Amb. Marc Ginsberg
The Huffington Post
February 5, 2009
Deep from his post-vice presidential dungeon Dick Cheney is wasting no time grinding out the same ol sinister dirge on his organ… a funereal threat that the Democrats are too soft on terrorism to protect the country. Now, haven’t we been in this movie before!
In an interview yesterday, Cheney warned that by shutting down Guantanamo… “a first class program…” the Obama administration would unleash into the wild terrorism suspects that would harm the U.S. The dire warning by Cheney was coupled with an assertion that there was a “high probability” of a nuclear or biological attack on an American city — a doomsday scenario made more likely if, according to Cheney, Democrats rolled back policies such as his pet terrorist surveillance program, or “enhanced” interrogation techniques.
In other words, Obama & Co. were naively putting the country at greater risk if it got rid of Guantanamo, illegal eavesdropping, water boarding, and a Cheney mindset that rammed American respect down other nations’ throats… hmmmmm.
I, for one, have no illusions that terrorists are out there plotting and planning attacks on the U.S. homeland, and that there are credible intelligence reports warning that Al Qaeda or one of its offshoot organizations would like to top a 9/11-style attack with a dirty bomb or biological attack on a major U.S. city.
But I also know that President Obama and his seasoned national security team are well aware that despite his election and all it means to the world, terrorists still threaten the homeland and that such potentially lethal attacks are not inconceivable.
Notwithstanding Cheney’s rantings recall that President Obama wasted no time reassuring Americans during the Transition period that under his leadership the United States would undertake a more effective, strategically oriented “all points” offensive against against Al Qaeda — especially in view of the resurgence of Al Qaeda in Pakistan, which by the way, occurred under the very noses of Bush/Cheney & Co.
But what Democrats have to guard against is the tell-tale signs of Cheney-inspired revisionism apparently now hard at work to paint the Bush administration as the deserving father-protector of American security above and beyond reproach, and an Obama administration about to sell America’s security down the river.
Ironically, just as Cheney was sitting down to dole out his copyrighted brand of “Scary Movie Obama,” today’s New York Times reported that 11 Saudis who were released from Guantanamo with Cheney’s approval, passed through a Saudi half-way house for “reformed terrorists” only to have now fled the Kingdom and rejoine Al Qaeda.
So, let me get this straight. Cheney is prematurely declaring the two week old Obama administration weak on terror, but on his watch, Cheney authorized hardened terrorists released to Saudi Arabia who are now back plotting the very attacks he is warning about.
Moreover, with the stroke of his pen, Cheney is reported to have also approved the release in November, 2007 to Saudi authorities a hardened terrorist by the name of Said Ali al-Shihiri, a Saudi who now has become the deputy leader of the Yemeni branch of Al Qaeda, and who was suspected, according to the NYT, of being involved in the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Yemen last year.
During the sordid saga of Bush administration shenanigans it claimed were justifiably executed under the rule of law in the name of “protecting the homeland,” many have tried to unravel the dark forces that bedeviled Cheney.
Few have succeeded and I will leave it to better minds to figure him out.
But one thing stands out… Cheney, along with Condi Rice and George Bush, were warned by the CIA that in the summer before 9/11 Bin Laden was threatening attacks on the U.S., and they collectively ignored that threat. They tried mightily to stonewall the 9/11 Commission to prevent that fact from coming out. So attacking the Obama administration must appeal to Cheney under the guise of a “best defense is a lying offense” scenario.
Cheney, too, must be reading the press reports that from the very temple of torture he so resolutely believes is indispensable to American security, he authorized so many terrorists released to Saudi terror rehabilitation programs, only to have now escaped to begin plotting the very plots he asserts are threatening America.
I wish Cheney would just go away.
We need not be reminded from his lair that America faces a continuing threat from terrorism and that only his way could save America from attack. He failed and failed again, and in the process brought great harm and rebuke to the country.
But perhaps with his interview, Cheney may have done us a favor. While President Obama was rightfully inclined to turn the page on undertaking a top-to-bottom review of questionable Bush policies, Cheney has placed us Democrats on early notice of the importance of preventing him and his fellow travelers from avoiding accountability for the very security failures they now fear are about to be committed by the Obama administration. Given Cheney’s opening salvo let the accountability begin.
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