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Saturday, December 29, 2018


by Martin H. Levinson

"Vice suggests that Cheney’s legacy is a soulless quest for power, rather than the advancement of fallacious beliefs that seriously damaged our nation." —James Mann, The Washington Post, December 28, 2018

Those who cannot remember the
past are condemned to repeat it
            —George Santayana

During the nineteen-sixties
he supported the Vietnam War.
And to show his support and backing,
five draft deferments he applied for.

When asked about those deferments
in nineteen eighty-nine.
He said he would have liked to serve
but was busy at the time.

During the nineteen-eighties, as a
Wyoming Congressional fella, he voted
no to Head Start, a holiday for Doctor King,
and a decree to free Nelson Mandela.

Though he spoke like a hawk when he
served Papa Bush as Secretary of Defense,
he cut military budgets and downsized our forces,
which when Clinton did it got him incensed.

After leaving Defense he opted for wealth
becoming Halliburton’s CEO.
And with his Pentagon old-boy connections
he set the firm’s stock all aglow.

But making money was not enough
for a man who relished power.
He was elected to be vice president
and our nation would rue the hour.

Following 9/11 he swore
Al-Qaeda was linked to Iraq.
He affirmed that conviction with vigor
though intelligence said unsure fact.

He was a fast and firm supporter
of fighting in Mesopotamia.
And a staunch defender of torture
that became somewhat of a mania.

While hunting quail in Texas
he shot a friend of his in the face.
He reported the incident the next day
so his alcohol levels couldn’t be traced.

In 2012 he published a memoir
with the catchy title My Time.
It was panned by numerous critics
who said it didn’t contain Cheney’s crimes.

In screwing the public and screwing the state
the man has been clever and quick.
In his memoir he screwed with his legacy,
which is what you’d expect from a dick.

Martin H. Levinson is a member of the Authors Guild, National Book Critics Circle, PEN America, and the book review editor for ETC: A Review of General Semantics. He has published ten books and numerous articles and poems. He holds a PhD from NYU and lives in Forest Hills, New York.