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View Full Version : Cheney: Even worse than anyone imagined


Wonderment
08-25-2011, 12:24 AM
Here is a very good endorsement (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/25/us/politics/25cheney.html?_r=1&hp) for supporting Obama in 2012 -- the fact that Cheneyism is still very much alive and well in the Republican party.

On the other hand, if Obama had pursued criminal indictments for war crimes committed during the Bush years, instead of whitewashing and "looking forward," we'd be a lot safer from future Chenyism. It's 2011, and we still have Repubicans championing torture.

apple
08-25-2011, 10:33 AM
The fact that Israel did bomb the Syrian site, with no ensuing problems, shows that Cheney was correct.

Wonderment
08-25-2011, 06:31 PM
The fact that Israel did bomb the Syrian site, with no ensuing problems, shows that Cheney was correct.

In addition to supporting unilaterally invading and bombing Syria (or any other country) without provocation, do you also support Cheney's criminal views on torture?

stephanie
08-25-2011, 06:39 PM
Ross Douthat (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/28/opinion/28douthat.html) on Cheney and the Republicans, from back in '09:

Watching Dick Cheney defend the Bush administration’s interrogation policies, it’s been hard to escape the impression that both the Republican Party and the country would be better off today if Cheney, rather than John McCain, had been a candidate for president in 2008....

At the very least, a Cheney-Obama contest would have clarified conservatism’s present political predicament. In the wake of two straight drubbings at the polls, much of the American right has comforted itself with the idea that conservatives lost the country primarily because the Bush-era Republican Party spent too much money on social programs. And John McCain’s defeat has been taken as the vindication of this premise.

We tried running the maverick reformer, the argument goes, and look what it got us. What Americans want is real conservatism, not some crypto-liberal imitation.

“Real conservatism,” in this narrative, means a particular strain of right-wingery: a conservatism of supply-side economics and stress positions, uninterested in social policy and dismissive of libertarian qualms about the national-security state. And Dick Cheney happens to be its diamond-hard distillation. The former vice-president kept his distance from the Bush administration’s attempts at domestic reform, and he had little time for the idealistic, religiously infused side of his boss’s policy agenda. He was for tax cuts at home and pre-emptive warfare overseas; anything else he seemed to disdain as sentimentalism.

This is precisely the sort of conservatism that’s ascendant in today’s much-reduced Republican Party, from the talk radio dials to the party’s grassroots. And a Cheney-for-President campaign would have been an instructive test of its political viability....

If a Cheney defeat could have been good for the Republican Party; a Cheney campaign could have been good for the country. The former vice-president’s post-election attacks on Obama are bad form, of course, under the peculiar rules of Washington politesse. But they’re part of an argument about the means and ends of our interrogation policy that should have happened during the general election and didn’t – because McCain wasn’t a supporter of the Bush-era approach, and Obama didn’t see a percentage in harping on the topic.

He wasn’t alone. A large swath of the political class wants to avoid the torture debate. The Obama administration backed into it last week, and obviously wants to back right out again.

But the argument isn’t going away. It will be with us as long as the threat of terrorism endures. And where the Bush administration’s interrogation programs are concerned, we’ve heard too much to just “look forward,” as the president would have us do. We need to hear more: What was done and who approved it, and what intelligence we really gleaned from it. Not so that we can prosecute – unless the Democratic Party has taken leave of its senses – but so that we can learn, and pass judgment, and struggle toward consensus.

Here Dick Cheney, prodded by the ironies of history into demanding greater disclosure about programs he once sought to keep completely secret, has an important role to play. He wants to defend his record; let him defend it. And let the country judge....

Of course, many conservatives would be less likely to agree with Douthat's overall take in light of subsequent events, specifically '10 and the debt ceiling excitement.

Wonderment
08-25-2011, 07:20 PM
I think Ross makes too much of the McCain-Cheney differences. McCain's opposition to torture is idiosyncratic: he doesn't like it because it happened to him personally in Vietnam.

Otherwise, he is at least as much of an interventionist, pro-militarism, ba-ba-bomb Iran hawk as Cheney and John Bolton.

Ross gets it right in that there needs to be a debate. But it's not between interventionist Dems. (like Obama and Clinton) and interventionist Republicans (like McCain, Bush and Cheney). Rather, it's among Republicans: the traditional world-domination militarists vs. the emerging populist right that questions interventionism and deficit Pentagon spending.

On the issue of militarism, the anti-establishment Tea Party/libertarians have natural allies among pro-peace progressives in the Dem. party, religious pacifists and unaffiliated voters. There's a lot of friction on a wide range of issues, but people like Ron Paul are laying the groundwork for a broad pro-peace bi-partisan coalition.

apple
08-25-2011, 07:39 PM
In addition to supporting unilaterally invading and bombing Syria (or any other country) without provocation,

No, let's just let Assad have a nuclear weapon.

do you also support Cheney's criminal views on torture?

Which ones?

Wonderment
08-25-2011, 08:35 PM
Which ones?

Never mind.

apple
08-25-2011, 08:47 PM
Never mind.

Why do you hate Cheney so much? Even if you disagree with him trying to prevent Syria from acquiring a nuclear weapon, there's no need for all the hate. After all, he was only doing what he thought was best for his country.

stephanie
08-25-2011, 08:58 PM
I think Ross makes too much of the McCain-Cheney differences. McCain's opposition to torture is idiosyncratic: he doesn't like it because it happened to him personally in Vietnam.

Oh, I agree, but part of this is the timing. This was '09, when Cheney was on TV all the time going on about torture. And another part is Douthat's linking the hard right on torture/intervention with the hard right on economics, since Douthat's interest was more in domestic reform and the Republicans. Cheney represented a contrast on both, whereas McCain didn't, in part because the hard right on domestic stuff types don't like him, and in part just because he's all over the place.

Ross gets it right in that there needs to be a debate. But it's not between interventionist Dems. (like Obama and Clinton) and interventionist Republicans (like McCain, Bush and Cheney). Rather, it's among Republicans: the traditional world-domination militarists vs. the emerging populist right that questions interventionism and deficit Pentagon spending.

As you know, I think you both over-simplify this and give the populist right a lot more credit for being anti-interventionist than they deserve. But like I said before, I think there's a debate to be had and that a strong conservative voice or third party voice might get the traditional framing out of the way.

Wonderment
08-25-2011, 09:04 PM
Why do you hate Cheney so much?

I don't hate Cheney. What gave you the idea that I hate him?

I don't even blame him for the horrors he helped inflict on the worldwide victims of Bush-Cheney policies. If anything, I blame the apologists for the Iraq War and other criminal excesses of American militarism.

On Iraq, this includes many (now repentant) Democrats (H. Clinton, Biden, John Edwards, et al).

I also blame Democrats of the Obama administration for not daring to follow through on prosecuting Bush-Cheney ringleaders for war crimes, especially the slam dunk of waterboarding and other "enhanced interrogation" torture techniques.

Even if you disagree with him trying to prevent Syria from acquiring a nuclear weapon, there's no need for all the hate. After all, he was only doing what he thought was best for his country.

Please refrain from a) reading my mind and attributing feelings to me that I don't have and b) inserting empty patriotic cliches into the conversation. Even though Cheney became very wealthy through his government service, and even though he rewarded and protected corporate cronies, I don't dispute that he did "what he thought was best for his country." So did Hitler, Saddam Hussein, Stalin and Mussolini.

Wonderment
08-25-2011, 09:14 PM
As you know, I think you both over-simplify this and give the populist right a lot more credit for being anti-interventionist than they deserve.

It's a work in progress with a lot of rough edges.

apple
08-25-2011, 09:25 PM
I don't hate Cheney. What gave you the idea that I hate him?

I love it, you don't stray from your principles for even one second.

I don't even blame him for the horrors he helped inflict on the worldwide victims of Bush-Cheney policies. If anything, I blame the apologists for the Iraq War and other criminal excesses of American militarism.

On Iraq, this includes many (now repentant) Democrats (H. Clinton, Biden, John Edwards, et al).

I also blame Democrats of the Obama administration for not daring to follow through on prosecuting Bush-Cheney ringleaders for war crimes, especially the slam dunk of waterboarding and other "enhanced interrogation" torture techniques.

What do you think of the TSA "pat-downs" of people who want to fly?

Please refrain from a) reading my mind and attributing feelings to me that I don't have and b) inserting empty patriotic cliches into the conversation.

My main concern was that Syria not acquire a nuclear weapon. Cheney tried to prevent it, which I appreciate, but thankfully, Israel did the job for the paralyzed Bush administration.

Even though Cheney became very wealthy through his government service, and even though he rewarded and protected corporate cronies, I don't dispute that he did "what he thought was best for his country." So did Hitler, Saddam Hussein, Stalin and Mussolini.

Touche. Whether people think they're doing good is indeed not a good standard for judging behavior.

Wonderment
08-25-2011, 09:38 PM
What do you think of the TSA "pat-downs" of people who want to fly?


How is that relevant?

apple
08-25-2011, 09:44 PM
How is that relevant?

Well, you condemn overreaction to terrorism. But mostly, I'm curious.

Wonderment
08-25-2011, 09:58 PM
Well, you condemn overreaction to terrorism. But mostly, I'm curious.

I'm okay with pat downs as long as they are carried out appropriately, with zero tolerance for abuses, and only as long as a credible threat of a non-patted down individual blowing up a plane exists (which may, unfortunately, be forever).

Sulla the Dictator
08-27-2011, 02:24 AM
Yes, purging the previous administration and punishing their political opponents with show trials would have improved the standing of the Obama administration. :p

Sulla the Dictator
08-27-2011, 02:30 AM
Of course, many conservatives would be less likely to agree with Douthat's overall take in light of subsequent events, specifically '10 and the debt ceiling excitement.

And isn't that the truth? Douthat was echoing the CW of the period, that the Republican Party was a "rump regional party". What a difference two years make; as everyone should remember from the "Permanent Republican Majority" of 2004. :)

Cheney was the least worthless of a pretty shoddy crowd. I don't thin Ross Douthat spends enough time among conservative activists if he thinks Cheney is anyone's dream candidate. He's just better than Bush; and that isn't saying much.

apple
08-27-2011, 01:41 PM
I'm okay with pat downs as long as they are carried out appropriately, with zero tolerance for abuses, and only as long as a credible threat of a non-patted down individual blowing up a plane exists (which may, unfortunately, be forever).

So I'm more of a liberal than you are. Interesting.

stephanie
08-28-2011, 07:49 PM
And isn't that the truth?

Not entirely. Douthat was disappointed that the supposed experimenting of the Bush era, what he saw as its nods (poorly) to the kind of program he and Reihan advocated, were discredited without being really properly tried. He thought at the time -- and perhaps still does -- that the Reagan-era conservative rhetoric wouldn't work long-term for the Republicans. We've seen that what is arguably a form of that -- certainly a form of right-wing rhetoric and refocusing, so on -- seems to have been more revitalizing for the party in the current times than moderation likely would have been, I would agree. But I don't think we've seen much of a program for a long-term or consistent form of the party going forward. Not sure what Ross thinks now, though -- I'd be interested in him revisiting this and revisiting his book, as someone else suggested.

Oh, and I'm sure that it's possible to see the TP and '10 as evidence that hard-core conservatism, however one defines it, is on the ascendance. Everyone from Matt Welch to religious conservatives seem to be able to see evidence of that, by seeing the TP in their image. It just doesn't feel that consistent to me. We'll see, obviously.

What I'm sadder about is that we don't seem to be having the specific debate he was talking about -- about the security and foreign policy issues -- and it definitely seems to me the right is all over the place on that. For example, see the attack on Ron Paul (as discussed in my link in this thread).

Wonderment
08-28-2011, 10:17 PM
What I'm sadder about is that we don't seem to be having the specific debate he was talking about -- about the security and foreign policy issues -- and it definitely seems to me the right is all over the place on that. For example, see the attack on Ron Paul (as discussed in my link in this thread).


Yes, the right is falling into disarray on security and FP, which provides an enormous opportunity for the peace movement.

It's stunning to watch Republican emergent cognitive dissonance: the same voters support old guard interventionist hawks like Bolton, Cheney and McCain AND TP types, like Paul, who are questioning foreign entanglements and Pentagon spending.

Conservatives like Huntsman, who is no TP-er, are sensing some daylight where they can be moderate anti-interventionists and perhaps garner some tea party support. Huntsman's numbers don't reflect this yet, but he's is staking a claim to a future post- Bush-Obama era that's less bellicose and interventionist than the current continuity-based regime.

Of course, this is a very glass half-full interpretation of current trends. There's also plenty of reasons to despair about Republican enthusiasm for candidates like Perry, Bachman and Palin, and to despair overall about the country's perhaps unshakable and terminal addiction to militarism.

The peace movement and Obama certainly deserve an F for Obama's Term 1: the movement for capitulating, fawning over Obama and drinking Nobel Peace Prize Kool-aid; and Obama himself for the backing down on Gitmo, not going after Bush-era criminals, escalating the Afghanistan War, going into Libya, droning the shit out of several countries, etc., etc.

stephanie
08-29-2011, 08:33 PM
Yes, the right is falling into disarray on security and FP, which provides an enormous opportunity for the peace movement.

And once again, I hope you are right, but I doubt it.

Basically, it seems clear to me that if the right is in power, the right will be pro military, with some few exceptions.

When the Dems are in power, they are going to be more skeptical about any uses of state power, and that includes military power.

I don't see signs of the same re security or any reason to see a real change in opinion from the Bush years beyond this effect, which we saw during the Clinton years too, but maybe I'm wrong.

Anyway, my guess is that whatever opportunity there is goes away as soon as a Republican gets elected (depending on when and who that is, obviously). Therefore, the time to have a public debate on it, a debate that can only be pushed by people seen to be against the mainstream Dems/Obama in some way is probably now. So go for it!

Of course, this is a very glass half-full interpretation of current trends.

Ya think? ;-)

Wonderment
08-29-2011, 09:10 PM
Anyway, my guess is that whatever opportunity there is goes away as soon as a Republican gets elected (depending on when and who that is, obviously). Therefore, the time to have a public debate on it, a debate that can only be pushed by people seen to be against the mainstream Dems/Obama in some way is probably now. So go for it!


Yes, that is exactly why Ron Paul ran. And runs. And will probably run again if he's in good health in 2016. Ditto for Dennis Kucinich on the Dem. side. Of course, this election there is no Dem. debate to be had, so it's very difficult for pro-peace voices to be heard. Many have been muzzled or self-censored in deference to Obama.

As US Senator Bernie Saunders has pointed out recently:

One of the reasons the president has been able to move so far to the right is that there is no primary opposition to him, and I think it would do this country a good deal of service if people started thinking about candidates out there to begin contrasting what is a progressive agenda as opposed to what Obama is doing.

AemJeff
08-29-2011, 09:39 PM
Yes, that is exactly why Ron Paul ran. And runs. And will probably run again if he's in good health in 2016. Ditto for Dennis Kucinich on the Dem. side. Of course, this election there is no Dem. debate to be had, so it's very difficult for pro-peace voices to be heard. Many have been muzzled or self-censored in deference to Obama.

As US Senator Bernie Saunders has pointed out recently:

If you want to increase the likelihood of a sitting President's defeat - make sure there's a significant primary challenge! Make it safe for Democratic candidates to be elected in America, and Save the World!

(It's a joke, kids.)

stephanie
08-29-2011, 10:05 PM
Of course, this election there is no Dem. debate to be had, so it's very difficult for pro-peace voices to be heard. Many have been muzzled or self-censored in deference to Obama.

I think this is based on a mistaken assumption, that a strong and well publicized pacifist voice from the left or Dems more generally would create a stronger message which the supposed fellow-travelers you look for in the TP would like to join up with.

I think it's much more likely that the TP types and other new anti-war types don't like Obama, don't like the Dems, and are much more willing to consider anti-war arguments when they aren't connected to Dems or liberals or, in particular, the radical left and people who slam patriotism and self-defensive and mom and apple pie. I'm being somewhat jokey here, but I think when the Dems express reservations at all about the use of the military they get tarred with the views of the latter types (by whom? by the right, mostly). Republicans can usually get away with expressing reservations without that happening, although once again I'd point to some of the current rightwing commentary on Ron Paul.

Basically, if Obama had been as anti-war as you wish he had, there'd be no interest in the position on the right at all, beyond those who were there already by '08, and maybe not all of them. So the question is, what if the Dems had a strong anti-war challenger posing a threat of some sort to Obama? Would the antipathy to Obama transfer to liking for a left-wing challenger enough to permit common cause to be made between him or her and Ron Paul types? This seems to me enormously improbable. More likely any war-skeptic moves Obama made subsequent (drawing down in Afghanistan on) would be portrayed as him bowing down to the left and his real leftist instincts and the movement on the right get much weaker.

Angry as you may be at the fact that Obama and the mainstream Dems aren't remotely pacifists and are in many ways more similar to Clinton than some more leftwing dream, this fact is the only hope for a truly bipartisan anti-force position.

Of course, it still doesn't get it beyond a minority, but getting it a hearing is only the start. Convincing the public depends on how effective it is.

Wonderment
08-29-2011, 11:00 PM
I'm not really proposing that there be a primary challenge to O. I'm just lamenting that the left has painted itself into a corner and has no voice in the presidential election process, except Ron Paul, to some extent, and he can hardly be called a leftist. It's ironic that four years after the Hope and Change campaign, the only inspiring presidential ideas are coming from a nearly 80 year old Texas Republican.

sugarkang
08-29-2011, 11:19 PM
It's ironic that four years after the Hope and Change campaign, the only inspiring presidential ideas are coming from a nearly 80 year old Texas Republican.

Looks like my donations are working.

Wonderment
08-29-2011, 11:32 PM
I think this is based on a mistaken assumption, that a strong and well publicized pacifist voice from the left or Dems more generally would create a stronger message which the supposed fellow-travelers you look for in the TP would like to join up with

Yes, that's the premise, and you make a good case for why The Great Pacifist Convergence won't happen. But for now, I'm settling for what's actually happening: people are at least noticing the possible convergence of peace interests between right and left. This began in the last presidential election when a lot of progressives took notice of Ron Paul. (Unfortunately, Paul has plenty of baggage that rightly disturbs progressives.) Now perhaps TPers are noticing that progressives have said all along that the Pentagon is the largest, most wasteful and corrupt Big Government behemoth on the planet, as well as the biggest employer of do-nothing bureaucrats (combat veterans excluded).

Who knows what's really brewing in the college campus cauldrons where progressive politics and Paulism are meeting up. For now we have some strange political bedfellows; next generation we may have a broader peace coalition.