot-heel comforted by the idea that the latest flourish of racism and sectarian hatred is now directed at Muslims rather than Jews?
If so, that's false comfort, indeed.
The root of racism is everywhere the same; only the names and the groups are changed. Cheney's record on the topic is entirely straightforward. He fought to defend Africa's apartheid government to the very end. He supported the Reagan administration's decision to put Nelson Mandela on the State Dept "list of terrorists". He resisted "tooth-and-nail" the movement to celebrate Martin Luther King's birthday as a national holiday. And, now, he presides over a chain of prison camps that exclusively houses Muslims; the unwitting victims of his apocryphal war on terror.
Is there a difference between anti-Semitism and anti-Islam? Or is it just part of a broader political calculation?
Cheney's delusional ramblings were not without their moments of stunning irony: "The death camps were created by men with a high opinion of themselves-some of them well-educated and possessed of refined manners-but without conscience. And, where there is no conscience, there is no tolerance towards others...no defense against evil...and no limit to the crimes that follow."
It seems to me that Cheney may have begun work on his own epitaph?