Dick Cheney speaks to a ‘diverse’ group of Americans at Camp Pendleton; where’s the howitzers? (see below) (credit: Sandy Huffaker/AP)
Well, this isn’t exactly a lie, but it’s such a huge distoriton that it might as well be one. It seems that old Dick was speaking before a crowd of, you guessed it, military personnel (why is it that Bush & Cheney never seem to speak anywhere but at military bases or corporate headquarters?) yesterday and according to Jody Wilgoren writing in
Kerry Says Work of the 9/11 Panel Should Continue, misspoke this whopper:
At a base on the West Coast, Vice President Dick Cheney also showed how the book-length report had been thrust to the center of the campaign by invoking it to bolster the administration’s case that the invasion of Iraq was an essential part of the fight against terrorists.
“This is an enemy, as the 9/11 commission reported last week, whose purpose ‘is to rid the world of religious and political pluralism,’ ” Mr. Cheney told 2,500 marines and sailors at Camp Pendleton in California, many of them recently returned from Iraq, others on their way Tuesday morning. “This is not a foe we can reason with, or negotiate with, or appease. This is, to put it simply, an enemy that we must vanquish. And we will vanquish this enemy.”
By the by, the Los Angeles Times– which should’ve been the newspaper of record for this story since the speech was made at Camp Pendleton in the Times backyard–completely missed the 9/11 connection in their coverage (Cheney defends Policy on War in Iraq). But the staff writer did note the delicious visual:
With Vice President Dick Cheney standing between two 155-millimeter howitzers and delivering a rousing pep talk to Marines on Tuesday, President Bush’s reelection campaign had the image it wanted to counter Democratic attacks from Boston.
Would it be terribly uncharitable to label this image as characteristic of the pornography of war practiced by Republicans in their election campaign. When all else fails, get Bush and Cheney on an aircraft carrier or surrounded by two phallic howitzers. That’ll do the trick of reminding Americans that Republicans are the virile, manly men (as opposed to Arnold’s ‘girlie men’) who will keep our country free (and mired in blood). Tisk, tisk LA Times for missing the 9/11 aspect of the story.
I don’t have a problem with Cheney’s first sentence in the Jody Wilgoren story above, but the second??!! Whoa, nelly, Dick? Where’s the fire? By yoking together in the same paragraph the 9/11 Commission Report and his own extreme hawkish views of the war against terrorism, he’s done tremendous disservice to the actual Report. The Commission Report (endorsed by every member including Republicans) makes crystal clear that the battle against terrorism can never be won by solely military means. The Report expresses unequivocally that this is a struggle between ideologies and belief systems and that there MUST be a broad based strategy that includes many means–foreign aid, public advocacy, cultural dialogue, education, social welfare–besides the military.
In fact, if we fight the battle as a fight to the death, as Cheney advocates, then we play directly into the terrorists’ hands. This is the type of struggle they die for (literally and figuratively). In this type of situation, they will have many martyrs to worship. When mujahadeen die, scores of thousands of volunteers to take up the call to arms making this a never-ending conflict.
In such a conflict, a democracy like ours will never last. There will be too many deaths and eventually the populace will turn away from the effort in disgust. Militants always win in this type of environment: Vietnam is a perfect example. The North Vietnamese were willing to expend as many lives as it took to fight that war since it was for them a nationalist battle for their country. We were not. That’s why we lost.
Iraq is clearly entering this territory in terms of the Chinese water torture of the ceaseless dripping of the blood of U.S. soldiers upon the national conscience. Some time in the not too distant future, Americans will turn away in massive numbers from the low level slaughter in Iraq. It is then that the Cheneys of the world will pay the ultimate political price. Here’s hoping that the price is paid in November with a Bush-Cheney defeat at the polls.