Posts Tagged ‘Dick Cheney’

Short Takes

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

By Jeffrey Page

–You don’t have to be a Republican, a Tea Partier, or a conspiracy nut to agree that Hillary Clinton owes the country another appearance before Congress to explain the increasingly unexplainable circumstances that led to the attack on the mission in Benghazi, the American response (or lack thereof), and the deaths of our ambassador and three other diplomats.

–If Howard Baker were active these days, the question would be: What did Clinton know and when did she know it? Also: What did she do and when did she do it?

–If Clinton can’t or won’t testify, there’s her ex-boss. Ultimately it’s President Obama’s State Department, and Ambassador Christopher Stevens and the other three men killed were his diplomats. Surely he has answers, don’t you think? A headline in yesterday’s New York Times: “Obama to Call for More Security at U.S. Embassies.” It sure took long enough; the attack on the mission occurred eight months ago.

–The unintended satire in the Clinton matter is Dick Cheney’s calling for more testimony from her and demanding, “I think [she] should be subpoenaed if necessary.” Cheney calling for facts is like Pinocchio asking for a nose job, and I suggest that when the lawyers start filling out the subpoena papers, they save one for Cheney himself.

–Maybe after being sworn, Cheney will finally inform us about Iraq’s nonexistent weapons of mass destruction he insisted we go to war to find, the hunt that cost close to 5,000 American lives and wounded 32,000 others. Maybe he could also be asked to explain the intelligence that led him to declare the day before the war against Saddam Hussein began, “My belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators.”

–Incidentally, Cheney, the personification of gravitas to the people who like him, appeared at a recent private meeting with Republican members of the House and informed all: “We’re in deep do-do with North Korea.” That was our former vice president; that was the man a heart-beat from the presidency.

–While the Obama administration plays games with the First Amendment in charting the telephone calling of 100 reporters and editors at Associated Press, Attorney General Eric Holder revealed something about himself and the way he works. He was discussing with an NPR reporter the Justice Department’s going after those phone records. In a quote that will dog Obama and Holder for the 1,344 days remaining in this administration, Holder said: “I’m not sure how many of those cases I have actually signed off on.” And then he said, “I take them very seriously.” And then he said, “I know I have refused to sign a few, pushed a few back for modifications.” The attorney general twiddles the First Amendment but isn’t sure how many subpoenas he signed?

–Attention Eric Holder: Do the nation a favor and memorize the following 45 words, especially the ones in italics: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

–Speaking of running roughshod over the First Amendment, it is on Obama’s watch that we learn of the Internal Revenue Service’s closer-than-usual examination of applications for tax-exempt status by some conservative groups. Last time anyone looked, conservatives possessed the same constitutional rights as liberals. So yesterday, Obama fired the acting commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service. I say “Obama’s watch,” by the way, knowing that other presidents have used the IRS in outrageous ways – the people on Nixon’s enemies list were IRS targets – but somehow I think Americans who happily elected Obama once, and once more maybe not so gleefully, no doubt had thought they were getting better than Nixon.

–And now, for the Quote of the Day as reported in the Huffington Post: “Forty years ago, the United States Supreme Court sanctioned abortion on demand. And we wonder why our culture sees school shootings so often.” This remarkable insight brought you by Rep. Kevin Cramer, (R-N.D.) in a graduation speech at the University of Mary in Bismarck.

The Iraq War’s Legacy of Lies and Alibis

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

In October 2003, my husband, Lance, and I made the trek to Washington, D.C., to participate in our first of several demonstrations against the Iraq War. Photos by Lance Theroux.

By Emily Theroux

Snippets of revisionist Iraq War lore have been popping up all over the Interwebs this week.

One long, dreadful decade since the neocons bamboozled a clueless “Commander-in-Thief” into launching America’s first preemptive war, apologists for the March 2003 invasion are offering every imaginable excuse but the real reason, the one none of them will ever admit: Dick Cheney and company lusted after the oil.

Like a pocketful of bad pennies, the architects of what was arguably the worst foreign-policy blunder in the past century are turning up again to tarnish history with their appalling mendacity. It’s a wonder none of them has been forced to spout his damned lies from a federal prison cell.

Read on for a rogue’s gallery of historic reprises, rewrites, and redactions:


Cheney’s chain of fools and tools

To hear the most manipulative veep in recent memory tell it, Dick Cheney was the hammer and Incurious George the hapless nail. In the recently released Showtime documentary, The World According to Dick Cheney, Bush 43’s overbearing “second fiddle” admits that he virtually occupied the office of his boss from the inside. When tasked with vetting possible vice-presidential candidates for Bush, Cheney set the bar impossibly high for everyone else and then appointed himself to the job, since nobody else measured up, in his estimation. Dubya bought it because Cheney carped endlessly about the danger of “ambitious” veeps, then convinced Bush that only he would be sufficiently unassuming.

Poor George. He never knew what hit him “upside the head.” As for Dickie-boy, this frighteningly unexamined individual claims to have no regrets about usurping the power of the presidency:

“I did what I did. It’s all on the public record, and I feel very good about it. If I had to do it over again, I’d do it in a minute.”


Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of Rummy!

Donald Rumsfeld infuriated the Twittersphere yesterday afternoon with the following self-serving recommendation:

“10 yrs ago began the long, difficult work of liberating 25 mil Iraqis. All who played a role in history deserve our respect & appreciation.”

Never mind those pesky WMDs  — you know, the “smoking gun” that might come in the form of Condy’s infamous “mushroom cloud” — which Rumsfeld insisted (and later denied ever having insisted) would be found expeditiously in the vicinity of Tikrit and Baghdad. “Liberating” several gazillion Kurds and Shiites was what all those nefarious neocons really meant to say, before they inexplicably “misspoke.”)

Far from anything resembling the homage Rummy expected to result from his 10th-anniversary tweet, George W. Bush’s original defense secretary found himself carpet-bombed by a Twitstorm of revulsion and abuse. “Except you & your bosses, you blood-gargling psychopath,” comedian Rob Delaney fired back (a retort that’s been retweeted 780 times so far). “War criminal,” numerous others responded.

“You horrible, delusional person,” tweeted a guy from Philly. “You’ll get yours.”


Dispensing Perles of ‘wisdom’

On National Public Radio, the Prince of Darkness himself, Richard Perle, dismissed the host’s query about whether, after causing the deaths of nearly 4,500 American soldiers and tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of Iraqis, the war was “worth it”:

“I’ve got to say, I think that is not a reasonable question. What we did at the time was done in the belief that it was necessary to protect this nation. You can’t, a decade later, go back and say, ‘Well, we shouldn’t have done that.”

In the aftermath of what most Americans consider a terrible mistake, I’d like to know why not. Relative centrists like Joe Biden, John Kerry and Hillary Clinton may have been cowed into vocally supporting neocon claims that Iraq had “weapons of mass destruction” and voting in favor of authorizing the war, but many on the left weren’t fooled by Bush administration bombast, exaggeration, and fear-mongering. We may not have known yet that the Niger yellowcake claim was a deliberate scam, but we knew when we were being fed a crock of “cakewalk.”

The problem, back in 2002 when Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, and Rumsfeld were actively fomenting their longtime plan to topple Saddam Hussein (which predated Bush 43’s presidency): Congress had been seized by a wave of jingoistic fervor after the terrible events of 9/11. Anyone facing an election lived in fear of even appearing seditious. Hence, the spectacle of Democratic stalwarts falling in line behind right-leaning Republicans to approve the “USA PATRIOT Act” (a “backronym,” I am informed by Wikipedia, which stands for the “Uniting [and] Strengthening America [by] Providing Appropriate Tools Required [to] Intercept [and] Obstruct Terrorism Act” of 2001)  — not to mention disparaging “cheese-eating surrender monkeys” (the perfidious French, a la Groundskeeper Willie of The Simpsons), and spurning America’s favorite fast-food snack as “freedom fries.”

Perle was reportedly a fount of misinformation, stating days after 9/11 that Saddam had ties to Osama bin Laden, claiming that war with Iraq would be “easy” and that Iraq could finance its own reconstruction, and insisting that Saddam was “working feverishly to acquire nuclear weapons.”


Who’s afraid of the big bad Wolfy?

Paul Wolfowitz, Rummy’s comb-licking right-hand man, actually admitted, during an interview with The Sunday Times, that the U.S. bungled the overthrow of Saddam Hussein (which he was the first neocon to advocate), by purging the ruling Ba’athists and installing an American “viceroy” at the helm of an ill-advised occupation. (Disbanding the fully armed Iraqi army, I might add if anyone asked my opinion, was at least a comparable blunder.)

Wolfowitz, of course, was absolutely indignant that anyone would dare call Bush 43 a liar. The “conclusion” that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, he averred, was “the consensus judgment of the intelligence community” and of most Democratic senators.  “Hillary Clinton certainly was one of them,” said Wolfowitz, who obliquely added:

“The falsehood that the president lied, which by the way is itself a lie, is so much worse than saying we were wrong. A mistake is one thing, a lie is something else.”

Come again, Wolfy? What was it that Rummy said about “unknowable unknowns” — or was it “lies and the lying liars who tell them,” as a certain current Senate Democrat once put it?

Peg that one for the Department of Redundancy Department.