Thursday, June 19, 2014

Cheney and Iraq: Lies, denial and a reminder of news media cowardice.

The other day,  Dick Cheney authored, along with his daughter a scathing op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal criticizing Obama's handling of Iraq by writing:

"Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many".

Perhaps Cheney used the word "rarely" because he recalls the decisions made, or lack of, by George W. Bush, Condoleeza Rice, Cheney himself and then Attorney General John Ashcroft when they all ignored and dismissed as unimportant, dire warnings from the intelligence agencies of an impending Al-Qaeda attack within the United States that became reality on Sept.11,2001 and which in turn led to the subsequent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Cheney's short term memory loss, or perhaps genuine deep denial conveniently ignores, or forgets as the case may be,  that no president  in all American history had been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many or  killed more people as a result of bad judgement  than  George W. Bush,  Cheney himself, Condoleeza Rice, John Ashcroft and others in the Bush administration who ignored nine months of  terrorist warnings and actionable intelligence  from the CIA, FBI, and White House anti-terrorism chief Richard Clarke, that the U.S. was about to be hit with a major terrorist attack. An attack without which Bush and Cheney never would have been able to lie the country into a war in Iraq in the first place.

The 911 Commission hearings revealed that intercepts of Al-Qaeda traffic in early 2001 and through August of 2001 by the CIA indicated the U.S. was going to be hit by a major terrorist attack inside the United States and that this attack, according to the CIA translation of one intercept "was going to be spectacular".

Perhaps Cheney forgets that the Acting Director of the FBI at the time,  Thomas Pickard testified during the 911 Commission hearings  that prior to the 911 attacks when he went to see then Attorney General John Ashcroft with intelligence he deemed important related to Al-Qaeda and terrorism within the United States and the threat of an attack, he was dismissed and told by Ashcroft that "he didn't want to hear about this anymore". Which was the official position of the Bush Administration.

Perhaps Cheney forgets that Richard Clarke testified that in August of 2001, a month before the 911 attack,  intercepts of Al-Qaeda traffic had reached it's highest level in 20 years and the translations indicated the attack against the U.S. was "imminent" with one intercept translating into "the match has been lit".

Perhaps Cheney wasn't watching when Clarke testified that as a result of this intelligence he and CIA Director George Tenant were " running around the White House like men with our hair on fire" in August of 2001 trying to get Rice and Bush to do something. And were rebuffed.

And perhaps Cheney forgets while writing about an American president that "was so wrong about so much at the expense of so many",  that on August 6, 2001, Bush and Rice received an intelligence briefing compiled by all the intelligence agencies that told them that not only was Al-Qaeda poised to strike within the United States, but that Al-Qaeda cells were already in the United States,(p.2) that some of them had been spotted putting New York City buildings under surveillance, and last but certainly not least, they were told that there was suspicious activity in the United States by Al-Qeada members that were consistant with preparations for multiple hijackings.

After receiving this briefing Bush went on vacation to Crawford and did nothing.

Cheney also forgets that when Richard Ben Viniste, the chief counsel for the 911 Commission asked Rice incredulously how she and Bush could have been given intelligence a month before the attack that the terrorist plot might involve the hijacking of airliners and still did nothing, Rice's answer was, " we had no idea they were going to use the airliners as missiles". Presumably holding hundreds of Americans hostage would have been okay with Cheney.

What Cheney obviously does remember is that for years the country has been cursed with the bigget collection of news media cowards and bunglers and incompetents  since the inception of the country, people who on a daily basis bow and scrape to whoever happens to be in power for the sake of their own professional ambition.  The mainstream news  media even  after the 911 Commission revealed all this information, did nothing to hold Bush and the Bush administration accountable for the 911 attacks and even demand their resignation because they were afraid of being attacked, not by terrorists but by Republicans attacking their patriotism if they tried to hold Bush, Rice and Cheney accountable for their catastrophic failures of judgement.  And none of them were going to risk their careers and the ability to keep making payments on the beach house  for the truth, even if thats what their profession is supposed to be about. 

Which is why all of them not only ignored the 911 Commission findings, they also ignored the fact that there wasnt a single shred of corroborative evidence offered by Cheney or anyone anywhere that showed Sadaam was either involved with Al-Qaeda or was trying to build a nuclear weapon. Instead the news media were complicit in beating the drums for war. It took Joe Wilson, a former ambassador to Niger who used his contacts there to expose Cheney's lies about Sadaam trying to buy yellowcake from Niger. For his trouble, Cheney outed Wilson's undercover CIA wife destroying her 20 year network of informants on -- guess what? -- Iran's nuclear program. Yet the news media en masse rolled over and played dead over all of this including Cheney assertions about Sadaam and Iraq. And no one rolled over more than Judith Miller of the New York Times and her Washington Bureau chief Jill Abramson who rubber stamped and approved  the stories published on the front of page of the New York Times fed to them by Dick Cheney that gave credibility to Cheney's lies about Iraq and WMD which flew in the face of all the available information.

Which is what made Cheney feel he could write such a preposterous op-ed peice with impunity. That there are those in the media now attacking Cheney means nothing. It's too little too late and it's only happening now because the journalists doing the attacking now feel safe enough to do it.When it mattered most they all hid under a rock. When it doesn't matter, that's when they get tough. Like they did with Anthony Weiner.

Probably the most significant and telling admission as to how Bush, Cheney and Rice know they were so wrong about so much at the expense of so many, was on May 15, 2014, when dignitaries including two presidents, three  NYC mayors, members of congress and other guests, including first responders,  attended a ceremony in New York City to commemorate and dedicate the opening of the 911 Memorial  Museum and Bush, Rice and Cheney were absent. To say they were conspicuous by their absence would be an understatement if one didnt understand the extent of their gross failures that resulted in the 911 attacks. And knowing their failures, their catastrophically bad judgement and what that caused then and since, they had the decency not to attend. A fact completely missed by the media.

Their absence from the 911 dedication was as close to an admission as anyone will  probably ever get in acknowledging their own failures in not taking the actions which would have prevented the 911 attacks. And given that the 911 attacks resulted in the worst loss of life on American soil at the hands of a foreign enemy in American history, and the lives subsequently lost in Iraq and Afghanistan as a direct result of those attacks, it's fair to say that never before in American history has a president and an administration been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many. And then got away with it. Thanks to the incompetents, the bunglers and the cowards who still carry press passes in this country and still show up on cable news.

No comments: