Notes and reactions to Cheney’s desperate plea. Discordant, I know. No time to fine tune it all. There’s just too much!
Cheney’s blast of the Obama administration is likely to vault him again to the top of the GOP pecking order, though if that is an actual achievement is harder to say. Cheney’s lambaste was of course articulate and clear. Yet it was smarmy and ultimately cheap. It had some great phrases like “recklessness cloaked in righteousness” which sounds clever enough to be almost biblical. However, it might be perceived as being twice as accurate when levied on the Bush-Cheney administration and their decisions made in response to the attacks of September 11th, 2001. However, I for one was glad Dick Cheney made this speech, as self-serving and unrealistic as it was. For it demonstrates that debate is alive again in America. Not long ago a speech of such outspoken disagreement to the acting president would have been labeled as treason. And back then, old Dick would have been shouting loudest. Now he can directly oppose a president’s policies, openly and vehemently without accusations of putting American lives at risk. A few months ago, Dick would have had to throw himself into a pit in Cuba after such a contemptuous tirade.
Dick is in agreement with many in the Democratic Party on the transfer of Gitmo prisoners to American prisons. Unfortunately he “came across the aisle” on the wrong issue. They are all flat out wrong. Dick cited some obscure research, saying that and estimated 14% of Gitmo detainees that were released went back to their countries of origin to continue violent jihad against the U.S. I immediately wondered if he received that intelligence from the sleuths that convinced him that Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden were Country Club buddies. Yet again, Dick continues to hear only the story he wants to hear. Like President Obama said dick “trimmed facts and evidence to fit ideological predispositions.” Look what that has reaped – an illegal prison full of angry, violent men, more dedicated than ever to doing harm to America. There is no question the “prison” at Guantanamo Bay is immoral and ineffective. No one legitimately argues for keeping it operating. Yet our representatives get squeamish about keeping these prisoners on American soil? Remember our collective abhorrence when we learned about Bush-Cheney’s policy of extraordinary rendition, whereby we decided it was not okay to torture within the confines of American shores, but we could torture as much as we pleased in far off secret locations in places like Czechoslovakia and Thailand. Now we want to ship these now angrier, dangerous prisoners off to other countries. Shouldn’t we keep them here, where we have can keep an eye on them, where we control their movements and activities? Shouldn’t we keep them here where we can finally offer them something they likely can’t even conceptualize – a fair trial? Shouldn’t we show them our best face for once, and not more of the ugliness that has only made more people disenchanted, if not violently angry, at America? Dick wants more of the same.
Wait there’s more… Dick questions using taxpayer dollars to finance the imprisonment of these suspects in the US. Is he personally financing Guantanamo Bay? Who does he think is paying for that venture? We don’t want them here because we don’t want to pay for them? Well no matter where they go, we are going to be paying for them for a long time. And that is appropriate since we helped create them. They are our bastard children we want to sweep away and forget. If they are criminals, and if proven so after a fair trial, put them in prisons right here where they belong.
This speech was an attempt to deflect attention from his questionable (and very likely criminal) decisions. He never mentioned his involvement in Justice Department “interpretations” of laws, which really set the stage for Cheney’s dream definition of torture. The torture issue is almost laughable at this point in its tragedy. It is so shameful, if we don’t laugh we will drown in our tears – or at least be waterboarded by our own tears. It does not matter if we discovered Osama bin Laden sitting on a pile of the most horrific WMDs, if we gained that information through torture. It is morally reprehensible and the argument that it’s justifiable if it worked only compounds the guilt.
Furthermore, there are other allegations of criminal activity Cheney glossed over. He ignored (and likely buried) CIA reports that there were no Al Queda ties to Iraq and Saddam Hussein. He deliberately mislead us to war. This is an old argument I know, but as Cheney accuses the citizens of America of “forgetting” 9/11, I accuse them of forgetting that he and his cadre lied to us and there is direct evidence of that on public record.
Sadly, it seems Cheney is so misguided he is blind to the facts. Or perhaps he is desperately clinging to his old arguments in an attempt to save his skin. He pledges to support the same policies today without hesitation. Talk about a head in the sand. He has learned nothing. He still trusts his pre-approved intelligence briefings. He still thinks torture works (as I said, even if it gets you all the information you seek, it doesn’t work, because the cost is too high. It only costs us our national soul). He still thinks he is a “defender of freedom” through illegal incarcerations and iron-fisted coercion.
Cheney went back to his tried and true playbook evoking 9/11 – speaking for the heroes he has since shamed. He once again linked Saddam Hussein to “known Mideast terrorists” – notice this time he did not have the audacity to try to say “Al Qaeda”. I wonder if he is yet aware that there never was a connection between Hussein and bin Laden, or if he is capable of admitting it anyway. He then pulled out a long-lost fearful phrase – weapons of mass destruction. He has been spouting this rhetoric for over 8 years. We have been duped by its emotional draw, and look where it has gotten us.
Shame on you, Dick. For you brought shame on all of us. As Obama said, “Too many of us – politicians, journalists and citizens – fell silent.” That is our shame. To allow you to twist your actions into some sort of noble cause would be a far greater shame. You belong in jail, Dick and your desperate twisting and blathering grows stronger as you hear the construction of the gallows. You will not be tried, you will not serve time. Sadly however, you will not be punished as you should. This is a sad fact of our infatuation with faulty tradition. But history must remember you for what you are – a criminal, somewhere between Nixon and Hitler.