Author: Dick Armey livid Cheney 'bullshitted' him about Iraq 'mini-nuke'
Jon Stewart: 'It's nice to know he lies also to Republicans'For nearly eight years, Vice President Dick Cheney has combined an unprecedented position of power with a deep sense of living in a hostile and threatening world. He has been prepared to use his power in unscrupulous ways to ward off those perceived threats, even lying to Republican House Majority Leader Dick Army to get his support for the Iraq War.
That is the message presented by journalist Barton Gellman in his new book, Angler: The Cheney Vice Presidency. "This vice president is the nearest thing to a deputy president the country's ever had," Gellman told The Daily Show's Jon Stewart on Monday. "Until now, it would have been ludicrous to wonder, 'How do you hold a vice president accountable?'"
Gellman described how Cheney convinced former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, a leading Republican opponent of war with Iraq, to vote in favor of the war resolution.
"Cheney ... had ... a borrowed hideaway office in the Capitol building," Gellman explained. "He brings Armey in ... and he lays out a big stack of papers and says, 'Let me explain to you what's really going on. ... Saddam is much more dangerous than we want to tell the public.'"
"He told Armey two things that he's never said in public and that are not true," Gellman continued. "He said that Saddam personally, and his family, had direct ties with al Qaeda. And he said that Iraq was making substantial progress towards a miniature nuclear weapon."
According to Gellman's book, Cheney told Armey that Iraq would soon have "packages that could be moved even by ground personnel" and "a delivery system in their relationship with organizations such as al Qaeda." These claims, writes Gellman, "crossed so far beyond the known universe of fact that they were simply without foundation."
Although Cheney's mini-nuke fabrication has not previously been revealed, Cheney did state somewhat cryptically in a September 2002 interview with Tim Russert, "Thatís why itís so important for us when we do identify the kind of threat that we see emerging now in Iraq, when we do see the capabilities of that regime and the way Saddam Hussein has operated over the years that we have to give serious consideration to how weíre going to address it before he can launch an attack, not wait until after heís launched an attack."
"Armey is a very angry man at this point," Gellman told Stewart. "He was against the war. ... He was actually weeping in the well of the House when he cast his vote."
In his book, Gellman quotes Armey as saying, "Had I known or believed then what I believe now, I would have publicly opposed [the war] resolution right to the bitter end, and I believe I might have stopped it from happening."
"I deserved better than to be bullshitted by the vice president," Armey told Gellman.
"Do you think Dick Cheney believes that?" Stewart asked, with reference to the mini-nuke claim. "The basic premise [of the book] is 'Dick Cheney will do whatever he has to do to get what he wants.'"
"I would not go that far," objected Gellman. "He's deeply principled. He believes fundamentally in the dangers he talks about -- he's willing to stretch the truth."
"It's nice to know he lies also to Republicans," concluded Stewart. "Maybe he's more consistent ethically than I give him credit for."
This video is from Comedy Central's The Daily Show, broadcast September 15, 2008.
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