Thursday, December 10, 2009

You are a mean one, Mr. Grinch

Every now and then there comes along a person that 99.9 percent of the people wish would just go away. Dick Cheney is one of those people. Cheney has stepped up his attack on President Obama, telling news pundits that Obama's security strategy endangers American lives. The man is acting like he is possessed by the devil; but even the devil would be wary of cohabiting with the likes of what Cheney has become.

Just which Obama policies does he think are making us less safe? Escalating the war in Afghanistan that Cheney and Bush dithered around on for eight years? Or finishing the job in Iraq that he and Bush spent billions of dollars on and made a mess of? Do Cheney and his neo-con followers really think that Obama’s bowing to the Japanese king makes the United States less safe? That is pure poppycock. Although I believe the deep bow was an error – a slight ‘business bow’ or nod of the head would have been polite enough – it certainly did no great harm to our country. And, remember, Bush bowed to the Saudi king – held hands with him, too. Cheney did not throw a tantrum over that bow.

So who is this person who claims to know better than the rest of us?

It was Dick Cheney, former VP of the United States, and Bush who ignored intelligence briefings on Al Qaeda for months. Thousands of Americans were killed on their watch in an attack that could have been prevented and thousands more in a war in Iraq. After the nation was attacked, Cheney spent the remainder of his time as VP fearfully hiding in a bunker for weeks at a time, filled with paranoia from seeing enemies lurk in every corner. I can still see him in my mind’s eye shaking in his boots. Why? Cheney received five draft deferments during the Vietnam War. One time, when questioned about the deferments, he said that he had “other priorities” in the sixties rather than military service.

Although Cheney was not willing to put his own life on the line for his country, he was more than willing to send thousands of young Americans into war. Nearly 3,000 died at the World Trade Center due to Cheney’s and Bush’s eyes being off the ball. More than 4,000 American soldiers were killed, thousands of American soldiers were permanently maimed, and hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis died because of the Bush administration's incompetence and hawkish policies.

Cheney was more than willing to torture other human beings although regular FBI interrogation methods work well. The torture they advocated and pushed onto the CIA produced false information that was used to mislead America into an unwise, unjust, and unwarranted war. With such dirty hands, it seems to me that Cheney would be ashamed about of accusing anyone of endangering America or of defending the use of torture. The public records of Congressional testimony of military, CIA, and FBI personnel have given us evidence that torture actually endangered American security rather than protect. It did so by breeding more terrorists and producing false intelligence – which Mr. Cheney, along with President Bush, used to mislead America into invading Iraq.

Dick Cheney went on FOX’s Sean Hannity show this week to discuss his favorite topic, the "weakness" of President Barack Obama. Cheney said the decision to try Khalid Sheik Mohammed and the other alleged 9/11 conspirators in civilian court would give aid and comfort to the enemy: “I think it will make Khalid Sheikh Mohammed something of a hero in certain circles, especially in the radical regions of Islam around the world. It will put him on the map. He'll be as important or more important than Osama Bin Laden, and we will have made it possible.” Cheney is saying that the act of giving KSM a civilian trial will make him more of a hero than Osama bin Laden is – all the while ignoring that the killing of thousands of Americans during Cheney’s watch made KSM a hero to extremists. This is cherry picking and complete nonsense.

What did do great harm to our country was Cheney and Bush allowing private contractors like Halliburton rake in billions in profits (from taxpayers’ money) doing what our armed services should be doing. And need I mention what that administration did to our economy by giving full reign to the financial sector? What about the billions of dollars that went into the pockets of the wealthy from tax cuts while running up the deficit at the same time with two wars? Stupid – very stupid. These policies bankrupted America.

Dick Cheney has warned that there is a “high probability” that terrorists will attempt a catastrophic nuclear or biological attack in coming years, and said he fears the Obama administration’s policies will make it more likely the attempt will succeed. Of course there is a high probability that the United States will be attacked again – duh – and it won’t matter who is president. Remember, the U.S. was attacked on Clinton’s watch and on Bush’s watch. In fact, we lost more lives in the World Trade Center attack than we did in the attack on Pearl Harbor. Facts have shown us that Cheney and Bush had the information about an imminent attack but chose to ignore it.

I guess Cheney thinks the failure to get Bin Laden in Tora Bora does not count as an act that made this country less safe. Gen. Stanley McChrystal testified to Congress this week that Al Qaeda would not be defeated until bin Laden is dead. Yet somehow, according to Cheney, putting KSM on trial will make him more important than the founder and continuing leader of Al Qaeda, whose death is essential to Al Qaeda's ultimate defeat according to the American military commander in Afghanistan?

Mr. Cheney is not a credible spokesman on issues of national security. He went over to the dark side years ago, turning into a Darth Vader – an unyielding presence who shoots first, asks questions later, and answers to no one, not even the president he supposedly served. Col. Lawrence B. Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, describes Dick Cheney as “amoral; he’s Machiavelli’s prince writ large.”

John Perry Barlow, the Wyoming native and Internet-privacy advocate who worked on Cheney’s first congressional campaign, is blunt in his description of him. According to Barlow, Cheney’s “dark intellect has become one of the most dangerous forces in the world… a global sociopath, a creature of enormous power and intellect combined with all the empathy of a HAL 9000 [the murderous computer in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey].”

The truth is that it was Mr. Cheney’s policies that did not keep us safe. Dick Cheney’s definition of American exceptionalism led to the arrogance and recklessness that turned attention from Afghanistan (where Al Qaeda was) and put emphasis on Iraq (where Al Qaeda did not exist at the time) – so if Obama doesn’t share his version of American exceptionalism, good.

The 2006 and 2008 elections were reactions against the neo-con version of American exceptionalism, with President Obama's election being the major plot point at which voters rejected it. Opposing the Iraq war and seeking to regain America's global standing were focal points in his campaign, and the American public agreed, despite the heavy fire Obama took from “conservatives” for, for instance, going to Germany to deliver a speech. In January 2009, just before Obama was inaugurated, 74 percent of U.S. adults (including 47 percent of Republicans) thought the Bush administration had damaged America's global standing, and 83 percent said it was important for Obama to work to improve it

Actually, I do not think that Cheney really believes President Obama is really making this country less safe. I think he is just trying to recast his legacy of hate and wrongheadedness. He knows the history books will show him as having a dark and nasty character. He knows that if the Obama administration is successful, history will view his own administration as unsuccessful and harmful. “Cheney’s manner and authority of voice far outstrip his true abilities,” said Chas Freeman, who served under Bush’s father as ambassador to Saudi Arabia. “It was clear from the start that Bush required adult supervision – but it turns out Cheney has even worse instincts. He does not understand that when you act recklessly, your mistakes will come back and bite you on the ***.”

Cheney is a national embarrassment and permanent stain in our nation’s history. With each passing day, Cheney’s actions confirm that he is by far the worst and most damaging person to have held the second highest office in our country. I blame Cheney for what has happened to the United States. President Bush, who is not very bright, was just an ignorant puppet for Cheney, the puppet master. In fact if there is another attack, the blame could now be laid at Cheney’s feet for his unpatriotic, treacherous hate speech. His verbal attacks on President Obama go beyond expressing an opposing viewpoint. His words alone could invite another attack.

You are a mean one, Mr. Grinch. Go crawl back in your bunker and shut up.