More Insane Rantings from the Crazy Man in the Attic

Someone let Dick “PapaDick” Cheney out of his undisclosed location last night–they even gave him an award for being a “keeper of the flame.” In spite of the fact that the press is covering it as another serious attack from Cheney, I find it pretty laughable.

How else to treat a speech, for example, in which PapaDick boasts that Rummy got this “flame-keeper” award before him?

I’m told that among those you’ve recognized before me was my friend Don Rumsfeld. I don’t mind that a bit. It fits something of a pattern. In a career that includes being chief of staff, congressman, and secretary of defense, I haven’t had much that Don didn’t get first. But truth be told, any award once conferred on Donald Rumsfeld carries extra luster, and I am very proud to see my name added to such a distinguished list.

From that auspicious start, Cheney launches into a screed against Obama for shutting down missile defense in Czech Republic and Poland–he complains that Obama did not stand by the agreements that Cheney and Bush made.

Most anyone who is given responsibility in matters of national security quickly comes to appreciate the commitments and structures put in place by others who came before. You deploy a military force that was planned and funded by your predecessors. You inherit relationships with partners and obligations to allies that were first undertaken years and even generations earlier. With the authority you hold for a little while, you have great freedom of action. And whatever course you follow, the essential thing is always to keep commitments, and to leave no doubts about the credibility of your country’s word.So among my other concerns about the drift of events under the present administration, I consider the abandonment of missile defense in Eastern Europe to be a strategic blunder and a breach of good faith.

It is certainly not a model of diplomacy when the leaders of Poland and the Czech Republic are informed of such a decision at the last minute in midnight phone calls. It took a long time and lot of political courage in those countries to arrange for our interceptor system in Poland and the radar system in the Czech Republic. Our Polish and Czech friends are entitled to wonder how strategic plans and promises years in the making could be dissolved, just like that – with apparently little, if any, consultation.

But he moves directly from that complaint to complaining that Obama is honoring the commitment Bush made to withdraw our troops from Iraq.

Next door in Iraq, it is vitally important that President Obama, in his rush to withdraw troops, not undermine the progress we’ve made in recent years. Prime Minister Maliki met yesterday with President Obama, who began his press availability with an extended comment about Afghanistan. When he finally got around to talking bout Iraq, he told the media that he reiterated to Maliki his intention to remove all U.S. troops from Iraq. Former President Bush’s bold decision to change strategy in Iraq and surge U.S. forces there set the stage for success in that country. Iraq has the potential to be a strong, democratic ally in the war on terrorism, and an example of economic and democratic reform in the heart of the Middle East. The Obama Administration has an obligation to protect this young democracy and build on the strategic success we have achieved in Iraq.

Don’t worry. I wasn’t really expecting any intellectual consistency from Dick Cheney.

Cheney’s complaints about Obama’s Afghanistan policy in this speech are getting a lot of press. What no one else wants to mention, though, is Cheney’s refutation of Obama’s complaint that the Bush Administration never really had a real Afghan strategy. Cheney refutes that, you see, by noting that they conducted a strategic assessment of Afghanistan in Fall 2008, seven years after committing troops to Afghanistan.

Recently, President Obama’s advisors have decided that it’s easier to blame the Bush Administration than support our troops. This weekend they leveled a charge that cannot go unanswered. The President’s chief of staff claimed that the Bush Administration hadn’t asked any tough questions about Afghanistan, and he complained that the Obama Administration had to start from scratch to put together a strategy.

In the fall of 2008, fully aware of the need to meet new challenges being posed by the Taliban, we dug into every aspect of Afghanistan policy, assembling a team that repeatedly went into the country, reviewing options and recommendations, and briefing President-elect Obama’s team.

Hahahaha!! Cheney believes that developing an Afghan strategy in an attempt to force Obama’s hand can make up for the seven years during which he oversaw the complete neglect of the war against the people who actually hit us on 9/11.

I also note that Cheney neglected to mention–not even once, not even in a speech talking about “new challenges” from the Taliban–Pakistan. Perhaps that’s because Cheney was personally in charge of our Pakistan policy for the last three years of the Bush Administration, during which period that country became the source of the real instability in the region.

And, in case you’re wondering, Cheney also doesn’t mention the number of arrests of alleged terrorists, including Najibullah Zazi. I guess that’s because doing so would have made it hard to argue–as PapaDick does–that you can’t fight terrorists using a law enforcement approach. And Dick has to make that argument, of course, so as to justify his long screed in favor of torture. Note how closely this screed matches that which has shown up anonymously in the press.

Then there’s the matter of how to handle the terrorists we capture in this ongoing war. Some of them know things that, if shared, can save a good many innocent lives. When we faced that problem in the days and years after 9/11, we made some basic decisions. We understood that organized terrorism is not just a law-enforcement issue, but a strategic threat to the United States.

At every turn, we understood as well that the safety of the country required collecting information known only to the worst of the terrorists. We had a lot of blind spots – and that’s an awful thing, especially in wartime. With many thousands of lives potentially in the balance, we didn’t think it made sense to let the terrorists answer questions in their own good time, if they answered them at all.

The intelligence professionals who got the answers we needed from terrorists had limited time, limited options, and careful legal guidance. They got the baddest actors we picked up to reveal things they really didn’t want to share.

There’s the conflation of the information collected from KSM using torture (which KSM has said included a number of lies) with the information collected using rapport-based intelligence.

In the case of Khalid Sheik Muhammed, by the time it was over he was not was not only talking, he was practically conducting a seminar, complete with chalkboards and charts. It turned out he had a professorial side, and our guys didn’t mind at all if classes ran long. At some point, the mastermind of 9/11 became an expansive briefer on the operations and plans of al-Qaeda. It happened in the course of enhanced interrogations. All the evidence, and common sense as well, tells us why he started to talk.

There’s the insistence that Cheney kept us safe–ignoring, of course, all the attacks on our allies.

Eight years into the effort, one thing we know is that the enemy has spent most of this time on the defensive – and every attempt to strike inside the United States has failed. So you would think that our successors would be going to the intelligence community saying, “How did you did you do it? What were the keys to preventing another attack over that period of time?”

Instead, they’ve chosen a different path entirely – giving in to the angry left, slandering people who did a hard job well, and demagoguing an issue more serious than any other they’ll face in these four years. No one knows just where that path will lead, but I can promise you this: There will always be plenty of us willing to stand up for the policies and the people that have kept this country safe.

On the political left, it will still be asserted that tough interrogations did no good, because this is an article of faith for them, and actual evidence is unwelcome and disregarded. President Obama himself has ruled these methods out, and when he last addressed the subject he filled the air with vague and useless platitudes. His preferred device is to suggest that we could have gotten the same information by other means. We’re invited to think so. But this ignores the hard, inconvenient truth that we did try other means and techniques to elicit information from Khalid Sheikh Muhammed and other al-Qaeda operatives, only turning to enhanced techniques when we failed to produce the actionable intelligence we knew they were withholding. In fact, our intelligence professionals, in urgent circumstances with the highest of stakes, obtained specific information, prevented specific attacks, and saved American lives.

I’m most fascinated, though, by the desperation of this passage: the appeal to the “legal underpinnings and safeguards” and the claim to “moral bearings.”

In short, to call enhanced interrogation a program of torture is not only to disregard the program’s legal underpinnings and safeguards. Such accusations are a libel against dedicated professionals who acted honorably and well, in our country’s name and in our country’s cause. What’s more, to completely rule out enhanced interrogation in the future, in favor of half-measures, is unwise in the extreme. In the fight against terrorism, there is no middle ground, and half-measures keep you half exposed.

For all that we’ve lost in this conflict, the United States has never lost its moral bearings – and least of all can that be said of our armed forces and intelligence personnel.

Is it possible the crazy man in the attic realizes his attempts to convince others that he is anything but a torture-hungry monster just sound crazier and crazier as he babbles on?

74 replies
  1. MadDog says:

    The only thing you didn’t mention EW was that the award PapaDick got was from none other than fellow crazy man in the very same attic; Frank Gaffney.

    That’s like Dillinger getting kissed by Capone.

  2. fatster says:

    I read the Toddler Rahm article last night and the Crazyman Cheney one this morning. Both excellent articles, BTW. But, it makes me wish I were a drinking person, so I could take a big slug of Irish whiskey and go back to bed, trusting in the afternoon to be kinder.

  3. dqueue says:

    Speaking of Shooter, wasn’t there a court order that redacted transcripts of his deposition during the Plame investigation be made available, pronto? Didn’t that deadline sneak past the watchful eyes of the Media? Did Obama’s DoJ file an appeal, an extension, or what?

    • MadDog says:

      The DOJ asked for, and got, a 30 day stay until November 9th from Judge Emmet Sullivan in order that the DOJ’s Solicitor General could make up her mind on whether to appeal.

  4. klynn says:

    There was a day, I just wanted him to be quite and stop talking. Now, I think I want him to babble until he slips, and slip BIG.

    • BoxTurtle says:

      Patience. He’s his own worst enemy, on the defensive, and worried. He’ll make that mistake.

      Boxturtle (Or his daughter will)

    • allan says:

      Now, I think I want him to babble until he slips, and slip BIG.

      But, even if he does, he will never be held accountable.
      At least by the current regime.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      Why doesn’t anyone ever ask this sleazemeister a question about the Enron Loophole? About tax havens? About black money?

      He’d probably just try to ‘glare them down’.
      I hope they laugh in his face and keep demanding answers until he slips up b-i-g.

      I think he’s more likely to do it with economic questions than with military topics.

      • BoxTurtle says:

        Part of the deal to get him to appear is no questions or certain questions off limits, I suspect. Anymore, he seems to prefer softball.

        Boxturtle (Mr. Cheney, when did you first realize you had a duty to use your genius to free the world?)

    • klynn says:

      BTW, I tried to edit “quite” to “quiet” as well as “slip big” to “slips big” but the edit never showed up.

      Oh well…

  5. BoxTurtle says:

    Dick believes that what he did was best for America. Nothing we say or do will change that.

    Dick is also aware that even though ObamaCo is protecting him, foreign courts aren’t so accomodating. I doubt he’s worried about being held personally accountable overseas, but some of the evidence pried loose may be annoying to him.

    I imagine it’s also nice for him to find a friendly audience.

    Boxturtle (The priest at whatever church Dick attends must really believe in forgiveness)

    • perris says:

      Dick believes that what he did was best for America. Nothing we say or do will change that.

      I’m gonna disagree with that.

      cheney knew the damage he was doing and he is a sociopath, he does not for one second believe what he did was best for america

      what he does believe is that if he doesn’t convince us that he believed it he will be exposed for the toruturing madman he is

      right now he is trying desperately to save himself from culpability, and to make a case that “he beleived he was acting in good faith”

      he tortured to justify his crimes and now he’s justifying that torture to protect himself

  6. Peterr says:

    I laughed as I read his thoughts about respecting the commitments made by predecessor administrations, given how thoroughly Addington, Yoo, and Associates shredded such past commitments of the United States as the Convention Against Torture, the Geneva Conventions, agreements with the ICRC, and the like.

  7. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    In the fall of 2008, fully aware of the need to meet new challenges being posed by the Taliban, we dug into every aspect of Afghanistan policy, assembling a team that repeatedly went into the country, reviewing options and recommendations, and briefing President-elect Obama’s team.

    Also in the fall of 2008, Cheney’s daughter had spent about 8 years working to screw up our relationships with the world while – by all appearances – screwing over Dept of State employees, specifically in the Mid East.:
    From Sourcewatch: Cheney’s daughter Liz

    Cheney served as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs and Coordinator for Broader Middle East and North Africa Initiatives, heading the Iran-Syria Operations Group.

    [Liz] Cheney was the American “bureaucrat in charge of the vast budget for support of the MEK and other insurgents” and “responsible for the ‘democratization’ of Iran,” … Liz Cheney ran the Office of Iranian Affairs, the reincarnation of the Office of Special Plans, “…

    [Liz} Cheney is also credited with the design and launch of the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI), “an effort to provide funding for programs to advance political and educational reform and women’s rights in the region,” CNN reported May 19, 2005. [1]

    [While her father was VP, Liz also worked on] …issues of ‘terrorism, Asia, Europe, Russia, North Korea, Iran, just about everything outside of Iraq,’ suggested that the biggest issue on which Cheney had to confront the bureaucracy was over the administration’s push for democracy, especially in the Middle East. That program’s overseer is his daughter Liz Cheney, a top State Department official,” Robert Dreyfuss wrote April 17, 2006, in The American Prospect.

    So by autumn of 2008, the ‘Enron Loophole’ that was part of the disastrous breakup of Glass Steagall had been in effect for years, concentrating wealth and control in two sectors of the US economy: energy and telecomm, while also managing to wreak havoc on pension plans, state, city, and school district budgets, and American citizens.

    By autumn of 2008, Cheney and his pals had not closed a single rule related to tax havens or money laundering. (Perhaps because so much of his foreign policy relied on black ops, funded by black money and black budgets.)

    By autumn of 2008, it’s quite likely that heroin drug lords from Afghanistan and Pakistan had been laundering huge sums of money — so why the hell did they need to fight militarily, when all those f*ckers had to do was launder money, buy Enron shares, make bets they knew that AIG would lose (thereby depleting America’s financial resources), and funding private armies with black ops?

    That was the same autumn of 2008 that Hank Paulson delivered a 3-page edict to the leaders of the US Congress, demanding that the American taxpayers cover the reckless debts of Wall Street, AIG, and heaven only knows who else… I never expect to live long enough to know how much Iranian and Pakistani money was cycling through AIG-FP in London, but I’m guessing more than a few millions.

    It appears that Dickwad believes the ‘Free Market’ bullshit that sanctifies economic activity as some kind of ‘moral action’ so that making money — no matter how black, no matter its source, no matter what it is used for — is presented as ‘success’ and no one is allowed to ask questions about the nature or source of all that filthy lucre.

    If Barak Obama ever puts Malia or Sasha in charge of State Dept divisions overseeing the Middle East, and then ‘outs’ a CIA agent, while letting himself get played like a pawn in some Iranian-Contra holdover chess match, then — and only then — will Cheney have any credibility whatsoever.

    Until then, why isn’t Cheney in federal prison for the rest of his days? Along with his daughter, the terrorist-funder, Liz.

    The more that I read about the Wall Street Meltdown, the more I become convinced that it was an economic 9-11 that we’ve never fully understood, but is at least as precarious for America’s fortunes as any ‘war’ in Iraq, Afghanistan, or elsewhere.

    Cheney’s obdurate refusal to even acknowledge how the BushCheney administration’s failure to clean up black money put America at huge risk for being cleaned out by our ‘enemies’ is at least as vile and reprehensible as anything else that man has ever done. And that’s saying a lot.

    Thanks for letting me rant, EW.
    The more that I read about the Meltdown, the more contempt I have for Bush and Cheney — it’s really more than the mind can absorb.

    Then you toss in Cheney’s daughter, ‘The Tsarina Liz’ and her black ops, black budgets, and insolence, and it’s beyond hideous.

  8. RTFirefly says:

    “You inherit relationships with partners and obligations to allies that were first undertaken years and even generations earlier.”

    Great idea! How about living up to our obligations under the Convention Against Torture?

    Via Greenwald…

    Article 4
    1. Each State Party shall ensure that all acts of torture are offences under its criminal law. The same shall apply to an attempt to commit torture and to an act by any person which constitutes complicity or participation in torture.
    Article 7
    1. The State Party in territory under whose jurisdiction a person alleged to have committed any offence referred to in article 4 is found, shall in the cases contemplated in article 5, if it does not extradite him, submit the case to its competent authorities for the purpose of prosecution.

    • allan says:

      How about living up to our obligations under the Convention Against Torture?

      How about living up to our obligations under the Constitution and Bill of Rights?

  9. rapt says:

    “…against the people who actually hit us on 9/11.”

    That would be the Afghanis I take it. Correct me if you have evidence to show otherwise, but that is also I believe some of Dickie’s old propaganda.

  10. phred says:

    only turning to enhanced techniques when we failed to produce the actionable intelligence we knew they were withholding

    That’s curious. If PapaDick already knew the information, then why did they need to interrogate KSM at all?

    PapaDick didn’t know jack, he just let his fevered imagination run away with him. I’m glad he is willing to stand up for what they did. I just hope that someday he gets to do that standing in a cell. I’ll send him a tape of Barney.

    • Jim White says:

      only turning to enhanced techniques when we failed to produce the actionable intelligence we knew they were withholding

      That’s curious. If PapaDick already knew the information, then why did they need to interrogate KSM at all?

      I was going to comment on this very point, but you beat me to it. I think what Cheney really meant to say was that they turned to enhanced techniques when KSM failed to say what they wanted him to say.

      • phred says:

        Indeed. It was never about what KSM knew or didn’t know, it was always about what PapaDick needed to hear. The two have nothing whatsoever in common.

      • OldFatGuy says:

        Yep, I just got here and I was jumping on that, both of you beat me to it.

        Now the question is, why doesn’t ANY memboer of the press ask The Dick that??

        “Say DICK, if you already knew the information, why interrogate at all??”

        I’m not gonna hold my breath.

  11. Jim White says:

    Can someone please find the weather radar loop for Washington, DC last night, because there had to be a huge lightening strike at this point:

    For all that we’ve lost in this conflict, the United States has never lost its moral bearings – and least of all can that be said of our armed forces and intelligence personnel.

    I know Cheney is crazy, but even he admitted that torture amounted to going to the dark side. How is that not losing our moral bearings?

  12. 4jkb4ia says:

    OT: AIG negotiators with pay czar display chutzpah Among the relevant sentences:

    “In a meeting with A.I.G. executives, for instance, representatives of the insurance giant suggested that the head of one of its business units receive pay on par with an industry chief executive.
    “Tell me how I justify that?” asked Mary Pat Fox, a consultant working on Mr. Feinberg’s team. The room fell silent.”

    A.I.G. executives also claimed difficulty identifying their highest-paid employees and “refused to cancel some pay contracts that fell outside Mr. Feinberg’s purview”.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      Probably the best thing I’ve landed on yet about the bankster exec pay via Economist:

      WATCHING an industry committing political suicide is ugly. That is what investment banks are doing by paying bumper bonuses a year after they were saved by state intervention. Goldman Sachs is set to award staff a near record $20 billion this year. Firms making losses for shareholders, such as Citigroup and Bank of America, are still paying hefty bonuses.

      Such rewards, in the face of public protest, feed the impression that banks are victims of what some call “employee capture”. The top ten investment banks at the start of 2008 made an average return on equity of just 8% between 1999 and 2008. Four made cumulative losses. Staff got four times as much as shareholders did in profits. In 2008 Merrill Lynch paid cash to staff equivalent to over 100% of the capital left by the year-end.

      They got public capital (much of it now repaid), short-selling bans on their shares and rescues of counterparties, such as American International Group, which the public otherwise had no interest in saving. Today they enjoy laxer accounting, loose collateral rules at central banks, explicit debt guarantees and asset-purchasing schemes. And, critically, they can borrow cheaply because they are deemed too big to fail….

      So for all Cheney’s rantings, how did this become such a problem on his watch?
      Just askin’…

      To underscore my earlier point:

      The case stems from a scandal 10 years ago when two Russian émigrés, one a vice-president of the Bank of New York, admitted helping to wire $7bn out of Russia illegally through accounts at the bank. The bank was never charged with wrongdoing.

      But I actually popped over here to leave this link for EW and bmaz; the article is terrific, but if I am not mistaken, the cartoon at the top shows a ‘bank’ wired up as a suicide bomber, threatening the government for ransom. Hmmmm…. interesting how EW’s imagery and topics seem to seep out far and wide. I first encountered the description of the banksters holding us hostage and threatening to ‘blow up’ the economy right here at EW’s…. nice to see her memes morphing over the Financial Times.

  13. 4jkb4ia says:

    This entire speech is to rally the neocon faithful and to threaten that they are not going away. The rest of the country has heard it all before. The rest of the country also knows that none of the activities of the Bush administration have stopped threats to the country with any permanence when they were in office.

  14. reason60 says:

    In response to the FlameKeeper, a word from someone who actually knows what he is talking about:
    Retired General Paul Eaton issued a press release yesterday dismissing Cheney as an “incompetent war fighters”.


    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      Oh, thank you for that — terrific commentary. All of it.
      My favorite bit:

      “The only time Cheney and his cabal of foreign policy ‘experts’ have anything to say is when they feel compelled to protect this failed legacy. While President Obama is tasked with cleaning up the considerable mess they left behind, they continue to defend torture or rewrite a legacy of indifference on Afghanistan. Simply put, Mr. Cheney sees history throughout extremely myopic and partisan eyes.

    • LabDancer says:

      Isn’t this really just a wank-off between Grand Chicken Hawk Gaffney’s CSP on the one hand & former Les Gelb’s NSN on the other, with each of Cheney & Eaton handing in on behalf of his respective wank tank sponsor? Because it sure couldn’t be that General Eaton tried to draw an adverse comparison to Cheney to a cartoon of an old blowhard with at least one serious functional impairment designed to amuse impressionable unworldly minds.

  15. GregB says:

    Hey Dick-bag Dick.

    If Iraq was the ‘central front in the war on terror’ why would Al Qaeda need or want to attack mainland America?


  16. Rayne says:

    You know what’s both sadly amusing and pathetically creepy at the same time?

    It’s Dick’s hard-on for Rummy.

    If you’ve read Joan Didion’ essay, “Cheney: The Fatal Touch,” you know Dick’s always had his nose up Rummy’s backside. Always.

    It’s as if this last administration had all kinds of closeted types acting out their passions indirectly, venting their frustrations on middle eastern countries instead of coming to grips with their humanity.

    • prostratedragon says:

      That is an interesting article, providing a hint of how high and persistent is the tide these goons are trying to withstand. I particularly like the last few paragraphs:

      But after a meeting Tuesday with a top European human rights official, President [Dalia] Grybauskaite said the allegations of a CIA prison should be taken seriously because they put Lithuania’s reputation at stake.

      “I have indirect suspicions — and not only me, but the entire international community,” she said. “If there was such a thing, Lithuania should come clean, take responsibility, and promise that it will never happen again.”

      She said both Lithuania and the United States “must provide answers to these questions.”

      Our friend and ally, afflicted with the dread of conscience, is calling out to us. One would think that if we could alleviate their discomfiture by, say, making a forthright statement that there can be no problem because there were no such prisons or abuses on their soil, we would spring forward with alacrity to say so.

      (It’s probably no more than a side note, but former president Adamkus is a long-time Chicagoan. He was a leading opposition activist during the Soviet era, and also put his civil engineering background to work with the EPA, where he served with distinction as a regional adminstrator.)

      @39: I don’t know what he [GWBush] has … but he is keeping his mouth shut most of the time

      Better minders.

  17. Leen says:

    All this out of a man who was an essential part of the team that completely ignored counter terrorism expert Richard Clarke’s warnings. Has he all ready forgotten that 9/11 happened under their watch?

    In our countries history has any other VP/King ever criticized a new President so much. When will he shut up? When will he have to testify under oath for his crimes?

    King Dick “Most anyone who is given responsibility in matters of national security quickly comes to appreciate the commitments and structures put in place by others who came before.”

    These fucking idiots ignored Richard Clarkes warnings how many times?

    Richard Clarke 9/11 prepared testimony
    Former counterterrorism adviser prepared remarks before the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States.

    Richard Clarke’s “Observations and Conclusions

    Although there were people in the FBI, CIA, Defense Department, State Department, and White House who worked very hard to destroy al Qida before it did catastrophic damage to the US, there were many others who found the prospect of significant al Qida attacks remote. In both CIA and the military there was reluctance at senior career levels to fully utilize all of the capabilities available. There was risk aversion. FBI was, throughout much of this period, organized, staffed, and equipped in such a way that it was ineffective in dealing with the domestic terrorist threat from al Qida.

    At the senior policy levels in the Clinton Administration, there was an acute understanding of the terrorist threat, particularly al Qida. That understanding resulted in a vigorous program to counter al Qida including lethal covert action, but it did not include a willingness to resume bombing of Afghanistan. Events in the Balkans, Iraq, the Peace Process, and domestic politics occurring at the same time as the anti-terrorism effort played a role.

    The Bush Administration saw terrorism policy as important but not urgent, prior to 9-11. The difficulty in obtaining the first Cabinet level (Principals) policy meeting on terrorism and the limited Principals’ involvement sent unfortunate signals to the bureaucracy about the Administration’s attitude toward the al Qida threat.”

    Timeline of Norman Minetta and Richard Clarke contradicting the 9/11 commission

  18. x174 says:

    i say, let him rave. for all of their secrecy, the bush-cheney administration was a gold mine of information exposing the US government’s real intentions and practices.

    just think back to how hard it was to parse the national/international double-talk emanating from out of that smooth rhetorician Clinton. Under bush-cheney, one could discover information on newspaper headlines which exposed vital secrets–weekly!– (e.g. Valerie Plame)

    not only do i think cheney should be allowed to rave on in his ever-narrowing cage but i think Obama should keep up his mastery of empty rhetoric, exposing indirectly the divide between the words out of washington and the actions based on accepted policy.

    i wonder how many hours passed between when Obama was first awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and when he authorized a Hellfire missile strike which incinerated innocent lives?

    thanks for staying on target, emptywheel. the news cycle has kept Americans entranced on Health Care and corrupt bankers. From what i hear the MSM is going to now belch up their latest spawn of media manufactured distracta: immigration

  19. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    I knew that I’d recently come across some interesting linkages between ‘money’ and ‘US in Afghanistan’, and lookee here: “Foreign Aid Making American CEOs Very Rich”.

    “Large swaths of foreign aid are now dominated by this handful of corporate consultants, many of them enjoying the tax benefits of non-profit status,” Leahy said. “A lot of them do very good work, but they also charge a lot in overhead and salaries. The process has become too cozy, shutting out many smaller non-profits that have much to offer.”

    Unfortunately, the very cool map is available only to Harper’s subscribers, so I won’t list it here. But the map reports that ‘$7.9 billion allocated 2001 – 08 to Afghanistan never made it, largely b/c half of all USAID funds end up being spent on American companies.

    Do Obama and Biden threaten one of the Cheney revenue streams…?

    And if 20% of the money spent in Afghanistan was spent on road construction…. hmmmmm… would any of that be related to building pipelines? (I honestly don’t know, but having watched Cheney it’s a reasonably safe bet.)

  20. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Cheney’s desperate pleas for torture – and its manufactured, imaginary legal underpinnings – is an expression of his own soul, if he has one.

    More practically, it seems to be his defense against the accurate claim that far from keeping us safe, he allowed the most damaging terrorist attack we have suffered on our own soil (9/11 itself) to happen on his watch. The relentless propaganda, the lies, the ruined careers he has sponsored for the past eight years seem designed to avoid making that observation.

    • Leen says:

      I know there are some professional psychologist that visit FDL. Just wonder from afar how they would diagnose this man? From the outside looking in he appears to this peasant to be a psychopath

      Frozen in place: when conciliation is a bad thing —

      “Cheney’s disappointment with the former president surfaced recently in one of the informal conversations he is holding to discuss the book with authors, diplomats, policy experts and past colleagues. By habit, he listens more than he talks, but Cheney broke form when asked about his regrets.

      “In the second term, he felt Bush was moving away from him,” said a participant in the recent gathering, describing Cheney’s reply. “He said Bush was shackled by the public reaction and the criticism he took. Bush was more malleable to that. The implication was that Bush had gone soft on him, or rather Bush had hardened against Cheney’s advice. He’d showed an independence that Cheney didn’t see coming. It was clear that Cheney’s doctrine was cast-iron strength at all times — never apologize, never explain — and Bush moved toward the conciliatory.”

      . . . The former vice president remains convinced of mortal dangers that few other leaders, in his view, face squarely. That fixed belief does much to explain the conduct that so many critics find baffling. He gives no weight, close associates said, to his low approval ratings, to the tradition of statesmanlike White House exits or to the grumbling of Republicans about his effect on the party brand.


      At least 43 has the wisdom, integrity, insight, fear I don’t know what he has…but he is keeping his mouth shut most of the time

      • BayStateLibrul says:

        The trouble with Cheney is that he is an arshole, plain and simple.
        He was born that way, tried to get out of Viet Nam, and now thinks he
        is an expert in military affairs… he has many troubles… and the need to be right… in the mold of Nixon…
        Pitiful… belongs at the Hague in my view…
        He is a pretty smooth talker but lies…

        • OldFatGuy says:

          tried to get out of Viet Nam

          Tried? No, he got out of serving with something like, what was it, 10 deferrments or something? That’s the other thing that drives me apeshit about the rightwing. Clinton was “draft dodger”.

          Bush/Cheney/Wolfowitzwhatever/ all of those assholes got out of going, whether through deferrments or by Daddy getting you into the ANG (and then not bothering to show up there). All of those neocons are just a bunch of chickenhawks. And the same damned right wingers that would deride any Democrat that never served just ate these asshole shit up.

          Sorry, I’m in a foul mood today. The right wing of this country is THE BIGGEST threat to our way of life. It’s not AQ or the Taliban, or North Korea, or Iran. It’s the fucking right wing of this country that’s the real enemy.

  21. Leen says:

    On topic

    If you did not see Hardball tonight it is so worth it. Chris Matthews and Ron Reagan boxed Gaffney around like he was one of those blow up clowns that you keep punching in the nose. They were slamming Gaffney for that black tie dinner last night honoring Cheney and “his felon” This was the way Matthews referred to Libby. They bashed Cheney for undermining the President

    Reagan kept throwing this punch. “Cheney lacks credibility he’s been wrong on everything” And then later Reagan referred to Cheney as an “unindicted war criminal”

    Matthews then showed on air General Eaton’s response to Cheney’s efforts to undermine Obama. Matthews kept referring to Libby as a “convicted felon” And asked Gaffney why he would want to honor a “convicted felon”

    Whoa did it get heated

    I thought Ron Reagan was going to blow a fuse. Matthews has it loaded up tonight. Congressman Grayson on calling the Republicans “the party of nobody” Chris Matthews goes on to ask Grayson “who appointed you Captain Cajones”
    Was surprise that Matthews or Reagan did not bring up how the Bush administration had ignored all of Clarke’s warnings. Especially since Cheney opened up the door on what you get from the previous administration

    • bobschacht says:

      I saw a bunch of that. Unfortunately, Chris Matthews’ shows often descend into shouting matches, as this one did. I can’t stand that. You can’t really hear what anyone is saying, and its full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. (Hey, that sounds like a good line.)

      Bob in AZ

      • Leen says:

        We need more outrage and Ron Reagan’s outrage was on display. I know its politically correct to stay calm and listen yada yada yada. But Christ All Mighty hundreds of thousands of people in Iraq and thousands of American soldier are fucking DEAD DEAD. Injured millions displaced.

        But everyone is just supposed to stay calm and it is surprising when the numbers are mentioned. When they are its as if folks are reading them out of history book. No feeling, no emotion, little outrage.

        I am so happy when Chris Matthews, Ron Reagan anyone at owe allows a bit of emotions to flow out instead of the cold, disconnected responses that many MSM folks respond with

  22. Leen says:

    During the interview Matthews asked Capt Cojones/Grayson what he thought about Cheney coming out last night criticizing President Obama. Grayson responded “it is difficult to listen to someone with blood dripping from their teeth” or fangs. Something like that. Go Capt Cojones

  23. ProgressiveObserver says:

    Richard Cheney is a failure on a scale no living person can fathom. He had one important job before September 2001: have a meeting about terrorism with the people who knew the most about it. He was too busy playing with maps.

    He had one important job on the 11th, give a shoot down order. Somehow a gigantic hole ended up in the headquarters of the most expensive military on the planet. He had one important job after the towers collapsed: bring the people who did it to justice, or at least find Usama bin laden, instead he insisted those maps he worked so hard on be put to use, not finding bin laden, in Iraq.

    He had one important job after the invasion of Iraq, chase out terrorists. Instead the invasion bought terrorists to Iraq and now American soldiers are stuck there fighting Iraqis for no reason at all. And this stunning jackass has the nerve to crawl out of his hole and open his mouth about national security?

    Cheney keeps talking because he knows that just like the rest of the world is realizing Wall Street is a fantasy island built on wishcraft and bullshit and big bankers are just grifters in expensive suits they are also realizing the United States is not a nation of laws either –because Cheney and Rumsfeld and Bush the Lesser are still free. And sooner or later someone somewhere else is going to demand that that be corrected.

    Cheney won’t shut up because he is consistent. His babble is his legal preemptive strike.

  24. CalGeorge says:

    “…the United States has never lost its moral bearings…”

    That must be the United States that doesn’t include George Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Alberto Gonzales, John Yoo, etc.

    Too bad Obama was too cowardly to go after Cheney, who, instead of being locked up for war crimes, is free to sit around and crow like this for the rest of his life.

  25. Leen says:

    Watching Chris Matthews again (best thing I have heard in a while)
    “leading off tonight, Release the tapes! When will Dick Cheney release his testimony in the infamous Scooter Libby case? When will we know how he defended his chief of staffs criminal behavior in the outing of a CIA operative Valerie Wilson that led to Cheney’s top guys conviction for perjury and obstruction of justice? And according to the prosecutor left a dark cloud over Cheney’s own head”

    Chris Matthews “release the tapes”

    Chris Matthews ripped it up tonight. Had to listen again

    Cheney criticizes Obama on Afghanistan

  26. fatster says:

    Scahill in The Nation on the war crimes case brought by Iraqi plaintiffs and Center for Constitutional Right against Blackwater. Judge Ellis rejected some arguments but left open the opportunity to provide more details on the case before he renders a final decision.

  27. 1boringoldman says:

    Fortunately, nobody much is listening. There’s lots of right wing venom coming Obama’s way, but they’re not doing it by screaming “Cheney [or Bush] was right.” In fact, they mostly speak as if the last eight years never happened [I don’t blame them]. Actually, no one but Cheney is even talking about the Bush Administration at all except those of us who are still plenty angry about it – not even Bush himself. And nobody is very interested in spending money on missiles in Eastern Europe or listening to any more hype about their “bold” surge.

    Not very long ago, we were being told that history would be kind to Bush and Cheney, proving them right. We argued that history would reveal how terrible they really were. We might have both been wrong. If what’s happening these days is any indication, their reign may end up being a blank spot – and that might be the hardest thing of all for Dick Cheney to bear…

    As bobschact says, … a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

    • fatster says:

      Actually, MacBeth said it. Faulkner heard it and, thus, we have the wonderful and heart-wrenching short story, “Tomorrow,” which resulted in a movie starring Robert Duvall.

      • fatster says:

        Forgot to add that Faulkner got another title from that MacBeth soliloquy: “The Sound and The Fury.”

  28. freepatriot says:

    hey, off topic, but …

    WTF happened to scrapple

    normally I’d say “get back in yer pod an give us our scrapple back”, but I like the pod person version of scrapple better …

    we return you to your previously scheduled rant about shooter

    • fatster says:

      I won’t mention any names, of course, but somehow we got diverted from scrapple to “poutine” by someone who lives up yonder (Canada).

  29. David Swanson says:

    great work but gotta quibble with implication that the people of Afghanistan ever hit me or that the United States ever had any justification for bombing them

    want to clarify that?

    • bmaz says:

      You can quibble all you want about the efficacy and propriety of attacking Afghanistan, I might even join you in some of that; but it is disingenuous to assert or imply that there was no causal link. Al Qaida was headquartered in Afghanistan at the time and was specifically being sheltered, protected and supported by the “government” of Afghanistan at the time, such as it was.

      • selise says:

        it is disingenuous to assert or imply that there was no causal link.

        the causal link you refer to does not provide a moral justification for what we did any more than a few hamas rockets or attacks on israelis by some palestinians could ever justify what has been done to gaza.

        causal link is to moral justification as apples are to oranges.

        • bmaz says:

          You can, many have actually, argue that war is never justified; but that is not the point here. I think Swanson’s suggestion that there was no basis whatsoever is disingenuous. I do not think that we should still be in Afghanistan to the extent we are; not sure we should have ever gone it to the extent we did. But some action to root out al-Qaida was warranted and the Afghani people (to the extent there is even an Afghani people, which is really a misnomer, there are a bunch of tribes that are in a sector of land others have deemed “Afghanistan”) were complicit for allowing the Taliban and al-Qaida to flourish.

    • bobschacht says:

      Welcome (back?) to the Lake!
      bmaz has already answered your question, so I’ll only add this: The Taliban gov. of Afghanistan not only protected Bin Laden, but after 9/11 when the U.S. came knocking, what passed for the government of Afghanistan refused our demand to turn him over. That provided the casus belli.

      Let me put it this way. Suppose a mafia don orders someone to be whacked, and the order is carried out, but in the process, the whacker dies. .The Mafia Don brags about the hit in public, but when the police come around, the Mafia Don takes refuge in the home of a city councilman with whom he has, shall we say, a close relationship. The FBI track him down and order the councilman to turn him over. City Councilman sez wait while I ask the city council, which is full of states’ rights folks who don’t trust the federales, or people who are on the take. So the CC meets, and most members resist this invasion of their space, so they decide to tell the FBI where to stick their arrest warrant.

      So, what do you expect the FBI to do? Apologize to the city councilman for their intrusion and go home? I don’t think so.

      Back in 2001-2002, I supported our intervention into Afghanistan. That support evaporated when BushCo decided to invade Iraq.

      Now I think that our support for Afghanistan should consist of
      (a) support for employment of Afghans working on humanitarian relief and other projects or which there is positive demand by Afghans;
      (b) building schools and hospitals where Afghans want them built
      (c) support for teachers and hospital staff who primarily serve afghans.

      Bob in AZ

  30. LizDexic says:

    “Papa Dick” is EXCELLENT.

    And the New York Times’ Helene Cooper reports this as,
    “The White House and Cheney are at it again.”

  31. brantl says:

    I’ve often thought about introducing Dick Cheney to my “angry left”; I’d have to aim low, and wear a teflon glove to keep the stupid and ugly from sticking to my hand….

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