Tuesday, November 21, 2006

How Powerful is Dick Cheney?

Sy Hersh’s new 6000 word article (“The Next Act”) for The New Yorker’s November 27 issue is now available online. The sub head reads: Is a damaged Administration less likely to attack Iran, or more? Hersh’s high-level sources told him that the big issue in the Bush administration now is “whether Cheney would be as influential in the last two years of George W. Bush’s Presidency as he was in its first six.” Obviously, Cheney thinks his influence remains intact when he says, referring to Iraq, “we’re not looking for an exit strategy. We’re looking for victory.” Current and former administration officials told Hersh that Cheney is “equally clear that the Administration would, if necessary, use force against Iran.” Apparently, we are in for a very nasty internecine power struggle. A former CIA official told Hersh, “Cheney’s relationship with Rumsfeld was among the closest inside the Administration, and (Robert) Gates’s nomination (to replace Rumsfeld as Secretary of Defense) was seen by some Republicans as a clear signal that the Vice-President’s influence in the White House could be challenged… Critical decisions will be made in the next few months, the former C.I.A. official said. ‘Bush has followed Cheney’s advice for six years, and the story line will be: ‘Will he continue to choose Cheney over his father?’ We’ll know soon.’” Former Deputy Secretary of State in GWB’s first term, Richard Armitage, told Hersh he believes the Administration “has backed off” from a campaign to use the military against Iran. Armitage said, “Iraq is as bad as it looks, and Afghanistan is worse than it looks…A year ago, the Taliban were fighting us in units of eight to twelve, and now they’re sometimes in company-size, and even larger.” Armitage said bombing Iran and expecting the Iranian public “to rise up” and overthrow the government, “is a fool’s errand.” Nevertheless, “Once Gates is installed at the Pentagon, he will have to contend with Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, the Rumsfeld legacy—and Dick Cheney,” Hersh said. The Bush administration has promoted the idea that Iran is an imminent nuclear threat to the Middle East. However, the CIA has refuted that argument, Hersh said, in a “highly classified draft assessment” which found “no conclusive evidence, as yet, of a secret Iranian nuclear-weapons program running parallel to the civilian operations that Iran has declared to the International Atomic Energy Agency.” A Pentagon consultant told Hersh, “The C.I.A.’s view is that, without more intelligence, a large-scale bombing attack would not stop Iran’s nuclear program. And a low-end campaign of subversion and sabotage would play into Iran’s hands—bolstering support for the religious leadership and deepening anti-American Muslim rage.” Surely it will come as no surprise that Dick Cheney is capable of trying to push the Bush administration into attacking Iran only to prove that he can still cut the mustard. And there are still neocons in the White House who would welcome any plan that includes bombs, pre-emptive strikes and military mayhem. Fortunately, the Iraq Study Group is more open to diplomatic strategies than supporting Dick Cheney’s insane fantacies about ruling the world with military might. Hersh said, “In the most significant recommendation, Baker and Hamilton were expected to urge President Bush to do what he has thus far refused to do—bring Syria and Iran into a regional conference to help stabilize Iraq.” It’s not that I can’t see some wisdom in the idea of showing Iran that the US is bigger, stronger and smarter than a little country in the Middle East with its primitive nuclear technology. But the US can’t sustain a show of power over the long haul because the US has shot its wad thanks to Donald Rumsfeld’s incompetence and thanks to the neocons in the GOP who like to play soldier but have never been in the military. Dick Cheney is a pitbull and pitbulls cannot be retrained. Dick Cheney needs to be defused, switched off, deactivated. Actually, neutralized, is the word I am searching for.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"disappeared" is better.