Monday, January 29, 2007

Stupid, puerile and completely absurd

I linked to something yesterday about Dick Cheney's bizarre behaviour and today Digby piles on with his own diagnosis. He begins with:
I continue to be astounded by Dick Cheney's bizarre public behavior. He did an interview with Richard Wolffe at Newsweek last week and it was just as weird as the one he did with Wolf Blitzer.

The whole thing is delusional, but there are a couple of points that really must be highlighted for their sheer incoherence and wrongheadedness.


That's just a small sample of the non sequitors and muddled thinking throughout this interview. When asked about Iraq's civil war he talks about al Qaeda. When the sectarian devision in Iraq are the subject he switches to Afghanistan in the 1980's It's all over the place, bizarre and disjointed.


But it's the next part, the childlike psycho-babble blather about how we will have let down all our friends and allies and shown Al Qaeda that we can be intimidated if we withdraw, that's noteworthy. He has never wavered from day one from that idea and it's clear that it is the sum total of his strategic view of dealing with Islamic extremism: prove that we aren't cowards.

The only thing he seems to know about strategy is that if you "back down" your enemy will think you are soft and if you don't "back down," no matter what the circumstances, you will convince the enemy that they can't defeat you. Basically, he really believes the trash talk that bin Laden's been spewing all these years, --- trash talk that would not sound odd coming from the mouth of a world wide wrestling star or a seventh grade bully.

He says, "Is their strategic view that we won't complete the job correct?" Except it's not a strategic view. He doesn't seem to realize that bin Laden (and others) are practicing PR, not strategy. It's sophomoric taunting that's beneath any powerful nation to consider when making decisions about how to proceed. Militant Islamic extremism will not disappear because they finally have to admit that we are too tough to tangle with because we have not retreated from Iraq. They love having us in Iraq. They couldn't be happier.

Indeed, if one were to actually look at what bin Laden and other Islamic militants' real strategy is, I would have to think that bogging the US down in Iraq, empowering Iran and destabilizing the entire mid-east might have been a long term objective --- only they likely never dreamed we would actually fulfill it in such short shrift and with so much enthusiasm.

Cheney goes on to say that our strategic view is that we can build a western democracy and that once it flourishes we will achieve our strategic pobjective as everyone holds hands and sings "This Land is Your land." He is either lying about that or he has comoletely lost touch with what is actually happening. I suspect the former. The fact that they never listened to even one person who advice about how to do such nation building talls the tale. Indeed, until this war, they disdained the very concept.

No, I do not believe it. Their "strategy" is just what Bush and Cheney have always said it was --- prove to the world that nobody can push the US of A around. Invade Iraq and show that we're mad as hell and we won't take it anymore. Then the terrorists will run for cover. That's it. Strategery 101, just like on Saturday night Live and Junior's college "Risk" days.

It's stupid, it's puerile it's completely absurd. But that is all there is to the Bush administration's War On Terror strategy. Nothing that happens on the ground matters. All that matters is that we are there and we aren't leaving until Al Qaeda cries "Uncle."


I would suggest that it is the greatest strategic disaster in our history because it wasn't really a strategy at all. It was a simple-minded reading of a complicated problem based upon some psychological need among a handful of powerful men. And vice president Cheney is clearly still very powerful. He is out there making a spectacle of himself with this talk and nobody can stop him even though it's terribly counter-productive to the current legislative and foreign policy challenges and the president's standing with the nation at large. He is a dangerous and somewhat deranged man. But the problem is that the man at whose pleasure he serves is just as deluded as he is.

It is this kind of thing that makes me believe that they will provoke a war with Iran. It is their strategy to prove that the US is the biggest toughest bastard on the planet. Iraq isn't getting that job done. Maybe doubling down will.


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