Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 4, 2009

DICK.... Former Vice President Dick Cheney was a national disgrace and an embarrassment to himself while in office, but he's not quite done engaging in some of the cheapest, most offensive, least honest demagoguery imaginable.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney warned that there is a "high probability" that terrorists will attempt a catastrophic nuclear or biological attack in coming years, and said he fears the Obama administration's policies will make it more likely the attempt will succeed.

In an interview Tuesday with Politico, Cheney unyieldingly defended the Bush administration's support for the Guantanamo Bay prison and coercive interrogation of terrorism suspects.

And he asserted that President Obama will either backtrack on his stated intentions to end those policies or put the county at risk in ways more severe than most Americans -- and, he charged, many members of Obama's own team -- understand.

"When we get people who are more concerned about reading the rights to an Al Qaeda terrorist than they are with protecting the United States against people who are absolutely committed to do anything they can to kill Americans, then I worry," Cheney said.

Protecting the country's security is "a tough, mean, dirty, nasty business," he said. "These are evil people. And we're not going to win this fight by turning the other cheek."

Specifically on the issue of Guantanamo Bay, Cheney said that "about 11 or 12 percent" of the detainees released in recent years have "gone back into the business of being terrorists." He added that the remaining inmates are "the hard core."

Previous national leaders, once they leave office, usually maintain some sense of decorum, refraining from attacking their successors. Cheney waited just two weeks before accusing the Obama administration of coddling terrorists and putting American lives at risk. Classy.

Fact-checking a Cheney interview is daunting -- let's just say the former V.P. is not "truth-oriented" -- but let's quickly take note of some of these obvious whoppers. We know, for example, that Cheney's comments about the detainee recidivism rate are wrong. (On a related note, Cheney, oddly enough, was blaming his own administration for releasing dangerous detainees.) His comments about the remaining inmates are also demonstrably false. Cheney said his torture policies prevented massive terrorist attacks, and that's literally unbelievable, too.

But dishonesty aside, there's one thing I'd love to hear Cheney explain. Since he and Bush left office, and Barack Obama started governing, al Qaeda seems to be in a bit of a panic. A former CIA counterterrorism official recently said, "For al-Qaeda, as a matter of image and tone, George W. Bush had been a near-perfect foil." Rita Katz, head of a private company that monitors jihadist communications, said the terrorists' hysterical rants against the new president show "just how much al-Qaeda is intimidated by Obama."

If Cheney's get-tough policies were so valuable, why was al Qaeda thrilled to have Bush around, and desperate now that Obama has been elected?

Post Script: Cheney also said, "The United States needs to be not so much loved as it needs to be respected." Yes, because if there's one word that describes international attitudes towards the United States in the Bush era, it's "respected." Riiiiiiight.

Steve Benen 9:00 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (59)

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Cheney is right when he says America needs to be respected. He is wrong when he conflates "respected" with "feared."

You are right Steve, he is a dick.

Posted by: Ron Byers on February 4, 2009 at 9:02 AM | PERMALINK

Disagree with The Dick? He'll shoot you in the face!

Duck it's Dick! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on February 4, 2009 at 9:06 AM | PERMALINK

Protecting the country's security is "a tough, mean, dirty, nasty business," he said. "These are evil people. And we're not going to win this fight by turning the other cheek."

Shorter Dick: "deep down in places you don't talk about at parties you want me on that wall, you need me on that wall."

Perhaps someone should remind him how that movie actually ended?

Posted by: zeitgeist on February 4, 2009 at 9:11 AM | PERMALINK

You ever notice how the biggest cowards want people to do things they don't have the backbone to do themselves.

Posted by: Gandalf on February 4, 2009 at 9:21 AM | PERMALINK

Rita Katz... said the terrorists' hysterical rants against the new president show "just how much al-Qaeda is intimidated by Obama."

Once again, substitute "Republicans are" for "al-Qaeda is". The pattern is uncanny.

Posted by: Danp on February 4, 2009 at 9:21 AM | PERMALINK

Hey Cheney. Go fuck yourself.

Posted by: jharp on February 4, 2009 at 9:21 AM | PERMALINK

Dick who?

Posted by: Peter on February 4, 2009 at 9:39 AM | PERMALINK

He is still on Halliburton's payroll generating fear and hostility for profit just as he did when he was in the White House. The MSM will print this rubbish and make it the truth as they are bought and paid for. He will be on some lame news program on Sunday repeating this crap.

Posted by: SteveA on February 4, 2009 at 9:39 AM | PERMALINK

Dick Cheney, the fat old blogger sitting around his undisclosed basement location eating cheetos and commmenting on world affairs? That Dick Cheney?

Posted by: Capt Kirk on February 4, 2009 at 9:42 AM | PERMALINK


So has Cheney given his Halliburton profits to charity yet like he said he would?

Just curious

Posted by: Lab Partner on February 4, 2009 at 9:43 AM | PERMALINK

Cheney is using the word, "respect" in the same sesne that a gang leader might--meaning something like "fearful and intimidated."

[singing]"The gangs and the government are no different . . ."

Posted by: rea on February 4, 2009 at 9:44 AM | PERMALINK

I wonder if Biden gives tours of the torture chambers in the dungeon.

Posted by: Danp on February 4, 2009 at 9:45 AM | PERMALINK

If we're going to be attacked, as Cheney predicts, then what does he know, and how does he know it? Perhaps he should be interrogated using all those greatly vaunted techniques he seems to think are so effective. After all, if he knows something we should all know, national security demands that anything goes.

Posted by: rrk1 on February 4, 2009 at 9:53 AM | PERMALINK

Previous national leaders, once they leave office, usually maintain some sense of decorum, refraining from attacking their successors.

Previous administrations also observed some decorum and avoided attacking their predecessors every day, in every speech Obama seems to think he can blame Bush for his mistakes for months, if not years. It won't work except among the devoted.

We would appreciate some signs of basic competence pretty soon.

Posted by: Mike K on February 4, 2009 at 9:56 AM | PERMALINK

This was actually a failure of translation, Steve. What the classically-trained Cheney actually said was "Oderint dum metuant" — "Let them hate, so long as they fear."

Posted by: Rand Careaga on February 4, 2009 at 10:05 AM | PERMALINK

One can only wonder how long the world will have to wait before "Dick" finds himself "Bobbitt-ized...."

Posted by: Steve W. on February 4, 2009 at 10:10 AM | PERMALINK

in every speech Obama seems to think he can blame Bush for his mistakes for months

Mike makes as much sense as ever. Are you saying Obama has blamed Bush for Obama mistakes? Must have missed that. What speeches and what Obama mistakes are you talking about?

We would appreciate some signs of basic competence pretty soon.

You were pretty complacent for the past 8 years.

Posted by: ckelly on February 4, 2009 at 10:12 AM | PERMALINK

I'm actually surprised Deadeye waited the two weeks. It's been obvious to me for quite some time that the torture and warrantless wiretapping of the Bush administration were partly intended to entrap a Democratic successor, whom they knew would reverse those policies. Then, if and when a terrorist attack occurred, the Rethugs are able to scream, "See? We told you so! They can't protect America!" The only question in my mind is whether Cheney is merely hoping for an attack or, with his BFFs the Saudis, arranging one. And before you attack me for saying it, do you really think the 3,000 American lives lost on 9/11 mattered to Cheney? Or the 100,000+ deaths he's responsible for in Iraq? Or were they simply a "cost of doing business" for him, Halliburton, the Saudis and the multinational oil companies? Cui bono, people. Who profited massively from the last eight years?

Posted by: dalloway on February 4, 2009 at 10:13 AM | PERMALINK

Irony alert: Bush supporter Mike K asks for "basic competence."

every day, in every speech Obama seems to think he can blame Bush for his mistakes for months, if not years

Well, yeah. Bush made so many of them, and they were so damaging. 9/11, the botched response to Hurricane Katrina, mismanaging the economy, racking up incredible deficits and more. Bush doesn't deserve a free pass for all that so that Republican revisionist historians can work on rehabiliting his image and dishonest ignoramuses like you can blame his failures on Obama.

Jackass.

Posted by: Gregory on February 4, 2009 at 10:16 AM | PERMALINK

Every time the man speaks publicly, he just makes the calls for his imprisonment louder.

...Wait, he doesn't? Man, this country sucks.

Posted by: Tree on February 4, 2009 at 10:19 AM | PERMALINK

Cheney is right when he says America needs to be respected. He is wrong when he conflates "respected" with "feared."

He's riffing off Machiavelli. It's true, it's better to be feared than loved. The part the wingnuts always leave out is that to be despised is the worst of all.

Posted by: slaney black on February 4, 2009 at 10:29 AM | PERMALINK

Dick's not only a dick, he's also a prick.

Posted by: Lee on February 4, 2009 at 10:31 AM | PERMALINK

The puppet masters are planning an attack from their bunker at the Carlyle headquarters in Luxembourg, where bin Laden hides out.

Posted by: Brojo on February 4, 2009 at 10:33 AM | PERMALINK

He's just trying to cover his ass for torture and other crimes. I'd like to see him make his case in front of a judge!

Posted by: Marko on February 4, 2009 at 10:33 AM | PERMALINK

Cheney loved his daughter and she "disrespected" him by making herself gay.

In Cheneyworld you're only respected if you're hated & feared, and people bend to your will. He couldn't do it in his family (stupid "gay is genetic" propaganda destroying the fabric of the nuclear family, she could love cock if she tried, by gum!) so we all must suffer his dopey inferiority complex.

Posted by: slappy magoo on February 4, 2009 at 10:42 AM | PERMALINK

What the rendition programs need are better translators. Seems as though "Grand Tetons and Hole in Jackson" are hard to translate. Or was that "A__Hole in Jackson"?

Posted by: berttheclock on February 4, 2009 at 10:43 AM | PERMALINK

Teh Dick is guilty, among many other more important failings, of reasoning that partakes of the ancient logical fallacy "post hoc, propter hoc": "after this, because of this." Because no attacks on the US occurred *after* all the crazy stuff Bush & Cheney did is no proof whatever that what they did caused the period of so-called "safety."

STFU, Dick. I eagerly await your appearance in an orange jumpsuit before the bar of justice in The Hague. Then we'll see about "respect."

Posted by: Blue Stater on February 4, 2009 at 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

Protecting the country's security is "a tough, mean, dirty, nasty business," he said. "These are evil people.

But evil done in the name of fighting evil is...good?

Except it's also tough, mean, dirty and nasty.

And we used to think in our innocence that Kissinger was the worst kind of criminal sociopath ever to defile American government. We had no idea.

The man is a horror-show.

Posted by: Julia Grey on February 4, 2009 at 10:49 AM | PERMALINK

Specifically on the issue of Guantanamo Bay, Cheney said that "about 11 or 12 percent" of the detainees released in recent years have "gone back into the business of being terrorists." He added that the remaining inmates are "the hard core."

First, this is simply a lie based on doctored and misleading Pentagon claims.

Second, the use of the phrase "back into" implies without proof that they were ever in that business in the first place.

Third, studies have shown that the recidivism rate for federal prisoners is about 70%. So even if you accepted Cheney's falsehood, that would mean that al Qaeda terrorists had a recidivism rate far, far, far below that of your average carjacker or gang member.

Posted by: Stefan on February 4, 2009 at 10:49 AM | PERMALINK

We would appreciate some signs of basic competence pretty soon.

AHAHAHAHAHA! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Stop it, stop it, you're killing me!

*bangs hand on desk* *wipes away tears of mirth*

The comedy clowings of Mike K, ladies and gentlement! Thank you! He'll be here all week!

Posted by: Stefan on February 4, 2009 at 10:52 AM | PERMALINK

Obama seems to think he can blame Bush for his mistakes for months, if not years. It won't work except among the devoted...

...and, of course, among those losing their jobs, houses, life savings/investments and healthcare in the collapsing economy; those still displaced by the federal bolloxing up of Katrina; those whose civil rights have been violated by Bush's Constitutional abuses; those hundreds of thousands who lost loved ones in Bush's illegal war; those who will suffer by the setbacks in scientific inquiry and science education under the Bush administration; those affected by environmental abuse under Bushco; and the denizens of virtually every country in the world.

Except for those people, everyone has moved on. Hey, it's not like the worst presidency in U.S. history is having any lasting negative effects or anything.

Posted by: shortstop on February 4, 2009 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

Cheney seems to only partially understand Machiavelli here. Machiavelli did think it was better to be feared than loved, because the fear part is in your control while whether someone loves you or not is in their control. However, Machiavelli earlier said that it was best to be both loved and feared. The love gets you willing compliance, while fear is sometimes expensive to exert.

Cheney's incomplete understanding of this point confirms a lot about his understanding of international politics.

Posted by: willpax on February 4, 2009 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

Actually, the idea that "(p)revious national leaders, once they leave office, usually maintain some sense of decorum, refraining from attacking their successors" is wrong. It was B.S. when Republicans peddled that nonsense to attack Carter and Clinton and it's nonsense now.

As I wrote elsewhere (when Carter criticized Bush in 2007), 'we heard the same b.s. ...when Bill Clinton complained about Bush's handling of Hurricane Katrina. "This has never happened before. (F)ormer Presidents of both parties have stayed out of politics and have avoided criticizing their successors," claimed John Hinderaker of Power Line. " The Democrats appear bent on destroying every element of the fabric that has united us as Americans."

'Of course...Hinderaker was either ignorant or he was lying. Republicans criticized Clinton throughout his presidency, beginning with an op-ed by Ronald Reagan less than a month after Clinton had taken office. "I can't refrain any longer," Reagan wrote about his 29 days of biting his tongue.

'George H.W. Bush promised not to criticize Clinton for a year, but he couldn't make it nine months without bitching about the then-sitting president, something he continued to do throughout Clinton's presidency. He once even argued that Clinton was trashing America's reputation overseas, saying, "The trials of the present will soon pass away and once again our country will be respected and strong around the world."

'Does that sound significantly different than Carter's claim that "as far as the adverse impact on the nation around the world, this administration has been the worst in history"? Not to me, but, because I'm not a Republican nitwit, it doesn't sound like "reckless personal criticism" to me, either.'

Posted by: nitpicker on February 4, 2009 at 10:54 AM | PERMALINK

Dick Cheney, Concern Troll.

Posted by: montresor on February 4, 2009 at 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

No think-tanks or policy institutes wanted to give Cheney an office? No "Director of Senior Strategic Analysis for International Middle East Policy?" Ouch, things must be tough all over.

Posted by: justaguy2 on February 4, 2009 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

Steve, you guys spent years assuring us that Bush's policies put us at higher risk of attack ("recruiting!").

But when Cheney does the same thing, citing plausible justification, it is unconscionable demagoguery?

You're being disingenuous, in defense of Power.

Guys, you won the election. You can stop the partisan kow-towing now.

Posted by: a on February 4, 2009 at 11:12 AM | PERMALINK

Is it too much to hope that this "high probability" of a terrorist attack will zero on on whichever bunker Cheney is hiding in?

Posted by: ArtEclectic on February 4, 2009 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

Protecting the country's security is "a tough, mean, dirty, nasty business," he said. "These are evil people. And we're not going to win this fight by turning the other cheek."

Wow. I wonder how the Christian Fundamentalist Right will view Cheney explicitly rejecting Jesus' teaching.

I mean, that's clearly what's happening here. He's taking Matthew 5:39 - a direct quote of Jesus Christ - and saying "Forget what that Jesus character said; here's how we're doing things."

This is proof positive that the Cheney worldview, which has dominated our foreign policy for the past 8 years, is undeniably and unequivocably anti-Christian.

Somehow I imagine if a Democrat had said such a thing, we'd be hearing about it from the Pat Robertsons of the world.

Posted by: TG Chicago on February 4, 2009 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

He's a souless dick that has done nothing good for this country!

Posted by: Cindy on February 4, 2009 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

Cheney is a waste of a good pacemaker.

Posted by: Mike on February 4, 2009 at 11:27 AM | PERMALINK

Geez, Dick needs to get himself on an anti-depressant.. By the way, where was he for the past 8 years? Hiding under Bush' desk, feeding him lines.. NO wonder Cheney has heart disease. With his attitude, and his stress level, he'll need a translplant soon. If anyone is scary, it's him..

Posted by: gloria on February 4, 2009 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

This is the definition of ideology: you get to practice your theories for a hundred years as you wait for success, say eliminating certain taxes and regulations. But the other guys must succeed overnight, or at least you can keep complaining about imminent failure for a hundred years. Even if the next terrorist attack is in 2050, I'm sure the Republicans will find some way to blame Obama, or Clinton.

In fact, I think they already have blamed Clinton for 9/11. The question is why reporters allow politicians to maintain two standards of responsibility.

Posted by: tomj on February 4, 2009 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

dick, where were you when the planes flew into the world trade center, the pentagon & Pennsylvania; how about the Oklahoma bombing? Were those Obama's fault also? We were better off when you were the invisible vp instead of the mouthy, make a buck no matter who you have to trample low life that you are now. I've never trusted or liked you. And, I noticed that your health has miraculously improved since you're not vp. Spot

Posted by: FayW on February 4, 2009 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

Cheney just want to make Obama's administration as much a disaster as his was. We all know how Republicans NEVER take blame for anything, so these 61 terrorists who were released under the Bush administration, is Cheney going to try to pin the blame for that on Obama? Next he says he doesn't want to allow people charged with terrorism to be granted legal protections. Wait a minute, why not? They are already in custody so WHY are you so against a trial to establish guilt? That is American justice. Why are you so against that? Are you a fascist or what? What are you trying to hide? Next, Cheney acknowledges that this depression which started under THEIR watch is "unlike anything I’ve ever seen" and is a "major recession". Yet he wants Obama to continue flushing mountains of American tax dollars down his war toliet. Why? Oh yeah, forgot, HIS company, Haliburton, is still there BENEFITING from the war. I've no doubt that if there is another attack we can blame Mr Cheney and his neo-con-artist buds either directly or indirectly. By the way, Mr Cheney, you owe Dick Armey an apology for personally lying to him about WMDs.

Posted by: Disgusted on February 4, 2009 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

Somehow I imagine if a Democrat had said such a thing, we'd be hearing about it from the Pat Robertsons of the world.

All the time, at full volume, for at least 30 years.

Posted by: DH Walker on February 4, 2009 at 1:10 PM | PERMALINK

Dick ! Yeah that about sums it up for me! What a waste of time giving this man a forum! Hopefully, I won't have to see him on Sunday morning. I have co-worker's whose husband's have lost there jobs, that were defending Bush and Cheney after the election? My question to them was, "So, what do you think of Bush now? they, not surprisingly had nothing to say! Imagine that! We don't need no more "dick" or "W", we have had enough! Thanks but no thanks!

Posted by: SRichey on February 4, 2009 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

I feel less safe without Cheney. And i luv how Iraq will be a model of democracy in that reigon.

Posted by: Clutch on February 4, 2009 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

The above overwhelming adverse reactions to Cheney's warped approach to national and international affairs may encourage him - incorrigible as Cheney is - to desist from advertising his sick brand of cowardly self-ingratiating war-mongerism at the expense of goodly Americans. Gosh! This time round he was given 8 full years to try and avoid steaming in the stench of his Goebellian pre-dilection to continue to hood-wink us. He's left us all in the worst damned mess that we could ever imagine. Now he's ADVISED to confine himself to hunt for "ducks" in his own backyard.
He needs to stop attempting to 'instruct' President Obama to 'blossom'into another incompetent way-side bush.
Get the message Blago?

Posted by: wyatt on February 4, 2009 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

Cheney is such a pussy. On 911 he panicked and gave the illegal order to shoot down passenger jets (later denied). After 911 the White House installed biohazard detectors, which proved unreliable. A lot of the craziness out of the White House may have been due to the continuous false alarms making Dick repeatedly crap his pants. As things settled down he took to hiding out in his undisclosed spider hole so Al Qaeda wouldn’t be able to hurt him. When he flew to his home in Jackson Hole, he had a missile battery sent ahead so Al Qaeda wouldn’t be able to crash jets into his house.

Then there was the class act when he shot his friend in the face. Did he ride to the hospital to see how his friend was doing? No, he sped back to the house to have a few drinks to cover up the beer buzz in case he had to take a breath test.

Posted by: J Frank Parnell on February 4, 2009 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

When is this worthless dick going to dry up and blow away? Better yet, when is this TRAITOR going to be tried for WAR CRIMES?!

Posted by: nikolai on February 4, 2009 at 6:57 PM | PERMALINK

Anyone who missed TG Chicago's comment (11:20am), please back up. GMTA, man.


Posted by: toowearyforoutrage on February 4, 2009 at 8:12 PM | PERMALINK

So, apparently Cheney's sees his mission to destroy America as only semi-complete. He undermined every principle this country was founded upon for personal gain while in office, now he wants to sink President Obama's efforts to rebuild it.

Time to quit dicking around. President Obama needs to get those investigations of BushCo's hundreds of corrupt acts rolling. Get the facts out, try that worthless SOB Cheney for his war crimes and treasonous acts against this country, and send his shriveled, evil ass to the Hague before he can do any more damage.

Posted by: G.I. on February 4, 2009 at 8:41 PM | PERMALINK

I can't believe that Cheney dared to criticize the Obama administration!

Obama ought to retaliate by taking some childish pot shots at the previous administration on his government website -- maybe he could petulantly harp on Bush's "broken promises" or something?

Posted by: bizzarro world on February 4, 2009 at 8:42 PM | PERMALINK

"Previous national leaders, once they leave office, usually maintain some sense of decorum, refraining from attacking their successors."

Bwahahahaha!

That is easily the most brutally dishonest or utterly retarded sentence I've read in the past week. Tell us which you are Steve.

Posted by: Dave on February 4, 2009 at 9:23 PM | PERMALINK

"the United States will be attacked again". Is that Al Qaeda's goal? Yes. Are there many, many, more terrorists now, thanks to Bush/Cheny's moronic policies? Yes. So, if an attack happens on our soil we can still thank George and Dick for making it possible. They have made it more likely. Thanks to them, it is more difficult for any leader to defend the United States. A positive step for our national security would see George and Dick renditioned to the Hague

Posted by: drv711 on February 4, 2009 at 9:41 PM | PERMALINK

When Dick warns of upcoming terrorist attacks, I'd listen to him. After all, plenty of people had advance warning of the 9/11 attacks, and it's not like word was leaking out of a cave in Afghanistan. Dick can speak for the terrorists because he is them.

Posted by: NoOneYouKnow on February 4, 2009 at 11:04 PM | PERMALINK

J Frank Parnell is right.

The Dick is a Pussy.

Its just that simple.

Posted by: libarbarian on February 4, 2009 at 11:08 PM | PERMALINK

History will show that "Dick" is a treasonous bastard. Why he is not in a jump suit trying to clean his butt out with a bar of soap while standing in front of a federal judge escapes me....The Dick does not deserve one more moment of air time, one more molecule of ink or a single pixel of press in this country. Trillions in debt, two unwillable wars, thousands killed or maimed and 7.2% of the workforce looking for the next meal. Yeah Dick you ran the country great....
I wait with baited breath for your treason trial to start now...

Posted by: Billee Dee on February 4, 2009 at 11:33 PM | PERMALINK

I'd say it's time to find out what Cheney really knows.

Posted by: Pseudolus on February 5, 2009 at 12:29 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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