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“An Actually Weak President”: If Held Accountable Then, We Wouldn’t Have To Listen To Dick Cheney Mouthing Off Today

When Dick Cheney appeared at American University on March 28th, students protested outside Bender Arena, including the student government’s comptroller, who stated that he had voted against allowing Cheney to appear and had so far refused to sign a check compensating the former vice-president for his appearance. The protesters brought enough attention to the issue that Cheney felt compelled to defend himself against accusations that he is a war criminal.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney refuted accusations that he is a war criminal during his speech to students and members of the AU community in Bender Arena on March 28. The Kennedy Political Union hosted Cheney as part of a stream of speakers coming to campus.

“The accusations are not true,” Cheney said.

During his vice presidency, three people were waterboarded, Cheney said. Waterboarding refers to either pumping a stomach with water or inducing choking by filling a throat with a stream of water, according to a report by NPR.

“Some people called it torture. It wasn’t torture,” Cheney said in an interview with ATV.

Of course, “some people” includes virtually every disinterested observer, including the Republican Party’s 2008 presidential nominee, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who stated back in July 2012 that “[Cheney] and I had strong disagreements as to whether we should torture people or not. I don’t think we should have.”

Perhaps one could argue that America had some kind of mandate to contain Iraq resulting from the Persian Gulf War and, therefore, our decision to invade that country and remove its leadership cannot be judged by the same type of standard we used to condemn Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait or Vladimir Putin’s annexation of Crimea. If you want to try to carve out some of kind of double standard for America arising from our unique capabilities and responsibilities for maintaining the international system, I think we can have that debate. But it’s much harder to even imagine how one might justify our government’s decision to torture people during the Bush-Cheney administration.

This effort to simply call it something other than what it was is never going to fly. And, on that basis, Dick Cheney is unambiguously a criminal violator of human rights. But why do people have such an easy time condemning Cheney, or even Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz and Rice, and such a hard time condemning George W. Bush?

It seems one of the lasting features of the Bush administration is that people simply don’t think that Bush was calling the shots and, as a result, they are inclined to give him a pass on the decisions he made.

That’s a mistake.

If he and his subordinates were held responsible for what they did, we wouldn’t have to listen to his subordinates mouthing off about how weak the current president is.

You’ll know that the current president is as weak as Bush when students line up to protest former vice-president Joe Biden and completely ignore Obama.

 

By: Martin Longman, Washington Monthly Political Animal, March 29, 2014

 

March 30, 2014 Posted by | Bush-Cheney Administration, Dick Cheney, Iraq War | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

How Dare Cheney Criticize Obama For Taking Out A Terrorist

By near-universal  account of those who condemn terrorism, the killing of jihadist Anwar al-Awlaki  was a good thing. This was a man believed to be behind the attempted Christmas  Day, 2009 bombing of a U.S. aircraft over American soil. It was a man U.S.  officials say was trying to blow up American cargo planes by putting explosives  into the packages on the planes, a man believed to have been hatching plans to  poison fellow Americans.

Al-Awlaki was killed last week in Yemen in a drone strike,  not only  ridding the world of a dangerous terrorist, but depriving al-Qaeda of  a  powerful recruiter.

And Dick Cheney wants President Obama to apologize for  it.

The irrepressible former vice president sees the killing  as  justified, to be sure. He’s just mad because he thinks Obama is  hypocritical  for criticizing what the Bush administration, in almost  comically euphemistic  terms, described as “enhanced interrogation  techniques” used on imprisoned  al Qaeda suspects. As Cheney told CNN’s State  of the Union:

They’ve agreed they need to be tough and  aggressive in defending the  nation and using some of the same techniques that  the Bush  administration did. And they need, as I say, to go back and reconsider   some of the criticisms they offered about our policies.

The self-centeredness of the comment is astonishing. A  key al-Qaeda  subject is killed, and Cheney is thinking about what it means for  the  reputation of the previous administration? If we’re demanding apologies   here, why not demand apologies from the people who are screaming about  the  budget deficit now after voting for laws and wars that vastly  increased the  budget deficit? And the al-Awlaki killing doesn’t have  anything to do with  waterboarding. We don’t know whether al-Awlaki was  found because of “enhanced  interrogation techniques.” There are surely  legitimate questions to be asked  about whether and why a U.S. citizen  should be targeted, either on U.S. soil or  abroad. But hypocrisy isn’t  the issue here.

Former President Bush has been gracious and quiet as his  successor  takes on the problems of the economy and national security. If Bush  has  disagreed with what Obama has done, he’s kept it to himself—something   that is not only just good manners for a former president, but in the  specific  arena of national security, important to giving a sense of  continuity in front  of the international audience. How unfortunate that  Cheney cannot behave in the  same way.

 

By: Susan Milligan, U. S. News and World Report, October 3, 2011

October 3, 2011 Posted by | Conservatives, Foreign Policy, GOP, Homeland Security, Neo-Cons, Politics, Republicans, Right Wing | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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