Category Archives: Vice President Dick Cheney

Apparently NOW Is The Time To Play The Blame Game

With Jeb!’s presidential campaign swirling the drain, I think it’s really cute how Papa Bush is now blaming the Cheney family and Donald Rumsfeld for the giant turd that is the Bush family legacy:

In interviews with his biographer, Mr. Bush said that Mr. Cheney had built “his own empire” and asserted too much “hard-line” influence within George W. Bush’s White House in pushing for the use of force around the world. Mr. Rumsfeld, the elder Mr. Bush said, was an “arrogant fellow” who could not see how others thought and “served the president badly.”

Mr. Bush’s sharp assessments, contained in a biography by Jon Meacham to be published by Random House next week, gave voice to sentiments that many long suspected he had harbored but kept private until now. While he continued to praise his son, he did tell Mr. Meacham that the younger Mr. Bush was responsible for empowering Mr. Cheney and Mr. Rumsfeld and was at times too bellicose in his language


He speculated that Mr. Cheney was influenced by his wife, Lynne, and his daughter Liz, both strong conservatives. “I’ve concluded that Lynne Cheney is a lot of the éminence grise here – iron-ass, tough as nails, driving,” he said.

Talk about passing the buck. Not only does he blame Cheney and Rummy, he actually blames Cheney’s wife and daughter, too. Meanwhile W, his own demon spawn, is simply to blame for “letting” Cheney have too much power and using some impolite words.

What utter bullshit. W is the one who went to great lengths to make Cheney his veep in the first place. Many people have forgotten (or didn’t know to begin with) the court challenges to Cheney’s eligibility to be VP, which violated the 12th Amendment of the Constitution. An Appeals court stacked with Reagan appointees disagreed, but the fact remains, the Cheneys were residents of Dallas:

Cheney, a former Wyoming congressman, lived in Dallas while he was chairman of Halliburton Co. until he changed his voting registration to Teton County, Wyo., on July 21 — four days before becoming Bush’s running mate.

The campaign fought hard to keep Cheney on the ticket. This wasn’t W being a little too lenient with his veep. This was the GOP backing Darth Cheney’s agenda. I’ve always thought that there was some kind of coup within the Republican Party, a takeover by the oil interests who were hell bent on getting their hands on Iraq’s oil.

There were so many ways the Bush disaster could have been avoided. But it happened. W picked Cheney to be his vice president. W picked Rumsfeld. Jeb! did everything in his power to give his brother Florida’s electoral votes and the Supreme Court sealed the deal. Mistakes were made, sure, but the biggest ones seem to have been made by members of the Bush family itself. So don’t tell me the Iraq War and torture and our ruined economy and all the rest were really Liz Cheney’s fault. That’s fucking stupid.


Filed under President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney

Have A Heart

As the Supreme Court begins deliberating the healthcare reform law it’s important to remember how we got here. And there is no more perfect example of our flawed, inequitable healthcare system than the fact that Dick Cheney got a heart transplant last week. This troubles bioethicists because of his age and his extremely poor health:

It is concerning that a 71-year-old got a transplant. Many of those who manage to even make the waiting list for hearts die without getting one. More than 3,100 Americans are currently on the national waiting list for a heart transplant. Just over 2,300 heart transplants were performed last year, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing. And 330 people died while waiting.

According to UNOS, 332 people over age 65 received a heart transplant last year. The majority of transplants occur in 50- to 64-year-olds.

Most transplant teams, knowing that hearts are in huge demand, set an informal eligibility limit of 70.

Cheney is not the first person over 70 to get a heart transplant. He is, however, in a small group of people who have gotten one. Why did he?

Cheney has an advantage over others. It is not fame or his political prominence. It is money and top health insurance.

Heart transplants produce bills in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. The drugs needed to keep these transplants working cost tens of thousands of dollars every year. Organ donations are sought from the rich and poor alike. But, if you do not have health insurance you are far less likely to be able to get evaluated for a heart transplant much less actually get a transplant.

I wrote about this last October when I reminded everyone that Steve Jobs used his wealth and mobility afforded by a private plane to “game the system” and fly to Memphis for a liver transplant. Two years later he was dead.

The wealthy and powerful will always pull out all the stops when it comes to their healthcare needs; the healthcare law is not designed to address that, nor should it. But there are millions of people in this country with failing organs who never even get in the door of a hospital, let alone find their names on the transplant list. Millions of people without health insurance and therefore without healthcare for whom getting on the national organ transplant registry is never going to happen. But we’ll happily take their healthy organs when they die.

It really makes me wonder what kind of society we have where the poor are so expendable. Texas’ women’s health clinics have been shut down over a wholly misguided ideological battle, that’s thousands of women who aren’t going to see a doctor for a variety of needs now. Sorry poor people, sucks to be you, too bad we didn’t catch that cervical cancer sooner, but if you die can the former Vice President have your heart?

This country is seriously fucked up. The greatness of a nation is judged by how it treats its most vulnerable citizens, not its most powerful. Right now the status quo which conservatives are bizarrely fighting to maintain is an unworkable, expensive, ineffective system. Once upon a time they loved the very healthcare reform legislation they’re now spending millions of dollars trying to dismantle. It is truly strange.

I don’t know how SCOTUS will rule on healthcare reform but I do know that our existing system is completely unworkable and gets moreso every year. If parts of the Affordable Care Act are ruled unconstitutional and other parts are shredded by Republicans in Congress, what we’re left with is a system in utter tatters. I just don’t see that standing for very long. We might end up with that “Medicare For All” everyone has been clamoring for.


Filed under healthcare, Supreme Court, Vice President Dick Cheney

Don’t Look Under That Rock

Knowledge is power, which is perhaps why our glorious liberal media has ignored this story:

George W. Bush ‘knew Guantánamo prisoners were innocent

George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld covered up that hundreds of innocent men were sent to the Guantánamo Bay prison camp because they feared that releasing them would harm the push for war in Iraq and the broader War on Terror, according to a new document obtained by The Times.

The accusations were made by Lawrence Wilkerson, a top aide to Colin Powell, the former Republican Secretary of State, in a signed declaration to support a lawsuit filed by a Guantánamo detainee. It is the first time that such allegations have been made by a senior member of the Bush Administration.

Let’s be clear: this isn’t some hearsay or gossip Wilkerson is spreading to boost book sales. This declaration is significant:

Still, Skinner said Wilkerson’s declaration is signficant because it marks the first time a Bush administration official is willing to state, under oath, that Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and others knew many of the prisoners were innocent when they were sent to Guantanamo.

And had them tortured.

I’ve said this before (notably here) that the point of our torture program was not to gain accurate, actionable intelligence. It was to justify war. No one cared that intelligence obtained under torture might be wrong. Who cared? In fact, the more wrong the better (see Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi).

Some folks are calling for a “truth commission.” Screw that shit. I want a special prosecutor. I want subpoenas and frog marches and jail time.

We won’t go there, of course. We’re too candy-assed to look under the high crimes and misdemeanors rock of the Kennedy assassination let alone something that happened five or six years ago.

C’mon, America. What are you scared of? A little justice? A little soul-searching? It would do you some good.


Filed under George W. Bush, Guantanamo, torture, Vice President Dick Cheney

Dance, Dickie Boy, Dance

Follow the changing storyline. If you can!

Dick Cheney, September 14, 1992:

The bottom line question for me was: How many additional American lives is Saddam Hussein worth? The answer: not very damn many.

Dick Cheney, Sept. 16, 2001:

MR. RUSSERT: Do we have any evidence linking Saddam Hussein or Iraqis to this operation?


Dick Cheney, Aug. 26, 2002:

Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us. And there is no doubt that his aggressive regional ambitions will lead him into future confrontations with his neighbors — confrontations that will involve both the weapons he has today, and the ones he will continue to develop with his oil wealth.

Dick Cheney, September 14, 2003:

MR. RUSSERT: But is there a connection?

VICE PRES. CHENEY: We don’t know. You and I talked about this two years ago. I can remember you asking me this question just a few days after the original attack. At the time I said no, we didn’t have any evidence of that. Subsequent to that, we’ve learned a couple of things. We learned more and more that there was a relationship between Iraq and al-Qaeda that stretched back through most of the decade of the ’90s, that it involved training, for example, on BW and CW, that al-Qaeda sent personnel to Baghdad to get trained on the systems that are involved. The Iraqis providing bomb-making expertise and advice to the al-Qaeda organization.

Dick Cheney, January 9, 2004:

We know for example from interrogating detainees in Guantanamo [ED’s NOTE: THAT MEANS TORTURE] that al Qaida sent individuals to Baghdad to be trained in C.W. and B.W. technology, chemical and biological weapons technology. These are all matters that are there for anybody who wants to look at it. A lot of it has been declassified. More, I’m sure, will be declassified in the future, and my expectation would be as we get the time. We haven’t really had the time yet to pore through all those records in Baghdad. We’ll find ample evidence confirming the link, that is the connection if you will between al Qaida and the Iraqi intelligence services. They have worked together on a number of occasions.

Dick Cheney, Jan. 21, 2004:

“I continue to believe — I think there’s overwhelming evidence that there was a connection between al-Qaeda and the Iraqi government. I’m very confident that there was an established relationship there.”

Dick Cheney, June 2004:

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Vice President Dick Cheney said Thursday the evidence is “overwhelming” that al Qaeda had a relationship with Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq, and he said media reports suggesting that the 9/11 commission has reached a contradictory conclusion were “irresponsible.”

Dick Cheney, Sept. 10, 2006:

MR. RUSSERT: Then why, in the lead-up to the war, was there the constant linkage between Iraq and al-Qaeda?

VICE PRES. CHENEY: That’s a different issue. Now, there’s a question of whether or not al-Qaeda, or whether or not Iraq was involved in 9/11. There’s a separate—apart from that’s the issue of whether or not there was a historic relationship between Iraq and al-Qaeda. The basis for that is probably best captured in George Tenet’s testimony before the Senate Intel Commission, an open session, where he said specifically that there was a pattern of relationship that went back at least a decade between Iraq and al-Qaeda.

MR. RUSSERT: But the president said they were working in concert, giving the strong suggestion to the American people that they were involved in September 11th.

VICE PRES. CHENEY: No. There are, there are two totally different propositions here, and people have consistently tried to confuse them. And it’s important, I think—there’s a third proposition, as well, too, and that is Iraq’s traditional position as a strong sponsor of terror.

Dick Cheney, April 6, 2007:

Cheney contended that al-Qaeda was operating in Iraq before the March 2003 invasion led by U.S. forces and that terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was leading the Iraqi branch of al-Qaeda. Others in al-Qaeda planned the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

“He took up residence there before we ever launched into Iraq, organized the al-Qaeda operations inside Iraq before we even arrived on the scene and then, of course, led the charge for Iraq until we killed him last June,” Cheney told radio host Rush Limbaugh during an interview. “As I say, they were present before we invaded Iraq.”

Dick Cheney, March 2008:

“This long-term struggle became urgent on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001. That day we clearly saw that dangers can gather far from our own shores and find us right there at home,” said Cheney, who was accompanied by his wife, Lynne, and their daughter, Elizabeth.

“So the United States made a decision: to hunt down the evil of terrorism and kill it where it grows, to hold the supporters of terror to account and to confront regimes that harbor terrorists and threaten the peace,” Cheney said. “Understanding all the dangers of this new era, we have no intention of abandoning our friends or allowing this country of 170,000 square miles to become a staging area for further attacks against Americans.”

Dick Cheney, May 2009:

We had the anthrax attack from an unknown source. We had the training camps of Afghanistan, and dictators like Saddam Hussein with known ties to Mideast terrorists.

Dick Cheney, June 2, 2009:

“On the question of whether or not Iraq was involved in 9/11, there was never any evidence to prove that,” Cheney said during an interview Monday night with Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren.

I’m so glad we got that cleared up.

Look, I don’t know why liberal blogs are feeling like Cheney has been caught in some kind of “gotcha” moment here.

The problem is that Cheney has always said that Iraq was a state sponsor of terror, so whether Saddam Hussein was involved in 9/11 or not didn’t matter because he was still dangerous. But what the national conversation has always been about is whether Saddam Hussein was involved in 9/11. When the country readied for war in Iraq, when we invaded Iraq, when we lost our blood and treasure in Iraq, it was always understood that this was in retaliation for 9/11.

Cheney has repeatedly said that Saddam as a “state sponsor of terror” and “Saddam as involved in 9/11 attacks” are two totally separate issues and that “people have consistently tried to confuse them.” Gee, I wonder why that is. Maybe because the Bush Administration wanted the two to be confused, perhaps? I mean, come on, already.

I have no doubt that Cheney, President Bush, Donald Rumsfeld and the rest were purposely being ambiguous on this point, and the media was too gah-gah over the swell of manhood stuffed into flightsuits that they played along. Now that it looks like some indictments might be in order and an Administration’s legacy is at stake, Cheney and co. want to have it both ways, to say look, we never said there was a definitive connection between Saddam and 9/11. That may be technically true but you sure as hell implied it, and you did so on purpose so you could take out your oil rival in the Middle East. And the media played right along.

The Iraq War has always been about the money and Republican power hoarding. Hell, most if not all wars are always about the money and power hoarding. But this one has been brazenly, openly, shamefully about the money and maintaining a Republican majority. You can see the loudest rhetoric linking Saddam Hussein to 9/11 came before the 2004 and 2006 elections. If you read the transcripts carefully, especially Cheney’s Sept. 10, 2006 appearance on Meet The Press, it becomes patently obvious. Cheney is dancing on the head of a pin in this MTP appearance, (and I always thought Tim Russert did superb job of grilling Cheney in this particular interview), and even he seems to be having trouble balancing his arguments.

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Filed under 9/11, Iraq War, Vice President Dick Cheney

>Rebutting Cheney

>Col. Lawrence B. Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, rebuts Dick and Liz Cheney’s lies with a column that appeared in yesterday’s Washington Note. It is an absolute must-read.

Some highlights:

[W]hen Cheney claims that if President Obama stops “the Cheney method of interrogation and torture”, the nation will be in danger, he is perverting the facts once again. But in a very ironic way.

My investigations have revealed to me–vividly and clearly–that once the Abu Ghraib photographs were made public in the Spring of 2004, the CIA, its contractors, and everyone else involved in administering “the Cheney methods of interrogation”, simply shut down. Nada. Nothing. No torture or harsh techniques were employed by any U.S. interrogator. Period. People were too frightened by what might happen to them if they continued.

What I am saying is that no torture or harsh interrogation techniques were employed by any U.S. interrogator for the entire second term of Cheney-Bush, 2005-2009. So, if we are to believe the protestations of Dick Cheney, that Obama’s having shut down the “Cheney interrogation methods” will endanger the nation, what are we to say to Dick Cheney for having endangered the nation for the last four years of his vice presidency?

Excellent point and one which all of the Cheney lies cannot ignore. Plus, if torture is so good at preventing attacks on the homeland, what kept attacks at bay from 2005-2009? (And let me point out, there have been plenty of terrorist attacks over the past few years. Just not here at home.)

There’s more:

Likewise, what I have learned is that as the administration authorized harsh interrogation in April and May of 2002–well before the Justice Department had rendered any legal opinion–its principal priority for intelligence was not aimed at pre-empting another terrorist attack on the U.S. but discovering a smoking gun linking Iraq and al-Qa’ida.

This is really the nut of the matter. Cheney and his daughter Liz are doing their damnedest to keep daddy and his friends out of jail.

Meanwhile, in today’s Wall Street Journal Karl Rove does some finger-pointing of his own:

Someone important appears not to be telling the truth about her knowledge of the CIA’s use of enhanced interrogation techniques (EITs). That someone is Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. The political persecution of Bush administration officials she has been pushing may now ensnare her.

Here’s what we know. On Sept. 4, 2002, less than a year after 9/11, the CIA briefed Rep. Porter Goss, then House Intelligence Committee chairman, and Mrs. Pelosi, then the committee’s ranking Democrat, on EITs including waterboarding. They were the first members of Congress to be informed.

”EIT’s,” for those of you who haven’t kept up, is the polite way former Bush Administration officials refer to torture.

Of course, the name “Nancy Pelosi” is a Republican dog-whistle for “scary-lesbo-San Francisco-liberal-socialist-vagina.” Somehow this whole mess is supposed to be Nancy Pelosi’s fault but someone needs to remind Karl Rove which party was in power in 2002, and it wasn’t the Democrats. Someone is trying to insinuate that a member of the House Intelligence Committee from the minority party, who was not even House Minority Leader at the time (that was Dick Gephardt) would somehow be able to exert some kind of influence over the Republican Party and its rush to war at a time when we were being told to run out and buy duct tape and plastic sheeting because ZOMG WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE!!!11!!1!!1!

Right. So torture was perfectly OK and if it wasn’t, well, it’s all Nancy Pelosi’s fault. Nice try, buddy.

This is, of course, not even taking into account Pelosi’s own assertions that the CIA misled Congress, which was corroborated by former Sen. Bob Graham.

We still have a lot to pick apart here, but the basic argument–torture works, it’s legal, it’s OK if it’s used to protect Americans, Jack Bauer is real and oh yeah, we didn’t torture anyway–that argument seems to have been lost. And let’s not get distracted by Karl Rove’s “ooh look, shiny sparkly Pelosi thing over there!” ploy.

It’s time to start some serious investigations into criminal activity here.

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Filed under torture, Vice President Dick Cheney

>Mail I’d Like To Send

>Dear Dick Cheney,

You left office with approval ratings of 30%. So why in hell do you think anyone gives a shit about what you think about anything, least of all, the new president? Sincerely, Southern Beale

Here’s another one:

Dear Chris Matthews,

Dick Cheney left office with approval ratings of 30%. So why in hell do you think anyone gives a shit about what he thinks about anything, least of all, the new president?

Should I go on?

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Filed under Chris Matthews, Vice President Dick Cheney

>Ditch Cheney

>GOP congress critters, including at least one from here in Tennessee, want Dick Cheney to go back to his secret, undisclosed location:

Rep. John Duncan Jr. (R-Tenn.) said, “He became so unpopular while he was in the White House that it would probably be better for us politically if he wouldn’t be so public…But he has the right to speak out since he’s a private citizen.”

Another House Republican lawmaker who requested anonymity said he wasn’t surprised that Cheney has strongly criticized Obama early in his term, but argued that it’s not helping the GOP cause.

The legislator said Cheney, whose approval ratings were lower than President Bush’s during the last Congress, didn’t think through the political implications of going after Obama.

Cheney did “House Republicans no favors,” the lawmaker said, adding, “I could never understand him anyway.”

I have given some thought to this “he has a right to speak out” stuff. Since Cheney is now a private citizen, it’s curious that this “right to speak out” includes the massive megaphone that is an appearance on CNN. Private citizens aren’t usually given that kind of platform.

So far it doesn’t appear CNN’s attempt to out-Fox Fox News has paid off in the ratings.

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Filed under CNN, Tennessee politics, Vice President Dick Cheney

>Pardon Me

>Dick Cheney and Alberto Gonzalez have been indicted. And it’s not for the reason many of us thought it would be:

McALLEN, Texas — A South Texas grand jury has indicted Vice President Dick Cheney and former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales on charges related to the alleged abuse of prisoners in Willacy County’s federal detention centers.

The indictment criticizes Cheney’s investment in the Vanguard Group, which holds interests in the private prison companies running the federal detention centers. It accuses Cheney of a conflict of interest and “at least misdemeanor assaults” on detainees by working through the prison companies.

Gonzales is accused of using his position while in office to stop an investigation into abuses at the federal detention centers.

Another indictment charges state Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr. with profiting from his public office by accepting honoraria from prison management companies.
The indictments were first reported by KRGV-TV.

Well I’ll be damned. I’d much prefer to see Cheney indicted for the Iraq War, extraordinary rendition, Guantanamo Bay, etc. etc. etc. But I’ll take it.

But let’s be real here. Who doesn’t think Cheney and Abu Gonzalez won’t both be pardoned by President Bush?

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Filed under Alberto Gonzalez, Vice President Dick Cheney

>Happy Mission Accomplished Day!

> Oh, the memories! Like, for instance, this breathless coverage from CNN:

Moments after the landing, the president, wearing a green flight suit and holding a white helmet, got off the plane, saluted those on the flight deck and shook hands with them. Above him, the tower was adorned with a big sign that read, “Mission Accomplished.”

Bush said he did take a turn at piloting the craft.

“Yes, I flew it. Yeah, of course, I liked it,” said Bush, who was an F-102 fighter pilot in the Texas Air National Guard after graduating from Yale University in 1968.

“Great job,” said Bush, a wide smile stretched across his face as he posed for photographs with crew members who gathered to get their pictures with the president. He draped his arms around some, slapped the backs of others and shook hands with many.

Good times, good times. Of course, in retrospect this part was a little creepy:

Back in Washington, Vice President Dick Cheney watched from his West Wing office as Bush landed. “He watched with a big smile,” a Cheney aide said.

And since we’re looking back on that Thursday May 1 of so long ago, we have to remember that pesky banner. You know, the one the White House first claimed they had nothing to do with, then later had to admit that, heh heh, they did. Ooops.

They’re still trying to run from that one, a feat made more difficult by the fact that the whole thing was such an obvious staged publicity stunt to begin with:

Despite initial claims that the ship was too far out to sea for a helicopter landing, forcing the president to use a jet, the Lincoln was actually within helicopter range when Mr. Bush arrived.

The jet flight was much more dramatic than a helicopter arrival would have been, as the president took the control stick for part of the flight and emerged on deck wearing a flight suit and helmet.

In addition, Pentagon officials told the Washington Post that after the president’s speech, the Lincoln waited offshore for hours while he slept rather than heading into port after its 10-month voyage.

Wow, we sure didn’t hear that in the CNN coverage of the time. Imagine if a Democratic president had done that–I mean, we’re still hearing stories fairy tales about how President Clinton once shut down two LAX runways for an hour while he got a haircut. President Bush prevented an entire aircraft carrier that had been deployed for 10 months from going into port while in view of land? Support the troops my ass!

Yesterday Dana Perino put the latest spin on banner-gate:

“President Bush is well aware that the banner should have been much more specific, and said, ‘Mission Accomplished For These Sailors Who Are On This Ship On Their Mission,'” said spokeswoman Dana Perino.

Oh, give me a break, Dana! No one buys that bullshit! We all know you people thought the war was over! Everyone thought the war was won: Chris Matthews, Wolf Blitzer and the whole media parade thought it was over and our troops would be coming home. That was the point of hanging a banner on a fucking aircraft carrier bringing troops home to begin with. Just admit you screwed up, already.

So, since President Bush declared “Major Combat Operations In Iraq Have Ended.” (and that’s a quote), we’ve lost another 3,900 U.S. troops, wasted billions of dollars that we could have spent at home, and tens of thousands of Iraqis have been killed or wounded.

This is winning? I hate to see what losing looks like.

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Filed under Iraq War, Mission Accomplished, President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney

>Unhappy Anniversary

>Five years into their failed Iraq misadventure, President Bush and Vice President Cheney pass around a batch of fresh Kool-Aid, along with a set of rose-colored glasses to help the medicine go down:

Bush to hail prospect of Iraq “strategic victory”

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President George W. Bush will acknowledge on Wednesday the Iraq war has been fought at a high cost but will insist a U.S. troop buildup has opened the door to a “major strategic victory” against Islamic militants.

“The successes we are seeing in Iraq are undeniable,” Bush will say in an upbeat assessment of the U.S.-led campaign in a speech marking the fifth anniversary of the war, according to excerpts released on Tuesday.


Bush will be touting security gains from a troop increase or “surge” that he ordered early last year, as he appeals to Americans for patience in a war entering its sixth year since the U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.

“The surge has done more than turn the situation in Iraq around — it has opened the door to a major strategic victory in the broader war on terror,” Bush will say.

But the “surge” has done none of the things it was intended to do. It was supposed to provide “breathing room” for political reconciliation, but where are these political gains? The only thing the “surge” did was correct Donald Rumsfeld’s fatal error of not providing enough troops for an occupation to begin with. All those fantasies about chocolates and rose petals, remember?

Juan Cole runs down the litany Iraq War lies in today’s Salon. Let’s start with the “surge”:

Hundreds of thousands of Baghdad residents were ethnically cleansed in the course of 2007, during the surge, and some two-thirds of the more than 1.2 million Iraqi refugees who ended up in Syria were Sunni Arabs. Baghdad, a symbol of past Arab glory and of the Iraqi nation, became at least 75 percent Shiite, perhaps more.

That outcome has set the stage for further Sunni-Shiite conflict to come. Much of the reduction in the civilian death toll is explained by this simple equation: A formerly mixed neighborhood like Shaab, east of the capital, now has no Sunnis to speak of, and so therefore there are no longer Sunni bodies in the street each morning.

But the troop escalation has failed to stop bombings in Baghdad, and the frequency and deadliness of attacks increased in February and March, after falling in January. In the first 10 days of March, official figures showed 39 deaths a day from political violence, up from 29 a day in February, and 20 in January. Assassinations, attacks on police, and bombings continue in Sunni Arab cities such as Baquba, Samarra and Mosul, as well as in Kirkuk and its hinterlands in the north. On Monday, a horrific bombing in the Shiite shrine city of Karbala killed 52 and wounded 75, ruining the timing of Vice President Cheney’s and Sen. McCain’s visit to Iraq to further declare victory.

Moreover, Turkey made a major incursion into Iraq to punish the guerrillas of the Kurdish Workers Party from eastern Anatolia, who have in the past seven months killed dozens of Turkish troops. The U.S. media was speaking of “calm” and “a lull” in Iraq violence even while destructive bombs were going off in Baghdad, and Turkey’s incursion was resulting in over a hundred deaths. The surge was “succeeding,” according to the administration, and therefore no mere attacks by a third country, or bombings by insurgents, could challenge the White House story line.

Meanwhile, for anyone made uncomfortable by all this bloodshed, Cheney is in Iraq to make more bogus links between Saddam Hussein and the 9/11 attacks:

[…]Cheney, who spent the night at a sprawling U.S. base in the northern town of Balad, told soldiers they were defending future generations of Americans from a global terror threat.

“This long-term struggle became urgent on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001. That day we clearly saw that dangers can gather far from our own shores and find us right there at home,” said Cheney, who was accompanied by his wife, Lynne, and their daughter, Elizabeth.

“So the United States made a decision: to hunt down the evil of terrorism and kill it where it grows, to hold the supporters of terror to account and to confront regimes that harbor terrorists and threaten the peace,” Cheney said.

I’ve heard some broken records but this is ridiculous. The vice president has become a robotic self-parody, repeating the same tired lies as if someone pushed “play.”


This month, an exhaustive Pentagon-sponsored review of more than 600,000 Iraqi documents captured during the 2003 U.S. invasion found no evidence that Saddam’s regime had any operational links with the al Qaida terrorist network.

Today we’ll get more fairy tales and misinformation from the Bush Administration about what we’re doing in Iraq, how we’re doing in Iraq, why we’re in Iraq. The media will repeat these lies, and my conservative regulars will come over here with stories straight from Fox News and PowerLine about all the schools we’re building and the glorious new democracy that’s taking root in Iraq.

And a month from now, we’ll still get the same news reports of bombings, more than 4,000 soldiers will have come home in body bags, we’ll invest billions of dollars a month in Iraq instead of our infrastructure at home and making sure our food and drug supply are safe.

Clap louder, people. All hail the great budding democracy in Iraq. But what about the democracy at home?

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Filed under Iraq War, President Bush, troop surge, Vice President Dick Cheney