Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Communicate To Failure
Dick Cheney is worried.
“When we get people who are more concerned about reading the rights to an Al Qaeda terrorist than they are with protecting the United States against people who are absolutely committed to do anything they can to kill Americans, then I worry,” Cheney said.
This comes from an interview yesterday. It's hard to wrestle one's thoughts into some sort of organized stream after reading something like that.
First of all, I'd be worried, too, if it were anywhere close to the truth. Second of all -- and much more venal -- is the idea that the next guy to hold office is responsible for the failure of the previous guy to tamp down the threat. Or, more accurately, for having raised the threat exponentially and diminished by the same amount -- by virtue of bringing our country to its economic and defensive knees -- our ability to protect ourselves.
I'm trying to make any sense of it: it's as if you move into a home and do everything you can to make your neighbors hate you. Call them names, toss shit onto their lawns, kick in a couple of doors. Meanwhile you install an alarm system in your house that goes off at all the wrong times. Then you move out. A new family moves in, tries to calm the neighbors down, and attempts to fix the alarm system so it goes off less erratically. As the new family struggles to make way, you say to anyone who'll listen, "If someone lobs a firebomb at them, it's their fault."
Or this: You're the conductor of a train. You take it down the wrong track, head it downhill, damage the brakes, and then jump off. If it crashes, from the safety of your home you say it's the fault of the people you left on board.
But it's really even worse than that. Because what's really going on is that Cheney is setting Obama up, joining the rest of the crowd who all but call for Obama's failure. It's just that most aren't quite as gleeful or evil; Limbaugh et al are (overtly, anyway) only hoping for economic calamity to justify their failed catechisms. Cheney is less bashful: he hopes a few thousand -- heck, why not a couple million? -- Americans will DIE. And in the twisted logic that only he and people as similarly sickened can render, it will justify everything he did in the last eight years.
Only the most pollyannish among us thinks there are no threats out there. Only the most partisan hacks think the new administration is unaware nor doing everything they can about it. Closing Gitmo, per se, has nothing to do with future risk, but everything to do with future improvement in coöperation from other countries. (In the interview above-linked, Cheney continues to cite discredited data about Gitmo recidivism. Moreover, it was HIS administration that let them go, not Obama's!!! Closing Gitmo does not equate to releasing prisoners. Restoring a lawful way of dealing with enemies makes us all safer. But it's hard for some minds to get themselves around that idea.)
Like Cheney and Limbaugh, Osama bin Laden would love nothing more than to see Obama fail. Surely he hopes for a return to the Cheney/Bush policies that have been so good to him, and for continuation of the financial failure that leaves us so vulnerable to collapse. Of that, I have no doubt. I can only hope my vision of Cheney welcoming Osama in the back door is completely crazy. In reality, probably so; metaphorically, not so much.