Seeking to intimidate the Congressional leaders last week, he recited the misleading old formula conflating war in Iraq with the struggle against Al Qaeda. His theories on that subject have been blown up with the same force and frequency as those daily explosions on Baghdad’s streets. Only a few days ago, the Pentagon Inspector General issued a devastating report describing how Mr. Cheney’s agents in the Defense Department distorted intelligence to “prove” the mythical linkage between Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein.
Moreover, every credible analysis of the Iraq insurgency estimates that only a tiny fraction of the fighters are linked to Al Qaeda in any significant way. While the jihadist movement is growing, Mr. bin Laden and his lieutenants can profit from our mistakes without leaving their strongholds thousands of miles away.
But Mr. Cheney cares nothing for those facts. As the official who most vehemently assured us of the certain existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, he remains immune to the kind of embarrassment that would have required an honorable man to resign from office long ago.
During his latest foreign trip, he warned Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Representative Jack Murtha (D-Penn.) that the redeployment of U.S. troops from Iraq would “validate the Al Qaeda strategy,” as if Mr. bin Laden somehow lured the United States into invading Mesopotamia. Reiterating the point later, he added: “Al Qaeda functions on the basis that they think they can break our will. That’s their fundamental underlying strategy: that if they can kill enough Americans or cause enough havoc, create enough chaos in Iraq, then we’ll quit and go home.”
Actually, we now know that the occupation of Iraq—the Cheney strategy—has strengthened Al Qaeda immeasurably by recruiting thousands of young Muslims to its cause. We know that because the National Intelligence Estimate prepared for the Bush administration a year ago said so. According to The Washington Post, a newspaper whose editorial page supports the war, officials familiar with the classified document said the N.I.E. concluded that “rather than contributing to eventual victory in the global counterterrorism struggle, the situation in Iraq has worsened the U.S. position.”
Let's be clear, shall we? Under the Bush/Cheney Administration, we are less strategically prepared, less militarily capable due to poor decision making that has weakened our troop strength and stretched our supply lines beyond the safety point, and more universally despised. Our diplomacy yields discord, our strategy leads to more failures. And neither George Bush nor Dick Cheney will be honest with anyone else — let alone themselves — with regard to accountability or the need for fundamental changes in what we have been doing. In short, we are stuck in a cycle of failure — and it has Dick Cheney and George Bush's names written all over it. How, exactly, does that make us safer?