Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Thoughts on our former VP's current discussion points

Update: Article on Yahoo news 5/13. http://news.yahoo.com/s/time/08599189785000

Wow, Former V.P. Dick Cheney does speak. Well actually I knew he spoke, but I do find it interesting that once he's left office, he's become a regular chatty Kathy. After so many no comments or prepared statements around policies that were being enacted during the Bush/Cheney (B/C) administration I do find it a bit ironic that the former V.P. has decided to go on what appears to be an interview offensive during the initial stages of the Obama/Biden (O/B) administration.


http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090511/ap_on_go_pr_wh/us_cheney_6 (points at the end of this article explain his reasoning for current criticisms of the current administration)

The content of the interviews aren't surprising to me, after all, former V.P. Cheney is defending his administration and his views or at the very least giving some insight into his opinions which no doubt shaped his actions in office. There is nothing ground breaking there, most of it's been what news articles have reported during the B/C administration. However in most cases it wasn't from direct quotes, it was from speeches or off the record comments and in some cases even press conferences with screened questions.

The reason I'm a bit fascinated is based on these points.

1. As I mentioned at the beginning of the post, the former V.P seems to be quoted a lot these days,.With many of those quotes directly criticizing the current administration. I thought there was an unwritten rule that at the very least you give a new administration time to see how their policies are going to apply. (The unwritten rule is for past admins to essentially shut up during the new administrations, but I realize that Clinton, Gore , Bush Sr, and Carter have all had moments where they've broken this unwritten rule during later terms of presidencies)

2. For a man who had little interest in becoming the VP (most reports indicated he did it out of duty to the party) and had no interest in running for President (I will not run, will not serve if elected. yada yada) I find it interesting that he's become such a quote machine, especially since it seems in direct contrast to his time in office, when he wouldn't go on record for things such as the Scooter Libby indictment.

3. I wonder sometimes if he's afraid that regardless of his role as possibly the strongest policy making VP in our history, that history will simply fade him away as just another V.P. of an administration. Especially considering that the Bush administration is not likely to be shown very well in historic context. Huge economic downturn, two costly military actions that may or may not resolve to their intentions, 9/11, and other things. This isn't to say that these were Bush's fault, that's an argument for another day, but the B/C admin. will be associated with those events by time association at the very least.

4. I get the impression that former VP Cheney wants credit for things done during the administration but has no interest in taking any blame for failed policies and problems that developed during that time. It's impossible for every decision that was made during that administration to be right, yet I don't believe we ever hear the former VP express his thoughts on failed policies or decisions.

It's almost like the interviews are an attempt to continue proving that he alone was able to save us from another terrorist act with his policy decisions. Unfortunately, I'm not sure that the former V.P understands that protection of the American people is a thankless job. Just as police officers, firefighters, and our military know when they take the position. The fact is when something doesn't happen, it's the way it's supposed to be. And when something does happen you've failed, it's thankless, but recognition isn't really what the position is supposed to be about.

5. Which brings me to my last point , congrats on making it through the last 6 1/2 years of the B/C administration without another episode. That is an accomplishment, but that doesn't remove the fact that 9/11 happened during the B/C administration's watch.

Was the B/C admin. responsible for allowing 9/11 to happen? While I'm sure there are democratic pundits that would tell you yes, my belief is no. Their association is based on the fact that they were on the job at that time. Whether or not they could have stopped it is almost irrelevant. A true leader accepts that something like that happened on their watch and takes it as their own responsibility without pointing fingers. And when the change in power comes they work to advise the new administration and accept that those decisions are out of their hands. If the former VP felt so strongly about policies and protection of America going forward then having been the VP for the past 8 years, he certainly had an opportunity to run for the presidency and make his points heard or enact them himself if elected. Which is why every time I watch or hear former V.P Dick Cheney talk about how the O/B administration is putting American lives at risk, I have to wonder what his motives are for such statements.

My belief is that when people are looking to hurt people they will figure out a way, regardless of what policy we enact or liberties we remove from our citizens to prevent it. As I pointed out, I don't believe the B/C administration or Clinton/Gore would have been able to prevent 9/11. I have no idea what information the B/C admin. was alerted to previous to 9/11. I also don't know whether they continued policies from the Clinton/Gore administration or changed them. Maybe they could have stopped it, but I do find it interesting that they seem so quick to criticize the new administration on policies. Especially considering they operated in an environment without that high level of criticism previous to 9/11.

Which is why, I think it's important that the criticism be viewed with the filter that the B/C administration was on the job when 9/11 happened. Terrorist acts on American soil didn't start with 9/11 they were done previously at the WTC and other plots that were foiled. So I think it's a faulty argument for the former administration to claim success in preventing terrorists acts, as they have the biggest failure on record during their administration. On top of that I believe the former VP is smart enough to know these acts will happen again, maybe not as big or as tragic, but it's just not feasible to believe that they won't happen again, especially considering there are people motivated to cause harm. We will stop some or most of them, but in my opinion it's inevitable that another one happens on American soil someday.

And that's what bugs me about the former V.P's recent comments. They seem to be nothing more then a veiled attempt at diverting future blame or at worst a self serving attempt to mark a place in history. With such an important issue it seems rather stupid to play the political game with it. It's unfortunate that in today's political climate, we seem to focus on fear and self promotion rather then trying to find solutions that work across different ideologies. I thought that was one of the things that made our nation great.

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