Former Vice President Dick Cheney is the fortunate beneficiary of a heart transplant. I hope his new heart has more compassion than his old one did. According to Wikipedia, “Following 9/11, Cheney was instrumental in providing a primary justification for entering into a war with Iraq.” He alleged that Iraq had “weapons of mass destruction,” and along with George W. Bush, pushed America to begin its “War on Terrorism.” These two men caused us to be terrified of terrorism. But at what cost to our nation?
“President for All Practical Purposes”
About the Gulf War, Cheney said: “You deploy a force, you win the war and the problem goes away and it doesn’t work that way in the Middle East it never has and isn’t likely to in my lifetime.” What?! We now know: 1. Iraq did not possess weapons of mass destruction; 2. The 9/11 Commission concluded that there was “no collaborative relationship between Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and al Queda.” When asked a question back in 2008 about public opinion polls showing that Americans had lost confidence in the Iraq War, Cheney said: “So?” This response from a man who avoided being drafted into the Vietnam War by securing five draft deferments. About that he said: “I had other priorities in the ‘60s than military service.” Too bad he didn’t have the same kind of priorities for our troops in what became our quagmire in the Middle East. Col. Lawrence Wilkerson remarked that “He (Cheney) was president for all practical purposes for the first term of the Bush administration.” His leadership lead us into wars in the Middle East from which we have not yet extricated ourselves.
Cheney Seeking Public Engagement
Now, with his new heart, Cheney is again seeking “public engagement.” Of the controversial waterboarding and other interrogation practices used by the Bush administration to extract information from people suspected of being terrorists, Cheney had this to say: “It produced a wealth of information.” Isn’t it tragic that he and his administration lacked — or should I say willfully ignored — the information that could have kept our country from ever attacking Iraq in the first place; and could have kept us from getting stuck in the “Br’er Rabbit’s briar patch” that is the Middle East? It was reported that Cheney had some past concern about having to go on trial as a “war criminal.” Like he did with the Vietnam War, he appears to have found a way out of it. He had the gall to recently declare that President Obama “has been an unmitigated disaster to the country.”
Develop Wisdom Instead
Mr. Cheney, it is you who were — and still are — an unmitigated disaster for America. Luckily for you, you are still alive and kicking with your new heart. My heart, however, deeply mourns the fate of our military men and women who lost their lives and limbs under your “leadership.” Please — don’t seek “public engagement.” Use your new lease on life to develop the wisdom a true leader should possess; a wisdom that leads us away from war at every reasonable opportunity. Φ
Craig Cline resides in Salem, Oregon. He is a local businessman and a member of Oregon PeaceWorks.