Jane Mayer's brave new book on the Bush administration's moral nadir -- the use of torture -- is titled The Dark Side.
The title is from a long-ago remark by Dick Cheney, ominously hinting that the War on Terror might require using practices from "the dark side."
It seems so appropriate a title. The Dark Side means "where the sun don't shine," and that's where Cheney, as we perceive him, seems to dwell.
Think of it: The only two times Cheney emerged in daylight to take official charge of the White House were when George Bush went in for his proctologic exams. Coincidence?
It seems to be that Cheney's proper legacy is to be remembered as the Hemorrhoid of History. Here's why.
He's a pain in the ass. He's not to be mentioned in polite company. He's
at the seat of government, growing and causing us to suffer and squirm and wince. There's a widespread opinion that he stinks.
"This administration is excessively secretive. The sun don't shine in there, and they like to keep it that way."
He famously told Sen. Patrick Leahy, "Go f--- yourself," an act that, if possible, would take place where the sun don't shine, and it indicates that Cheney knows his way around down there.
The usual attitude toward a hemorrhoid is that it's behind you, but not far enough behind. You don't like to admit that you have it. You don't want to see it or touch it, but it's hard to ignore, because it keeps causing pain. Much of the world feels that way about Cheney.
The dictionary definition of a hemorrhoid is "a mass of dilated tortuous veins in swollen tissue," (remind you of anyone?) "situated at or within the anal margin."
To many of us Americans, after more than seven years, "anal margin" seems like a pretty apt description of the White house -- right in the middle of which is that fool Texan in the Oval Orifice.
This administration is excessively secretive. The sun don't shine in there, and they like to keep it that way.
And one's named Dick and one's named Bush, both obviously pudendal names. (Pudendum is derived from a Latin word meaning "to be ashamed." No wonder they want to keep everything hidden. We're talking about private parts.)
Back to Cheney ("back," get it?), it won't be long now before he will be out of there, wherever "there" is, and he will no longer have the power to fester in darkness and inflict pain. It is finally being said aloud that these torturers and war-starters might have to face the World Court for their crimes, once they're out of office.
They might end up being put away for good. But not in sunny Guantanamo. Rather, in a dungeon someplace, where the sun don't shine. They'd feel right at home there -- except that they'd be the powerless ones. For those guys, being powerless would be the unbearable torture.
James Alexander Thom can be reached at .