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Was Cheney Drunk?

February 15th, 2006

As I said from the outset, there’s a lot about this incident that’s suspicious. My initial blog entry title of “CheneyquidDick” may have been quite apt; this may have been a similar incident, in important ways.

First off, at 6:30 pm, the vice president shoots a man in the face, neck and chest in rather blatant violation of hunting safety rules. That’s bad enough right there.

But then everyone who speaks for him covers up: they claim that it was Whittington’s fault; it wasn’t, it was very clearly Cheney’s. Second, they claim that the “peppering” was so light as to be negligible; it was not. Whittington was admitted to intensive care, where he stayed for a day, then had to be readmitted a day after being taken out of ICU because a shotgun pellet migrated to his heart and caused a minor attack. Sorry, but it’s hard to see a light peppering leading to a lead pellet half a centimeter wide being lodged in the man’s heart. Third, they claim he was properly licensed when he was not. Fourth, they claim that the incident was not reported because apparently everyone involved was so busy getting the man medical care that no one could spare five minutes over the course of twenty hours to give a simple accounting of what happened. That’s complete and utter bull, of course. They were within a stone’s throw of a car; why not drive the man to a hospital, especially with such “light” wounds? Instead, it’s almost an hour before an ambulance can take Whittington to the hospital.

Lies all around, covering up for Cheney. Here’s one small rule of thumb: if everyone is covering up, then there is something to cover up.

But the big point that I see here is not just the delay in reporting the incident; the big deal is rather the reason why there was a delay. The fact is, there is no good explanation for a delay–it simply makes no sense. You know that the story is going to come out. There’s no avoiding that. So why delay?

Another piece of the puzzle involves the fact that Cheney avoided talking to the police until the next day. It was 80 minutes before the Secret Service finally called the police; the sheriff asked to speak to Cheney, but an appointment was made for the next morning at 9:00 am. Why? Somehow the sheriff cannot come to the ranch at 8:00 pm? Deputies came to the ranch shortly thereafter, and the Secret Service initially reported that they wanted to interview Cheney. That story was later changed, and they denied that the police came to interview Cheney. And where was Cheney during all this? Having dinner, apparently so engaged in being “focused on Whittington’s well being” that they still were unable to make a phone call to the White House to tell them what had happened. Then they all went to bed, leaving the White House in the dark about the incident until 6 am the following morning when they finally find out that Cheney was the shooter.

Sorry, but that is the biggest sack of bullshit I have ever heard.

There is one explanation that makes sense of all of this: Cheney was drunk. It explains why they refused to speak to law enforcement. It explains why they needed to wait until morning to release the story. It explain why Cheney, an experienced hunter who should know safety rules up and down, made such an amateurish blunder in shooting someone. It explains why the White House is in full lie-about-everything denial mode. Even the chief deputy of the local police was in denial for Cheney: “There was no alcohol or misconduct,” he told the press. But how could he make that claim when his department was denied access to Cheney for 14 hours after the incident took place?

That Cheney was drunk is, in short, the only explanation that makes any sense.

Nevertheless, we will never see proof. That’s the reason for the delay and for putting off talking to the police. Now Cheney can face the police without his drinking being apparent. The only witnesses were his Secret Service detail, which will never tell, and high-powered Republican backers, who will also keep their mouths shut. There was no avoiding looking suspicious as hell, but the result is that there are only suspicions, and no proof.

But the circumstances are in themselves evidence that things did not happen as they are being described, and the lack of any reasonable explanation leaves the rest of us no choice but to believe the only reasonable explanation which fits the facts. And Cheney, with two drunk driving convictions from when he was young and no history of cleaning up, certainly is not above suspicion for such behavior.

Update: DailyKos is now reporting that Katherine Armstrong, owner of the ranch where the incident occurred, did report to MSNBC that people in the shooting party had been drinking, but that comment was scrubbed from the MSNBC web site.

Who knows, maybe that would help explain his other discretions. This is not the first time Cheney has been caught hunting illegally, for example; according to the Times Online, Cheney “had also been caught fishing out of season. ‘The $25 fine was not the worst part,’ he commented later. ‘They took my fucking fish.'”

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  1. February 15th, 2006 at 18:24 | #1

    Good analysis, Luis. You have spelled out what I only alluded to in my post. So I linked to your blog at the end of the post.

    If you like, you can read it at: Tales of 1001 American Nights

    I look forward to visiting again and reading more.


    ps. Are you teaching English in Japan? I taught for a year in Korea. Great experience!

  2. Tim Kane
    February 16th, 2006 at 02:26 | #2

    It won’t go away.

    It’s a perfect allorgory for the Administration, that likes to tell everyone they are bunch of straight shooters.

    It conflates nicely with everything else that has gone wrong with this administration. Straight shooters or Drunken Bulls – loaded up with firearms – in a China Shop? You decide.

  3. sy
    February 16th, 2006 at 03:30 | #3

    He doesn’t need to be drunk. He probably already takes 17 heart and blood thinner medications. All he needs is one beer, and that will enough be to intoxicate him.

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