"You cannot say as the president of the United States, 'I welcome disagreement in a time of war,' and then have the vice president of the United States go out of the country and mischaracterize a position of the speaker of the House and in a manner that says that person in that position of authority is acting against the national security of our country." -- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi responds to VP Cheney
After years of relentlessly questioning the patriotism of Democrats and critics of the Bush administration's Iraq occupation, Dick Cheney has come out of his bunker to officially declare that congressional opposition to their latest escalation would "validate al-Qaeda," presumably moving Democrats one step closer to being declared outright enemy combatants by the increasingly autocratic White House.
In an ABC interview Wednesday in Tokyo, Cheney explained that the reason other countries were abandoning the U.S. in Iraq was because the occupation was going so well. "'I look at it and see it is actually an affirmation that there are parts of Iraq where things are going pretty well,' Cheney told ABC.
'I think if we were to do what Speaker Pelosi and Congressman Murtha are suggesting, all we will do is validate the al-Qaida strategy,' Cheney said. 'The al-Qaida strategy is to break the will of the American people ... try to persuade us to throw in the towel and come home, and then they win because we quit.'
The "will of the American people," however, is under no threat from al-Qaeda, rather, their will is being actively thwarted by Bush and his republican obstructionists who have spent the months since the repudiating election - which replaced their enabling majority - ducking and dodging every effort to get them to change course and bring our troops home like voters demanded in November.
Cheney and his administration have spent the time they were expected to craft a way home for our soldiers, creating even more 'enemies' and stoking even more extremism and resistance in Iraq as they escalate the very military presence that our own intelligence agencies have repeatedly said is fueling "jihad" and recruiting more Iraqis to violent reprisals against our troops and against the new puppet Iraqi authority. Every U.S. action in the new escalation has drawn even more Iraqis into violent confrontation as the U.S./Iraqi government forces worm their way back into the shell-shocked Baghdad neighborhoods and inch their way back into the battle-torn neighborhoods in al-Anbar looking to pick a fight with the "Iraqi al-Qaeda."
As Democrats and others have repeatedly told the administration, the mandate Congress gave Bush in the original authorization in the wake of 9-11 was to apprehend the perpetrators of the attacks and bring them to justice. There was no merging of missions with the discredited Iraq diversion which postured against non-existent WMDs, mushroom clouds, and an al-Qaeda 'training camp' which was actually protected in the north against Saddam's wrath by the U.S. no-fly zone.
The actual 'war on terror' was intended by Congress to be waged in Afghanistan against the 'Taliban', and against bin-Laden's gang, not in Iraq. Democrats want our troops to come home from Iraq, but they also are demanding that Bush devote a fraction of the resources that he's squandered in Iraq, in Afghanistan against the original threat from the original suspects and accomplices of 9-11.
It doesn't take an experienced strategist to realize that al-Qaeda wants nothing more than to keep us bogged down in Iraq while they enhance their propaganda and influence from Afghanistan and beyond with impunity. They are inspiring a new generation of followers by their mere freedom from prosecution for the five years following the attacks, and by the example of U.S. aggression and imperialism which Bush and Cheney so obligingly provide by escalating their repressive Iraqi occupation.
There is nothing more 'validating' to al-Qaeda and their followers of their hatred of the U.S., than the images from Abu-Ghraib, or any of the atrocities and destruction committed by our occupying forces, either deliberate or collateral as they are commanded by the White House to press on. No one in the U.S. has enabled al-Qaeda more than Bush in his blundering invasion and occupation of Iraq which fractured the historic coalition which came together after the 9-11 attacks, and in his squandering of the support he got for his Iraq diversion as it became clear he intended to own Iraq rather than rescue the sovereign nation for Iraqis.
Now, as Bush and Cheney are in their last stand in Iraq to cow and intimidate Iraqis into accepting the autocratic rule of the new U.S. junta, everyone who opposes their swaggering advance is subject to their branding with the al-Qaeda moniker. It's of little matter to Cheney and his White House that they are the main promoters of the erstwhile rebels, both in Iraq and beyond, with their insistence that every resistance to their strident aggression abroad is a bump-up in prestige for their convenient al-Qaeda nemesis.
I wonder what the weather's like in Guantanamo?