Let's, for the sake of argument, assume that Cheney's just an arrogant prick with more self-love than brains. Let's assume he's just an idiot and not a sociopath. It's just a thought experiment.
What sort of thing would he have to tell himself late at night, to keep from sitting down on the edge of the bed with a gun in his mouth? What would it take for this man, who was absolutely essential in getting us into this needless war, to keep from feeling like a mass murderer?
Maybe something like this, from another interview with Raddatz:
"The president carries the biggest burden, obviously," Cheney said. "He's the one who has to make the decision to commit young Americans, but we are fortunate to have a group of men and women, the all-volunteer force, who voluntarily put on the uniform and go in harm's way for the rest of us."
Those four thousand dead volunteered. Their deaths, apparently, are their own damned fault.
And then there's the President. He also marked the four thousandth US death in Iraq and he also showed he didn't get it.
And I guess my one thought I wanted to leave with those who still hurt is that one day people will look back at this moment in history and say, thank God there were courageous people willing to serve, because they laid the foundations for peace for generations to come; that I have vowed in the past, and I will vow so long as I'm President, to make sure that those lives were not lost in vain, that, in fact, there is a outcome that will merit the sacrifice that civilian and military alike have made; that our strategy going forward will be aimed at making sure that we achieve victory and, therefore, America becomes more secure and these young democracies survive, and peace more likely as we head into the 21st century.
This is so messed up that it's hard to know where to begin. For instance, since when has our "strategy going forward" not been to make sure we "achieve victory?" We've been trying to lose up until now?
And what's with resurrecting this "they won't die in vain" crap? First, it's an insult to everyone who not only died, but fought in every war the US ever lost. Like that Vietnam vets? You fought in vain.
Second, it's a murderous circular logic. If we quit fighting in Iraq, all those who died will have died "in vain." So we have to send more people and, when those die, we'll send even more to avenge their deaths. I'm sorry, is this a damned war or a death cult?
So why are we fighting? CNN gives us a clue:
Days after the fifth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Iraq’s national security adviser urged Americans to be patient with the war’s progress, saying it is “well worth fighting” and emphasizing that any change in U.S. troop levels should be “intimately linked” to conditions on the ground.
“This war, we are talking about war against global terror,” Mowaffak al-Rubaie said Sunday on CNN’s “Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer.”
“This is global terrorism hitting everywhere, and they have chosen Iraq to be a battlefield. And we have to take them on. If we don’t prevail, if we don’t succeed in this war, then we are doomed forever,” he said.
Actually, the Bush administration chose "Iraq to be a battlefield," but that's pretty much academic at this point. The reason that al-Rubaie is talking like this is simple -- if his government fails, there's a damned good chance that he's going to die. We won't be "doomed forever," he will.
If there was ever an incentive to push the propaganda of fear, the Sword of Damocles is that incentive.
But that sword, hanging over the head of the king by a single hair, can be an incentive for one helluva lot more. The White House has been pushing a "the surge is working" line for some time. But the fact that violence is down means jack in the long run. There has been zero political progress in Iraq. And nothing will happen without that.
You want "victory" in Iraq? Then get the Iraqi government up off its butt. Where they should've been building a nation, they recently got into a BS fight over their damned flag. Progress in Iraq? Hardly. The Iraqi government makes the US Congress look absolutely efficient and focused by comparison.
So how do you get the Iraqi government up off its butt? Use that Sword of Damocles. Drop the BS about volunteers and "dying in vain" (two lines of crap, by the way, that contradict each other) and tell the Iraqi government we're gone. Tell them they have X months to get it together or they'll find themselves holed up in Parliament waiting for the revolution to take them away.
Al-Rubaie would be spending a lot less time talking to Wolf Blitzer if it were his life on the line and not those of the US military. That's an ironclad guarantee. We set up a timeline for withdrawal and the Iraqi government gets it together. They'll have to -- Iraqis won't buy the excuses they've been feeding to American media.
In the end, it may have been the lies of sociopaths who got us into this mess, but it could be the threat of psychopaths in streets that will get us out of it.
Ironically, it may be the only sane solution.
Technorati tags: politics; Bush; Cheney; White House; Want to end the war in Iraq? Drop the neocon propaganda and make the Iraqi govt. live in the real world