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Thursday, August 17, 2006

Dick Cheney: Malignancy on the American Polity

Published on Wednesday, August 16, 2006 by the Portland Press Herald (Maine) : by Theo Stein

That Dick Cheney says the darndest things.

Armed with insider info that the British were about to bust up a terror plot, Cheney leapt to the defense of Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., in a rare conference call with reporters.

Those who voted for Lieberman's challenger were giving "al-Qaida types" aid and comfort, Cheney said.

The White House and Republican National Committee Chair Ken Mehlman quickly moved in lock-step to claim that the entire Democratic Party shared the motives of restive Connecticut primary voters who gave Ned Lamont a close victory.

Yet White House aides later insisted that neither Cheney nor anyone else was trying to exploit the British success for partisan advantage.

Right. If it walks like a skunk and waves its fanny in the air before spraying stink, it's a skunk. Even if it goes by the title of vice president.

Continued on "Print Article and/or Read More" below >>>
The Bush administration has routinely designated Cheney to attack its perceived enemies, and rarely does the man disappoint.

But this time, the once-respectable congressman from Wyoming has sunk to a new low.

Not that astounding acts of political chutzpa are foreign territory for Cheney. Recall that the former Haliburton CEO attached himself to the Bush candidacy as an adviser vetting potential vice-presidential candidates before anointing himself to the post.

Since then, Cheney has relentlessly tried to expand the power of the presidency, using questionable theories of constitutional power in an attempt to relegate Congress and the courts to the sideline.

Fortunately, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, rebuked the plotters in Cheney's ambit. Even if Cheney's gang hasn't figured out a way around Hamdan yet, they sure know how to perfume the air in campaign season.

There's absolutely no reason for any thinking person to be confident that the United States is safer than it was on Sept. 10, 2001.

The preemptive strike on Iraq and the abject, even criminal, failure to plan for that country's stability has turned Iraq into a global recruiting center for Islamic terrorists.

Into the regional power vacuum has stepped Iran, which is encouraging Iraqi Shiite death squads, Hezbollah, Hamas and anyone else who can divert American attention from the Iranian march toward nuclear weapons capability.

Lest we forget, the Middle East instability uncorked by our bungling in Iraq has added a significant risk premium to each barrel of oil, helping the mullahs and hurting ordinary Americans.

Meanwhile, five years after 9/11, the administration and its enablers have failed to pass meaningful legislation to protect our ports or our vulnerable chemical plants. They've neglected to push for bomb detectors able to sniff out the kind of liquid explosives identified as part of a 1995 al-Qaida plot to bomb airliners over the Pacific.

And they've decided that the Constitution shouldn't apply to the president so long as we're engaged in the War on Terror.

You'd almost think they're hoping for another attack before November to completely frighten voters out of their sensibilities. (But they've done a fine job cutting taxes for the wealthy, haven't they?)

One can only hope that Americans will finally reject this remarkably shameless politicization of war.

There's some evidence that even the most partisan Republicans now perceive the vapidity of the false choice between "stay the course" and "cut and run."

Exhibit A: RNC chair Mehlman test-drove the administration's new catch phrase, "adapt to win," during a Sunday appearance on "Meet the Press."

Except that, according to those on the ground in Iraq who are not tied at the brain to the administration's failed approach, U.S. leaders' irrationally rosy views are preventing the military from either adapting or winning.

"I think that the greatest problem that we deal (besides the insurgents and militia) with is that our leadership has no real comprehension of the ground truth," an unidentified military officer told reporter Tom Lasseter of McClatchey Newspapers. "Many have been surprised at what I have to say, but I suspect that in the end nothing will or has changed."

How many more Americans and Iraqis will die because of this administration's hubris?

Don't think about that. Think about the "Defeatocrats."

Yes, it's all the Democrats fault. Cheney wants you to believe they're all against the war.

Actually, a good number of Democrats supported the war, just not the abominable, immoral hash that Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, et al., have made of it.

But God forbid any of us question them.

Theo Stein is an editorial writer for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram and can be contacted at 207-791-6481 or:

© Copyright 2006 Blethen Maine Newspapers, Inc.
Dick Cheney: Malignancy on the American Polity


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