IT'S time to banish the neocon responsible for the current situation in Afghanistan. A remote outpost in Wyoming might be just the place to plant Dick Cheney at least for the duration of one of the two wars he handed the succeeding administration.
That way when the former vice president feels the urge to make caustic cracks about President Obama for not working fast enough to solve the problems he inherited from Cheney and Co., Dick can tell it to the tumbleweeds. He can espouse his revisionist history at a safe distance from the wrath of the nation.
Think that's too harsh? Just recycled Bush-bashing? Ask the families of the 30,000 American troops slated to join the 68,000 in Afghanistan fighting a nine-year-old-war that has only worsened with time.
Ask them how a necessary mission to avenge the 9/11 attacks - by destroying al-Qaeda and its extremist allies - was tragically sidetracked when military resources were diverted to an unnecessary mission in Iraq. Ask them about an emboldened enemy in Afghanistan and U.S. casualties rates rising to monthly records.
Ask them why their loved ones have to pay the price for Dick dropping the ball with the Taliban and Osama bin Laden in order to focus on regime change and weapons of mass destruction that weren't. More blood and treasure will be spent on a war that might have been completed had it not been neglected for years.
Yet even as the country braces for the cost of a clean-up campaign in Afghanistan to reverse Taliban gains made when U.S. military efforts were effectively put on hold, Dick has the nerve to slam the President for trying to fix what he wrought. A day before Mr. Obama unveiled his new Afghanistan policy, the classless ex-veep criticized him for projecting "weakness" to adversaries by his prolonged "agonizing" over war strategy.
Incredibly, the darling of the disgraced neocons took issue with the President's nuanced, and at times cerebral approach to foreign and national policymaking - as if that was a bad thing. Never mind that Dick's shoot-from-the hip rush into pre-emptive war mired our military in Iraq for six years and counting.
Going with his gut instead of intellect with the Iraqi invasion severely strained U.S. relations with the rest of the world and needlessly sacrificed over four thousand American lives. But to salvage his legacy and satiate his ego, Dick still deadpans denials that he bears any responsibility for what went wrong in Iraq and Afghanistan and insists the world is better for his leadership.
Then it's back to attacking the 10-month-old Obama presidency. "Here's a guy without much experience, who campaigned against much of what we put in place … and who now travels around the world apologizing," said Dick smugly.
Actually the President is patching up international bonds frayed from eight years of White House unilateralism, not to mention hubris. But Dick continues to belittle Mr. Obama with remarks bordering on the incendiary, suggesting the man "doesn't believe in American exceptionalism - the idea that the United States is a special nation, that we are the greatest, freest nation mankind has ever known."
Translation: He's not one of us, not wedded to promoting our super power superiority. "And I find as I get out around the country, a lot of other people are worried, too," Dick said, slyly, stirring the fear of the paranoid about that "guy."
Certainly every American is entitled to his opinion and on the eve of a major presidential address to the world about U.S intentions in Afghanistan, a former vice president is free to engage in undignified derision of the President. He can even insinuate that the Obama Administration is treasonous for allowing one of the masterminds of the 9/11 attacks to be tried in New York City, implying that such a move gives "aid and comfort to the enemy."
The question is not whether Dick can disparage the President or denounce his administration's every move, but why. Dick's administration left a federal deficit quadrupled in size, the worse economy since the Great Depression, and two unresolved wars.
And now, when the new administration has to make up for lost ground in a war with an infusion of tens of thousands of soldiers at a cost of billions of taxpayer dollars, surely the one to blame for the belated action required in Afghanistan would not want to draw attention to himself.
Unless, of course, that's the point.
Marilou Johanek is a Blade commentary writer.
Contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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