Archive for the ‘Dick Cheney’ Category

Must Read Smackdown of "Dick Cheeny"

This post by David Rees has got to be one of the funniest, most appropriate, reactions to Dick Cheney’s recent speech on national security his own insecurity that I’ve seen anywhere.

My favorite line:

As far as I could tell, his speech was actually some weird kind of mouth-yoga where you keep returning to “9/11” position every thirty seconds

Brilliant!

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I Suspect That Dick Cheney Loves International House Of Pancakes!

For a long time, it’s been considered somewhat unacceptable, even among prominent critics of the Bush administration, to suggest anything remotely resembling a conspiracy theory regarding 9/11.

No elected Democrat will touch the issue. Liberal talking heads on cable TV and left leaning columnists in mainstream publications routinely go out of their way to avoid even pondering the possibility of anything more insidious than a massive coordinated effort by radical Islamic terrorists.

In fact, on Daily Kos – which is usually considered to be one of the most liberal of the progressive political blogs – mentioning the mere presence of questions about the cause of the terror attacks on 9/11 is enough to get you banned from posting on the site.

But as more and more information trickles out about the extreme lengths the Bush administration, and particularly Dick Cheney, were willing to go in order to try to create a justification for war in Iraq, somebody has to at least ask this:

If you’ll torture people to get false confessions to justify a war, what else would you do – or not do, despite ample warning that you should – to get justification to start that same war?

With all due respect to the serious liberals who don’t want to be lumped in with the “tin foil hat” crowd in trumpeting the political equivalent of alien abductions stories, at some point in the stream of revelations about our despicable use of torture, we must at least recognize that every actual conspiracy, and in fact every crime, that is ever solved – begins with a theory!

Note: For those unfamiliar with the acronym, LIHOP stands for the theory that, when faced with warnings about an imminent terrorist attack that might have prompted preemptory action, members of the Bush administration let it happen on purpose! It’s not quite as dramatic as the various “inside job” scenarios that are widely thrown around on the Internets, but it also doesn’t require the same kind of “headgear” to imagine, particularly after hearing more and more evidence regarding how torture was actually used!

Why Cheney Speaks!

There’s lot’s of discussion and speculation lately over the fact that after spending eight years of secretly running the government from an impenetrable bunker, Dick Cheney is now all over the television defending his torture program.

Many people are scratching their heads and wondering why the most unpopular member of the previous administration wouldn’t just fade off into the sunset and hope to be forgotten as the country looks “forward and not backward” with it’s charismatic new President.

If I had to venture a guess as to why Cheney keeps talking, it’s this:

The only thing standing between Dick Cheney and criminal prosecution is the facade that torture was a policy decision, and that prosecution represents the “criminalization of politics.” In order to maintain that facade, there must be a continuous debate over whether or not it was “good policy” – that is, whether or not it helped to “keep Americans safe.”

To Cheney, it doesn’t matter whether or not people think that argument has merit. What matters is that both sides are continuously being aired, because in his mind, this means that the Obama Administration and the Democratic Congress have to prioritize it among all of the other policy debates; and with the wide range of stated goals put forward by the Obama administration, investigating and prosecuting torture will never move to the top of the “to do” list.

On the other hand, if public opinion is allowed to crystallize around the idea that the Cheney/Bush torture policies were illegal and immoral, as might happen without Cheney’s constant bleating about how proud he is of those very policies, then it becomes much more feasible to investigate and prosecute without getting in the way of other priorities.

And it becomes more likely that the conversation shifts from the debate about policy, to a discussion and eventual public understanding of what really happened, which increasingly seems to have been something like this:

At the time when Cheney/Bush were in charge and had plenty of warning about an impending terrorist attack, they did not “keep Americans safe.” Instead, they were too preoccupied with the politics of trying to create “a permanent Republican majority!”

After the 9/11 attacks, instead of going after the terrorists who were actually threatening the safety of Americans, they immediately began to line up all the ways they could use fear of terrorists to rationalize and gain acceptance for policies that were criminal! Torture, the war in Iraq, warrantless wiretapping, rushed no-bid contracts to political cronies, were all rolled out immediately, using the pretext of being the only policies the President thought would “keep Americans safe.”

And they did it all with the expectation that they could always avoid prosecution by forcing the debate into being about policy, if ever the debate started to turn toward being about criminality!

So that’s why Cheney feels he has to keep yapping about how torture was good policy. He knows he’s not convincing anybody, but he’s keeping the fire burning on the appearance of a political debate, because that’s the only thing keeping him from being frog marched to prison!

Once You Boil It All Down . . .

Paul Krugman summed it up in three simple sentences:

Let’s say this slowly: the Bush administration wanted to use 9/11 as a pretext to invade Iraq, even though Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. So it tortured people to make them confess to the nonexistent link.

There’s a word for this: it’s evil.

And the evidence has begun to filter out that the perpetrators not only knew it was evil, but tried to cover it up!

First, there’s the Zelikow memo objecting to the legal basis used to justify torture that he says was deliberately rounded up and destroyed.

Then there’s Janis Karpinski, who is outspoken in her disdain for high level Bush officials who allowed U.S. Military personnel at Abu Ghraib – whom they now maintain to have been following orders deemed to be legal and justifiable – go to prison, rather than stick up for them at the time the abuses at Abu Ghraib first became public.

In my earlier post on this topic, I suggested that one of Obama’s multiple goals was to maximize the ability to “shake the trees” and bring out whistleblowers in order to build widespread public support for any future prosecutions.

At least one expert, former federal prosecutor Elizabeth De La Vega, agrees – explaining in this piece how appointing a special prosecutor now might cause those with important information about what actually occurred at the highest levels of the Bush administration to clam up.

For the torturers, I’m afraid the genie is out of the bottle, and there’s no way they are going to force it back inside . . . and fortunately for the country, it’s not the torturers’ three wishes the genie is going to grant!

To put it bluntly, with all the evidence that the Bush administration carefully assembled a set of “legal” documents to justify “harsh interrogation techniques,” how can they possibly stick to their story when they were willing to let U.S. soldiers rot in prison to avoid telling it four years ago?

And for Dick Cheney, who remains the leading voice of belligerent defiance regarding Bush torture policies, and who now wants to declassify documents that would save his ass when he was perfectly happy to let them stay classified when they might save the asses of the enlisted men and women who went to prison for performing techniques he now says were “necessary,” the response is both completely reprehensible and completely transparent!

Dick Cheney is a grown man, behaving like a child who would let his own dog be beaten, or even euthanized, for repeatedly “eating his homework!”

Image Credit: Vanity Fair, May, 2008

We Are One World!

McCain’s surrogates are out in force today pushing the line – that Obama is not American enough.

Rudy Giuliani said this morning that Obama is “capturing” an “anti-American feeling” that exists in Europe, where Obama is “popular”…

And this from Mitt Romney: “I do think that, frankly, Barack Obama looks toward Europe for a lot of his inspiration” …….. “I think John McCain is going to make sure that America stays America.”

Here is my response to this ridiculous argument. If you watch this clip and don’t feel like we are all in this thing together – then you must be……………………. Dick Cheney!

The Ballad of Dick Cheney’s America

I recently had the opportunity to see a live performance by The Tiger Lillies, whose song, “The Crack of Doom,” is performed in the video above. They were quite brilliantly strange, and as I listened to them sing this song, all I could think of was Dick Cheney’s twisted view of the world and what it has done to the country.

They later evoked the entire Republican party when they sang “Hamster!” (click through and select “listen to this song” if you aren’t easily offended!)

Which is More Frightening?

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George Bush recently made the following, highly disturbing, statement:

“We’ve got a leader in Iran who has announced that he wants to destroy Israel,” he said. “So I’ve told people that, if you’re interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them from having the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon.”

Dick Cheney followed a few days later, with this one:

“The Iranian regime needs to know that if it stays on its present course, the international community is prepared to impose serious consequences,” Mr. Cheney said, without specifying what those might be. “The United States joins other nations in sending a clear message: We will not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon.”

This leads me to wonder!

If you are one of those other nations Dick Cheney says the United States is joining with, what would frighten you the most:

Iran having the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon?

Or Dick Cheney having control of a whole bunch of actual nuclear weapons?

Any of our many international readers care to weigh in on that question?