Most people know that Vice President Dick Cheney is former CEO of Halliburton, which makes billions of dollars a year from oil and primarily defense-related construction contracts (and that war and chaos increase Halliburton's profits, which in turn increase the value of Cheney's stock options). Most people also know that Cheney was secretary of Defense under George H. W. Bush.
Many people know that Cheney was a congressman from Wyoming. Some even know that he was one of the founders of the Project for a New American Century.
Well-read people know that the Project for a New American Century, in turn, called for a new American empire well before 9/11, and lamented that, without a "catastrophic and catalyzing event — like a new Pearl Harbor", transformation of America into an empire would be very slow.
But even well-informed people probably don't know that -- in the 70's -- Cheney was instrumental in generating fake intelligence exaggerating the Soviet threat in order to undermine coexistence between the U.S. and Soviet Union, which conveniently justified huge amounts of cold war spending. See also this article. This scheme foreshadowed Mr. Cheney's role in generating fake intelligence in Iraq by 30 years.
And did you know that Cheney has been perhaps the leading advocate for strengthening the powers of the White House to the point of monarchy for at least 20 years?
Or that newly-released documents show that Cheney was involved in debates concerning illegal wiretaps 30 years ago?
Did you catch that the former director of the CIA accused Cheney of overseeing American torture policies ? Or that Colin Powell's former chief of staff stated that Dick Cheney is guilty of war crimes for his role in facilitating torture?
And, according to to the Pulitzer prize-winning reporter who uncovered the Iraq prison torture scandal and the massacre against Vietnamese civilians, Cheney is the main guy helping to fund groups which the U.S. claims are terrorists (see confirming articles here and here)
And guess who is the prime architect of efforts to bomb Iran? Yup, Mr. Cheney (see also this article).
To recap, Cheney's past includes:
• Faking intelligence and using scare tactics about enemies to justify a pre-planned military agenda
• Lobbying to give the president the powers of the king
• Calling for an American empire and lamenting the lack of a "new Pearl Harbor"
• Police state type wiretapping
• Selling war
• Promoting torture
• Funding Al-Qaeda
Did all of these aspects of Mr. Cheney's background converge in the Iraq debacle? Well, a top official at the State Department stated there was a secret "cabal" involving Cheney, and that Cheney and a handful of others had hijacked the country's foreign policy.
Did they converge on 9/11?
This last question is not merely academic: vice President Cheney was apparently in charge of ALL 5 of the war games which occurred on 9/11 and coordinated the government's "response" to the attacks. See this CNN article; and this essay.
And Cheney is the one who monitored flight 77 for many miles as it approached the Pentagon and -- when a military man asked "do the orders still stand?" -- Cheney responded affirmatively:
"The plane is 50 miles out. The plane is 30 miles out." And when it got down to, "The plane is 10 miles out," the young man also said to the vice president, "Do the orders still stand?" And the vice president turned and whipped his neck around and said, "Of course the orders still stand. Have you heard anything to the contrary?"
Watch the video for yourself (and see this essay).
Mr. Cheney's motive concerning 9/11 was strong. As a well-known writer said:
"For his entire career, he sought untrammeled power. The Bush presidency and 9/11 finally gave it to him . . ."
Postscript: For the sake of brevity, I have left out numerous additional acts committed by Mr. Cheney. For example, you may have heard that the Energy Task Force chaired by Cheney prior to 9/11 collected maps of Iraqi oil fields and potential suitors for that oil. But did you know that a secret document written by the National Security Council on February 3, 2001 directed the N.S.C. staff to cooperate fully with the Energy Task Force as it considered the “melding” of two seemingly unrelated areas of policy: “the review of operational policies towards rogue states,” such as Iraq, and “actions regarding the capture of new and existing oil and gas fields”? In other words, it is difficult to brush off Cheney's Energy Task Force's examination of Iraqi oil maps as a harmless comparison of American energy policy with known oil reserves because the N.S.C. explicitly linked the Task Force, oil, and regime change. Indeed, a former senior director for Russian, Ukrainian, and Eurasian affairs at the N.S.C. said “if this little group was discussing geostrategic plans for oil, it puts the issue of war in the context of the captains of the oil industry sitting down with Cheney and laying grand, global plans” (see also this essay).
And Cheney was largely responsible for generating fake intelligence about Iraq in order to justify the war.
And Cheney was probably responsible for outing CIA agent Valerie Plame.
And, according to former British Defense Secretary, Cheney has called the shots in the failed Iraq war.
Of course, Cheney has not acted alone in his actions. But he's been an important player in many different arenas and is, perhaps, the most widely-known figure who has had a hand in all of the above-described events. Cheney might not be the ultimate Mr. Big in these crimes, but he appears to have gotten his hands dirtier -- and to be closer to the true seat of power -- even than Mr. Bush.
In addition, while Cheney was not solely responsible for the above-listed actions, he hired many of the people who caused the mischief, such as the chief architect of the Iraq war - Paul Wolfowitz.
See also this round-up of Cheney's actions.