Saturday, February 21, 2015

Dick Cheney's Last Meal

Only three months passed between the time of former vice president Cheney’s arrival as a convicted war criminal at Guantanamo detention camp and the Supreme Court’s ruling that he both could and indeed should be hanged. During that time, he made many enemies among his mostly Arab fellow detainees, who characterized him as arrogant, condescending, a cheater at both bridge, poker, and vollyeball, and insufficiently attentive to personal hygiene. Fellow detainee Ahmad Abdullah, in fact, described him as “the most disagreeable person it has ever been my displeasure to encounter, and, in the course of my career as an alleged terrorist, I have encountered some very disagreeable persons.” Shouts of “Praise Allah!” were heard throughout the camp on the afternoon of the Supreme Court’s decision, from which only Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas dissented. 

For the first time in memory, many haters actually found themselves on the same side as Scalia. As a spokesman for the Saul Alinksy Club noted, “the vile old monster would surely suffer more continuing to be anally force-fed,” as all detainees at Guantanamo have been since 2011, when Col. Hiram Andrade, an unashamed sadist, became its commandant, “and we do love the idea of his ongoing torment. I know that doesn’t sound very Christian, but we in the Club are of course mostly godless.”

Col. Andrade came down to vice president Cheney’s cage personally to offer his condolences, and to remind him that he was entitled to a final meal — in this case a late lunch — of his choice. Cheney communicated that he wanted his dinner personally prepared by the celebrated French chef Joel Rubochon, who was named "Chef of the Century" by the guide Gault Millau in 1989, after having received the coveted Meilleur Ouvrier de France in 1976.

For this cold appetizer, vice president Cheney had trouble deciding between the sea urchin with langoustine and cauliflower on top of vinegar gelée and seaweed, on the one hand, and, on the other, carpaccio of foie gras and potatoes covered with black truffle shavings. “Choose one,” the correctional officer, two of whose sons had died in the American liberation of Iraq, implored him, “or I’ll choose for you.” Mr. Cheny went for the carpaccio, and then quickly chose caramelized black cod in Malabar pepper sauce with bok choy for his main course, explaining to the correctional officer that he understood Chef Rubochon to be a magician with Malabar pepper sauce. For dessert, he decided on green chartreuse zabaglione topped with herb sherbet and a hazelnut praline. 

Advised of Mr. Cheney’s choices, Col. Andrade, whose own tastes run to nothing more hifalutin than very rare prime rib, a baked potato, creamed corn, and four martinis, felt compelled to pay a second visit to the condemned man’s cage. He advised Vice President Cheney that even if he could secure authorization for the requested meal, a great many of those who would have been quite happy to allow our Iraqi brothers to continue to suffer under Saddam Hussein’s tyranny were likely to spit on it between its leaving Chef Rubochon’s kitchen in Manhattan and getting down to GTMO. He offered as an alternative his own personal chef, Cpl. Jon Yagiela, making a nice bowl of his famous chile, and bringing it down personally to Cheney’s cage. Oddly worried about the risk of infection for a man about to be executed, the former vice president opted for the simpler meal, into which no one, ostensibly, would be able to expectorate.

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