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Cheney to address secret group

The con­ser­v­a­tive Coun­cil for Nation­al Pol­i­cy will meet in down­town Salt Lake

by Thomas Burr
Salt Lake Tri­bune

Vice Pres­i­dent Dick Cheney will speak to a super-secret, con­ser­v­a­tive pol­i­cy group in Utah on Fri­day dur­ing his sec­ond trip to the state this year.

Cheney will address the fall meet­ing of the Coun­cil for Nation­al Pol­i­cy, a group whose self-described mis­sion is to pro­mote “a free-enter­prise sys­tem, a strong nation­al defense and sup­port for tra­di­tion­al West­ern val­ues.”

The orga­ni­za­tion — made up of few hun­dred pow­er­ful con­ser­v­a­tive activists — holds con­fi­den­tial meet­ings and mem­bers are advised not to use the name of the group in com­mu­ni­ca­tions, accord­ing to a New York Times pro­file of the group.

“The media should not know when or where we meet or who takes part in our pro­grams, before [or] after a meet­ing,” a list of rules obtained by The Times showed. The group did not respond to an e‑mail seek­ing com­ment.

Czech Repub­lic Pres­i­dent Václav Klaus is also expect­ed to address the Coun­cil for Nation­al Pol­i­cy’s meet­ing in down­town Salt Lake City. After his speech, Cheney will meet with Klaus, the vice pres­i­den­t’s office said Tues­day.

For­mer Mass­a­chu­setts Gov. Mitt Rom­ney, who ran the 2002 Win­ter Olympics in Salt Lake City, will also be in Utah on Fri­day but his cam­paign did not respond to a ques­tion about whether he would talk with the group.

Cheney’s vis­it is expect­ed to be short, only a few hours, accord­ing to peo­ple famil­iar with the trip’s details. The trip coin­cides with fundrais­ers in Cal­i­for­nia, Col­orado, Neva­da and Wyoming, Cheney’s spokes­woman Lea Anne McBride said.


All of the events on the trip are closed to the pub­lic and the news media, McBride said.

Cheney last vis­it­ed the state April 26 to give the com­mence­ment speech at Brigham Young Uni­ver­si­ty.

Discussion

One comment for “Cheney to address secret group”

  1. Here’s an inter­est­ing fun fact: accord­ing to a study con­duct­ed dur­ing the lead up to the first Gulf War, it would have tak­en 17 tac­ti­cal nukes to elim­i­nate a divi­sion of Sad­dam Hus­sein’s Repub­li­can Nation­al Guard. So all of the 8 divi­sions that exist­ed at the time could have been wiped out with around 137 tac­ti­cal nukes.

    Here’s anoth­er fun fact: we have this nuke esti­mate because Dick Cheney, then sec­re­tary of defense, was inter­est­ed enough in using tac­ti­cal nukes to com­mis­sion the study:

    The Guardian
    George Bush Sr book reveals a more dan­ger­ous Dick Cheney than any­one knew

    Des­tiny and Pow­er shows a VP with more author­i­ty than almost all his pre­de­ces­sors, mak­ing plain Bush Jr’s admin­is­tra­tion could have been even worse

    Julian Borg­er Diplo­mat­ic edi­tor

    Thurs­day 5 Novem­ber 2015 09.29 EST

    George Bush the elder is not the first father to blame his son’s mis­takes on the bad crowd he fell in with, and the counter to such pater­nal indul­gence is always the same: the son has an impor­tant say on the friends he choos­es, espe­cial­ly when he hap­pens to be the US pres­i­dent.

    The per­son­al quotes in the new biog­ra­phy of George HW Bush, Des­tiny and Pow­er: the Amer­i­can Odyssey of George Her­bert Walk­er Bush by Jon Meacham, show he has nei­ther giv­en up his long strug­gle with Eng­lish syn­tax, nor aban­doned his pro­tec­tive feel­ings towards his son and suc­ces­sor in the White House.

    It is anoth­er pub­lic win­dow into a fam­i­ly wrestling with the most tox­ic lega­cies of the junior Bush’s pres­i­den­cy, the Iraq inva­sion and tor­ture, and it comes after a series of episodes on the Repub­li­can pri­ma­ry trail in which Jeb Bush has tried to dodge a defin­i­tive ver­dict on his elder brother’s exploits. Both father and broth­er have sought to cre­ate dis­tance with­out appear­ing to throw a close fam­i­ly mem­ber under a bus.

    For Bush Sr, the dilem­ma is all the more ago­nis­ing as some of the White House advis­ers he now crit­i­cis­es are for­mer employ­ees he bequeathed to his son. Dick Cheney had been his defence sec­re­tary, and Con­doleez­za Rice was a Russ­ian spe­cial­ist in the first Bush White House and pro­tege of Brent Scow­croft, the elder Bush’s nation­al secu­ri­ty advis­er and friend.

    The two were part of a group of for­eign and secu­ri­ty pol­i­cy advis­ers that Bush Jr gath­ered around him dur­ing the 2000 elec­tion cam­paign. They called them­selves “the Vul­cans”, not as a trib­ute to Spock, but to demon­strate they were as tough (or as Bush Sr might say, “iron-ass”) as the Roman god of fire. The Vul­cans who hud­dled at Bush’s Texas ranch at Craw­ford also includ­ed the for­mer and future defence sec­re­tary Don­ald Rums­feld, and the man who would become his deputy at the Pen­ta­gon, lead­ing neo­con­ser­v­a­tive ide­o­logue Paul Wol­fowitz, as well as for­mer top gen­er­al Col­in Pow­ell, togeth­er with his close con­fi­dant, Richard Armitage.

    The lat­ter two would emerge as the doves in the Bush admin­is­tra­tion, but at the time, Cheney, Rums­feld and Rice were also seen as embod­i­ments of con­ti­nu­ity, steady hands at the side of a pres­i­den­tial can­di­date vul­ner­a­ble to alle­ga­tions of inex­pe­ri­ence. How­ev­er, beneath the sur­face lay plans for rad­i­cal change from the very begin­ning.

    ...

    There is no doubt that Cheney and Rums­feld were giv­en more licence and author­i­ty than almost all their pre­de­ces­sors once the “war on ter­ror” began. Cheney was cer­tain­ly the most pow­er­ful vice-pres­i­dent of mod­ern times, with a large and assertive staff, some­thing that Bush Sr draws par­tic­u­lar atten­tion to.

    Cheney and Rums­feld used their enhanced pow­er to poi­son the flow of infor­ma­tion to the president’s desk about Iraq and its sup­posed weapons of mass destruc­tion. The vice-pres­i­dent even made repeat­ed trips to CIA head­quar­ters in Lan­g­ley to bul­ly ana­lysts into pro­duc­ing more hawk­ish reports, while Rumsfeld’s Pen­ta­gon sucked up high­ly dubi­ous “evi­dence” from Iraqi exiles and ide­o­log­i­cal free­lancers. But, as even as the ever-for­giv­ing father admits in Meacham’s book, it was Pres­i­dent Bush who allowed Cheney to grow his own empire.

    “I think they over­did that. But it’s not Cheney’s fault. It’s the president’s fault,” Bush Sr says.

    “The buck stops there,” he adds, in a riposte to his own efforts to spread the blame for the fias­cos of his son’s pres­i­den­cy.

    Per­haps the most alarm­ing rev­e­la­tion to emerge from the new Bush biog­ra­phy is the elder man’s rec­ol­lec­tion that while Cheney had been his defence sec­re­tary, he had com­mis­sioned a study on how many tac­ti­cal nuclear weapons would be need­ed to elim­i­nate a divi­sion of Sad­dam Hussein’s Repub­li­can Guard.

    Appar­ent­ly the answer was 17, though a more pro­found con­clu­sion is that Cheney was a more dan­ger­ous fig­ure than any­one knew. It adds weight to report­ing by Sey­mour Hersh in the New York­er that Cheney also con­tem­plat­ed the use of low-yield nuclear bunker-busters against Iran’s under­ground ura­ni­um enrich­ment facil­i­ties. The more we hear about the George W Bush admin­is­tra­tion, the clear­er it becomes that the glob­al dam­age it wrought could have been even worse.

    “Appar­ent­ly the answer was 17, though a more pro­found con­clu­sion is that Cheney was a more dan­ger­ous fig­ure than any­one knew.”

    In oth­er news...

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 12, 2015, 3:58 pm

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