Among the wreckage he left behind is the botching and bullying of an effective and under-the-radar surveillance of a Jihadist cell in Britain. It took two trials to convict only three men of terrorism - because Cheney intervened:
Dick Cheney, the former US Vice President, nearly destroyed Britain's efforts to bring the airline bomb plotters to justice, police and intelligence experts said today. By ordering the early arrest of Rashid Rauf, the bombers' link man in Pakistan, Washington forced British police to detain the suspects in the UK before all the evidence had been gathered, it was claimed.
I like the view of one of the detectives involved in professional counter-terrorism:
Fearful for the safety of American lives, the US authorities had been getting edgy, seeking reassurance that this was not going to slip through our hands. We moved from having congenial conversations to eyeball-to-eyeball confrontations.
We thought we had managed to persuade them to hold back so we could develop new opportunities and get more evidence to present to the courts. But I was never convinced that they were content with that position. In the end, I strongly suspect that they lost their nerve and had a hand in triggering the arrest in Pakistan.
And that, surely, is what really lies behind Cheney's embrace of torture, lawlessness, murder and violence: he does not have the nerve to defeat Jihadism the way the West has always defeated its enemies. Like many on the far right fringes, he is motivated primarily by fear, and paralyzed by paranoia.