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Sunday, February 19, 2006

Thousand Yard Stare? Who, Cheney?

In wrapping up the week's big media event, Joe Klein of Time magazine (online edition) muses over VP Dick Cheney's state of mind following last weekend's ill-fated quail-hunting trip.

Not pretty. Click on 'Article Link' below tags for more...

Cheney's Thousand-Yard Stare: Did the Vice President's behavior exhibit a disdain for accountability or a reaction to emotional trauma? compares the VP to a battle-weary combat veteran:

He seemed stunned, uncertain for once. And the haunted look in his eyes reminded me of what soldiers in Vietnam used to call the Thousand-Yard Stare—the paralytic shock that comes from seeing the impact that even low-caliber weaponry can have on human flesh. ...[Y]es, the Vice President's behavior did seem to be another manifestation of his well-known disdain for accountability. But Cheney's stubborn diffidence may have been something else entirely: a consequence of the incoherence and confusion that come with emotional trauma, as well as an understandable desire to protect oneself and one's friends from the ravening horde at a moment of personal anguish.

The possibility of vice-presidential anguish was barely mentioned by most commentators at first. Cheney is a tough customer; Oprahfied "sharing" isn't his way. But then, there he was, with that haunted look in his Fox News interview, saying, "[T]he image of him falling is something I'll never be able to get out of my mind. I fired, and there's Harry falling ..." Hunting had given him "great pleasure" in the past, but he wasn't so sure now. In fact, he sounded a lot like the combat veterans I've spoken with over the years, for whom the living nightmare of firing a weapon under questionable circumstances is a constant theme.

So, what do you think? Did Mr. Klein get it right or go too far? Feel free and email Time your answer.

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