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Joe Conason
NationofChange / Op-Ed
Published: Saturday 16 February 2013
It is hard to imagine a record as profoundly impressive as that of the Bush-Cheney administration, back when everyone knew that he was really in charge of everything important — especially the war on terrorism, the war in Iraq and the war in Afghanistan.

Dismal Indeed: Why Dick Cheney Disdains the ‘Second-Rate’ Obama Team

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No doubt President Obama was deeply stung over the weekend to hear Dick Cheney criticize his new national security team. At a Wyoming Republican Party dinner, the former vice president briskly dismissed Obama's choices as "dismal," saying that America needs "good people" rather than the "second-rate" figures selected by the president, particularly Vietnam veteran and long-time U.S. senator Chuck Hagel, nominated by the president as Secretary of Defense.

For sage advice on security policy and personnel, after all, there is no living person whose approval could be more meaningful than Cheney. It is hard to imagine a record as profoundly impressive as that of the Bush-Cheney administration, back when everyone knew that he was really in charge of everything important — especially the war on terrorism, the war in Iraq and the war in Afghanistan.

True, Cheney's intelligence apparatus failed to capture or kill Osama bin Laden after 9/11 — indeed, failed to prevent the 9/11 attacks, despite ample warnings that began with Bill Clinton's farewell message in January 2001 and culminated in a blaring President's Daily Brief from the CIA in August 2001. True, Cheney's defense command allowed bin Laden and Mullah Omar to escape following the invasion of Afghanistan, while American and NATO troops slogged through that deadly conflict without a plausible goal or even an exit strategy. And true, the national security cabinet run by Cheney misled the nation into war against Iraq, on false premises, without adequate preparation or clear objectives, at a cost of many thousands of lives and trillions of dollars. And true, too, the ultimate result was to embarrass the United States repeatedly while increasing the regional power of the mullahs in Iran.

How can Obama presume to compare his own record with all of that?

Obviously Cheney's success cannot be measured by achievement alone.

That wouldn't be fair at all. No, his success resides in the capacity to commit disastrous misconduct and malfeasance in office and still be taken seriously by the serious people in Washington, D.C.

If only the president were sensible enough to appoint figures of the same caliber as Cheney's choices in the Bush years — men such as Donald Rumsfeld, whose capacity to deceive the public remains unequaled a full decade after he first declared utter certainty about the whereabouts of Saddam Hussein's huge, perilous cache of "weapons of mass destruction."

"We know where they are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat," explained Rummy somewhat inanely. He also assured us that the Iraqi people would warmly welcome U.S. troops, that the war would require a commitment of no more than six months and that we wouldn't need to send an overwhelming force of troops to prevail.

Like his old comrade and boss Cheney, Rumsfeld remained perfectly arrogant and absolutely rigid to the end and beyond, even as all his predictions and promises proved tragically hollow. Even when he came under attack by the neoconservative propaganda apparatus, led by Weekly Standard editor William Kristol, for "glibly passing the buck" for administration failures, Rumsfeld never admitted any fault or responsibility. Leaving office in disgrace, he spent years composing a farrago of falsehoods to be published between hard covers, seeking to justify his reign of error — and topped the bestseller lists following a triumphant tour of television and radio.

Now there was a first-rate Defense Secretary. President Obama, please take note.


ABOUT Joe Conason

Joe Conason has written his popular political column for The New York Observer since 1992. He served as the Manhattan Weekly’s executive editor from 1992 to 1997. Since 1998, he has also written a column that is among the most widely read features on Conason is also a senior fellow at The Nation Institute.

Don't argue with cheney. If

Don't argue with cheney. If he says Obama's picks are second rate, he would know, being one of the most second rate criminals to ever sully the White House corridors.... and that is a pretty low standard.

Love it when you talk dirty

Love it when you talk dirty about Cheney. Still waiting for his trial in The Hague.

Problem is: Cheney is

Problem is: Cheney is correct :-) Obama's team is a disaster. Of course so was Cheney's - albeit for somewhat (but not entirely) different reasons. In both cases, the top dogs were and are ideologically arrogant and ignorant, talented mainly at lies and at seducing sycophantic new-style 'journalists' , and at deceiving themselves as well as others. In the Cheney case, his USA could do no wrong, so everything the USA did had an automatic excuse. In the Obama case, his USA ultimately can do no right, so the USA ultimately has an automatic need and excuse to ditch long-term allies and to indulge Islamo-nazis and other foreign tyrannies.

Cheney richly deserves his 9%

Cheney richly deserves his 9% approval rating from the American people. A modest bachelor's degree while dodging the draft five times, and then a twisted "upbringing" in the Ford White House. Asleep at the switch on 9/11 (in early 2001, he and his incoming team complained that Clinton's outgoing people were "obsessed with this guy named bin Laden"). After ignoring the Aug. 6, 2001 Presidential Daily Briefing and getting us whacked in NYC and DC, he morphed bin Laden into Saddam Hussein and dragged us into 35,000 casualties and a $1 trillion price tag in Iraq, chasing WMD's that were already gone. (At Cheney's insistence, 97% of Republicans in the 2003 Congress voted for the Iraq War; only 43% of Congressional Democrats did.) Cheney staffed DC with wannabe spies like Don Rumsfeld and Condi Rice, who were so goofy that they should have been relieved of duty within months, but oh no, they were members of "the team," or "loyal Bushies." What a team -- a pack of losers that the American people are very understandably trying to forget.

The Bush Administration

The Bush Administration ignored at least six separate warnings about possible terrorist attacks from May of 2001.

Contrary to the testimony of Condi Rice, the warnings were quite specific as to using airplanes as weapons.

They allowed 911 to happen because the administration was under the influence of the Neo-Cons (PNAC).

America most needs for Dick

America most needs for Dick Cheney to be tried for treason and put in prison--including solitary confinement--for life (and on life support if need be, to keep him there as long as possible.

Ah, let me count the reasons: His conflict of interest in jamming the so-called Halliburton Loophole through Congress, that has exempted the oil and gas industries from critical portions of the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and the Safe Drinking Water Act (because he was the former CEO of Halliburton, which makes some of the hydraulic fracturing fluid used in the toxic form of deep-shale gas drilling). For giving the coal industry carte blanche to destroy mountains, bury hundreds more miles of headwater streams with toxic waste. To encourage fossil fuel industries to poison air and water for hundreds of thousands of Americans. For getting the U.S. into war in Iraq, for no reason other than to get lots of business for criminal corporations like Halliburton (Uh, remember, Cheney was CEO of Halliburton).

Dick Cheney is one of the most horrible people, and one of the most cowardly and criminal sacks of doo doo to hold public office. If we don't put him on trial, then free everyone from prison, because no one in prison is as rotten and dangerous as Cheney.

A good ironic assessment.

A good ironic assessment. However, why should anyone care what Cheney thinks anymore? He should be like Sarah Palin - good-bye & good riddance, consigned to the dust bin of history.

Obama has continued and built

Obama has continued and built upon all the militaristic police-state strategies that Bush-Cheney launched. In case you hadn't noticed, Obama has already continued the war in Afghanistan for 4 years, and has vowed not to end it until 2016 at the earliest. It is astonishing to see people calling Cheney a criminal but calling Obama a hero for pursuing essentially the same policies.

Who is Cheney to be

Who is Cheney to be commenting on the records of military heros. If memory serves, he distinguished himself by avoiding the military, nearly ruining the country as Bush's stand in for the presidency, allowing 911 to happen, starting a war so his former company could rake in billions, and sending the demise of the GOP into overdrive. He's a bottom feeder. Why is the press even printing what he has to say? He's a destructive force wherever he goes and whatever he does.

Oh, keep talking Dick,

Oh, keep talking Dick, PLEASE keep talking! I don't think your hubris will allow you to do otherwise. And THAT will be your downfall. For everyone else, keep the history alive. And be sure and watch Rachel's show Monday night for a new documentary on the Iraq war and the deceptions that went with it.
Here, also, is a very interesting timeline, from a wiki-style information project called History Commons. This link below is a history of the warnings leading up to 9/11, well-referenced.


NATIONOFCHANGE: I do not understand how you can possibly say that President Obama would be stung by anything Dick Cheney says. I do not respect Dick Cheney, and I doubt that any Democrats do, especially our president. Dick Cheney is, to me, disgusting and I now disrespect NationofChange. Cheney helped to get us into two illegal wars, and that was the cause of many, many American and foreign deaths. Cheney should be in prison.

By now no one believes Cheney

By now no one believes Cheney is anything but a well paid thief. Maybe, con man would be better, but both fit. Anything good said about Cheney must be "tongue in cheek" He cannot go to Italy and some other countries without fear of arrest. History will probably judge him as another Benedict Arnold that sold out america for a few pieces of silver.

Rosesmith, the article was

Rosesmith, the article was satirical, tongue-in-cheek.



Why is the news media

Why is the news media interested in anything Cheney has to say? He doesn't know what he's talking about. It would be best for all concerned to stop thinking he has anything relevant to contribute. In so doing he can slink into obscurity like his former boss(?) has done.

Perhaps we should all

Perhaps we should all reminisce on why we saw Cheney as being worth of a strong attempt to remove him from office after his former employer received non bid contracts worth above a billion and continued to pull down the plums during their traverse of Hitler tactics against the middle east country of Iraq. Displace their leader who had threatened Bush Sr. Take over their Country supposedly with crowd appreciation... that were undoubtedly CIA driven. Kill the leader in a staircase and send in the Gestapo Blackwater to kidnap and torture those who had NOT ONE IDEA OF ANY WMD. He alone set our military up to become what we hate the most... people who lack empathy and who kill without reason only attempting to profit in multiple ways. When the black hearts are in charge, the military has no place to go without killing their careers. Obama's secretary of defense nominee has guts and treated Cheney's war mongering, torturing of prisoners, and murder of civilians by his Blackwater troups as beyond the level of reasonability. If McCain cannot see this as a reasonable man, it is because McCain is now under pressure of being sidelined in the Senate. He is playing ball with the rich folks running the Tea Party. And he is on the wrong team considering his stance of being against prisoner torture. But Cheney is as unAmerican as they come. We should SHUN his comments as being more of the same.

Cheney should have been

Cheney should have been executed for war crimes.

His lies leading up to the Iraq War cost the nation over a trillion dollars and he is directly responsible for the deaths of the brave young Americans. DIRECTLY, because he orchestrated the entire thing.

And that comes to the very reason for the Obama presidency. Obama was "allowed" to win in 2008 with the understanding that he would protect the Cheney Administration from prosecution and protect the bankster thieves from prosecution. That was Obama's mission.

Just give it some consideration.

Couldn't agree any more, DICK

Couldn't agree any more, DICK is the true Mass Murderer among us.

Mr. Cheney, You've done

Mr. Cheney, You've done enough damage over the years. Now shut up and go back to Wyoming and stay there and nurse your donated heart. By the way, whatever happened to your old buddy, George W. Bush? Remember him? Is he still hiding in Texas?

Boris Badenov's picture

Why isn't this guy in

Why isn't this guy in JAIL!!!!

And WHY isn't the nasty old

And WHY isn't the nasty old POS dead? I'm sending him a lifetime free pass to the heart attack grill....and I hope he enjoy's it... I will.

Dick is right. We need first

Dick is right. We need first rate people like Bush/Dick/Gonzales/Rove & Co. to have another 911 event while they sleep on the job and then make $billions at taxpayers expense, declaring the US as a virtual dictatorship (YOU ARE WITH US OR WITH THE ENEMY--WHOEVER THEY ARE). It will take a generation, if not more, to clean up the fans of government.... Yes, Dick, very first rate job. Hope you and your team see a mental health professional before you all expire to get the real scoop from the scientific perspective on yourselves....

I agree with the author of

I agree with the author of the article: Obama has assembled a superior team to head up the Empire's perpetual war and propaganda machine. Cheney simply doesn't believe in duplicity like Obama does, and he's jealous that Obama gets away with it. Obama has managed to increase defense, war and homeland security spending despite, as he is fond of saying, being handed the greatest financial crisis since the great depression. Think about it. He SAYS we need to do some nation building at home, but just announced that he's prolonging the USA's longest-ever war in Afghanistan until at least 2015, and more likely until hell freezes over. A masterful con artist, Obama achieved that by saying he'd withdraw 34,000 troops, a year from now. Aware the Pentagon needs more cannon fodder for the upcoming war elsewhere, Obama had Panetta announce that women will be given combat roles. It's genius. Just last night I saw a taxpayer-funded commercial promoting among other things a military woman's equal right to kill. Obama has also expanded drone-killing, spying on Americans, and plans for declaring martial law, all without the fuss Bush and Cheney generated. Appointing Hagel is another stroke of genius, a hack who'll do as he's told. Obama is the shrewdest con-artist to ever sit in the White House.

Honestly. don't get mad at me

Honestly. don't get mad at me or anything but I would love just 1/10th the amount ego that Cheney or for that matter any member of the conservative movement has. Just imagine doing everything wrong, having no insight, destroying lives and nations and STILL thinking you are top dog!!!!!

jussmartenuf's picture

Why anyone gives any credence

Why anyone gives any credence to what Cheney has to say is beyond me. He has consistently been wrong just about everything. His hawkish friends and following do not want Hagel as Sec of Defense as they earn fortunes from war expenditures. Cheney himself sought multiple deferments from military service, why should he go when he can get other peoples children killed in his place.
A true member of the W Bush disaster team.

Excellent comment on an

Excellent comment on an excellent article. It is totally amazing and distressing that conservatives really don't care that their ideas turn into disasters all the time and yet they claim to be the best/only choice for a great America. These kinds of articles never hit local newsmedia - or they just refuse to pick them up on your local TV or newspapers. That, in addition to the lying that FOX etal. tout as 'truth' which lazy TV watchers swallow as truth. The lazy voters are getting us into a lot of trouble in this country as well. And the conservatives are counting on that.

Francsi, I think it is more a

Francsi, I think it is more a misinformed voter rather than a lazy one.

Even MSNBC carries the corporate message in many instances. The others are totally in the control of the corporations.

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