Monday, March 16, 2009

True, I Couldn’t Watch ALL of Cheney on CNN

I could stand only about half of John King’s interview with former Vice President Dick Cheney yesterday. But I have read the entire transcript of Cheney’s exercise in revising history (even in the face of John King’s pointed questions). And Cheney has his post-Bush-regime delivery down pat. He acts like he’s thought about his answers and he has a considered and reasonable air. He doesn’t go off on tangents or fuss, fume or rant. He doesn’t need to. The GOP has Rush Limbaugh. Cheney said, “Rush is a good friend. I love him. I think Rush is a good man.” Dick Cheney simply continued to tell lies about the past eight years. He appeared to assume that he, his sect and his devotees had been the only ones who witnessed history as it played out. The rest of us don’t matter. 1) King asked if the Bush administration left a mess for President Obama to clean up. Cheney said: “I don't think you can blame the Bush administration for the creation of those circumstances. It's a global financial problem.” And by the way, all through the interview, Cheney deferred to George W. Bush, saying that Bush had made the decisions, some of which Cheney did not agree with. Okay, if that’s the way the GOP wants to play it, that’s the way it will be played. However, it would be interesting to know who actually was making the decisions that Cheney disagreed with because of this we may be sure, the decider was not the overmedicated, underachieving, out-of-the-loop, mumbling, babbling, incoherent George W. Bush 2) King asked: “Is the Obama administration going to be successful in restoring confidence in the markets?” Cheney said he “hoped the Obama administration would be successful". He added, “I noted when the markets were going down, they didn't want to talk about it.” I have no idea what Cheney meant by that. The Dems have always been willing and eager to talk about the markets beginning to plummet—it was during the Bush years. 3) King asked: “If you were in Rahm Emanuel’s place (Chief of Staff) would you tell Obama he’s trying to do too much too fast? Cheney said Obama’s situation is like the first Bush term. People are giving Obama a lot of advice to change his program and the Bush administration rejected the idea to change. “We did not allow the critics to diminish what we were trying to accomplish,” Cheney said. Um so...I guess we are to infer Cheney would not tell Obama he's moving too fast. It was kind of John King not to say that the Bush administration had been perfectly capable of diminishing their accomplishments themselves. 4) King asked why people should listen to Cheney now in view of the fact that unemployment numbers, poverty numbers and the budget deficit were at record levels during the Bush administration. Cheney said, “Eight months after we arrived, we had 9/11. We had 3,000 Americans killed one morning by al Qaeda terrorists here in the United States. We immediately had to go into the wartime mode. We ended up with two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Some of that is still very active. We had major problems with respect to things like Katrina, for example. All of these things required us to spend money that we had not originally planned to spend, or weren't originally part of the budget. Stuff happens. And the administration has to be able to respond to that, and we did.” In addition, Cheney again equated the Iraq war to World War II, which it never has been on a par with. Cheney said, “We always said -- I always said that wartime scenario is cause for an exception in terms of spending. It was appropriate in World War II, certainly, and I think it's appropriate now.” Cheney probably didn’t mean that “now” to mean now. But that’s what he said. King asked Cheney, given that Cheney was an MBA, a Washington insider and a CEO, how come he and the people in the administration couldn’t see the financial meltdown coming? Were they all so caught up in the boom times that they couldn’t see the warning signs? Cheney said, “I think so. I don't recall, you know, sort of a general warning of concern until things started to turn -- turn south on us.” Oh my! He doesn’t recall. About the Iraq war, Cheney said, “we've accomplished nearly everything we set out to do.” John King asked if Cheney would go so far as to say, “Mission Accomplished”? Cheney said he wouldn’t use that term, but only because it would trigger reactions the GOP doesn’t need. So. Yeah, Cheney is still defending invading Iraq, still saying it was the right thing to do and still saying the Bush administration kept Americans safe. He even said that Obama’s decision not to use torture would endanger America. Cheney was very clear that he believed Obama would not keep the USA safe. Here’s an interesting and telling note. Cheney claimed that the Bush administration had kept the US safe in myriad ways. He said there had been many, many, many planned attacks on the United States that Bush and Crew had intercepted, and most of these planned attacks had been kept secret. But he said one serious plan to attack the US was made public. This was, Cheney said, “the potential attack coming out of Heathrow, when they were going to have several American planes with terrorists on board, with liquid explosives, and they were going to blow those planes up over the United States. That attack was intercepted and stopped, partly because of the programs we had put in place.” To recap that incident in the here and now and to take it out of Cheney's fantasy realm: On August 10th, 2006, the British police arrested 25 suspects in a plot supposedly using liquid explosives to blow a plane up over the United States. Eventually, only 8 men (Ahmed Abdullah Ali, Assad Sarwar, Tanvir Hussain, Oliver Savant, Arafat Khan, Waheed Zaman, Umar Islam, Mohammed Gulzar) were charged in connection with the plot. The trial began in England in April 2008. On September 8th 2008, after more than 50 hours of deliberations, the jury did not find any of the defendants guilty of conspiring to target aircraft. Why should we listen to Dick Cheney? There is absolutely no rational reason under the sun.

No comments: