The Trial of Richard Bruce Cheney

By Juan Cole | —

Satire alert :

The hall at the International Criminal Court in the Hague was packed today as the trial began of former US Vice President Richard Bruce Cheney [they always give all three names of suspected felons in the newspaper.]

The ICC justices begin with the first charge, that Mr. Cheney ordered the torture practiced by the Central Intelligence Agency on over 100 prisoners, 21% of them later recognized to have been falsely accused. Prisoners were abused anally, waterboarded, slammed against walls, threatened, an arm was broken, one died from exposure. Mr. Cheney denied that these techniques were torture, to the astonishment of sitting senators. And he continues to advocate the continuation of these methods.

Cheney’s attorneys object. “Your honors, there is no evidence that Cheney ordered torture.”

One of the judges leans over the bench. “Is it not true that Mr. Cheney told NBC News on September 16, 2001, “We also have to work, though, sort of the dark side, if you will.”?

Attorney: “That is not proof that he ordered torture.”

Judge: “He used the first person plural, “we,” and he used the imperative, “have to.” The very grammar indicts him. Moreover, he said in 2011 that he continued strongly to urge the use of waterboarding on prisoners. He is committed to the dark side.”

Attorney: “Waterboarding is ambiguous.”

Judge: “The US tried and hanged Japanese war criminals for waterboarding.”

Attorney: “Those individuals actually carried out waterboarding. They did not simply advocate their use.”

Judge: “Julius Streicher was quite rightly hanged after the Nuremberg Trials for having done no more than write newspaper articles urging crimes against humanity.”

Attorney: “Surely you are not calling Dick Cheney a fascist and war criminal?”

Judge: “Let us move on to the next charge. Mr. Cheney launched a war of aggression on Iraq, under false pretenses, that was illegal in international law and has led to hundreds of thousands of deaths.”

Attorney: “The vice president feared Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction.”

Judge: “Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction, and UN inspectors continually said so. In any case, there are only two grounds for war in the United Nations charter: 1) self-defense and 2) UN Security Council authorization of the use of force against a danger to world order. Iraq did not attack Mr. Cheney’s country, and the UNSC did not authorize the use of force.”

Attorney: “The US Congress authorized the war.”

Judge: “Unfortunately for your client, we consider that to be just another war crime by a different branch of government, not exculpatory.”

Attorney: “Mr. Cheney was not the commander in chief and could not order that war. George W. Bush was on top of the issues and in complete control.”

Judge: “Now you are just saying silly things.”

Attorney: “It was worth a try.”

Judge: “They kept Cheney informed of the torture program but not George W. Bush or Colin Powell. This was Cheney’s baby. Not only did Mr. Cheney launch an illegal war of aggression, he set off a chain of further crimes. The Nuremberg judgement observed, “To initiate a war of aggression . . . is not only an international crime, it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.” Mr. Cheney is also responsible for the torture at Abu Ghraib, for massacres of non-combatant populations, and for the displacement of 4 million Iraqis. He made a fifth of the country homeless and created millions of orphans and widows.

Attorney: “There is no evidence that Cheney ordered any of those things.”

Judge: “Did he advocate them?”

Attorney: “Hmm.”

Judge: “Well?”

Attorney: “I’m thinking, I’m thinking.”

Judge: “You are stalling. What about the outing of Valerie Plame, the CIA undercover field officer whose cover Mr. Cheney blew? Did not President George H. W. Bush say, “Even though I am a tranquil guy now at this stage of my life, I have nothing but contempt and anger for those who betray the trust by exposing the name of our sources. They are in my view the most insidious of traitors.”? ”

Attorney: “That was Richard Armitage and Bob Novak.”

Judge: “Cheney was the one who ordered Scooter Libby and other staffers to attempt to out Ms. Plame. They assiduously called journalists with this story. It was materials they left lying around that came to Mr. Armitage’s attention. It was only an accident that Novak ran with the story before one of Mr. Libby’s journalistic contacts could be convinced.”

Attorney: “Outing a CIA officer is not a crime in international law, only in US law.”

Judge: “We’ll be sure to forward the dossier to the US authorities.”

Attorney: “The US authorities already dismissed Ms. Plame’s suit on the grounds that Cheney was just doing his job.”

Judge: “That is why we are holding these proceedings at the Hague.”


Related video:

TheLipTV: “CIA Torture Report Exposes Bush + Cheney War Crimes”

19 Responses

  1. A youtube needs to made on this superb and truthful satire.

    So many youtubes need to be made regarding the warcrimes of Cheney and his cronies and colleague-criminals at CIA, etc. with people acting these roles.

    I hope some viewers of Juan’s blog will make them.

    Great job Juan!

  2. Per the video–Darth kept George out of the loop. The brain-damaged alcoholic is NOT GUILTY….

    It’s looking like President Obama intends to sweep all the torture stuff under the rug as much as possible. His spokesman, Josh Ernest, said CIA Director John Brennan was “a decorated professional and a patriot.” Ernest also said President Obama is confident the Justice Department acted appropriately in opting not to bring criminal charges against intelligent officials.

    Prediction….In just two weeks, on Christmas Day, President Obama will start trying to heal the nation’s wounds by giving a blanket pardon to all concerned. Darth Cheney will be at the top of the list.

    “Americans are a forgiving and good people. What better day for Americans to be forgiving, good, righteous, moral etc. etc. etc. than on Christmas and reach out to your fellow Americans and say….”WE UNDERSTAND AND FORGIVE YOU.”


  3. Very good humor. It would serve the world well if justice were carried out against America’s war crimes, but I don’t see this happening. More probably this story will disappear once the new congress convenes in January. In fact, this maybe away of controlling the story out of sight. A little truth mixed with some contraversary, add in a lot of confusion, and there Ya go a nice farewell cake to torture is ready for American consummation. Screw the UN. We ignore them quite regularly. If anyone pays a price it will not be above the rank of a lieutenant. Sorry, this is what reading the news for fifty years in my beloved country has brought me to become, a cynical voter who accepts the official narrative. Now, what about that Jonathan Gruber, or how about that liberal rapetard Lena Dunham? Is Bill Cosby a Democrate?

  4. “And this is what makes the fact that there’s even something called “the torture debate” so ridiculous. This debate, quote-unquote, has been settled not for decades but centuries. Everything that we did as part of the war on terror, in terms of how we treated detainees, has [long] been viewed as morally vile and inexcusable and criminal, pretty much across cultural and social lines. (And the United States has prosecuted people as war criminals for doing things we did.)

    So it’s not even a debate. There’s no debate. [The program’s] defilement [of the United States] is self-evident and indisputable.”

    Glenn Greenwald in an interview on

    Juan wrote a couple of days ago about how torture violated the US constitution.

    Glenn reminds us that the “torture debate” has been settled for centuries. It is not new.

    Here is the link

    link to

    The title
    “on torture, CIA and Washington’s rotten soul
    Glenn Greenwald tells Salon how the torture report exposes true evil — and a nation drowning in hypocrisy”

    Recommend reading Glenn.

    Times like this I recall the political theorist, Hannah Arendt

    “The trouble with Eichmann was precisely that so many were like him, and that the many were neither perverted nor sadistic, that they were, and still are, terribly and terrifyingly normal. From the viewpoint of our legal institutions and of our moral standards of judgment, this normality was much more terrifying than all the atrocities put together.”
    ― Hannah Arendt

    from wikipedia
    In her reporting of the 1961 Adolf Eichmann trial for The New Yorker, which evolved into Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil (1963), she coined the phrase “the banality of evil” to describe the phenomenon of Eichmann. She raised the question of whether evil is radical or simply a function of thoughtlessness, a tendency of ordinary people to obey orders and conform to mass opinion without a critical evaluation of the consequences of their actions and inaction.

  5. Talk of the war criminals possibly being held and prosecuted if they travel to another country are ludicrous. The Patriot Act contains language that says we don’t recognize another countries right to do so, and that we would use force to go in and “rescue” the accused. The Bush White House saw this as a possibly and prepared for it.

  6. In “The Trial of Richard Bruce Cheney”, I found:

    Judge: “He used the third [sic] person plural, “we,” …

    Should that not be “first person plural”?

  7. Yes, satire. We already know ruined this country through unnecessary war and torture, and Wall Street ruined us financially through fraud, and nothing will be done. But…sell cigarettes without paying taxes and you get strangled to death. We’ve got standards, you know!!!

  8. And Cheney’s accomplices? A sizable portion of the American people – most Republicans and many Democrats.

  9. But, but Juan! You didn’t finish the rest of the story, so please allow me:

    At this point in the trial the gallery, which Cheney had packed with well-wishers, bribed with Haliburton profits, and which included Sean Hannity, Michele Malkin, Rush Limbaugh, and assorted supine subservients from the Washington establishment, started chanting USA USA USA. Thomas Friedman, also in the gallery, hurled a profane “Suck. On This.” at the prosecutor.

    The judge tried to call for order, but just then Clive Bundy & Co. burst into the court room and started to brandish guns while railing incoherently about world domination by the UN, loss of sovereignty, the Feds, and swore by Jesus and Ronald Reagan that Cheney was a God fearing patriot protecting our free dumb [not a typo!]

    The Bundy and Washington crews then banded together and physically assaulted the witnesses and victims present in the court room, screaming that they were terrorists and a threat to the American Way of Life.

    Just when all seemed lost, Robert H. Jackson strode into the courtroom, slapped handcuffs on the unruly mob of wingnuts, including Cheney, and cast them into Spandau for life where they were given just one thing to read (Hegemony or Survival), and one movie to watch, (Manufacturing Consent).

    Not long after his imprisonment Cheney’s heart condition deteriorated, and Sean Hannity volunteered to offer up his own, but when they went to extract it they found he didn’t have one!

  10. jingeneva

    @PKinbangkok Cheney is in the same league as rios montt, pinochet, milosovec , Charles Taylor, and must be taken down by law.

  11. This was widespread, multinational, well-funded, systematic torture which could have only occurred with full sanctioning by the White House and certain members of Congress who funded these heinous actions over a long period of time.

    The Noun/verb 9/11 Justification takes in vain all those who perished on that day. A lame excuse which spreads the stain on our history even further.

    • And if there are no prosecutions it will be additional confirmation that the oaths of office taken by the responsible officials and elected politicians are meaningless.

      • Oh, I think we’ve had quite enough confirmation of that by now. What I’d like to hear about are the men and women in these services who REFUSED to torture. Aren’t there ANY?

      • Given the “The Noun/verb 9/11 Justification,” a very corporate-controlled media, the lurching far-to-the-right Congress and Supreme Court those previous users of our White House who originated, authorized, directed, coordinated and hid TORTURE will most likely get away with it.

  12. An excellent post, but how is it satire? There is no exaggeration of Cheney’s corrupt soul, his evil deeds, or of the nature of a proceeding in court. There is no humor in the catalog of crimes. It is a wistful fantasy of justice, a ghost of the future that could be…

  13. Your well-researched essay would be a fine piece of political satire but for one inconvenient fact: The United States is not a member of the International Criminal Court. And when the ICC considered adding the additional war crime of “aggression,” in 2010, the Obama Administration, lead by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and State Department Legal Advisor, Harold Koh, lobbied the ICC to delay that vote until — get this — January 2017. Why? Because targeting individual actors for assassination by drone is, by definition, a war crime of aggression.

    link to

  14. And Condi Rice, who is rarely mentioned but has to have been involved, is under consideration to head the University of Texas system (which will move her close to boyfriend George). There are no consequences for what these people did, only more money and power.

  15. “Fingers” Scalia says nothing in the Constitution appears to prohibit harsh treatment of suspected terrorists.

    It’s not cruel and unusual punishment because the suspects are not being punished because they haven’t been convicted of anything.

    Such stellar wingnut logic.

    link to

    • Since the inception of the Patriot Act and the AUMFs of 2001 and 2002 “wingnut logic” became the Law of the Land.

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