Dick Cheney’s Chutzpah

Never Right on Iraq, Still Wrong Now

The infinitely valuable Yiddish word “chutzpah” is defined as “shameless audacity” or “impudence.”

It’s singularly appropriate for the astonishing op-ed piece that former Vice President Dick Cheney and his daughter Liz published in The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday. It’s not every day that a leader of the previous administration suggests that the current president is a “fool” and accuses him of intentionally weakening the United States.

“President Obama seems determined to leave office ensuring he has taken America down a notch,” the Cheneys write. Are they charging our president with treason? “President Obama,” they write, “is on track to securing his legacy as the man who betrayed our past and squandered our freedom.”

Squandered our freedom?

“Only a fool,” they say, “would believe American policy in Iraq should be ceded to Iran, the world’s largest state sponsor of terror.” As if this is what Obama is doing -- and as if it wasn’t the invasion Cheney so passionately supported that vastly strengthened Iran’s hand long before Obama took office.

The Cheney polemic would be outrageous even if our former vice president’s record on Iraq had been one of absolute clairvoyance. As it happens, he was wrong in almost every prediction he made about the war.

On March 16, 2003, just days before the war started, Cheney sat down with the late Tim Russert on NBC’s “Meet the Press” for what still stands as the most revealing of the prewar interviews. Cheney was adamant that “to suggest that we need several hundred thousand troops there after military operations cease, after the conflict ends, I don’t think is accurate. I think that’s an overstatement.”

“We will, in fact, be greeted as liberators,” he famously said, and proceeded to play down the very sectarian divisions that are plaguing the country now. Russert asked: “And you are convinced the Kurds, the Sunnis, the Shiites will come together in a democracy?” Cheney replied quickly: “They have so far.” He went on:

“If you look at the opposition, they’ve come together, I think, very effectively, with representatives from Shia, Sunni and Kurdish elements in the population. They understand the importance of preserving and building on an Iraqi national identity. They don’t like to have the U.S., for example, come in and insist on dealing with people sort of on a hyphenated basis -- the Iraqi-Shia, Iraqi-Sunni -- but rather to focus on Iraq as a nation and all that it can accomplish as a nation, and we try to be sensitive to those concerns. I think the prospects of being able to achieve this kind of success, if you will, from a political standpoint, are probably better than they would be for virtually any other country and under similar circumstances in that part of the world.”

Ah yes, regime change would work out just fine -- better than fine. “Extremists in the region would have to rethink their strategy of jihad,” Cheney had told the Veterans of Foreign Wars seven months earlier. “Moderates throughout the region would take heart.” Plus a bonus: “Our ability to advance the Israeli-Palestinian peace process would be enhanced.” This was the war that would cure all that ailed us.

Thanks to the Cheney op-ed, we can see how Obama’s hawkish critics are out to create a double standard. Whenever they are called out for how mistaken they were about Iraq in the first place, they piously lecture against “relitigating the past” and say we must instead look forward. At the same time, many of them feel perfectly free to trash the president in extreme and even vile terms.

I am all for looking forward and trying to find an approach that squares the many contradictions we face: of needing to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria while also pushing Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to stop pursuing anti-Sunni policies that are empowering the forces we need to turn back; of being on the same side as Iran in Iraq’s current emergency but on opposite sides over Syria; of wanting to avoid steps that will make things worse while not being paralyzed; and of not plunging into the middle of a Shiite-Sunni civil war while trying to stop the region’s descent into chaos.

Obama sees these contradictions and says he won’t act rashly. You don’t have to agree with Obama’s every move to prefer his prudence to the utter certainty that “we will be greeted as liberators” and to a habit of underestimating the costs of military action.

(c) 2014, Washington Post Writers Group

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"Obama sees these contradictions and says he won’t act rashly," E.J. Dionne says. The complexities of the situation Dionne points out seem not to have been noticed by his Republican attackers.

As Andy Borowitz notes in the latest edition of The Borowitz Report titled PRESSURE ON OBAMA TO QUICKLY RESOLVE CENTURIES OLD SUNNI SHIITE CONFLICT:

 

"Congressional leaders left the White House on Wednesday 'deeply frustrated' that President Obama had not found a swift resolution to the conflict between Sunnis and Shiites that began in the seventh century A.D.

"After meeting for more than an hour with the President in the Oval Office, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell expressed disappointment that Mr. Obama 'came up empty' when asked for a plan to heal the rift between the two religious groups, which began in the year 632."

John Boehner is quoted as saying, "This struggle between Sunnis and Shiites has been going on for almost fifteen hundred years. . . That means President Obama has had ample time to fix it.”

 

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/borowitzreport/2014/06/pressure-on...

 

 

 

HERE we have a DRAFT DODGER and his fire breather liar beating up on PRESIDENT OBAMA. THESE two will never quit lying until somebody starts to tell the AMERICAN people how vile they are by exposing their pack of lies.

AMERICA is far stronger than they would like you to believe. OUR Military has the Best weapons available. OUR Navy has more firepower in one battleship than what was available during any of the previous wars. BUT, THE NEWS MEDIA AND SOME POLITICIANS ARE TRYING TO PULL THE WOOL OVER OUR EYES BECAUSE THEY ARE IN THE POCKETS OF THE INDUSTRIAL MILITARY COMPLEX OF WEAPON SYSTEMS MAKERS. JUST think how much money is given to a politician to make sure a failed weapons system of a failed jet engine that can not deliver the power as promised is dumped by the PENTAGON, but is brought back by a Politician  who is owned by one of these companies.

 AFTER ALL, cheney was a vp of such a company and his family has fared very well monetarily from the payments received from said company.

 THE IMPETUS for going back to Iraq is in the amount of money they can make not by making it a democratically free country.

 AS STATED, THESE PEOPLE HAVE BEEN KILLING EACK OTHER FOR CENTURIES AND THE FAILED REPUBLICAN PAST ACTIONS COULD NOT STOP THEM. NOW, they want PRESIDENT OBAMA to undue centuries of warefare and hatred to save a failing government bent on punishing it's own people because of their religious convictions.

 RIGHT NOW, NOT EVEN THE REPUBLICAN HAWKS KNOW HOW TO STOP THIS INCURSION.

 

 CHENEY DUO: SHUT UP OR GO OVER THERE AND PERSONALLY STOP THIS INCURSION YOURSELVES. PUT YOUR ACTIONS WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS SPOUTING OUT FALSEHOODS.

Welcome To Obama's Brave New World   
The Jihadi Menace Gets Real
by Walter Russell Mead
"A group more radical than al-Qaeda, better organized, better financed, commanding the loyalty of thousands of dedicated fanatics including many with Western and even U.S. passports? And this group now controls some of the most strategic territory at the heart of the Middle East?

Welcome to President Obama’s brave new world. After six years in office pursuing strategies he believed would tame the terror threat and doing his best to reassure the American people that the terror situation was under control, with the “remnants” of al-Qaeda skittering into the shadows like roaches when the exterminator arrives, Obama now confronts the most powerful and hostile jihadi movement of modern times, a movement that dances on the graveyard of his hopes."
And:
"One wishes we had a Republican President right now if only because when a Republican is in the White House, the media and the chattering classes believe they have a solemn moral duty to categorize and analyze the failures of American strategy and policy. Today that is far from the case; few in the mainstream press seem interested in tracing the full and ugly course of the six years of continual failure that dog the footsteps of the hapless Obama team in a region the White House claimed to understand. Nothing important has gone right for the small and tightly knit team that runs American Middle East policy. Most administrations have one failure in Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking; this administration has two, both distinctly more ignominious and damaging than average. The opening to the Middle East, once heralded by this administration as transformative, has long vanished; no one even talks about the President’s speeches in Cairo and Istanbul anymore, unless regional cynics are looking for punch lines for bitter jokes. The support for the “transition to democracy” in Egypt ended on as humiliating a note as the “red line” kerfuffle in Syria. The spectacular example of advancing human rights by leading from behind in Libya led to an unmitigated disaster from which not only Libya but much of north and west Africa still suffers today."
Mr.Dionne and others should read the rest before commenting further at:
http://www.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2014/06/23/the-jihadi-menace-ge...
 

 

 

@E. Patrick Mosman - Thanks for your ocmment, and the link.  Having read the article you linked to, it's still not clear to me what policy you (or Mr. Mead) would advocate.  (Please feel free to respond.)

Mr Mead is an historian who is reporting and highlighting on the media's failure to report on the Obama administration's actions, numerous scandals and particularly its failures as all branches of the treated the Bush administration on the front pages or on leading evening news  and cable programs. He is not a prognosticator of the future or adviser of future actions. 
The following are my thoughts based on Mr. Mead's writings:
"In the United States in the past, the media was often called the fourth branch of government (or "fourth estate"). That's because it monitored the political process in order to ensure that political players don't abuse the democratic process." It even referred to itself as the public's "watchdog"   
Access to information is essential to the health of democracy for at least two reasons. First, it ensures that citizens make responsible, informed choices rather than acting out of ignorance or misinformation. Second, information serves a "checking function" by ensuring that elected representatives uphold their oaths of office and carry out the wishes of those who elected them."

With the election of Obama as President the "fourth estate" abandoned its "watchdog" role and became an Obama lapdog, continued as the media cheerleader, parroting the party line with vigor, ignoring the scandals and attacking the Republicans. Note the 'over the top  wall to wall coverage' of Gov.Christy's alleged GWB scandal while giving short shrift or completely ignoring the many administration at home scandals and International policy failures.
As there are obvious relationship between a number of administration officials and their partners or relatives in high media positions, I believe the first thing that should be done is to outlaw such incestuous relationships.  
Next,reporters must return to their role as members of the "fourth estate", watchdog of the political process on behalf of the public and not apologist or supporters of an administration gone wrong.

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About the Author

E. J. Dionne Jr. is a syndicated columnist, professor of government at Georgetown University, and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. His most recent book is Our Divided Political Heart: The Battle for the American Idea in an Age of Discontent (Bloomsbury Press).