Wednesday, December 09, 2009

"Feelings, nothing more than feelings"

I hereby invoke the bloggy tradition of "What he says:"

There's something really consistent about Cheney's criticisms, and it's that Cheney gets red-faced at the possibility that extremists might think they've beaten the United States. Indeed, whether it's the KSM trial or military strategy in Afghanistan, Cheney's strategic priority seems to be determining how the enemy "feels" and making sure he or she doesn't feel that way. That's bizarre. American policy should be based on furthering American interests, and part of that is going to be figuring out what Al Qaeda's objectives are and foiling them -- but how terrorists "feel" shouldn't be our priority. And if we're talking objectives, pulling us into an indefinite war in Afghanistan is one of bin Laden's, as Lawrence Wright has written.

Meanwhile, even if we're speaking on Cheney's terms, you have to wonder how Al Qaeda and the Taliban "felt" about gaining ground in Afghanistan over the past eight years while Cheney and his boss invaded Iraq, a country that had nothing to do with Al Qaeda or the 9/11 attacks, and whether their "world view had been validated." Oh, wait. You don't have to wonder at all.

If there's anything that frustrates me about the Cheney coverage, it's that his arguments are consistently reprinted without challenge or acknowledgment that Cheney is a stakeholder in these matters. After his administration consistently failed to develop a working policy in Afghanistan for the past eight years, Cheney has an interest in making sure the new guy looks bad. As someone intimately involved in approving torture, he has an interest in delegitimizing a civilian trial process in which the details of that policy will bear scrutiny in a court of law. He is a man furiously protecting his reputation. And yet, he is constantly presented as a dispassionate observer, a mere elder statesman.



Post a Comment

<< Home

Weblog Commenting by Site Meter