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A Man of Principle

Author: Elliott Abrams, Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies
August 31, 2011
Foreign Policy


The early reviews of Dick Cheney's memoir have not evaluated the book, but instead have used its publication as an occasion for attacks on Cheney and his record, with general assaults on George W. Bush's administration thrown in for good measure. (Perhaps the best, i.e. worst, example of this is Robert Kaiser's strident "review" in the Washington Post.)

Cheney's memoir is not about 9/11, or solely about Bush's administration, but about his entire life and political career. I first knew Cheney when he was chairman of the Republican Policy Committee in the House of Representatives (from 1981 to 1987), and our discussions centered then on the wars in Central America. Neither controversy nor scandal shook his view that preventing communist takeovers in that region was an important goal for the United States. Later, when I served at Bush's National Security Council, I sometimes worked with Cheney, then vice president. Despite those who claim he changed over time, I did not find that so. The central qualities remained: total devotion to principle and to country, and complete and unswerving commitment to any policy he believed served American interests.

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