Despite the timid coverage of Dick Cheney's recent speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee 2007 Policy Conference, America's violent-tongued Vice President gave a speech that all but accused the Democratic party of plotting to commit treason and kill...
Despite the timid coverage of Dick Cheney's recent speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee 2007 Policy Conference, America's violent-tongued Vice President gave a speech that all but accused the Democratic party of plotting to commit treason and kill American soldiers. Somehow, the thinly-veiled threats and violent vocabulary of Cheney's horror-soaked speech was missed by CNN when it described the Vice President as "chiding" Democrats.
Reading through Cheney's speech--posted to the White House web site for any journalist to read a full 5 hours before the CNN article appeared on their web site--I was able to quickly pull together the following list of words and the number of times they were repeated, all of which evoke violence and all of which were used by the Vice President in the span of 27 short minutes:
war - 31
terror - 26
enemy - 12
attack - 7
battle - 7
kill - 6
destroy - 4
bomb - 3
weapons - 2
death - 2
murder - 2
violence - 2
In this speech--where CNN claims the VP was only "chiding" Democrats--our NC-17 VP repeated the words "war," "terror,""enemy," "murder," "death" and "kill" enough times to make Quentin Tarantino cover his ears and switch over to the Animal Planet.
For goodness sakes. Cheney's speeches need a warning label: "**WARNING** The Vice President of the United States gives speeches peppered with violent vocabulary that may give you and your children nightmares for days."
Not only was Cheney aggressive in his use of words that evoke violent horror and destruction, but he used this language to build a case against Democrats.
In this context where Cheney has primed the well with a stream of words evoking violence, consider the following statement that CNN interprets as "chiding" the Democratic majority in Congress:
The resolution that passed was not binding, only a statement of feelings. Yet other threats have been made that would hamper the war effort and interfere with the operational authority of the President and with our military commanders. These, too, are counterproductive and send exactly the wrong message. When members of Congress pursue an anti-war strategy that's been called slow bleed, they're not supporting the troops, they are undermining them. And when members of Congress speak not of victory, but of time limits -- (applause) -- when members speak not of victory but of time limits, deadlines or other arbitrary measures, they're telling the enemy simply to watch the clock and wait us out. (Applause.)
Chiding? It seems much more accurate to say that this passage is accusing the Democrats of threatening the President, harming American soldiers, and helping the enemy in a time of war.
By any reasonable definition, and in the context of the rest of his speech, that passage by Cheney should have been described by journalists as it was heard by his audience: as a thinly veiled accusation of the Democratic Party conspiring to commit treason during war.
And since the penalty for treason is death, the conclusion Cheney is implying is not far off--even if it is never explicitly articulated in his text.
Why, then, did big budget journalists overlook this accurate reading of Dick Cheney's speech--given the ease with which anyone with a word processor could have pulled out the pattern of violent parlance in our Vice President's AIPAC presentation?
The simple answer: because they were not looking for it.
Rather than actually looking for a pattern of language that evokes violence in our Vice President's transcripts, CNN seemed more intent on framing the story in terms of a generic political squabble. Cheney is fighting with the Democrats. Ho hum. So what else is new.
The real story, here, if there are any salaried journalists willing to take it on, is of a Vice President shrouded in a frame of violence.
Dick Cheney's speech offered a dark window into the mind of the most powerful man in America--a man who sees all foreign policy decisions, all political opposition, and all global forces in terms of terror, death, murder, and violence.
The words that Cheney uses are the story. And the sooner the big ticket media stops trying to turn his speeches into soap opera drama, the sooner the American public will understand that their Vice President is trapped in a violent nightmare of his own creation that darkens everything he touches and talks about.
When we listen to the words our Vice President uses--writing them down if necessary--we see in black and white the shrill, frightening terms that this administration uses to interpret every policy and every act of government.
And the sooner it stops, the better off we will all be.
© 2007 Jeffrey Feldman, Frameshop