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Dick Cheney on Hannity - Sudden Respect for the Constitution

Reported by Julie - December 9, 2009 -

Ellen and I swapped tonight, O’Reilly for Hannity. Ellen, Ellen, how do you do it?

On last night’s Hannity, we had the pleasure of watching a pre-scripted “interview” that had both Hannity and his guest’s eyes glittering with excitement as they got to bash President Obama with no interruptions whatsoever from even a token liberal. Enter Dick Cheney -- plug the book, go. Hannity wasted no time, kicking the segment off by mentioning Cheney’s recent interview with Politico. Hannity noted that Cheney said President Obama “is projecting weakness to America’s enemies. Expand on that.” You could almost see Hannity rubbing his fat little hands together in glee at the thought of a one-sided Obama-bashing session. With video.

Expand? On Obama-bashing? Don’t mind if I do . . .

Cheney said somberly, “I think most of us believe and most Presidents believe . . . the truly exceptional nature of America . . . our belief in our Constitutional values and principals . . . and yet when you have a President who goes around and bows to his hosts and then proceeds to apologize profusely for the United States, I find that deeply disturbing . . . this is a guy who doesn’t fully understand that view of American exceptionalism . . . .” (Hmmm, where did I hear that . . . it’s coming to me – wait, is that anything like Palin saying that then-candidate Obama doesn’t see America as you and I see America? Sounds about right -- Cheney-Palin 2012.)

And wait -- oh, he did not. Rewind the tape . . . yup, he was really touting Constitutional values and principals, as though he has any respect for either. Has Dick Cheney violated the Constitution? Let me count the ways . . . for starters, what part of the Constitution authorizes torture? None – the 8th Amendment clearly forbids it. What part of the Constitution authorizes holding alleged terrorists indefinitely at Gitmo without due process? As the Director of the ACLU Human Rights Program noted, “Military commissions should not be used as an instrument to justify indefinite detention and denial of fair trials in violation of the Constitution and international law.” Former vice-president Walter Mondale accused Cheney in April 2008 of “a wholesale assault on the Constitution, the balance of powers, and the system that evolved since World War II to coordinate intelligence and defense policy . . . In the case that led to the conviction of Cheney’s top aide, Lewis ‘Scooter’ Libby, Mondale said Cheney functioned as ‘an ideological enforcer, silencing dissent, punishing critics, to sustain a flawed war policy based on cooked facts. It’s all there. Read the case’ . . . Mondale argued that freedom from higher political ambition freed Cheney to disrespect the Congress, the American people and the law.”

And that apology thing he was talking about? President Obama, dumbshit, is spending a lot of time apologizing for YOU, and the decisions YOU made when you were in a position to make decisions instead of – thank God – just sitting in some radical right-wing network host’s studio talking coulda, woulda, shoulda. President Obama is out there cleaning up the mess that you and W left – and is determinedly improving the United States’ standing in the world, despite you. As noted by theweek.com earlier this year, President Obama’s efforts to improve our image is a long overdue “accountability tour.”

Hannity, of course, reinforced Cheney’s talking point that President Obama is “dithering” and “agonizing” over the decision in Afghanistan, repeating Cheney’s comment that it has “consequences for the forces in the field.” Of course, General David Petraeus doesn’t see our American president as Cheney sees our American president. As reported by Media Matters, “. . . Cheney's idea of ‘dithering’ is another man's idea of a ‘substantive discussion’ that came as part of a ‘good’ process . . . [Said Petraeus], “This process was actually quite good . . . It was a very substantive discussion. Everybody's assumptions and views were tested. I think out of this have come sharpened objectives, a very good understanding of the challenges and the difficulties and what must be done in a much more detailed and nuanced fashion.” So let’s see – a General’s opinion versus that of a former vice-president with a war he failed to “win” under his belt. Sounds like a no-brainer to me.

“Well it does . . .,” Cheney agreed. “He made a decision last March based in part on some things we provided them at the end of the Bush Administration. He . . . appointed General McChrystal . . . then in August he said he’d give them whatever they needed . . . and then he came around this fall and couldn’t decide on McChrystal’s request and had nine separate meetings of the nation’s security council . . . these are important decisions, I don’t want to downplay the significance . . . but the fact that he spent so much time agonizing over it . . . everybody’s watching, the Taliban are watching, the Al Qaeda are watching, the Afghans who are on our side are watching, and when they see hesitation, uncertainty, lack of clarity from an American president they begin to think the Americans . . . are gonna bail out . . . and when that happens they’ll be left behind with the forces of the Taliban . . . so then you see governments in that part of the world start to shift their alliances . . . .” Clearly, from what Cheney was saying, if he and Bush had had their way we’d be fighting in Afghanistan until forever comes – and even longer. And what was the lack of clarity from President Obama? He’s sending 30,000 troops and he set a withdrawal date. Clarity wasn’t lacking – what President Obama apparently lacked, in Cheney’s mind, was a war-hawk mentality.

Cheney continued, “Just in the last two weeks the Prime Minister of Kuwait has gone to Iran on official business, first time in 30 years. Why did he do that? Well, he wants to make sure he’s got a foot in all camps . . . they worry about declining U.S. influence and when the U.S. is uncertain and hesitant the conclusion they draw from that is that the United States is not going to be there for the long term.” From what I could discern, as reported by Reuters, “In a possible reference to the disputed Arash gas field in the Gulf, Iranian First Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi and Kuwaiti Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser al-Mohammad al-Sabah called for ‘cooperation in connection to the resolution of the continental shelf issue’ . . . They also discussed boosting trade between the two major oil producers and the resumption of halted projects.” Arabianbusiness.com reported the same thing, that the improved relationship is about boosting trade between Iran and Kuwait. Sounds to me like it’s more about money than it is about, what was it, making sure “he’s got a foot in all camps” and all that blather about declining U.S. influence.

Hannity took his required swipes, noting that General McChrystal requested 40,000 troops and that President Obama took months to make a decision, and then gave Cheney a platform to do a bit more armchair-Commander-in-Chiefing.

Cheney, Hannity said, was critical the President was taking so long, “And then he only gives ¾ of what General McChrystal was asking for, 30 of the 40,000 troops, and then he definitively says, after 18 months our troops will begin to come home. How do you interpret that?”

“It adds to the damage . . .,” Cheney said. “The troop levels . . . is fine, I think General McChrystal’s a superb officer . . . I certainly would have great confidence in his recommendations. But it also says to our adversaries out there that if you just wait long enough the Americans will leave. And what has worked so well in Iraq when we did the surge there was when the President went against all the public advice he was getting and all of the conventional wisdom and said, no, we’re gonna put surge, we’re gonna do it as long as we need to do it, we’re gonna win in Iraq . . . .”

Hannity, in a classic projection of his own baser motives, said, “This might be about politics . . . [here we go, take the requisite shot at President Obama’s “lack” of executive experience prior to his presidency, he “voted present a lot”], is this one of these moments when he’s trying to ‘thread the needle,’ vote ‘present,’ appeal to all sides of . . . the political debate, or did he make the right decision?”

“Well, it’s better than withdrawal now . . .,” Cheney conceded, “But this notion of uncertainty, the difficult time he has putting it together, all of this feeds into a basic Al Qaeda strategy . . . if you kill enough Americans you can change American policy . . . when they see him announce in advance that there’s gonna be a withdrawal 18 months down the road . . . their world view has been validated . . . you were weak and indecisive when he made the decision to do it . . . that’s not an impressive way to deal with the threat that the Taliban represents.”

Cheney went on, “I would like to see them also talk about victory, talk about winning . . . the test for when you’ve accomplished your mission is when you stabilized . . . Iraq in this case, a government established that’s capable of controlling their sovereign territory, trained and equipped Afghan forces . . . .”

Yes, that would seem like success, Dick. It would also seem like a success that you and W, in all your years, were completely unable to accomplish. This “dithering” you blather about, and the “nine meetings” you so scorn, was our President – unlike yours, who “went against all public advice . . . and conventional wisdom” – taking a reasoned, intellectual measure of a situation in which lives are at stake. As long as you’re talking to someone at Fox News, famous for revisionist history, your failures have been allowed to become your expertise, your lack of a moral center has now been allowed to become symbolic of a tough stance, and your disdain for the Constitution has now been allowed to represent a symbol of strength.

What Hannity calls politics, and you call dithering, is something neither of you would recognize: Integrity.