Rarely Has A U.S. Veep Been So Wrong About So Much At The Expense Of So Many
I try to ignore the Cheneys—Dick and, now God help us, Mini-Me—as much as possible because, to me, they smell strongly of sociopathy and I try to avoid that sort of thing. I blame the dumbing down of the Republican party for its current abysmal lack of political talent which, in turn, means that we Americans are being subjected to extra innings of their Senior League—looking at you, Dick, Mitt, and is that really you? Tom Tancredo?
Clearly, no one in authority is ever going to prosecute Dick Cheney for the criminal damage he has done to mankind and, since the First Amendment sets no requirements for sanity, civility or integrity tempering one’s public utterances, Cheney is free to spout his neocon chickenhawk ravings for as long as his new heart holds out and Republicans and their proxies are stupid enough to give him airtime.
So. Where is it that washed-up, bitter old Republicans go to vent? Hannity, of course. Because Sean Hannity can be counted on to ask moronic questions like this:
. . . how could Obama have been so wrong on so many issues when it comes to ISIS?
Creating the perfect opening for Cheney to say something Cheney-esque like:
I think it’s deliberate. I think [Obama] has a world view, and increasingly what he’s found is that it isn’t consistent with reality.
Whereupon Mini-Me pipes up with:
The president has laid out a fantasy for the American people, and is trying to disguise it as a strategy, but it’s not going to keep us safe.
Which is the cue for people like me to say: But please, Cheney’s, what WILL make us safe? We are so afraid . . .
The short answer, of course, is BOG—Boots on the ground—the chickenhawk’s favorite insider-jargon-y way of saying “your kids as cannon-fodder.”
All of that is tired-out neocon scriptage, of course, but Cheney did allow himself a few ad-libs on Obama’s fitness to lead:
[Obama] clearly lacks the experience, and also I think the respect, for our senior commanders.
OK, so see? that’s why I try to avoid these ghouls, but sometimes it’s like trying not to look at a car wreck.
First, does Dick Cheney have any actual evidence that Obama lacks respect for the senior commanders under his command? Does Hannity ask him for any?
The only conceivable information on the record, so far, that Cheney could be referring to is the thoroughly misunderstood testimony of Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who told the Senate Armed Services Committee, last week, that it was possible that U.S. troops advising and assisting Iraq’s military could be deployed to fight.
When Dempsey’s testimony caused a great howling to be heard throughout the land, Rear Adm. John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesman tried to quiet the howlers with this:
. . . [he] characterized Dempsey’s statement as a hypothetical, saying on CNN’s “Amanpour” that the chairman was speaking about his “best military advice” should U.S. troops in Iraq need to act in an advise-and-assist role with “lower level units.”
“If he felt that the strategy as it was being proposed and executed was failing that he would not hesitate to change his advice to the commander in chief about maybe putting advisers in lower level units out there,” Kirby said.
“But he also said that he supports the strategy that we are executing right now, and he also said that he doesn’t believe we are at that stage right now.”
Just as a refresher, those are, in fact, the proper roles being described for each entity—the military leaders advise and the civilian leader commands. Just like the Founding Fathers set it up in the Constitution.
But on Planet Cheney, if President Obama doesn’t follow all military advice, Obama is showing his “lack of experience” and “disrespecting the military.”
Seriously, Dick?? You seem to be forgetting that the President is the commander-in-chief of the military; but that would surprise me because it was Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and Cheney whose objective was “reforming” the military to carry out the dreams of world conquest of civilian leaders. A new military paradigm for a new century’s global politics . . . or something.
It was BushCo who ignored military advisers who said that at least 500,000 troops would be necessary for a successful regime change in Iraq and that the most important part of the mission would be providing long-term infrastructure and population security post invasion.
This from a State Department review in 2004:
. . . the review found that the president and many of his advisers ignored repeated warnings that rebuilding Iraq would be harder than ousting Saddam and tossed out years of planning about how to rebuild Iraq, in part because they thought pro-American Iraqi exiles and Iraqi “patriots” would quickly pick up the pieces.
“The possibility of the United States winning the war and losing the peace in Iraq is real and serious,” warned an Army War College report that was completed in February 2003, a month before the invasion. Without an “overwhelming” effort to prepare for the U.S. occupation of Iraq, the report warned: “The United States may find itself in a radically different world over the next few years, a world in which the threat of Saddam Hussein seems like a pale shadow of new problems of America’s own making.”
Ah, Dick, if someone had only respected that military advice . . .
A half-dozen intelligence reports also warned that American troops could face significant postwar resistance. This foot-high stack of material was distributed at White House meetings of Bush’s top foreign policy advisers, but there’s no evidence that anyone ever acted on it.
“It was disseminated. And ignored,” said a former senior intelligence official.
The Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency was particularly aggressive in its forecasts, officials said. One briefing occurred in January 2003. Another, in April 2003, weeks after the war began, discussed Saddam’s plans for attacking U.S. forces after his troops had been defeated on the battlefield.
Similar warnings came from the Pentagon’s Joint Staff, the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research, and the CIA’s National Intelligence Council. The council produced reports in January 2003 titled “Principal Challenges in Post-Saddam Iraq” and “Regional Consequences of Regime Change in Iraq.”
Surely Cheney can’t have forgotten this inglorious example of disrespecting the military:
Rumsfeld and his aides made it clear what would happen to generals who bucked them. When, under persistent congressional questioning in February 2003, the Army chief of staff, Gen. Eric K. Shinseki, said he thought several hundred thousand U.S. troops would be needed to secure Iraq, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz publicly called his estimate “wildly off the mark.”
Then Rumsfeld’s office leaked word of Shinseki’s replacement 15 months before Shinseki was due to retire, both embarrassing and neutralizing the Army’s top officer. “Rumsfeld just beat up on the military,” said the senior intelligence official. “And so they just shut up and did what they were told.”
This happened on your excellent watch, Dick:
Instead of providing a plan and enough troops to take control of Iraq, officials, advisers and consultants in and around the Pentagon and Vice President Dick Cheney’s office bet on Iraqi exiles such as Ahmad Chalabi of the Iraqi National Congress, who assured them that Iraqis would welcome American troops as liberators.
So, armed with advice that he liked from Ahmad Chalabi, Cheney chose to ignore this advice from the Joint Chiefs of Staff:
Unlike the 1991 Persian Gulf War, in which Iraqi troops were trying to maintain their grip on Kuwait, “they are now defending their country. “You are going to get serious resistance. This idea that everyone will join you is baloney.
Larry Diamond, who was a political adviser in Baghdad from January to March of 2004, made this assessment:
Rumsfeld’s office “was utterly, arrogantly, ignorantly and negligently unprepared” for the aftermath of the war.
Personally? I have to agree with retired diplomat Peter Van Buren who just wrote these words in Mother Jones a few days ago:
If there is a summary lesson here, perhaps it’s that there is evidently no hole that can’t be dug deeper. How could it be more obvious, after more than two decades of empty declarations of victory in Iraq, that genuine “success,” however defined, is impossible? The only way to win is not to play. Otherwise, you’re just a sucker at the geopolitical equivalent of a carnival ringtoss game with a fist full of quarters to trade for a cheap stuffed animal.
And that’s the game that Dick Cheney would like to see the US double-down in.