Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Cheney Parade of War

Kevin Drum's post summarising the intentional failure to engage Iran in diplomatic talks back in May of 2003 led to Gareth Porter's article detailing Iran's intial offer for discussion, which would
address U.S. concerns about its nuclear programme
as well as raise
the possibility of cutting off Iran's support for Hamas and Islamic Jihad and converting Hezbollah into a purely socio-political organisation, according to Leverett. That was an explicit response to Powell's demand in late March that Iran "end its support for terrorism".
That certainly sounds like a place to start talking. But according to Lawrence Wilkerson, Powell's chief of staff and the man who has been ratting out Cheney for sometime, the failure to begin negotiations with Tehran on these matters at the time was
the result of obstruction by a "secret cabal" of neoconservatives in the administration, led by Vice Pres. Dick Cheney.

"The secret cabal got what it wanted: no negotiations with Tehran."
As Drum notes, this entire story came and went with nary a fizzle, mostly, I suspect, because Wilkerson kept using the phrase, "secret cabal," which tends to immediately discredit the claimant rather than the actual secret bloodyminded cabal, of which Cheney is high priest.

That any of these proposed negotiations were stuffed in the ash bin by Cheney should not really surprise anyone, though. Cheney has a long and dreadful history of trying drum up war when peace is popping up all around. Thom Hartmann recently recounted that, under Gerald Ford, then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and his Chief of Staff, Dick Cheney (yes, I know), were utterly aghast at the prospect of detente and openly sought to undermine the peace process by claiming the Soviets had weapons of mass destruction that they did not, in fact, have. During this episode, we even learn where Rumsfeld originated his now infamous posture that just because the UN inspectors hadn't found evidence of WMD in Iraq didn't mean they weren't there:
Rumsfeld and Cheney began a concerted effort - first secretly and then openly - to undermine Nixon's treaty for peace and to rebuild the state of fear.

They did it by claiming that the Soviets had a new secret weapon of mass destruction that the president didn't know about, that the CIA didn't know about, that nobody knew about but them. It was a nuclear submarine technology that was undetectable by current American technology. And, they said, because of this and related-undetectable-technology weapons, the US must redirect billions of dollars away from domestic programs and instead give the money to defense contractors for whom these two men would one day work or have businesses relationships with.

"They couldn't say that the Soviets had acoustic means of picking up American submarines, because they couldn't find it. So they said, well maybe they have a non-acoustic means of making our submarine fleet vulnerable. But there was no evidence that they had a non-acoustic system. They’re saying, 'we can’t find evidence that they’re doing it the way that everyone thinks they’re doing it, so they must be doing it a different way. We don’t know what that different way is, but they must be doing it.'"
Now, that's vaguely familiar. Two months before the already planned invasion of Iraq and with UN weapons inspectors scouring the land, unable to find anything, Rumsfeld uttered these marvelous words:
The fact that the inspectors have not yet come up with new evidence of Iraq's WMD program could be evidence, in and of itself, of Iraq's noncooperation.
This is classic Rumsfeldian nonsense: no evidence was still evidence. It was an decades old ploy.

But the paranoia didn't end in the seventies, only to re-emerge in the new millenium. No, it was brought out again in the eighties, at which point, Dick Cheney had swapped spots with Rumsfeld, who was off making fistfuls of dollars at G.D. Searle after having greased FDA approval for aspartame, and it was now Cheney who was SecDef to GHW Bush. He would take up the slackening viligence against Soviet terror and, even as the country was collapsing, insisted that Bush reject any overtures of peace and international comity then being made by Gorbachev:
Dismissing detente as moral relativism, Cheney so believed in Cold War bipolarity that when it began to melt in the late 1980s, he tried to refreeze it. As George H.W. Bush's secretary of defense, Cheney was key to America's refusal to accommodate the hopeful new spirit of the age. Violence was in retreat, with peace breaking out across the globe, from the Philippines to South Africa, Ireland, the Middle East, and Central America. When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, Cheney forged America's response -- which was, little over a month later, to wage an illegal war against Panama.

As Mikhail Gorbachev presided over the nonviolent dismantling of the Soviet Union, Cheney warned Bush not to trust it. When the justification for the huge military machine over which Cheney presided disappeared, he leapt on the next casus belli -- Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait. Hussein, a former ally, was now Hitler.

Hussein, of course, never stopped being Hitler for Cheney and as soon as Cheney got back into the White House, he resumed course, full speed ahead. Now, Iran is the next target and it should be clear from this little history that no amount of diplomacy will suffice as long as Cheney and Rumsfeld are in the positions they currently inhabit. Though Rumsfeld is a tad preoccupied these days, Cheney is still free to roam and no one should doubt for one moment his intentions. He has no desire nor intention to engage Iran diplomatically. The man is paranoid war monger, has never stopped being a paranoid war monger and will continue to be so until he mercifully passes from the face of this earth. And the earth shall be blessed for that moment.


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