You gotta give it to the ex-Vice President for staying consistent. Dick Cheney, easily the most powerful (and fatalistic) Veep in our nation’s history, hasn’t retired to a life of hunting accidents and chest pains — he keeps popping up like an evil groundhog to inform us about a possible nuclear winter. Politico has the exclusive on Dick’s Dark Side:
Cheney unyieldingly defended the Bush administration’s support for the Guantanamo Bay prison and coercive interrogation of terrorism suspects.
And he asserted that President Obama will either backtrack on his stated intentions to end those policies or put the country at risk in ways more severe than most Americans — and, he charged, many members of Obama’s own team — understand.
“When we get people who are more concerned about reading the rights to an Al Qaeda terrorist than they are with protecting the United States against people who are absolutely committed to do anything they can to kill Americans, then I worry,” Cheney said.
Protecting the country’s security is “a tough, mean, dirty, nasty business,” he said. “These are evil people. And we’re not going to win this fight by turning the other cheek.”
He has a point — these are not nice folks were dealing with here. Some of ‘em definitely have despicable designs against America. But there are also plenty of innocents who have been kidnapped, imprisoned and abused to uphold Cheney’s vision of national security.
Terrorism is merely the justification for Cheney’s loathing of democracy. Even before 9/11, “Deadly Dick” was looking to remake the Executive Branch into a unitary power through which all key foreign policy decisions would be formulated in secret. Oh, Dubya was occasionally briefed. But the strategy was all Cheney.
Immediately following 9/11, the Vice and his crack legal team of David Addington, John Yoo and Timothy Flanigan (Alberto “Fredo” Gonzales was really just a translator for the Prez) set about creating an invisible legal apparatus that would allow the US to use secret detainment facilities, torture and indefinite imprisonment as tools in the War On Terror. As defined by Yoo and expressed by Bush, torture was what the United States does not do — everything else is fair game, provided it doesn’t cause pain equivalent to organ failure or imminent death. That’s a lot of wiggle room.
Cheney has never realized that GitMo, Abu Ghraib, rendition and black sites only inspire more terrorists. Tales of American interrogation practices have become a fantastic recruitment tool for new jihadists who are eager to take the fight to us.
Another thing Cheney never seemed to grasp was that 9/11 is about as lo-tech as a plot can get. Operationally sophisticated, sure, but hardly the “mushroom cloud” event the ex-VP loves to invoke. Not that Osama Bin Laden wouldn’t love to get his hands on a nuke or bioweapons. But it’s easier to invade a nation than infiltrate a terrorist organization, and Saddam Hussein was a target ripe for the toppling.
So the Iraq occupation was all about using US military power to send a firm message to our real adversaries. (That and reconstruction contracts, corporate military outsourcing and oil.) And don’t we look stronger for it! Iran is positively quaking in their boots as they build those centrifuges.
Listen Dick, nobody wants your input anymore. How ’bout you head back to your undisclosed location and work on that next heart attack.