Unindicted war criminal Dick Cheney has a way of popping up in all those media outlets that like unsupported surmise to solid fact. His latest abuse of logic, data and decorum appeared in the once proud and now Rupert-Murdoch owned Wall Street Journal, and his daughter Liz shared his byline. Having lost two towers in lower Manhattan, two wars in Central Asia, the City of New Orleans and the federal budget surplus, he seems to think his opinion still merits attention.
I have no intention of addressing the Cheneys’ arguments here as they have no standing in U.S. foreign policy discussions. I’m not even going to provide a link to their bullshit article. Dick Cheney is perhaps the most dangerous American of his generation, and while I admire filial respect, his daughter could do better than emulate a father so immune to decency and wisdom. If you voted for Bush-Cheney in 2000, you made a mistake. If you voted for them in 2004, you are a collaborator.
Let’s get one thing straight, kiddiwinks. If you backed the war against Saddam Hussein, you were wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong. Saddam had nothing to do with Sept. 11, and attacking Iraq actually took troops who could have been killing Osama bin Laden and put them hundreds of miles away in a futile attempt to make Iraq a democratic unitary state.
If you were part of an administration that was asleep at the switch that Tuesday in September when Manhattan and the PENTAGON ITSELF were attacked, you don’t get to talk about U.S. national security ever again. You failed the country and thousands died because of it.
If you sat out your generation’s war with five deferments to avoid actually going to a far-off land to fight, you don’t get to bang the drums of war after the administration in which you served stupidly invaded a country halfway around the world and then failed to secure anything resembling peace.
If you told the American people that the Saddamite regime in Baghdad had weapons of mass destruction, and it turns out there were none, and if you lack the intelligence to even plant some in Iraq after the war, you don’t get to criticize anyone else’s governing style. You lied, and they died.
Dick Cheney and the rest of the neocons in the Bushevik administration attacked Iraq without just cause. The pre-emptive war nonsense they jabbered on about has no standing in international law. There was no self-defense here, and the Cheney-Bush administration saying so at the top of its lungs didn’t change the fact that Saddam Hussein did not attack America. Al Qaeda’s principles based on Salafism are fundamentalist Muslim in nature; his Arab nationalist secularism is anathema to Al Qaeda. They were enemies, not fellow travelers.
There is a term in international law for launching an attack against a foreign nation without just cause — a war of aggression. I cite as my source Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson, who also was the American chief prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials. Moreover, Justice Jackson said during those trials, “To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”
Now, I don’t expect Dick Cheney or any of the other people who got the Iraq war going to ever stand trial for what they did, and it’s rather a shame the Germans pulled down Spandau Prison. I have a standing offer to fly Cheney to The Hague at my own expense should he every want to face the music (I won’t have to buy a roundtrip ticket).
But maybe, just maybe, we could stop pretending that the people who screwed up so badly just a few years ago have anything useful to say about today’s situation. For God’s sake, if nothing else, let’s make new mistakes rather than repeat the old ones. And let’s listen to the people who opposed that stupid war than those who lied us into it.
Jeff Myhre is a contributing journalist for TheBlot Magazine.