Cheney Remains in Hospital After Feeling Ill


cheneyFormer vice president Dick Cheney, who has a long history of heart problems, was being observed in a Washington hospital on Shabbos after unspecified health complaints, his spokesman said.

Cheney, who checked into hospital Friday, is not expected to be discharged until next week, and his office has made no comment on his condition since he was admitted.

It was not immediately clear whether the latest hospitalization was related to heart troubles that saw the 69-year-old Republican hawk suffer his fifth heart attack in 32 years in February.

“Former vice president Cheney was not feeling well and was seen this afternoon by his doctors in their offices at George Washington University,” spokesman Peter Long said in a statement late Friday.

“On the advice of his physicians, he was admitted to the hospital for further testing. He is expected to remain in the hospital over the weekend.”

One of America’s most powerful and controversial vice presidents who served under George W. Bush, Cheney is known as a key driving force behind the “war on terror” that included wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, warrantless wiretapping on US citizens, and use of torture on terror suspects.

Cheney became a hero to hawkish conservatives and a nemesis without equal for liberals and Democrats.

He has had a long list of health scares, including undergoing quadruple bypass surgery and two artery-clearing angioplasties. In 2001, he was fitted with a pacemaker.

Cheney has also twice been treated with electrical shocks for atrial fibrillation, an abnormal heart rhythm that places him at risk of a stroke if not treated, and in 2005 underwent surgery for an arterial aneurysm on the back of each of his knees.

Despite his persistent health problems, Cheney has remained on the political scene since leaving office, fiercely criticizing President Barack Obama, a Democrat.

He accused Obama of making the country less safe by repudiating Bush-era policies, and regularly took to the air to denounce the administration’s national security policy.

His sudden public prominence was in marked contrast to the extreme secrecy he was known for in office, when he was jokingly referred to by many — including then-senator Hillary Clinton — as Darth Vader.

He embraced the epithet, mocking himself in a 2004 interview.

“Am I the evil genius in the corner that nobody ever sees come out of his hole? It’s a nice way to operate, actually,” he quipped.

While Republicans, including Bush, acknowledged mistakes were made in the years after the September 11, 2001 attacks, Cheney never expressed doubt about his support for indefinite detention or even waterboarding — a form of torture that was used on terror suspects in US custody.

“I feel very good about what we did. I think it was the right thing to do. If I was faced with those circumstances again, I’d do exactly the same thing,” he told Fox News in 2008.

{AMinuteNews/Noam Newscenter}