Ex-US vice-president hospitalised

2010-06-26 09:24

Former US vice-president Dick Cheney, who has had a long history of

heart problems, remained in hospital today after he checked in with unspecified

health complaints, according to his spokesperson.

He is not expected to be discharged until next week.

It was not clear whether the latest hospitalisation was related to

his past heart troubles, which saw the 69-year-old Republican hawk suffer his

fifth heart attack since 1978 in late February.

“Former vice-president Cheney was not feeling well and was seen

this afternoon by his doctors in their offices at George Washington University,”

said spokesperson Peter Long.

“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.”

Cheney, one of America’s most powerful and controversial

vice-presidents, who served under George W Bush, is known as a key driving force

behind the controversial war on terror that included the wars in Iraq and

Afghanistan, warrantless wiretapping on US citizens and the use of torture on

terror suspects.

In this role, he 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 became one of the

most powerful vice-presidents in US history and has remained on the political

scene since leaving office, fiercely criticising 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 George W Bush, acknowledged mistakes

were made in the years after 9/11, 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.



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