Sunday, August 30, 2015

Dick Cheney Still Makes My Blood Boil

I did not know that Dick Cheney has a new heart from a transplant. Metaphorically, he still seems to have his old broken down, almost non-functional, and part mechanical old heart.

This morning CBS Sunday Morning aired an interview of Dick and Liz Cheney by Lee Cowan, because they have a new book out don'tcha know:

He was an early critic of the Obama administration's national security policies, especially the troop withdrawals from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Cheney is renewing his criticism of Mr. Obama with the help of his daughter, Liz, a former State Department official and one-time Senate candidate. In their upcoming book, "Exceptional," to be published by Simon & Shuster (a division of CBS), they accuse President Obama of retreating from the world's problems, diminishing America's power as the threat of terrorism rises.
Let's go back in time. First where Cheney himself reminded us:
"That when he was Secretary of Defense under the first Bush administration, he was a warm, pleasant, lovable fellow, and he became more of a hard rock afterwards."
Second where George H. W. Bush withdrew from the Middle East before Obama did:
His ability to gain broad international support for the Gulf War and the war's result were seen as both a diplomatic and military triumph, rousing bipartisan approval, though his decision to withdraw without removing Saddam Hussein left mixed feelings, and attention returned to the domestic front and a souring economy.[132]
I wish that Lee Cowan had brought all of that up in his interview.

Here is more from the interview:
Take, for instance, their criticism of the president's recent nuclear deal with Iran -- a country Cheney's boss famously included in his "Axis of Evil."

"You say of the deal that the Obama agreement will one, lead to a nuclear-armed Iran; two, lead to a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, and three, the first use of a nuclear weapon since Hiroshima and Nagasaki. That's a pretty daunting prediction," said Cowan.

"We say it may well lead to the first use of a nuclear weapon since Hiroshima and Nagasaki," said Liz. "This deal makes war more, not less likely."

"Think about what kind of a regime it is," said Dick Cheney. "They've violated virtually every agreement they've ever been a party to. I don't think they can be trusted. I think they've demonstrated that repeatedly."
"We say it may well lead to the first use of a nuclear weapon since Hiroshima and Nagasaki," said Liz. I don't know how she can say that with a straight face. Fear of the other seems to be a Cheney obsession. The heartless Cheneys have no empathy, no ability to put themselves in someone else’s shoes. If they did, perhaps they would understand that there is the possibility that fear could be a driving force for Iran to feel a need to defend itself, especially from the United States, the country who has attacked so many in the Middle East, as well as being the only country to ever have used nuclear weapons. The Cheneys, no brains, no heart, no face muscles.

"Think about what kind of a regime it is. They've violated virtually every agreement they've ever been a party to. I don't think they can be trusted. I think they've demonstrated that repeatedly." How can Dick Cheney say this with a straight face. I imagine many Iranians say the same thing about the United States. The Cheneys, no brains, no heart, no face muscles.
The book is an expanded version of an op-ed the Cheneys wrote for the Wall Street Journal last year, where they laid out an argument that many of the GOP presidential hopefuls are now campaigning on: that the rise of the so-called Islamic State is Mr. Obama's fault.

Cowan asked, "Are you really laying the spread of ISIS at the President's feet?"

"I think the spread of ISIS was the direct result of the vacuum that was created when the Obama administration withdrew all our forces from Iraq," Cheney said. "We turned our backs on Iraq. We had Iraq in good shape by the time we left office. Even Obama said as much."
I'll let someone else have a say about ISIS:
Bush’s eventual defense regarding the intelligence failures was basically “Look, everyone makes mistakes.” Which is perfectly true and perfectly reasonable, actually. But if the war was a mistake, even an innocent or well-intentioned mistake, any justification for staying on and on has disappeared as well. More than a decade later, why are we still there? Max Boot, writing in Time magazine, used the word “credibility” to explain why we had to stay somewhere we never should have gone. I thought that, after Vietnam, we had pretty much killed that notion. But no, it’s back.
ISIS is merely the most recent in a parade of horrible groups, Shiite and Sunni, religious and secular, murderous and even more murderous, to which we have been introduced through the years. They sometimes are our friends, though secretly helping the other side, or they are sworn enemies of the imperialist aggressor (that is, us), but still secretly taking bribes from the C.I.A. They are often splinters from some larger tree, either “brand extension” by the original group or its sworn enemy due to ideological or religious differences that are impossible to fathom.
Where did ISIS come from? What ever happened to the other Middle East groups we used to know? Where is al-Qaeda? How about the Taliban? Does anyone remember the mujahideen? If you do, you’re really showing your age. The mujahideen were the freedom fighters we armed and trained in order to drive the Soviets out of Afghanistan—a shrewd bank shot, everyone agreed, until, after the Soviets slunk away, we counted the leftover Stinger missiles in the freedom fighters’ broom closet and realized that many were now in the hands of unfriendly elements. And a lot of the mujahideen had gone with them.

It may be hard to believe, now that the media are all-ISIS-all-the-time, but the first reference to ISIS in any major news outlet—at least the first one referring to the now notorious terrorist group and not to Lord Grantham’s yellow Labrador, on Downton Abbey—was in the summer of 2013. This is not to criticize the media for being late to the party, or to suggest that the threat to Americans posed by ISIS is currently being exaggerated. It is merely to note that the number of analyses pouring out of Washington think tanks and experts available to CNN about who the heck these people are and what they want is pretty impressive, given that almost no one had heard of them a year ago. And it is also to note how fast the cast of characters in this drama can change, amid the anarchy we helped create—which is another reason not to leap to the assumption that anything further we might do would be of help.

Twenty-five years of this! And we were almost out of there when ISIS came along, through a door we opened to them in the first place.
Back to Lee Cowan and those loveable Cheneys:
"While you talk about the problem being that there was no stay-behind force, some would argue that the real problem was that we went in to Iraq in the first place," said Cowan.

"Well, I'm well known as somebody who has strongly defended that as the right thing to do. And I still believe that," he replied.

"You wouldn't change anything?"

"No," Cheney said. "There was widespread support at the time, and it was justified."
Cheney hasn't changed his mind about waterboarding either:
"First of all, it wasn't torture," Cheney argued. "Waterboarding, for example, 'torture,' that was the most egregious thing we did supposedly in the enhanced interrogation program."
Someone who has never been waterboarded has no right to claim that it is not torture. The dark side of me wishes Cheney had been waterboarded before he had a heart transplant. The bright side of me would not wish waterboarding on anyone, including Cheney.

Speaking of the dark side, someone put a Darth Vader hitch cover on Cheney's pick-up truck. Cheney seems to think this is all a big joke. He seems clueless about the fact that it symbolizes that many of us view him as evil incarnate.

I think that Dick Cheney could use a brain transplant, Liz too.

Please don't buy their book, haven't we had enough of them?

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