Last night on Fox News, Sean Hannity welcomed Dick Cheney to the program by accusing President Obama of “apologizing for America” during a speech at West Point where the President repeatedly extolled our nation’s exceptionalism. Having set a decidedly negative tone, Hannity commenced the interview with a question that was merely a set up for Cheney to agree with Hannity’s oh-so-patriotic opinion that “America is in decline.” Cheney obliged with an opening rant that included his judgment that Obama is “a very, very weak president. Maybe the weakest, certainly in my lifetime.”
This represents the unique brand of pseudo-patriotism practiced by rightist hacks like Hannity and Cheney who regard the acknowledgement of past mistakes, and the lessons learned from them, as sacrilege, but are comfortable maligning the country and its leaders as being mired in weakness and decline. And Cheney doesn’t mince words either. The man who openly lied in order to wage a phony war in Iraq that cost the lives of thousands of Americans, and hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis, is now calling Obama’s foreign policy “stupid” and “unwise.”
Cheney went on to criticize Obama for pulling out of Afghanistan with the peculiar charge that “he hates to use military power.” Is that supposed to be in contrast to Cheney’s infatuation with it? Clearly, he believes that the United States should remain eternally deployed in Afghanistan, Iraq, and any other country he feels like dominating. And he seems to have no perspective over time of the consequences of his war mongering. In fact, the lessons he believes we should have learned from pre-war Afghanistan are sharply removed from historical reality.
“Remember there was a time back in the eighties when the United States was supporting the Afghan Mujaheddin against the Soviets. We had help from others doing that. We ultimately succeeded and then everybody turned around and walked away from Afghanistan. And, of course, then they had a civil war, the Taliban came to power. Ultimately Osama Bin Laden found safe haven there.”
Is it possible that Dick Cheney is so irredeemably delusional that he’s forgotten that Osama Bin Laden was the Mujaheddin leader that the U.S. was supporting in the fight against the Soviets? Bin Laden didn’t just find safe haven in Afghanistan, as if he stumbled over it. He was instrumental in toppling the previous government and installing a friendly new regime (the Taliban), with aid from the Reagan administration. But perhaps the most stupifyingly brain-dead remark in the whole bitch session with Hannity, was Cheney’s assessment of Obama’s grasp of history:
“It’s as though he wasn’t even around when 9/11 happened.”
Seriously? This is coming from the de facto head of an administration that, both literally and figuratively, was not around when 9/11 happened. They ignored an intelligence report with the actual headline “Bin Laden Determined to Strike In U.S.” This arrived a month before 9/11, while President Bush was on a month-long vacation at his ranch in Crawford, Texas. Then, while allowing Bin Laden and other Taliban leaders to escape, they started another war in Iraq that had nothing to do with 9/11.
Get Fox Nation vs. Reality. Available now at Amazon.
Finally, it is also important to note that the president that Cheney regards as the weakest in his lifetime is the one who had to clean up the failures of the Bush/Cheney administration. That included disposing of Bin Laden (and dozens of other Al Qaeda operatives), who evaded Cheney’s reach for eight long years. And now that Obama is committed to ending the wars that Cheney and Bush started without having an exit plan, he is being criticized by Cheney as weak? That’s a little like setting your house on fire and then shouting epithets at the firefighters who show up to put it out.