First Lady Laura Bush is highlighted throughout the museum, in panels such as this one. Vice President Dick Cheney, Bush’s right hand man for both terms of his presidency, is strangely absent from the museum. (This text is linked from Laura Bush’s image because all of the available images of Cheney were too small to register with the app.) Prior to his service in Bush’s administration, Cheney was the CEO of oil and gas multinational corporation Halliburton, represented Wyoming in the US House of Representatives, and served as George H.W. Bush’s secretary of defense.
Often described as “the man behind the curtain,” Vice President Cheney was one of the most powerful vice presidents in American history. He was instrumental in advancing the Iraq War, insisting on ties between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda. He was one of the lead architects of many of the more controversial elements of the Bush presidency, including the establishment of the prison at Guantanamo Bay, the legal rationale for torturing prisoners, and the surveillance of suspected terrorists and other citizens.
Cheney is oddly absent not only within the public part of the museum, but also from the private side of the George W. Bush Presidential Library, which houses the administration’s records and documents. Cheney flouted federal laws requiring all vice presidential records to be transferred to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). In the closing days of Bush’s presidency, a watchdog group sued Cheney in order to preserve his documents for historians, scholars, and journalists, but Cheney ignored a judge’s injunction, and only turned a portion of his papers over to NARA.