Cheney, Republicans have no credibility on national security


In the days following the failed Christmas Day bombing plot, congresspersons refrained from publicly holding hands and singing a patriotic hymn of some kind. There was neither a bipartisan rush to declare support for the commander in chief, nor was there even a scintilla of national solidarity on display.

What emerged instead was a sordid fusillade of finger pointing and political posturing.

Rather than condemn al-Qaida for their murderous machinations, former Vice President Dick Cheney, the consummate elder statesman, turned his wrath toward President Barack Obama.

In an interview with the right-wing rag Politico, The Lord of Darkness sniped that Obama was “trying to pretend that we are not at war” with terrorists because the president supposedly offered a “low-key response” to the thwarted terrorist attack.


For starters, since when did Dick “Five Deferments” Cheney become an authority on matters of national defense? Cheney couldn’t be bothered to serve in the armed forces, in essence dodging the draft during the Vietnam War, yet the media treat his comments on foreign policy with a rare and nauseating reverence.

Contrast this to the treatment Sen. John Kerry — a veritable war hero complete with

multiple Purple Hearts — endured during the 2004 presidential campaign. The draft dodging duo of Bush/Cheney painted him as a pusillanimous poser and a traitorous tax-and-spend hippie. The media were more than happy to indulge in this repulsive and false narrative.

In fact, the last person the American people should be taking advice from on national security is Dick Cheney, or any other Republican, generally speaking.

Republicans have adroitly transformed what should be viewed as a party weakness into its only strength.

For decades, the GOP has skillfully wielded national security as a bludgeon with which to hammer Democrats and portray them as weak — even dangerously so — on this critical issue.

Since at least the Cold War, issues of national defense have become a sort of political Kryptonite that inexplicably renders Democrats blithering namby-pambies or “Commie-Pinkos” (Or is it “Pinko-Commies”? I can never remember the proper word order).

Conventional wisdom has crystallized around the asinine idea that Republicans are somehow better equipped to handle matters of war and peace.

Recent history suggests that assertion should be rejected out of hand as either a tawdry absurdity or an insipid joke.

It seems that the media and, unfortunately, a great number of the American people, seem to have forgotten on whose watch Sept. 11 occurred. 

Actually, now that I think of it, so have I.

It was Clinton, wasn’t it?

Eureka! Googled it. The Internet says George W. Bush was president Sept. 11, 2001.

But then again, Al Gore, that liberal scoundrel, invented the Internet. Therefore it’s safe to assume the Internet has a liberal bias and should not be believed.

I mean, how could it be that George Bush, the younger, was president during the single worst terrorist attack in U.S.

history? He was the “War President.” Sure, he murdered the economy, eviscerated the middle-class, helped plunge New Orleans into the Third World and lied about weapons of mass destruction, but he kept us safe! Right?


It was the Bush administration’s blithe indifference toward the threat of al-Qaida that allowed the hijackers of Sept. 11 to successfully shatter the New York skyline and change our way of life forever.

I know. Blasphemy.

But listen: While vacationing at his beloved Crawford, Texas ranch in the hot August summer of 2001, President Bush received a memo, something called a Presidential Daily Briefing. 

The CIA prepared the document and titled it “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” That was Aug. 6, 2001, to be exact.

And what action did the president take to quash this threat? What was the chicken-hawk -in- chief ’s response to the CIA officer who debriefed him?

According to Ron Suskind’s damning account of the administration’s foreign policy misadventures, Bush said, “All right, you’ve covered your ass now.”

The prosecution rests.

To quote my intro to international relations professor, “I don’t want to say the Bush administration was negligent, because they are always negligent. But regarding Sept. 11, they were criminally negligent.”

It would be collective intellectual malpractice for this country to grant credence to even one more sound bite from the crew responsible for the deadliest national security failure of all time.

If we want to prevent another Sept. 11, perhaps we should start by tuning out the idiotic sneering of Dick Cheney and focus on snuffing out al-Qaida.

E-mail Josh Fredrickson at [email protected]