Friday, June 20, 2014

Doublin' Down for W

As President Obama considers what actions to take in support of Iraq against an Islamic insurgency, one of the architects of the plan that put us in Iraq in the first place opined on the current crisis.  

Dick Cheney with the assistance of his daughter Liz, wrote a piece in the Wall Street Journal that placed the blame for the deteriorating conditions in Iraq squarely on Obama.

In a quotable piece of rhetorical flourish, Cheney offered the following assessment: 

"Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many."

(I know this is quotable because everyone writing about Cheney's op-ed is quoting it.)

Read the complete article here. (You may need a subscription.)

Meanwhile, during an appearance on FOX News, however, Cheney found himself challenged by Megyn Kelly. She gave out a little rhetorical flourish of her own: 

Cheney does what all politicians do--they blamed their predecessor. "We inherited a situation . . .  blah blah blah." Politicians can do this because, well, they always inherit situations.

He follows it with another rhetorically clever but flippant comment about the 9/11 hijackers arming themselves with "airline tickets and box cutters." The hijackers did not murder three thousand Americans with tickets and box cutters. They turned jet airliners into air-to-surface missiles.

Cheney ran out of clever ripostes and stammered through the next few seconds of the interview on that element of the so-called "Bush Doctrine" justifying preemptive strikes against hostile nation states, even if no evidence exists pointing to an imminent threat.

Kelly throws some of his own words at him, including some excerpts from this excerpt of an excerpt:

Regime change in Iraq would bring about a number of benefits to the region. When the gravest of threats are eliminated, the freedom-loving peoples of the region will have a chance to promote the values that can bring lasting peace.

As for the reaction of the Arab "street," the Middle East expert Professor Fouad Ajami predicts that after liberation, the streets in Basra and Baghdad are "sure to erupt in joy in the same way the throngs in Kabul greeted the Americans." Extremists in the region would have to rethink their strategy of Jihad. Moderates throughout the region would take heart. And our ability to advance the Israeli-Palestinian peace process would be enhanced, just as it was following the liberation of Kuwait in 1991." 

Dick Cheney seems incapable of critical self-examination. And he is not alone. Paul Bremer likewise published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal (read it here) in which he revealed himself as oblivious as Cheney about what they wrought in Iraq. And Paul Wolfowitz hit the cable news channels (like here).

They all bring the same message:

It is not time to revisit the original decision to invade Iraq. But ISIS poses the same existential threat as that posed by Sadaam Hussein before we invaded Iraq.

Got that?

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