Cheney Fear-Mongering as Predictable as Penultimate Scene in Slasher Film

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Last night, I chatted with MSNBC Countdown‘s Keith Olbermann not only about the predictable fear-mongering from the Cheney wing of America’s national security establishment but about the importance of President Obama trying to replace torture chambers and the Kafkaesque detention nightmare crafted by Cheney and his team with rule of law.
As Keith Olbermann pointed out last night, recent polls show that Americans are increasingly immune to Cheney’s fear-mongering and a majority are supportive of Obama’s actions after the attempted Northwest Airlines bombing by an Al Qaeda operative.
My colleague and friend Steve Coll had a superb piece in The New Yorker this week titled “Threats” that should be read in full. (Coll also writes the “Think Tank” blog at The New Yorker.)
I paraphrased Coll’s comment below that Cheney’s fear-mongering is as predictable as the penultimate scene in a slasher movie.
Here is a clip from Coll’s piece:

Compounding this impression, at least on the cable news channels, has been the resurrection–as predictable as the penultimate scene in a slasher movie–of the Cheney World View. Its principal proponent took time off from composing his memoir to issue a statement to Politico that was so lacking in dignity and restraint that it hinted at the presence of a sinister franking machine. On President Obama:

He seems to think if he has a low-key response to an attempt to blow up an airliner and kill hundreds of people, we won’t be at war. He seems to think if he gives terrorists the rights of Americans, lets them lawyer up and reads them their Miranda rights, we won’t be at war. . . . But we are at war.

Apart from its construction on a false premise (“Now let me be clear: we are indeed at war with Al Qaeda and its affiliates,” Obama declared last May; “We are at war,” he said again last week), the statement, and the attention it received, suggested that American discourse on counterterrorism policy remains frozen in 2002.

I also very much liked Steve Coll’s reference of a line in a speech Barack Obama gave in May 2009 at the National Archives:

From Europe to the Pacific, we’ve been the nation that has shut down torture chambers and replaced tyranny with the rule of law. That is who we are. And where terrorists offer only the injustice of disorder and destruction, America must demonstrate that our values and institutions are more resilient than a hateful ideology.

Obama deserves a lot of credit for moving forward a “rule of law package” that is replacing the inhumane detainee operations that violated both American and international law. Former White House Counsel Gregory Craig, who left his post on the 3rd of January this year, deserves great praise and much credit for these gains.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

13 comments on “Cheney Fear-Mongering as Predictable as Penultimate Scene in Slasher Film

  1. scott says:

    It is amazing that government officials who “CALL” themselves Christians feel that God and Jesus need to make Americans more afraid.
    Where is the trust in God? As they sit in millionaire only dinners and functions. Funny how so many became rich off fear peddling. As the people foolishly peddle “Rock the vote” campaigns

    Reply

  2. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “kotz, don’t you know that the way lefties count, the jihadists kill nobody by definition, since they blame America for all the dead blown up by Al Qaeda and the Taliban? Thus you had the obsession with Iraqi body counts and now Afghani body counts blablablah….(racist spew)….”
    What does an “Iraqi body count” have to do with Al Qaeda or the Taliban?

    Reply

  3. nadine says:

    kotz, don’t you know that the way lefties count, the jihadists kill nobody by definition, since they blame America for all the dead blown up by Al Qaeda and the Taliban? Thus you had the obsession with Iraqi body counts and now Afghani body counts — a never a mention of whose bombs or rockets actually killed the dead. America is supposed to have the moral “deep pockets” to pay for all damages.

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  4. ... says:

    kotz quote “While Americans and international law are violated…” since when did americans politically ever concern themselves with international law? they are right next to israel in ignoring it regularly… of course like kotz they choose to remember it when it is convenient for them…

    Reply

  5. kotzabasis says:

    While Americans and international law are violated by the fiendish jihadists and the U.S. is involved in a relentless war with these fanatics, Clemons is concerned with “inhumane detainee operations.” What a memorial of mockery Clemons makes of people world –wide killed by the jihadists.
    Here we have the ‘playwright’ Steve Coll staging on The New Yorker his burlesque play of al-Qaeda and terrorism and receiving the plaudits of Clemons in the form of a standing ovation. Proudly showing his originality by writing, that because “Al-Qaeda provides no social services [like Hamas] and thus has built no political movement” it has no mass support among Muslims.But Al-Qaeda is and remains a powerful ideological movement and Coll is oblivious of the historical fact that ideology is the sire of politics and the foundation stone of political movements. Think of Lenin’s Bolsheviks.
    Furthermore, no radical imam has denounced bin Laden or al-Qaeda in Muslim countries or in Western ones and there are thousands of worshippers who follow those imams who vehemently preach violent death to the infidel West and its Great Satan America, and therefore many Muslims are sub rosa, if not open, supporters of al-Qaeda.
    Also the closing of Gitmo for the purpose of improving “America’s image abroad” does not come free and pays a heavy price: U.S. weakness in the eyes of terrorists and thus a centripetal force in recruiting jihadists.
    Obama’s “forward defense” is a red herring. He has already adumbrated the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan and his latest stupid ‘forward’ announcement that he is not going to deploy U.S. forces in Yemen, and by implication in Somalia, makes his “forward defense” a fiasco. As it signals and encourages jihadists from other countries and from the Muslim Diaspora to move into these two countries without fearing that they will be met by the might of the U.S. military.
    Lastly, it’s monumental idiocy for Obama to believe that by ‘recruiting’ American “values and institutions” in the fight against fanaticism, he will defeat the “hateful ideology.” And, indeed, President Obama “has neither overestimated nor underestimated terrorism,” he has NULLIFIED it.

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  6. DonS says:

    Uh, Nadine, many of us see a continuing out-of-control militaristic approach to a far more complex problem. I suppose you might say that we, too, refuse to see.
    Can we agree, however, that your need to have everyone conform in saying “Islamist, Islamist, Islamist” every time we turn around is rooted in and equally intransigent obsession on your part.
    By the way, exactly what is it about the word “war”. What is it code for in that world you inhabit?

    Reply

  7. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy”
    Unless you want to know the truth about Israel.

    Reply

  8. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Obama deserves a lot of credit for moving forward a “rule of law package” that is replacing the inhumane detainee operations that violated both American and international law”
    Oh horseshit. Obama wouldn’t know the “Rule of law” if it bit him in the ass. If he had any concern for the “Rule of law”, Holder would have indictments running on a number of Bush Administration criminals, for everything from perjury to torture. Instead, we have an AG just like the last AG, who acts NOT upon the “rule of law”, but upon the whim of the President.
    To make a statement like I quoted from you, Steve, is REALLY putting lipstick on a pig. Lauding a President for showing respect for “the law”, when in fact, he has done the EXACT OPPOSITE, is ludicrous to the extreme. I note you have avoided mention of Obama’s continuance of rendition policies.
    You should send Obama a bill for your comment.

    Reply

  9. nadine says:

    Obama was backed into saying “we are at war with Al Qaeda.” He started by calling the Panty Bomber an “isolated extremist.”
    Obama still thinks by shmoosing the Islamic world we can avoid being at war with radical Islamism, which is at war with us – both the Sunni Salafi and the Iranian Shia varieties. Who exactly does he think we are fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan? What is the threat from Iran, Hizbullah, Yemen and now Turkey? He can’t say. He won’t say. He refuses to see.

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  10. Tony C. says:

    “At war”? We’re at war? With al-Qa’ida? Do you believe this to be
    true, Steve? And if so, what, exactly, does it mean to you?
    I ask because I really can’t think of any thoughtful observers who,
    in the context of how the expression is used by politicians, believe
    it to be the case.

    Reply

  11. Ben Rosengart says:

    Obama does deserve credit for his movement towards rule of law
    — but he also needs to be pushed further in that direction. For
    one thing, his DOJ ought to stop fighting the Bush
    administration’s legal battles for them.

    Reply

  12. Pahlavan says:

    Good Job! Our politicians grab the mic and routinely make loaded claims on behalf of the American public. Steve’s interview seems like an indication of America speaking on its own behalf. I hope America will follow through by voting “ALL” of these stahle and rigid politicians out of “BOTH” parties.

    Reply

  13. Neil Buckley says:

    I can’t remember when a major blog, with your credibility, called
    out the former disgrace to the office on the carpet.
    He is still an embarrassment.
    Thank you.
    Thank you.
    Thank you.
    Thank you.
    Thank you.

    Reply

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