Wednesday, March 18, 2009

"Stuff Happens"

Bush and GangIn case you thought former vice president Dick Cheney's unhinged interview with Politico six weeks ago was an aberration, along comes more of the same.

John King did the honors, live, on Sunday. (Here's the video.)

Cheney again accused President Obama of making the nation less safe -- without providing a stitch of reliable evidence. He also ducked responsibility for the financial crisis his team left behind, declared victory in Iraq, and confirmed
earlier reports that he found himself at odds with former president George W. Bush after failing to secure a pardon for his onetime chief of staff, Scooter Libby.

Cheney said that in rolling back some of the Bush administration's anti-terror tactics, Obama "is making some choices that, in my mind, will, in fact, raise the risk to the American people of another attack."

King then offered him the opportunity to back that statement up. "I want to give you a chance -- and take as much time as you want -- to prove it....I know some of this is classified intelligence, but now that you're out of government, to the degree that you can, tell the American people, because of those tactics, because of those, yes, sometimes extreme tactics, we stopped this."

More here.

People who know that they're wrong try hardest to convince others of their rectitude. In this case morality is less the issue than actions that were unconstitutional and violated international treaties.

Bush and Cheney spied on Americans, and condoned torture. In this they violated the principles they swore to uphold. Yet, Cheney refuses to leave the stage, an actor who ad-libs horribly, hour upon hour, after forgetting his lines.

He should have adhered to the customary practice of presidents and vice presidents and not speak ill of the current president and his administration for at least two years.

But Cheney couldn't wait two months before he stomped on the replacement team, accusing them of all sorts of behavior that he believed would ruin the country.

To hear him tell it, Obama inherited a country that had been soundly run for the past eight years. Thanks to Gitmo, the war against al-Qaida in Iraq, and enhanced interrogation techniques, America is now safer than it's going to be under Barack Obama and his appeasement policies.

Translation: We violated the rule of law, the constitution, and international treaties, but it was for a good cause. We kept America safe.

And if President Obama is going to keep America safe, he needs to do the same. Closing Gitmo, suspending rendition, talking with the enemy, leaving Iraq before victory is won--these actions are putting this nation at undue risk for another attack. And for Cheney that's unacceptable.

In Chaney's own words during an interview we have this:

"In an interview Tuesday with Politico, Cheney unyieldingly defended the Bush administration’s support for the Guantanamo Bay prison and coercive interrogation of terrorism suspects.

"And he asserted that President Obama will either backtrack on his stated intentions to end those policies or put the county at risk in ways more severe than most Americans—and, he charged, many members of Obama’s own team—understand.

"'When we get people who are more concerned about reading the rights to an al-Qaida terrorist than they are with protecting the United States against people who are absolutely committed to do anything they can to kill Americans, then I worry,' Cheney said....

"'The United States needs to be not so much loved as it needs to be respected. Sometimes, that requires us to take actions that generate controversy. I’m not at all sure that that’s what the Obama administration believes.'"

This appears to be a preemptive strike from the former vice president, not unlike the one leveled against Saddam and the Iraqi people, using "shock and awe" to demoralize the enemy and reduce their level of resistance.

It had mixed success against the Iraqi military, but it may prove more successful against the new president and a democratic majority congress.

Although conceding that he supports the rule of law, Obama believes that he should be looking forward more than backward at this time when the nation is in the midst of an economic crisis of almost thirties-level depression-era proportions.

Initially I agreed with Obama, but the rhetoric from Cheney has grown louder and more strident, the actions of a man that's calling the president out, challenging him to a dual of a sort.

"Yes, I supported enhanced interrogation techniques. Yes, we achieved our goals of bringing democracy to Iraq."

We went to Iraq ostensibly to disarm Saddam Hussein, and to destroy his weapons of mass destruction. We didn't go there to give Iraqis democracy, nor to stop the brutal killing of Iraqis at Saddam's hand.

Bush and Cheney are forcing a legacy where none exists.

In addition, Cheney is taking credit for winning a war that shouldn't have been waged in the first place. It's like saying, "I killed a man because he looked liked the man who raped my sister."

Saddam Hussein did not attack us on 9-11, and the Bush administration's efforts to connect the Iraqi-al-Qaida dots, and a supposed collaboration between the two, ended up being laughable, and downright foolish.

Cheney will continue to taunt Obama with the misdeeds of the Bush administration, hoping to make a case in advance of an Obama legal action, hoping to convince the American people that he acted with this nation's best interest at heart, and did the only thing that could be done to protect us from another terror attack.

Although congress is threatening hearings, probes, and other actions, we'll have to wait and see if it has the will to make Bush and company answer for war crimes, and other domestic irregularities.

This hubris from Cheney should be met with equal hubris from the Obama administration, but I don't think Obama wishes to use his presidency in that way--to open up his administration, and that of future administrations to legislative and legal second-guessing.

Answer Quest:

What action do you believe President Obama should take against Bush, Cheney, and others, regarding torture?

Should congress appoint a special investigator to take a deeper and wider look at the Bush years, with a directive to bring criminal charges, in concert with the Attorney General, if they're warranted?

Should we dismiss legal and constitutional constraints in our efforts to defeat terrorism?


GrannyStandingforTruth said...

Cheney should be one to talk about safety. Was his own friend safe in his company during their little hunting trip? Now, that was the first time in my entire life, I've ever heard of someone shooting someone and the person who was shot apologizes to the person who shot him. Oh well, you live and you learn. It's always a first for everything and that was without a doubt the first. Smh!

Black Diaspora said...

I'm not sure Cheney is the hunter he says he is.

To shoot a fellow hunter is practically never done, if you're following certain safety protocols.

It was very careless of him.

I can't imagine how he managed to shoot one of the hunters in his hunting party, but it speaks to a carelessness that's manifested in the careless words he's now directing toward President Obama.

It's time he adheres to tradition, and keep his mouth shut.

But then he is a Republican....

GrannyStandingforTruth said...

A rifle has a long barrel, and in order to shoot someone you have to aim it at them or in their direction. A gun has a shorter barrel and the difference is that you don't have to aim at anyone to accidently shoot them.

Black Diaspora said...

"A rifle has a long barrel, and in order to shoot someone you have to aim it at them or in their direction."

Absolutely right, Granny. Which makes this accident the height of irresponsibility, and makes you wonder if it was an accident at all.

Just saying....