Dunagin: “Vice” a biased portrayal of Dick Cheney

By CHARLES DUNAGIN GUEST COLUMNIST,

I never have been a big Dick Cheney fan, especially after the George W. Bush administration, leading an allied coalition,  invaded Iraq under the mistaken premise that Iraqi Dictator Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction.

My mostly uninformed opinion and gut reaction at the time was that it was a mistake, and at least one person with whom I argued then now admits I was right.

Conventional wisdom holds that Cheney, Bush’s vice president, was a chief architect of that decision which led to protracted destruction and loss of life, including Americans, throughout the region ever since.

Turned out Saddam didn’t have WMDs, and taking out his government created a vacuum that led to Islamic terrorists creating more instability in the region than was already there.

One theory is that Bush, Cheney and others in the administration thought they could create a democratic government in Iraq that would permeate the region.

More sinister critics attribute other motives, including access to oil in the Middle East.

Whatever the motives, invading Iraq looks like a big  mistake these days — those mistakes compounded by further mistakes during the Obama administration.

Having pointed out my lack of admiration for Cheney, I must say that the current movie “Vice,” which I recently saw, is an unfair and flippant portrayal of a man who  had a long career of public service, including being, for better or worse, what some consider the most powerful vice president in history. He also was secretary of defense under President George H.W. Bush and White House Chief of Staff under President Gerald Ford.

Granted the movie is billed as a biographical comedy-drama.  Making it a comedy is one problem I have with the film as most of what happened during those years, including 9/11,  was anything but a comedy.

It’s certainly not the first or last time Hollywood has taken liberties with the facts in portraying what are reputed to be true stories or films based on actual events.

Although the old cliche that “truth is stranger than fiction” too often is true, movie makers usually can’t resist juicing up the truth or   slanting it one way or another to jibe with the political or social views of Hollywood.

Christian Bale, the actor who portrays Cheney, looks and sounds just like the real main character by the time he was vice president, and Bale did a great acting job in the film.

But reflecting his  political bent, and that of others connected to the movie, Bale credited Satan for inspiring his portrayal of Cheney as he accepted an award for the role.

One of the minor scenes in the movie that I believe is grossly inaccurate shows Cheney shooting a fellow quail hunter with a shotgun while Cheney is seated in a vehicle.

Harry Whittington, The  now 91-year-old Texas lawyer who was sprayed by bird shot from Cheney’s gun,  recalled the incident in a recent interview with the Corpus  Christi Caller Times.

“The quail hunting that we were doing was behind bird dogs,” said Whittington. “So we were walking and as the dogs found the birds, well then, you walk up on the covey and then they flush and you shoot.

“So there wasn’t any automobile involved in the hunt at all.”

But having him fire from a vehicle makes Cheney looks more reckless.

The movie is entertaining, and I don’t regret seeing it. Go see it if you wish.

Just remember it was made and produced by liberals who don’t have much use for Cheney’s political ilk.

And that brings up my biggest problem with historical dramas which, I confess, I enjoy.

I fear that too many people consider them totally accurate just as they believe what they agree with on social media.