Cheney Chooses “Saddam Behind 9/11” Neocon Biographer Stephen Hayes


Sidney Blumenthal holds forth on yet another (regrettably believable) Cheney-esque insult to Americans in his effort to whitewash and propagandize his place in U.S. history.
Cheney has chosen neoconservative columnist Stephen Hayes — the biggest promulgater, beyond James Woolsey and Laurie Mylroie, of the Saddam Hussein-al Qaeda link rationale for invading Iraq — to be his official biographer.

Blumenthal writes:

For this Herculean task, Cheney has passed over every single professional historian and instead selected Stephen Hayes, a writer for the neoconservative organ, the Weekly Standard. “I’m not a historian,” Hayes told US News, modestly.
For years, Hayes has doggedly attempted to prove links between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaida in order to buttress Cheney’s uncorroborated claims. From the run-up to the Iraq invasion to the present he has been relentless in publishing articles purporting to disclose conclusive evidence that has been repeatedly, consistently and thoroughly debunked by major news organisations.
“Dick Cheney Was Right” ran the headline on a Hayes piece of October 20 2003, followed by a cover story in The Weekly Standard on November 14, 2003, entitled “Case Closed”. Unfortunately, the Washington Post and Newsweek promptly discredited his “proof,” a leaked memo written by the neoconservative undersecretary of defence Douglas Feith.
Newsweek‘s report, “Case Decidedly Not Closed: The defense dept. memo allegedly proving a link between al-Qaida and Saddam does nothing of the sort,” stated that Hayes’s account was “mostly based on unverified claims that were first advanced by some top Bush administration officials more than a year ago — and were largely discounted at the time by the US intelligence community, according to current and former US intelligence officials.”
Before the invasion of Iraq, the Bush administration set up an intelligence operation to parallel established US intelligence in order to avoid having material siphoned by Iraqi exiles and freebooters like Ahmed Chalabi being subjected to objective standards of analysis. Within the administration, the information, later revealed as disinformation, was stove-piped from Cheney’s office to Feith’s hastily assembled office of special planning at the Pentagon, back to Cheney’s office, and then to Condoleezza Rice’s compliant national security council, and finally, if at all, to the president.

What is also odd about this decision to select Hayes is the decision by some in the White House to get out and re-fight the battle on the Saddam Hussein linkage to al Qaeda.
At the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association meeting this week in Philadelphia, I spoke on a panel on U.S. foreign policy with National Security Council staff member and Duke University professor Peter Feaver.
At the panel, Feaver offered a memo, which I hope to get an electronic copy of (if he will email to me), that goes through seven reasons why thinking through and speculating about a Hussein-al Qaeda link made sense. Many of the items he offered on that memo were quite sensible and thoughtful, but at the beginning of his statement — he argued that the administration had completely tossed out the relevance of either WMDs or a Saddam Hussein-al Qaeda linkage as a rationale explaining and justifying the invasion of Iraq.
In his comments, Feaver stated “Stephen Hayes not withstanding,” this linkage was not a rationale in any way for the President going to war against Iraq.
Let’s take Peter Feaver at his word and face value on this that Bush had dropped every other available rationale for taking on Hussein by the time of his decisions and just wanted to push ballot boxes into Baghdad, what is striking is that Vice President Cheney has clearly not given up — nor did he ever — on one of the fundamental drivers of the American invasion was the Hussein link to 9/11.
I believe Feaver believes what he has been sharing before audiences, but this does mean that there is a fundamental split — still — between Bush and Cheney on what took us into the debacle in Iraq.
— Steve Clemons

Ed. Note: More here. SCC


17 comments on “Cheney Chooses “Saddam Behind 9/11” Neocon Biographer Stephen Hayes

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  2. elementary teacher says:

    serial catowner, no apologies needed! I appreciate your astute remarks. My slice here was only that — the fuller picture takes volumes; I’ve read most of them and written one. You are right! Alicia Hill


  3. serial catowner says:

    Apologies- I see on rereading that the long post about South Africa was not that of Frank, but of Elementary School Teacher. Mea culpa.


  4. serial catowner says:

    With apologies to Frank, the world knew South Africa was dead when they chose Afrikaans rule in 1949. The revival of the basic tenets of Naziism, in the very shadow of the recent war, did not go unremarked. For almost 40 years we awaited what seemed to be an inevitable sequel, a bloodbath that would rival that of Europe.
    The solution did not come from the “advanced” culture of Europe. The U.S. was reluctantly forced to minor reductions of support for the apartheid regime.
    The solution came from a black Communist held in the prisons of the regime, and the wisdom of his almost illiterate followers, joined by a few apartheid supporters in whom flickered a vestigial flame of humanity.
    We’ll not have another 40 years in which to solve the problems we face today. Again, our only hope of survival will rest in the wisdom, forebearance, and forgiveness of the teeming masses we have attacked, murdered, and pushed to the margins of the decision-making processes.


  5. Pissed Off American says:

    Was no one killed this weekend?
    Are we still there?
    Posted by nick
    *The United States also announced nine soldiers killed over the weekend in separate …….
    *US air raid kills Canadian soldier…….
    *Over the weekend, four Canadian troops were killed during fighting. …
    *Several of the bodies of 23 Iraqi soldiers killed during intense fighting last weekend in southern Iraq……..


  6. nick says:

    I think Mr. Cheney is winning despite what you say.
    It is 10:00am EST, 09/05/06 and if you go to the homepage of either the WP or NYT, you can not find a reference to the Iraq war. Was no one killed this weekend?
    Are we still there?


  7. Carroll says:

    Well said ET….


  8. selise says:

    hope this isn’t too much fun for a serious blog, but do you remember jon stewart’s interview of stephen hayes from a couple of years ago?
    if you want a smile, here’s a link to the clip…


  9. Frank says:

    How does one capture the true essence of a twisted lip talking sneering son of a bitch of a liar in a biography?
    I offer the subtitle “Master Puppeteer”


  10. elementary teacher says:

    I have a fantasy –and I wrote Mr. Valdron about it –and I want to tell everybody. My idea is sketchy, but I think it would be a fun script to write. The premise is that what posters do and say can and does influence the mainstream media, some of the more honest people who serve –and will serve –in positions of leadership, and the students who will carry on.
    I learned as a researcher on apartheid, that the mainstream press was totally party line: anyone of conscience got their news from academics, the SA Pressclips, the activist churches, fence-talk, street-talk and bar-talk. Soweto was a news hub of talkers. It took a long time for a growing momentum of voices who knew what the government was up to be heard and heeded. And, it did not take agreement on all points to become effective at some. People came out of denial like Van Winkles arising from slumber. The world got involved, too. The world did not say, South Africa is dead — forget it. When justice was at issue, the world cared. Interestingly, the dialogue between conservatives and progressives was the one that preceded — and likely had to precede –the peaceful transition of power. Conservatives and progressives held in common a robust concern for their respective group/community level problems and moralities. The liberals, about individual liberties and personal efforts, often were seen by radicals and conservatives, alike, as impediments to real change — because they hyper-focused on individuality and privatized piety. When the liberals temporarily fell out of the dialogic equation, the more astute and intellectually humble among them recognized where they were on the road map historically. They were marginalized for good cause — and they considered their quieter role to be that of keeping the precepts and practices of democracy alive for the time when power would shift. That was faith, too.
    At any rate, I read the underground South Africa Pressclips like the Bible — I was hungry for truth and every piece of stapled white paper, every word about every person who was tortured or detained, every farm that was razed, any child who was shot, or village displaced, held confirmatory value for me. I almost lost my life a dozen times — the climate for truth-seekers was lethal — and I did probably lose my mind for a season, between praying and writing and listening to it all — and reading it all. Everything was asymmetrical and underground — it was a lot of pressure to be alone with all of this banned information — to always hide and to be ever-accurate — so that whatever would be revealed would be pure. Who will believe this, I said to myself a thousand times, especially about the torture, the sadists, the hate? Another thousand times, I said to myself: never betray any honest witness.
    But there were helpers everywhere — even in the military and among the police, little and big acts of slowing down the oppressors took place by people of conscience. Shopkeepers hid activist flyers and wrapped fish in them. In the least likely quarters — churches on “opposite” sides, for example –hid people at risk. There was no end to the number of people who wanted to help to get the word out. Kids ran errands. Socialites got tapes out on flights in their make-up bags — knowing all research and foreign interviews were contraband. There was no internet. University people had access to it, but not the general public. I do think the Internet is important today, but contact with one another, at even hilarious levels of incongruity, is vital as well.
    So don’t please lose heart about America, Mr. Valdron. Heart may be what we have left. But we also have a glorious history behind us — and a great cloud of witnesses above us, watching over us each day. From what I have read and been able to absorb here at the blog in recent weeks, our hearts are deep feeling and beautifully strong, as is yours.


  11. Carroll says:

    I am certain this book will need to be filed under fiction.
    I have already read the facts of Cheney’s history and it’s very unremarkabe…and sort of like Bush’s, except Cheney was poor-er and Bush was rich-er.
    Bush was screw up, Cheney was a screwup…You know what Cheney’s sole “business experience” was prior to Halliburton?…a job as a “lineman” for the phone company after he flunked out of his first college. Then a local ppolitican took a liking to him and got him into another college and gave him a job afterwards in his DC office…and volia!…a lifetime living off the taxpayers…and then another lifetime selling out those taxpayers for Halliburton.
    That’s all you need to know about Cheney. He’s just another blood sucking parasite in the good old boy game. White trash pond scum.


  12. Marcia says:

    Cheney’s biography should be called “Total Control.” He ignores the wisdom that until the last day and last breath it is best to reserve judgment. His choice of author already tells us much. There will be no need for a purged edition, his story will be shaped to fit the desired image, he is always right, he has no doubts, lives and death and blood are nothing compared to his great vision of re-shaping the world to his liking.
    The Reich too was to have lasted a thousand years. When it was reduced to rubble, and only then, did the world see the hollow little man behind it all. Lie after lie, war after war, invasion after invasion, torture, murder, imprisonment and slaughter until it was over and his supporters were huddled in freezing basements peering out with frightened eyes at what was left–reality.
    As for the challenge presented you by Mr Feaver, they are the ones who should be challenged. They are to be called to account, to offer proof of their allegations but since they are backed by a roll-over Congress they strutt on the scene before the American people the same way Rice continues to lecture the rest of the world and our “Great Leader” babbles incoherently on and on and on.


  13. notway says:

    You were expecting him to pick Seymour Hersh?
    There will be other biographies, not approved by the subject.


  14. Den Valdron says:

    Who could possibly want to read a biography of Dick Cheney?
    Seriously. A career based on mediocrity, pettiness, corruption and vindictiveness? What’s the appeal.
    Will we get a chapter devoted to his famous ‘Fuck you’ to Senator Leahy. What about the time he shot that guy in the face? Condemning Nelson Mandela? Getting appointed to select a VP, and then selecting himself? Scamming the government for Halliburton? Or all those Asbestos suits he bought into? The fact that he’s been wrong on just about every issue?
    A biography for a petty nobody who accident and malice catapulted into power? Who used this power aggressively but unwisely?
    Who would want to read that? It would be like trying to enshrine Iago.


  15. Mocu says:

    A collaboration between Libby & Lynn would be more interesting.


  16. karenk says:

    File that biography under “FICTION”!


  17. Pissed Off American says:

    Damn, if he writes his biography now, we will miss the part where he murders a few million people. I hope he puts it on hold for a year or two so we get to read about how he murdered his way into the same clique history consigned Hitler to.


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