George W. Bush's vice president speaks—sort of.
Cheney is a company man through and through, a servant of Republican functionaries from the time of LBJ to the recent past—if there is anything to be learned from this bloodless memoir, it is that. The author opens with the outrage of 9/11, in which one thought was foremost on his mind, apart from clearing the sky of planes: namely, “guaranteeing the continuity of a functioning United States government.” In this, he writes, he was the essential element without which that continuity was unsustainable. Cheney’s memoir is political to the extent that he plays the games of hardball politics with everyone he meets, and he makes sure to constantly remind readers of American supremacy and his centrality to it. Colin Powell was his ally until his taste for the war in Iraq weakened, whereupon it was clear to Cheney that Powell had to go. Ditto Condoleezza Rice and Donald Rumsfeld. Cheney’s take on the world is clinical and even scholarly, much like that of Henry Kissinger (another figure whom Cheney does not seem to regard very highly). He is methodical but selective, as when he carefully accounts for his holdings in a certain corporation at the time of his vice presidency: “This was salary that I had already earned, so it was due to me whether the company was doing well or badly.” The company, Halliburton, did well, of course, thanks to no-bid contracts in Iraq—but Cheney still professes irritation that anyone should doubt his clean hands, an irritation expressed by an infamous F-bomb on Capitol Hill (“It was probably not language I should have used on the Senate floor, but it was completely deserved”).
The underlying point of the book is that Bush/Cheney were right in invading Iraq and waterboarding prisoners. Let the reader be the judge—until, that is, history decides on the matter.