Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Unbearable Darkness of Being Dick Cheney

by Sunnyjane

Jay Carney: Which president was he talking about?
The Gospel According to Dick Cheney is that President Barack Obama is everything from a naive weakling to a downright fool.  Oh, and the President would rather give people food stamps than build a strong military.  I"m sure it comes as no surprise to anyone who isn't tuned into Fox Noise 24/7 or addicted to the Drudge Report that the United States has the strongest military in the world.  And speaking of Drudge, how did he respond to the recent capture of the Benghazi consulate attack suspect?  He didn't.  Instead, his loyal readers were treated to a paragraph or two on the rising cost of meat, chicken, and fish.  No, really.

A brief background check of the former vice president is appropriate here.  Cheney has been skulking around conservative politics since the 1960s, and served as Gerald Ford's Chief of Staff during his brief tenure as president.  He went from there to being a five-term congressman from Wyoming, and afterward served as Secretary of Defense under George H. W. Bush, during which time he spearheaded the military action to defend Kuwait from Iraq's determination to annex that tiny country.  When Bill Clinton beat Bush One in the next election, Cheney hustled over to Halliburton to be chairman and CEO.  We all know how THAT turned out during the Bush Two incursion into Iraq.  When W won the election in 2000, he decided to gather many of his father's men together to help him steer the ship of state, so to speak.  I'm sure he thought it was a dandy idea, because he knew absolutely nothing about being a leader.  Bush had put Cheney in charge of finding a proper running mate for him, and Cheney decided he himself would be the best vice president in the whole wide world. 

It pays to have contacts.  In fact, it pays VERY well, indeed.
Cheney flunked out of Yale twice because he had a hard time adjusting to the school.  He finally got a bachelors degree in arts and a masters degree in political science from the University of Wyoming.  This rather lengthy college career suited him well, as he was able to get four student deferments to keep him out of Vietnam because I had other priorities in the '60s than military service.  It is inferred by some, um, liberal cynics that his first child, Liz, owes her life to the Vietnam war; she was born nine months and two days after it was announced that only fathers could dodge the draft be granted deferments. 

So let's just charge ahead and see who the fool is in this Middle East mess that the Cheney Bush administration created.

Hey, Guys, Let's Start a War with Iraq!
Hail, hail, the gang's all here!
In classic GOP style, the hypocrisy runs rampant.  In 1994, after the Kuwait/Iraq war, then-Secretary of Defense Cheney was questioned about why the U.S. didn't just go onto Iraq and take down Saddam Hussein's government  while we were there.  His response showed a distinct sanity: ...then what are you going to put in its place? That’s a very volatile part of the world, and if you take down the central government of Iraq, you could very easily end up seeing pieces of Iraq fly off.  Twenty years later, however, he's taking great delight in snarling that President Obama has abandoned Iraq and we are watching American defeat snatched from the jaws of victory.  [Victory?]  I guess Cheney forgot that it was George W. Bush who signed the Status of Forces Agreement, which literally threw the U.S. out of Iraq, before he left office. Cheney's op-ed rant prompted Harry Reid to respond, If there is one thing this country does not need is that we should be taking advice from Dick Cheney on wars. Being on the wrong side of Dick Cheney is being on the right side of history. 

All GOP Roads Led to Iraq

The popular spin from the 2003 White House is that Bush decided to declare war on Iraq for retaliation for 9/11.  They also pushed that they were protecting America's oil interests.  And that Saddam had stockpiled weapons of mass destruction.  And that Osama Bin Laden was hiding there.  And that the Iraqis had kidnapped Santa Claus -- you name it, there were plenty of reasons for the invasion, and any of 'em, all of 'em would do.

The truth, however, is much creepier.  According to a great 2004 article, in which W.'s biographer is quoted extensively, Bush-the-candidate was making plans in 1999 to invade Iraq: One of the keys to being seen as a great leader is to be seen as a commander-in-chief.  My father had all this political capital built up when he drove the Iraqis out of Kuwait and he wasted it.  If I have a chance to invade, if I had that much capital, I'm not going to waste it. I'm going to get everything passed that I want to get passed and I'm going to have a successful presidency.  After 9/11, of course, he had a reason no one would argue with, and the rest is a sorry history.

Bush lied to the American people and to our allies.  The weapons inspectors had found no weapons of mass destruction.  He and his staff, including Dick Cheney, had ignored a series of urgent and potentially disastrous CIA reports that bin Laden was planning an imminent attack on the United States.

Vice President Dickless Cheney sleeps through CIA briefings.
They wanted to go into Iraq, and go into Iraq they did.

Mission Accomplished -- NOT

Twenty-one days after the 2003 invasion of Iraq, George W. Bush landed with tawdry drama on an aircraft carrier off the coast of San Diego and declared that the mission in Iraq had been accomplished.  It's hard to say what that accomplishment was, since Saddam Hussein wasn't even captured until seven months later.  Cheney sat in his West Wing office grinning like a fool at the whole phoney spectacle.

It's 2014, Iraq Begins to Implode, and the Right Goes Nuts

I'm too chicken to fight in a real battle, so I'll growl real loud and frighten the President to death.

Like rabid hyenas, the big talkers came roaring out of their flea-infested dens and decided to chew the hide off President Obama.  Chief amongst this pack of Feliformia suborders was Dick Cheney, trying for all his worth to rewrite history and regain some of the respect he never had in the first place.  It hasn't worked out very well for him.

The internet has a long memory, and some in the mainstream media -- including, oddly enough, Fox News -- and a long list of liberal bloggers have taken him on for his barefaced lies and blatant hypocrisy.

The New York Times: This, from the man who helped lead us into this trumped-up war, searching for nonexistent weapons of mass destruction, a war in which some 4,500 members of the American military were killed, many thousands more injured, and that is running a tab of trillions of dollars.       

The Washington Post:  When it comes to being wrong about Iraq, Dick Cheney has been in a class by himself. It was Cheney who said, “Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us."

Just last week, Cheney stated that Barack Obama has stated repeatedly the terrorist threat is gone, we got bin Laden. That’s clearly not the case. That’s not the truth.

What the President very clearly said, on May 1, 2011: The death of bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date in our nation’s effort to defeat al Qaeda. Yet his death does not mark the end of our effort. There’s no doubt that al Qaeda will continue to pursue attacks against us. We must –- and we will — remain vigilant at home and abroad. 

When called out by Jonathan Karl recently for saying that the President is deliberately trying to undermine America's global standing, Cheney danced the backward shuffle and said that he meant no disrespect.  Uh huh.

Give your useless new heart a rest, Dick, and let the adults handle the situation.  You screwed up the country once; no one is going to let you do it again.

And a little bonus:  Kevin McCarthy, the new House Majority Leader, is also clueless on the subject.  When asked by Chris Wallace what the President should do about the situation in Iraq, McCarthy used the word strategy about fifty times and came up empty.  

End Note



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