Obama has easily scored the congressional public relations fig leaf and blank check necessary to use military force in Iraq, simply by herding a few leaders into the coveted pen and informing them he doesn't need their damn approval for anything. That is because the congressional approval granted to his predecessor is still in effect. And that means, for all intents and purposes, that the Iraq War has never really ended. From "the most trusted name in news":
While the White House statement emphasized Obama would continue to consult with Congress, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said the President "basically just briefed us on the situation in Iraq and indicated he didn't feel he had any need for authority from us for the steps that he might take."
House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California agreed with McConnell's assessment, adding she believed congressional authorization for military force in Iraq back in 2001 and 2003 still applied.
Obama "did not give us an array of actions he was planning to take," Pelosi said. "He just talked about his perspective on what was happening there."Tell me again about the mean old Republicans not letting Obama get anything done. It's the Imperial Presidency, people, and it's got the full bipartisan and plutocratic approval of our rulers. But they still have to pretend to be at odds, in order to maintain the grand illusion that we still have a functioning democracy instead of governance under a corporate-military coup.
So, to deflect attention from this grim reality, and to whip up a whole new froth of pseudo-liberal outrage, enter Dick Cheney and his lovely daughter Liz. They penned a Wall Street Journal op-ed obnoxious enough to guarantee that anything Obama does in the way of violent imperialism will have him coming out smelling like a peace-loving Nobel Peace Prize. A sample of the latest Bad Cop, incestuous neo-con style:
Despite clear evidence of the dire need for American leadership around the world, the desperation of our allies and the glee of our enemies, President Obama seems determined to leave office ensuring he has taken America down a notch. Indeed, the speed of the terrorists' takeover of territory in Iraq has been matched only by the speed of American decline on his watch.
The president explained his view in his Sept. 23, 2009, speech before the United Nations General Assembly. "Any world order," he said, "that elevates one nation above others cannot long survive." Tragically, he is quickly proving the opposite—through one dangerous policy after another—that without American pre-eminence, there can be no world order.
Cheney is such a repellant character that, despite the obvious manipulation of the public psyche at work here, I couldn't resist joining the chorus of outrage complementing Charles Blow's own duly manipulated outrage at Cheney's blindness to the irony of it all. My own red meat comment adding to the frenzy:It is time the president and his allies faced some hard truths: America remains at war, and withdrawing troops from the field of battle while our enemies stay in the fight does not "end" wars. Weakness and retreat are provocative. U.S. withdrawal from the world is disastrous and puts our own security at risk.
Cheney is not only blind to irony. He's blind to all that is good, true and humane. Just because he has a new heart doesn't mean he has any heart. Were he to be given one of those psychopath tests, he'd likely score off the charts and end up in his own category, somewhere in the darkest spot of the last circle of hell.
Neocon extremists are being given free rein by the same bloodthirsty media hacks who gave them free rein more than a dozen years ago. The talking heads are even waxing nostalgic for the good old days of embeds. The retired generals fomenting fear are obviously hungry for more war profits and plunder.
They make Obama's possible "targeted" drone strikes look therapeutic in comparison. So far, the debate is do we bomb a little, or should we bomb a lot. Doing nothing is simply not part of the acceptable discourse on TV shows sponsored by the military industrial complex.
You'd think that with a million barrels of fracked oil being produced every single day in North Dakota alone, Cheney and his crude cabal would finally be sated enough to shut up.
And what about the Iraqis still paying the price of American aggression? Iraq Body Count estimates that between 100,000 and 200,000 beneficiaries of our Freedoms have died as the direct result of Cheney & Co. being so wrong at the expense of so many.
Cheney's tacit definition of winning hearts and minds is crushing them into bloody pulps.
He should have been a dud by now. But he keeps right on ticking.As other commenters noted, Obama has given a free pass to Cheney by not prosecuting him for his war crimes. Additionally, as Martha Shelley of Portland, OR aptly pointed out in her response to me, the Clinton administration also has dirty hands: the economic embargo during his tenure caused the deaths of an estimated half a million Iraqi children by withholding food and medicines.
So Cheney is the useful Machiavellian idiot in the latest surge of American sabre-rattling. He serves the purpose of making complicit Democrats sound absolutely Christ-like in comparison. He serves to enable the continuing marginalization by her own party of Barbara Lee, stalwart Congressional opponent of unfettered presidential power. From The Hill:
We must recognize that there is no military solution in Iraq,” Lee wrote Wednesday in a “Dear Colleague” letter to her fellow Democrats.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Wednesday said the authority that Lee wants to repeal empowers Obama to launch attacks against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which has taken over a broad swath of territory in both countries, without going to Congress first.
“I do not believe the President needs any further legislative authority to pursue the particular options for increased security assistance discussed today,” Pelosi said in a statement. “I am pleased by the president’s efforts to secure strong Congressional support, and I look forward to additional consultation.”Pelosi and two other Democratic leaders -- Steny Hoyer of Maryland and James Clyburn of South Carolina -- are fully in favor of any military action that does not include the meaningless hackneyed phrase "boots on the ground."(human bodies not members of Obama's private horde of secret elite forces and corporate-financed mercenaries.)
It's the Cheneys and their odious ilk who give Clyburn (who voted against the first Iraq War) permission to mouth off and pretend that this sounds sane:
“I’m a great believer in drones, and I think that this situation cries out for it,” said Clyburn, the third-ranking House Democrat and a respected voice within the CBC.It's the continuing normalization and respectability of the Lesser Evil, which is every bit as vicious and effective as the Greater Evil.