Former Vice President Dick Cheney died early Monday while trying to re-start the BP oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico. Witnesses said Cheney arrived at BP’s oil rig, the Deepwater Horizon, late Sunday night aboard his own personal yacht.
An oil rig worker, who asked not to be identified, said Cheney plunged into the ocean around 7 a.m. wearing standard scuba gear and carrying a sledgehammer.
“I tried to stop him, I told him it was suicidal but he wouldn’t listen,” the rig worker said. “He said he was going to get that oil spilling again or die trying.”
While Cheney’s body has not appeared, an underwater robot working at the well site discovered some of his equipment. An air tank, identified as Cheney’s, had apparently been crushed by the immense water pressure.
U.S. Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said ocean currents and the deepness of the oil leak will make finding Cheney’s body difficult so a search will not be conducted.
“Vice President Cheney was always so closely connected to the oil industry so it seems kind of fitting and appropriate that we wait for his body to float to the surface and let BP scoop it up,” Allen said. “Oceanographers say the amount of oil in the area makes it unlikely that sharks or other marine life will get to the body before the oil skimmers do.”
Cheney’s daughter, Liz Cheney, said the family found a letter from her father explaining his actions and indicating he might not return. She declined to release the letter, but indicated it had something to do with her father’s deregulation of the oil industry.
“My father met in secret with oil industry executives to let them write this nation’s energy policy. It was so secret that he wouldn’t reveal any details, not even who was at the meeting. Even I don’t know exactly what happened at those meetings,” Liz Cheney said. “I do know that ever since this oil spill in the Gulf happened my father had been pretty despondent and was worried that people would fully realize the mistakes he made while in office. When they stopped the oil from leaking he became even more depressed.”
She said the only indication that her father would take action came at a recent family dinner where he expressed regrets for some of his decisions while in office, such as no-bid contracts for Halliburton and convincing President Bush to launch an unprovoked invasion of Iraq.
“There were other things as well, such as my father’s direct order that the Iraqi army be disbanded. Our military wanted to keep the Iraqi army intact and use it to provide security, but my father overruled them,” Liz Cheney said. “The Iraqi insurgency started about a week later because all those well-armed men suddenly had nothing to do.”
Liz Cheney said she told her dad that he could try to make amends for his mistakes by forming a charity to help out troops wounded in battle and the families of those killed, but he had other ideas.
“Dad said that because he sent troops into Iraq based on a pack of lies, inadequately equipped and with no plan for the occupation there was no way he could wash all the blood from his hands,” Liz Cheney said. “He mentioned something about oil and said something big was in the works, but none of us took it seriously because he was always saying things like that. I think he wanted to make a blunder so big and obvious that it would distract people from his other mistakes. ”
A memorial service is pending. If the body is found, a cremation is expected.
“Dad’s body will probably be soaked in oil so his cremation will no doubt pollute the environment,” Liz Cheney said through laughter and tears. “It’s ironic, isn’t it? Even in death, he’ll still be able to mess up the planet even more.”