Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Incompetent and Deceptive Mr. Cheney

Vice President Dick Cheney is discovering the hard way that you can't run away from your problems by taking trips overseas that probably should be handled, in any case, by the State Department. Or, at the very minimum, by someone with credibility (63% of Americans no longer trust Bush—or Cheney, for that matter—on intelligence issues).

The jury for the Scooter Libby trial is still deliberating and could conceivably refuse to convict Scooter Libby of perjury and obstruction of justice despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Money can buy favorable legal results in this country. We've seen that many times now in the last fifteen years. There's speculation that Scooter Libby might have won his case during jury selection, with the help of an expensive gimmick used by some lawyers who employ jury experts who know how to get a jury that has good odds of reaching a not guilty verdict, or, at the very least, a hung decision. That's not justice at work. It's good old fashioned money at work. We don't know yet if the gimmick will work or not, but the longer the jury deliberates, the better it is for the defense.

The problem for Dick Cheney is that nobody is fooled: he's a liar, a political manipulator and an incompetent. Dick Cheney used Scooter Libby to out covert CIA operative Valerie Plame and we know it. Washington is not a comfortable place for Dick Cheney these days. Too many of his fiascos are coming out. But his belligerence and arrogance continues as we hear in this story from ABC News:
Pelosi called Cheney's words "beneath the dignity of the debate we're engaged in and a disservice to our men and women in uniform, whom we all support."

But Cheney is holding firm on his original comments.

"I am not sure what part of it that Nancy disagreed with," Cheney told ABC News during an interview today in Sydney, Australia. "She accused me of questioning her patriotism. I didn't question her patriotism, I questioned her judgment."

Cheney said: "The point I made, and I'll make it again, is that al Qaeda functions on the basis that they think they can break our will. That's their fundamental underlying strategy, that if they can kill enough Americans or cause enough havoc, create enough chaos in Iraq, then we'll quit and go home."

If Dick Cheney knows so much about al Qaida, then where was the Bush Administration in the months before 9/11? Where was Dick Cheney when the outgoing Clinton Administration warned officials of the incoming Bush Administration? Where was Dick Cheney when it was obvious there was no significant al Qaida connection when we invaded Iraq in 2003?

Cheney's blunders and deceptions are endless but let's look again at a critical assertion he made in the quote above and that he has made before and think about it carefully. In the above statement, Cheney says: "...al Qaeda functions on the basis that they think they can break our will." Stop the presses. Think a moment. In late 2001, we had al Qaida on the ropes. It was the United States that was breaking the will of al Qaida. Let's not slip over that point. I'll repeat it again: in late 2001, we had al Qaida on the ropes. It was the United States that was breaking the will of al Qaida.

And then Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld got bored with Afghanistan. It wasn't a big enough war for them. They were obsessed with Iraq and were flummoxed when they couldn't make a credible case for war. So they made something up, inserted those sixteen words, and fixed the evidence around a reckless policy and left the war in Afghanistan behind on the back burner. Five years of blunders, incompetence and arrogance on the part of Cheney, Bush and Rumsfeld put us at risk of pulling defeat from the jaws of victory. And Cheney wants to compound the error by starting a war with Iran, or tricking Iran into starting that war, or whatever nonsense he has in mind that he hasn't bothered to tell us. What the Bush Administration should be doing is working on a regional settlement that can only come if we talk with all the neighbors, including Syria and Iran.

Democrats have repeatedly called for finishing the job in Afghanistan. Several Republicans Bush and Cheney have chosen to ignore have also called for properly finishing the job in Afghanistan. Various foreign policy experts have warned that putting al Qaida on the back burner was a serious strategic mistake.

Well, this is where we are: Dick Cheney has no credibililty. George W. Bush has no credibility. You will not gain the needed credibility by attacking your critics who have done little more than point out world class strategic blunders that can not go on unaddressed. Whatever imperial games, or neoconservative games, or oil games that the Bush inner circle has been engaging in for the past few years no longer have any credible chance of reaching a reasonable result that will do most Americans any good. From now on, rebuilding our foreign policy, reestablishing our credibility, repairing our military, winding down in Iraq while we do what we can to stabilize the region with talks and political settlements, and finishing the job in Afghanistan are the only goals the Bush Administration should be pursuing. And it is the obligation of Congress, a co-equal branch of government, to keep the Bush inner circle from dragging us into any further adventures. Bush's presidency is over. And Dick Cheney should do the decent thing and resign.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

You forgot paying the debt.

6:46 PM  
Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

Exceptionally well said.

Re: your questions, "Where was Dick Cheney . . . ?" The answer is that he had other priorities.

Re: Cheney's statement about Speaker Nancy Pelosi, did you notice that he dissed her?

Pelosi doesn't refer to him as Dick (or Deadeye Dick) but rather as the vice president or Vice President Cheney. He has no business referring to her as Nancy.

It would serve him right if Pelosi were to refer to Cheney as a devious, pompous windbag. She won't, though, because unlike him she's got class.

9:33 PM  
Blogger Craig said...

S.W., thanks for the comments. I miss the days when Republicans had more class and didn't reflexively try to create controversies out of nothing.

Then there's the other problem that too many Republicans are like The Godfather's Michael Corleone putting on a public display of propriety while his thugs work in the background doing their dirty work.

It's an ugly era.

5:24 PM  

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