11 April 2008

The "Super Qaeda" fantasies of Dick Cheney

If anything is clear five years into our ill-advised foray into nation-building in Iraq, it's the magnitude of the difficulty posed by the sectarian strife between the Sunni and Shiite populations. Even so, it appears that the shockingly weak grasp of those most basic dynamics (recently and repeatedly exemplified by John "Expereince" McCain) is spreading.

This week, Dick Cheney joined ol' Johnnie Mac in the divorced from reality camp. This latest nugget came up in the loving tongue bath that passed for an "interview" with FOX's Sean Hannity on his radio show. Hannity really brought his "A" game with hard-hitting questions like these:
"... after the President had proposed the surge, there was non-stop coverage. Now that by every measure there has been tremendous success, there is far less coverage at this point in time, which I would argue makes my case about a media that is slanted somewhat. But what are your thoughts on the progress, and where we are, and what it means for the country, in terms of national security?"

"Over the years we've had Democratic prominent senators, Dick Durbin compare our troops to Nazis; John Kerry say our troops in Iraq were terrorizing women and children in the dark of night; Senator Ted Kennedy compare our troops to Saddam's troops...What is one to conclude about the Democratic Party and the military and their feelings about it with those repeated statements?

"What did you make of Senator Barack Obama's comments that he would talk to Ahmadinejad, a Holocaust denier who's repeatedly threatened to blow up and remove Israel from the state -- from the map, the world map, and obviously is pursuing some nuclear capability?"
Really held his feet to the fire, didn't he? I mean, it's not like Cheney was just exposed as having personally participated in high level authorization of the torture of detainees, or anything.

When it came time for Hannity to lob Cheney his obligatory Iraq softball--which, it should be noted, the veep couldn't respond to without invoking 9/11 within about 30 seconds--this was his rationale for our continuing investment in blood and treasure:
For us to walk away from Iraq I think would have at least that bad an effect, probably worse, because if al Qaeda were to take over big parts of Iraq, among other things, they would acquire control of a significant oil resource. Iraq has almost 100 billion barrel reserves, producing 2.5-3 million barrels of oil a day. If you take a terrorist organization like al Qaeda and give it that kind of revenue, there's no telling the amount of trouble they could get into.
Take a second and try to wrap your head around that bit of insanity.

According to our Vice President, a scattered and loosely organized confederation of Sunni militants is going to go into a country of 27,000,000 with a 60% Shiite majority and, not only take control of its oil producing lands, but facilitate the actual production and selling of that oil on the world market as a means of financial support.

Osama Bin Laden, himself, doesn't have that optimistic an opinion of al Qaeda's power and influence. In fact, "optimistic" doesn't even begin to describe such a scenario. Asinine pronouncements like the one above must invariably lead to the conclusion that Cheney is either a shameless liar, fundamentally ignorant, or completely delusional. (Who knows, he might very well believe that General Zod IS the latest in the seemingly endless series of #2 Qaeda "big fish.")

It goes without saying that Deferment Dick's utterly nonsensical prediction was met with Hannity's complete and uncritical acceptance. I suppose it is difficult to ask an intelligent follow-up question whilst busying yourself undoing your guest's zipper with your teeth.

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