Dick Cheney's Return to Fear-Mongering

Dick Cheney is back and Politico has him.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney warned that there is a “high probability” that terrorists will attempt a catastrophic nuclear or biological attack in coming years, and said he fears the Obama administration’s policies will make it more likely the attempt will succeed.

In an interview Tuesday with Politico, Cheney unyieldingly defended the Bush administration’s support for the Guantanamo Bay prison and coercive interrogation of terrorism suspects.

Cheney tells Politico that President Obama will do one of two things: Backtrack on his positions or put the country at risk. Politico describes Cheney's mood as "self-vindicating."

Maybe Cheney watched Monday's "24" episode? [More...]

At the FBI, Janis looks for potential firewall breaches and she sees weird activity over Kidron, Ohio. She calls the plant manager at a chemical plant there, and he mentions that his he has lost control of safety valves on toxic insecticide tanks. When he tries to shut down the tanks, they do not respond. Janis tells him to evacuate the premises. The President is briefed that half the town of Kidron would be killed by the plant leak.

Janis pulls up the operating procedures of the tanks and walks the plant manager through releasing pressure on the valves. Unfortunately, it leaks the insecticide into the sealed room where the plant manager is. He sacrifices himself to save his workers.

A biological or chemical threat is nothing to ignore but Cheney's generic and self-serving fear-mongering is pathetic.

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    Heh (5.00 / 11) (#3)
    by Steve M on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 10:46:59 AM EST
    I seem to remember a spat of OUTRAGEEEEEEE from the wingnuts once upon a time because it's supposedly unheard of for a former President to criticize the current Commander-in-Chief.  But maybe it's perfectly OK if the former Veep does it!  It's a moot point since nobody cares what Cheney thinks anyhow.

    But this brings home something I've often thought about, the fact that while the Democratic base blames Bush for his inaction prior to 9/11 ("BIN LADEN DETERMINED TO STRIKE," etc.) the mainstream consensus is more like "it's something that just sorta happened on his watch."  We know that's the consensus because he never would have been reelected if the consensus was that 9/11 was his fault.  And you can still argue "at least Bush kept us safe since 9/11" without getting laughed out of the room, even though to my ear it's like saying we haven't lost any cities since Katrina.

    Anyway, my point is that I often imagine what it would have been like if 9/11 had happened on President Gore's watch.  I don't think there's any doubt that the Republicans would have been screaming bloody murder about how it was all Gore's fault, demanding his resignation, etc.  Heck, in the real world we actually inhabit, the wingnutty base puts the principal responsibility for 9/11 on a memo written by the relatively obscure Jamie Gorelick.  If they could find a way to blame it all on a deputy in the Justice Department, it sure wouldn't be hard for them to blame President Gore long and loud.  I don't know what the public would have thought, but the GOP certainly wouldn't have just let it slide by as something that just sorta happened on Gore's watch.

    So this latest utterance from Cheney kinda confirms my thinking, in that they're not even waiting for an attack to happen before pre-blaming Obama for it.  If something terrible occurs, they want everyone's first thought to be, "I guess the Republicans were right, Obama really did get us attacked with his liberal policies!"  It's really kinda sick.

    All so true (5.00 / 4) (#5)
    by ruffian on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 10:59:22 AM EST
    The Republicans will always be willing and ready to make political hay out of any tragedy. They have no qualms whatsoever. Even though it was maddening to see Bush get no public blame at all for 9/11, knowing how Gore would have been treated in the same situation, I still don't think I can play the same game of hardball people like Cheney can. You're right, it strikes me as sick.

    An article in the SF Chronicle today (none / 0) (#26)
    by hairspray on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 12:33:55 PM EST
    written by Robert Worth of the NYT describes the release of 14 prisoners at Guantanamo a while back and how 11 of them have returned to their terrorist camps according to the Saudi gov't. The article goes on to say that most of them went through the vaunted Saudi rehabilitation program before they were released.  I'm sure Cheney is using this information in his saber rattling. The article goes on to say that this kind of information makes it hard to know what to do with the remaining prisoners.  Finding prisons to keep them after they have had due process is a problem.  I loathe Cheney and his fear mongering, but I'm sure this is a dilemma for Obama.

    OK (5.00 / 3) (#29)
    by squeaky on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 12:47:04 PM EST
    "They're one and the same guy," said the official, who insisted on anonymity because he was discussing an intelligence analysis. "

    First off I do not trust any of these anonymous sources any more. They have a stake in continuing the WOT and keeping the Gitmo system going.

    In any case it is an argument for closing down Gitmo and charging those who have credible evidence against them with a crime. Bail if it warrants it and a jury trial.

    Recidivism should not come as any surprise. That is no reason to throw out our constitution and ignore longstanding international human and civil rights standards.


    I am not arguing for keeping Gitmo (none / 0) (#46)
    by hairspray on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 10:23:15 PM EST
    I am simply reporting that the Saudi's made this report and while I don't trust the Saudi's I think there is a problem about how to deal with the remaining prisoners.  The fact that the whole thing was illegal to begin with and most of the thousands have been released perhaps without serious issues (we don't know) is evidence.  However, the remaining prisoners are probably truly terrorists and the problem of what to do with them remains. Since many countries are refusing to take them is a problem for us.

    No Problem (none / 0) (#47)
    by squeaky on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 10:35:39 PM EST
    The 50 or 60 "true" terrorists should be able get a fair trial. Evidence gleaned from torture is inadmissible.

    Some who are freed may try to wreak revenge, or not. That is a fact.


    You're so right. (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by indy in sc on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 11:00:54 AM EST
    So this latest utterance from Cheney kinda confirms my thinking, in that they're not even waiting for an attack to happen before pre-blaming Obama for it.  If something terrible occurs, they want everyone's first thought to be, "I guess the Republicans were right, Obama really did get us attacked with his liberal policies!"

    One thing the Repubs are quite good at is framing things to their liking.  This one is particularly sick, but even with the nominee approval process and the stimulus bill--their narratives are driving the discussion.  It's so frustrating.  I hope the Obama administration and the D majorities in congress learn how to do that soon.  Obama looked like he was pretty good marketing wise during the elections--I haven't really seen it yet as president.


    Why don't the Dems turn this back on Cheney? (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 12:47:57 PM EST
    You make a good point Indy: it's not like the Obama team doesn't know how to hang a person with their own words - they did it relentlessly throughout the primaries and, to some extent, during the GE.

    So why don't they do it now? Imo, it's because Cheney knows where all the bodies are buried; i.e. he knows which Dems colluded directly, and indirectly, with the GOP in their criminal war on terror.

    The Dems know Dick all too well and they don't intend to fu@k with Dick any time in the foreseeable future.


    I hope they all grow a spine. (5.00 / 2) (#32)
    by indy in sc on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 12:58:50 PM EST
    I don't think they should waste their time engaging and debating with Rush Limbaugh.  He's pointless and only thrives on the attention.  

    With Cheney--his words carry weight (not here, but overall) and are therefore far more dangerous since he actually used to be VP of this country for 8 years (I still can't believe that).

    This should be taken head on and cast in the media as the height of irresponsibility and an example of how Cheney continues to make us all less safe.  


    Well (5.00 / 2) (#34)
    by Steve M on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 01:07:12 PM EST
    The point of bringing up Rush Limbaugh is not to hurt Rush, but to hurt the elected Republicans by tying them to an unpopular extremist.  It's similar to the game the Republicans play with Michael Moore, George Soros, moveon.org, etc...

    I understand the tactic, (5.00 / 2) (#35)
    by indy in sc on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 01:13:35 PM EST
    but Rush is far better at playing the game than Michael Moore et al.  He plays the media like a fiddle and they report on everything he says as though he is some authority on anything.  

    I agree that it would be good for "mainstream" america to feel like Rush Limbaugh is running the republican party--but I still feel those arguments should be had several levels down from the administration.


    Probably (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by Steve M on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 01:32:05 PM EST
    but realistically, the administration's involvement was one offhanded quip by Obama that the media reported secondhand.  Otherwise, the argument that Rush Limbaugh is the real boss of the Republican Party is being made by Democratic interest groups and people like James Carville - in other words, several levels down from the administration.

    Agreed. (none / 0) (#44)
    by indy in sc on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 02:29:44 PM EST
    Ab-so-freakin'-lute-ly, but (none / 0) (#36)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 01:14:43 PM EST
    The general public views Limbaugh as a total certifiable crack-pot.

    So, I think it might actually be a good idea to damage the GOP brand by association with Limbaugh. If that tactic effectively damages the GOP brand, it also damages Cheney et al.

    It's too indirect for my taste but, for the time being, it's probably better than nothing.  


    You are right that Republicans are allowed (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by BernieO on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 02:15:05 PM EST
    to frame the issues.Democrats passively allow this. What makes it worse is the media's willingness to play along. When it came to 9-11 the media decided to allow blame to be assigned equally to Clinton. That is their idea of balance - it does not matter to them what the facts are or if Democrats are right and Republicans are wrong. This true for arguments about everything from 9-11 to the current stimulus bill.

    The guy must have a yellow.... (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by kdog on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 10:54:21 AM EST
    stripe up his back 12 inches wide...scared sh*tless as a young man when Uncle Sam came calling for flesh to send to Vietnam, too scared to preserve liberty after 9/11, and still wetting his bed about the brown menace.

    It must be terrible to be so afraid all the time...I prefer his partner G-Dubs "Bring it on" to this bedwetting.  

    If we're being honest, there is little to nothing that can be done to stop the lone or small group of madmen hellbent on destruction...so why sweat it so much?  Take reasonable security measured while preserving civil liberty and get on with our lives.

    Financial Reasons (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by squeaky on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 11:02:05 AM EST
    Must be that his stock and investment portfolios need a boost. Nothing like a little fearmongering to move cash into his own pocket.

    The day Cheney leaves this planet... (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by Dadler on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 11:29:00 AM EST
    ...will be a great day for America.  Period.

    scratch that... (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by Dadler on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 11:29:24 AM EST
    ...it'll be a great day for the planet itself.

    Better Hope (none / 0) (#16)
    by squeaky on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 11:34:22 AM EST
    That the laws of thermodynamics are suspended for the afterlife. His energy is so bad that no one wants it around.

    What do you want to bet (none / 0) (#42)
    by BernieO on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 02:16:29 PM EST
    that the media and Democratic politicians will be eulogizing him when he does. I don't think I will be able to stand it.

    I can see it now.... (none / 0) (#45)
    by kdog on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 03:20:43 PM EST
    "The Dick Cheney Memorial Rehabilitation Center"

    This is part of his physical therapy (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by andgarden on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 11:34:07 AM EST
    he has to get back to his normal routine.

    Cheney is a sick man (5.00 / 3) (#20)
    by joanneleon on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 11:42:43 AM EST
    Unfortunately, he's probably still a dangerously sick man.  

    Do they have him contained?  The guy built his house across the road from the CIA.

    I'm not sure whether it is better for the Obama admin. to ignore his most recent rantings, or whether they should designate someone to get out in the media and shame him for criticizing a sitting president, and create a fuss Republican style, and do their best to discredit him.  

    Cheney obviously can't be "shamed" (5.00 / 4) (#24)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 12:16:39 PM EST
    for anything.

    But he can, and should, be castigated for his loose talk about how easy he now believes it would be for extremists to attack the US. Cheney's remarks are provocative, in every sense of the word, and Obama should make the point that Cheney's style of provocation does NOT make us safer.


    McLean, Virginia (none / 0) (#40)
    by KeysDan on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 02:12:55 PM EST
    close to the CIA, and reasonably close to George Washington University Hospital.   All the things he needs.

    All they have is fear (5.00 / 2) (#22)
    by TomStewart on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 12:02:56 PM EST
    and fear is what they're selling. It was fear for the last eight years, fear during the campaign, and fear now. It hasn't been working lately, but it's all they know... they'll probably figure it out and switch back to hate soon.

    War Monger Cheney Should Be In Prison (5.00 / 2) (#27)
    by Continuum on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 12:37:03 PM EST
    Cheney . . . a proven liar, party to war profits with Haliburton, traitor, shredded the Constitution to his own personal gain . . . .

    Why isn't this man facing a war crimes tribunal in the Haugue?

    Why isn't this man in prison for outing an undercover CIA agent?

    Why isn't his man in Federal prison for his war profiteering?

    Why is anyone listening to his self important fear mongering?

    Sounds like he knows something we don't (5.00 / 2) (#28)
    by blogtopus on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 12:45:19 PM EST
    So does this qualify him as a terrorist? He's basically saying if someone doesn't do what he wants, an incident is likely to happen.

    "Nice Country there. Be a shame if something were to happen to it."

    If Cheney were an ordinary citizen (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 02:19:47 PM EST
    who made such remarks, while standing in line at an airport - he'd be in hand cuffs and ankle chains, if not shot dead on the spot - as per Bush/Cheney's own homeland security rules and regulations.

    Gosh, you'd think Cheney is rooting (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by ThatOneVoter on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 12:58:09 PM EST
    for Obama's reelection. If there's a terrorist attack, Obama will have 2 legs of the trifecta which is guaranteed to make an incumbent invincible.

    is "fear mongering" (5.00 / 2) (#33)
    by cpinva on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 01:04:06 PM EST
    the flavor of the month?

    does anyone, aside from the right-wingnut trilobytes, care what dick cheney has to say, about anything? anyone? bueller? bueller?

    forget van helsing and a wooden stake, cheney's such a wuss, slapping him around with a rubber chicken would make him run to his underground lair for safety.

    remember folks: dick cheney, before cheney dicks you!

    Go away Mr. Potter (4.50 / 6) (#1)
    by cotton candy on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 10:36:55 AM EST
    just go away. I don't want to hear anything this man has to say unless it's, "can you send me something while I'm in prison."

    Is Cheney 'inviting' an attack? (5.00 / 3) (#19)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 11:42:22 AM EST
    Seems to me that Cheney is baiting and taunting would-be extremists in a manner that would incite them to prove their mettle and seize this 'opportunity' to attack the US.

    Why is the Obama administration letting Cheney get away with this kind of reckless, incendiary talk? Imo, Cheney is posing a threat to national security by spouting this kind of potentially self-fulling prophecy. Cheney needs to be curbed and held accountable NOW, before something terrible happens.

    Remember how the Obama campaign rained hell-fire down on Hillary, during the primaries, for mentioning the RFK assassination? Hillary's remark was re-framed as a threat to Obama's life. Now that he's the POTUS, the protector in chief, why can't Obama frame Cheney's remarks as a threat to the lives of the American people?    


    Lock him up! (5.00 / 4) (#21)
    by CST on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 12:01:06 PM EST
    I am all for due process, unless the person is Dick Cheney.

    Shoot, I would even be willing to plant evidence if they need me too :)

    Dick Cheney is a secrete Al-Queda operative.  Let's ship him to Gitmo before it closes!!!


    He is still afraid (5.00 / 2) (#38)
    by BernieO on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 02:00:24 PM EST
    that the public will wake up to the fact the he, Rice and Bush refused to heed all the warnings they got 9-11 from guys like Richard Clark and the CIA. And Cheney was the guy who had been given the responsibility for overseeing terrorism policy. He will do anything to distract from those facts.

    Time will tell. (1.00 / 0) (#6)
    by diogenes on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 11:00:05 AM EST
    Why the hysterics?  Either Cheney will be proved right or be proved wrong in the years to come.

    No hysterics (5.00 / 5) (#9)
    by ruffian on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 11:04:48 AM EST
    Cheney sets it up so that he is always proved right, or so he can bloviate to anyone giving him a forum. It wouldn't hurt for some prominent Dem to start publicly contradicting him.

    Heh (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by CST on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 11:05:28 AM EST
    How exactly???

    If there is a "terrorist attack" I take it you think Cheney will be proved right???

    Cuz you know, no one would've tried something like that under Bush...

    Read Steve M's post again to find out how wrong you are.


    No. (5.00 / 7) (#11)
    by indy in sc on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 11:07:28 AM EST
    In order for Cheney to be "proved" right or wrong, you have to accept his framing of the issue--that an attack will mean the closing of Gitmo made us less safe or that no attack means it didn't make us less safe.

    The "hysterics" you're seeing is because we reject that framing.  Nobody here wants to see America attacked again, but should it happen, it could be for any number of reasons--some of which could be within the administration's control and some not.


    Even After (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by squeaky on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 11:18:38 AM EST
    Cheney has stacked the deck for eight years virtually begging al qaidia to wreak havoc. It will be on Cheney's and BushCo's head as they have done everything possible t incite foreign terror to attack the US.

    But the odds are that if such a catastrophe should occur in the US it would be far more likely that domestic right wing terrorist carry it out. Heck they will probably be carrying flags with pictures of Bush and Cheney on them.


    Cheney's a freaking possessed (none / 0) (#2)
    by SOS on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 10:45:27 AM EST

    In case you haven't figured it out.

    Calling Dr. van Helsing... (none / 0) (#17)
    by desertswine on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 11:36:22 AM EST

    ha! Cheney should talk (none / 0) (#18)
    by connecticut yankee on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 11:36:47 AM EST
    I'm sorry, what was the Bush administration's "plan" again?  Hold 750 potential terrorists, abuse them for years, try 3 of them, release a few hundred, theorize about trying ~50 total, and then let the rest go.

    Let me see.... On a strategery scale of 1-10 that's about an 11.

    We should take a cue (none / 0) (#23)
    by Makarov on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 12:15:56 PM EST
    from 24 and other shows, and immediately add anyone named MacGuffin (or close variation of the name) to terrorist watch lists.

    In films a MacGuffin is an intentional diversion (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 12:29:36 PM EST
    A MacGuffin (sometimes McGuffin) is a plot device that motivates the characters or advances the story, but the details of which are of little or no importance otherwise. (Wiki)

    Cheney's dire predictions are most assuredly a MacGuffin: some contrived thing (a prospective terror attack) that deliberately diverts our attention away from the real issue at hand (the criminality of the tactics used by the Bush/Cheney regime in the so-called war on terror).


    Yes, this is (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by KeysDan on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 02:10:26 PM EST
    the way I assess it as well.