Cheney’s bizarre alternate universe

Former Vice President Dick Cheney is making the rounds, promoting his new book, and on NBC’s “Today” show this morning, rejected the notion that the war in Iraq weakened America’s international standing.

“I don’t think that it damaged our reputation around the world,” he told Matt Lauer. “I just don’t believe that. I think the critics at home want to argue that. In fact, I think it was sound policy that dealt with a very serious problem and eliminated Saddam Hussein from the kind of problem he presented before.”

Asked whether the war was worth the costs, Cheney added, “Oh, sure.”

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Something Chris Hayes said on MSNBC last week continues to ring true:

“[W]hat’s so troubling about this Cheney publicity lap, is the fact that he has managed to escape not only legal sanction for advocating and overseeing the implementation of the war crime that is torture, but that he also has appeared to manage to escape social sanction as well.

“Everyone is now going to treat him as just another memoirist with a book to sell, and have his book party and give his interviews and cash his checks as if he were Keith Richards.

“What would someone in power have to do to put themselves outside the bounds of polite society? When powerful people are not held to account when they have no worry about their reputations, it creates a moral hazard. Not unlike what’s happened with the banks. Anti-social behavior is rewarded. Failure is also rewarded. And we are trapped inside a system of perverse incentives.”