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Dick and Liz Cheney: Back in the Spotlight

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6/18/2014 9:14:03 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
It appears that the Cheneys are making a re-entry into public life. Is this something to welcome, fear, or decry? What's your take?
I'm a Bish.
Posts: 5,200
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6/19/2014 7:41:16 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 6/18/2014 9:14:03 PM, bsh1 wrote:
It appears that the Cheneys are making a re-entry into public life. Is this something to welcome, fear, or decry? What's your take?

OMG, the guy is calling everyone and anyone a terrorist again. Iraq Sunni's who hate Iranian Shia are terrorists along with the Iranian Shia, who are terrorists and also trying to stop the Iraqi Sunni's who are also fighting the Iraqi Shia who favor the terrorist Iranian Shia.

Sit the f down and shut up Cheney. We would not be in this mess if you and your boss didn't cause it.

This is a civil war you f'ing idot not a terrorist plot. I guess he wants US troop in there for the next 100 years getting their arses shot up..
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7/1/2014 3:13:36 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
E.J. Dionne's article in the Washington Post isn't something that especially interests me... though I did skim it. I'd rather just talk about the actual op-ed that Dick and Liz Cheney published in the Wall Street Journal.

Here's the tl;dr version of it:

American freedom will not be secured by empty threats, meaningless red lines, leading from behind, appeasing our enemies, abandoning our allies, or apologizing for our great nation"all hallmarks to date of the Obama doctrine. Our security, and the security of our friends around the world, can only be guaranteed with a fundamental reversal of the policies of the past six years.

Here's the part where the Cheney's overreach:

In 1983, President Ronald Reagan said, "If history teaches anything, it teaches that simple-minded appeasement or wishful thinking about our adversaries is folly. It means the betrayal of our past, the squandering of our freedom." President Obama is on track to securing his legacy as the man who betrayed our past and squandered our freedom.

There's a lot that I agree with about Cheney's assessment, though I think that it would be taken more seriously if he and Liz were less caviler. For example:

Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many. Too many times to count, Mr. Obama has told us he is "ending" the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan"as though wishing made it so. His rhetoric has now come crashing into reality. Watching the black-clad ISIS jihadists take territory once secured by American blood is final proof, if any were needed, that America's enemies are not "decimated." They are emboldened and on the march.

The fact is that the situation on the ground in Iraq was different when Obama started withdrawing troops, and there were good indicators that it would have been safe to withdraw, if you interpreted the intelligence reports in a certain way. As it happens, the hawks in both parties (whether they were closeted about it or not) were right, as they almost always are when it comes to the Middle East, and Af-Pak was a well intended miscalculation.

I only call it a well intended miscalculation, because I don't want to be written off in the same way that I am writing off Dick and Liz, now. In reality, what Obama wanted to do is play the hand he wished he held, rather than the hand he actually held, and it's blown up in his face. On some level, I sympathize with his deep desire to end the war in Iraq, but I also think that he jumped the gun.

The easy thing to say about all of this is that Bush shouldn't have gone into Iraq, it was a total mistake, and now we should get out as soon as possible no matter what the cost. That was kind of how Nixon approached Vietnam. Like Obama, Nixon campaigned on ending the war contemporary to his election. Like Obama, Nixon pulled out before the job was complete. Like Vietnam, Iraq has fallen to the wolves.

But in the broader picture, Cheney's tone is forgivable because it was -in many ways- his work that Obama failed to see through. It was his Middle Eastern project that the Obama administration squandered and I can understand, to some degree, a sense of righteous indignation -or "chutzpah" as Dionne put it- in response to Obama's doctrine of foreign policy. And yet, Vietnam is ok now. Maybe Iraq will be four decades down the road. Perhaps Afghanistan will be too. Or they won't, and even if they're not, as long as the problems are localized there, it's no longer our problem.

I still believe that going into Iraq was the right thing to do. I believe that deposing Saddam Hussein and having him hang after being convicted by his own people is how the French Revolution should have happened, sans external intervention. I do not believe, however, that foreign imposed regime changes are politically feasible for any US president, and I think that the costs and benefits are so incalculable and the risks entailed in doing so at once so great and ambiguous that in almost no circumstance should it ever be tried again.

Essentially, I'm willing to cut Obama the same "slack" that I'm willing to cut Cheney, because both are doing what they truly believed to be right. The difference is that Cheney wanted to see justice done for the Iraqi people, since it was his mess that is the reason they are where they are, and Obama wanted to do justice for the American people, for reasons that are self evident. It would have been preferable that he not act so precipitously, but I think that only a fool would say that Iraqi's are -even after the ISIS onslaught- not better off now than they were under Saddam and his family. I also think that, even accounting for the ISIS problem, there is more hope for Iraq's future than there has been since Saddam came to power.

It's going to be bloody. Many people will die, and will continue to die, as competing factions vie for power in what will be this next great "sorting out" of political interests. But I also think that because the Iraqi people have had a taste of democracy, it will come back, even if Iraq is divided among the Sunni's, Shiites and Kurds. As it happens, I think that because of the oil that's at stake, Iraq will not remain divided -but all anyone can do at this point is hope. To be clear, hope is not lost there. The present is bleak, but the future is not... and that future would not be possible without Operation Iraqi Freedom, no matter what the Obama administration has done or failed to do.

The benefit of staying in Iraq would have been that (1) rivaling factions -some of which are affiliated with terrorist networks- could have been kept at bay, (2) fewer Iraqi's would have died, (3) Oil markets could have returned to a semi-stable equilibrium. The costs of staying would have been the blood and treasure required to facilitate those ends, and the political capital of spending that blood and treasure.

The costs of not staying are (1) regional instability, (2) lots of dead Iraqi's and (3) comparably more volatile oil markets, while the benefits are no more American blood and treasure being spent to secure American access to Iraqi oil or in defense of Iraqis. I found it kind of amusing how Cheney dances around the reality that oil is what's at stake in this. He talks about US "strategic interests." But really, Dick... who are you kidding? This is about black gold.