Not Smooth Sailing (2006)
Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear.
The thing that's partly disturbing about it is the fact that, the standpoint of our adversaries, if you will, in this conflict, and the al Qaeda types, they clearly are betting on the proposition that ultimately they can break the will of the American people in terms of our ability to stay in the fight and complete the task. And when we see the Democratic Party reject one of its own, a man they selected to be their vice presidential nominee just a few short years ago, it would seem to say a lot about the state the party is in today if that's becoming the dominant view of the Democratic Party, the basic, fundamental notion that somehow we can retreat behind our oceans and not be actively engaged in this conflict and be safe here at home, which clearly we know we won't -- we can't be. So we have to be actively engaged not only in Afghanistan and Iraq, but on a global basis if we're going to succeed in prevailing in this long-term conflict.
--Dick Cheney, 8-9-2006
I don't know a single Democrat who wants to "retreat behind our oceans." Name someone with any sense who believes that. Such thinking has worked so well in the past, hasn't it? Like for the Native Americans when the colonists arrived, and later for the colonists when the British showed up? Like Pearl Harbor? And Democrats aren't arguing we should not engage terrorists. Can Cheney name someone who actually said such a thing? Who are these shadowy boogeymen?
I'll tell you the Democrats are saying. Or, maybe, I'll let Joe from Americablog lay it out:
Terrorists have benefitted immensely from the Bush/Cheney regime. Bush/Cheney have bogged us down in an unwinnable war. They've made us look weak to the world. They've created a breeding ground for terrorists in Iraq. They've undermined American values -- and destroyed our stature in the world. It's laughable to think that Joe Lieberman's loss is even registering with the terrorists.
Or, perhaps, I'll allow Ariana Huffington to spill the beans:
Here's the bottom line: Ned Lamont ran against the war in Iraq, a war that Joe Lieberman vehemently supported -- and still supports. A war that 60 percent of Americans are against. A war that is the defining foreign policy initiative of the Bush administration -- an initiative that has been an abject failure on every level. A war that has put the GOP's back against the electoral wall. So it's firing back with it's favorite weapon -- fear -- trying to make the case that being against the war somehow makes Lamont soft on national security or, as RNC chair Ken Mehlman put it, "a leading proponent of the isolationist, defeatist, blame-America-first philosophy."
Talk about desperate. So do Cheney/Rove/Mehlman really believe that 60 percent of the public are blame-America-firsters? Or that because 60 percent of us agree that Iraq is a disaster, we somehow don't have "the will" to, in Cheney's words, "stay in the fight and complete the task" of taking on the terrorists -- and thus are encouraging al Qaeda types?
Of course not. They know being against the war in Iraq doesn't mean you are against fighting the war on terror. It means you are against a failed policy that has created more terrorists than it has killed, that has cost America 2,591 lives and $305 billion dollars, that has thrown Iraq into a bloody sectarian civil war, and that has so lessened our standing abroad that we are unable to be a real power broker in an exploding Middle East.
You want to know what really emboldens our enemies? It's not Ned Lamont beating Joe Lieberman; it's the idea of an impotent United States so over-extended and bogged down in Iraq that it has been pushed to the diplomatic sidelines.
As Americans stood in newly long lines at airports, wondering if they would ever again be able to carry a tube of toothpaste or hair gel in their carry-on bags, there was a feeling of helplessness, a return of the persistent low-grade anxiety that had lingered for months and years after 9/11. Bush tried to reassure Americans that they are safer than they were before the attacks. At the same time, his vice president, Dick Cheney, darkly warned that the Connecticut primary victory of antiwar candidate Ned Lamont over Sen. Joseph Lieberman would only encourage "Al Qaeda types." (Interviewed by Newsweek, former Homeland Security secretary Tom Ridge bridled at his former colleague's remark: "That may be the way the vice president sees it," he said, "but I don't see it that way, and I don't think most Americans see it that way.")
And, finally, Joe Conason has a few rounds left for Deadeye Dick to jam his chamber:
The neoconservatives are not only factually wrong in their domestic politics but conceptually wrong in their geopolitics. To be “strong on national security” does not mean supporting the misconceived and incompetently executed policies of the Bush administration. American security in years to come will depend, in fact, on undoing this government’s grave mistakes, which have weakened this country’s military posture and undermined support for us around the world. Terrorism experts across the spectrum, from conservative Republican to liberal Democrat, agree that the “struggle against violent extremism” has suffered from the foolish decision to invade and occupy Iraq.
Evidently, the neocons hope to escape responsibility for their debacle by complaining that the rest of us lack sufficient zeal. So they now pretend that Democrats and progressives, who overwhelmingly supported the war against Al Qaeda and the Taliban and still do, want to abandon that effort. This is another partisan lie invented by the likes of William Kristol, who will answer to history for his own role in promoting the Iraq war.
There have been times in recent years when war was unavoidable, in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Kosovo. For the neoconservatives, however, the answer to every international conflict is shock and awe, so long as they remain safely distant from the carnage. The American people are turning away from that mindless and dangerous attitude, which is leading us toward disaster. Politicians of both parties should do likewise.
That's what the Democrats are saying, Mr. Vice-President -- while you and the President (who were tipped off in advance) are exploiting news to make political hay and (of course) are lying by claiming liquid explosives are a new threat while simultaneously slashing funding for developing new explosives detection technology.
Remind me again who wants to aid the al Queda types?
Cheny predictably proves that he's always ready to clear the beach by hauling out the mechancial shark-- when, in fact, the wake from his own Swift Boating is what churns the waters making them too choppy for smooth sailing. The British terror plot is like a fresh coat of paint for the BushCo
yachts ship of state. But the Lieberman loss? Somewhere the Veep Boy Who Says Cries Go Fuck Yourself Wolf is shouting Mayday Mayday Mayday...