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Feeling No Pain: Your Representative Democracy at Work


In an interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America” with White House correspondent Martha Raddatz aired on March 19, the fifth anniversary of the beginning of the Iraq War, Vice President Dick Cheney revealed once again how closely he listens to public opinion.

CHENEY: On the security front, I think there’s a general consensus that we’ve made major progress, that the surge has worked. That’s been a major success.

RADDATZ: Two-third of Americans say it’s not worth fighting.


RADDATZ: So? You don’t care what the American people think?

CHENEY: No. I think you cannot be blown off course by the fluctuations in the public opinion polls.

AP photo by Eric Gay.

AP photo by Eric Gay.

The vice president’s contempt for the views of the American people—whose sons and daughters are being sent into the meat grinder, in contrast to Cheney’s five deferments from serving in the Vietnam War—is consistent with George W. Bush’s disregard of the massive anti-war protests in mid February 2003, shortly before the U.S. attacked Iraq. Some 250,000 went out into the streets in New York City,and millions more rallied in Washington, San Francisco, London, Paris, Rome, and on every continent. But when Bush was asked by a White House reporter if his war plans would be swayed by the millions of people worldwide protesting a potential war on Iraq, he replied, “Size of protest—it’s like deciding, well, I’m going to decide policy based upon a focus group.”

Dick Cheney as a junior at the University  of Wyoming in 1964, the year he received his third deferment from military duty.

Dick Cheney as a junior at the University of Wyoming in 1964, the year he received his third deferment from military duty.

The administration’s arrogant disregard of public opinion was also seen in its ‘surge decision’—in direct contradiction of the strong antiwar vote in the 2006 midterm elections and brazenly contrary to the advice of the authoritative, bipartisan Iraq Study Group—to escalate rather than draw down the numbers of U.S. troops in Iraq. At the time, early January 2007, the administration’s audacity stunned the nation. Now the ‘surge’ is accepted as normal and is even praised—by John McCain and other hawks—as a success. And the news media play right along, reducing coverage of the war and giving the impression that Iraq is now calmer, more orderly. And each month the U.S. spends another $12 billion on the Iraq War. $720 million every day. $500,000 a minute . . .

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