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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

The Gospel of Cheney

Category: US Politics
Posted: 03/03/07 13:28

by Dave Mindeman

Dick Cheney is a true believer. Despite all the Iraq setbacks, despite all the mistakes.... he continues to preach the gospel of Cheney with a vigor truly worthy of his Darth Vader moniker. His speech in front of the CPAC crowd was classic Cheney. Invoking the hallowed "support the troops" warning about any current or future Democratic plan to end this war, he went on with his ever changing justification for perpetual conflict in Iraq.

True believers have passionate followers, too. Minnesota's Congressional delegation has two dedicated disciples of the Cheney gospel.... John Kline and Michele Bachmann.

Bachmann has brought that newcomer zeal into the foray. Like the new kid on the block, eager to make a positive impression, she takes the gospel of Cheney into untested waters. Fictional or not, she puts forth new warnings of Iranian intrigue that Cheny himself hasn't even thought of yet. The boldness and audacity of her remarks have even given the true believers pause..... but then, warnings based on unreliable data are certainly not any kind of disqualifier for this belief system.

Then we have John Kline. He is the veteran believer. He has been there since the inception of the Cheney gospel... and he has never doubted. He embraces the true believer's most important trait... a lack of curiousity. He warmly accepted the administration's reasons for war. He assumed without question that there would be a plan for the war's aftermath. He quietly looked the other way during Abu Ghraib, the Bremer mistakes, the Rumsfeld bluster, the lack of armour, the depletion of readiness, and now, again, the lack of medical care for the wounded. He supports the troops...but only by the Cheney definition of that support, which means accept the policy as it is. He continues to be a true believer.

That is the real indictment of the true believers....that lack of curiousity. A war without questions. Spending without oversight. Mistakes without accountability. How can you call it, supporting the troops, when their very mission is never examined? Sending young men and women to war cannot be the decision of one person... it must be the consensus opinion of a bipartisan Congress convinced of the necessity by the facts, not hyped rhetoric. And it must be backed by the overwhelming favorable opinion of a well informed electorate. We had none of that... facts were not real and Congress was unwilling to do its Constitutionally mandated job... ask the questions.

How did we get the Gospel of Cheney? We had a passive Congress coupled with a vigilante Republican President hell bent on a disatrous foreign policy, that made for a Jim Jones type revival.. and they all drank the Kool-Aid.
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No Surprise: Bachmann Still Misses the Point

Category: Minnesota Politics
Posted: 03/02/07 17:00

By Christopher Truscott

A week after making national headlines for her very bizarre and unsubstantiated claim that Iran had an agreement to partition the "western, northern" portion of Iraq, U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann issued a clarification in the form of an op-ed piece posted on the Star Tribune Web site Thursday evening.

But aside from the obvious statement that al-Qaeda and Iran both "wish for the destruction of the United States and Israel," the 6th District Republican's attempt to explain what she claims she really meant falls flat.

In tying al-Qaeda and Iran together as a joint threat to American security, she glosses over the broader ? and most critical ? point. The terrorists who attacked us more than five years ago and the thugs who run Iran today are not allies in a quest to undermine the impotent Iraqi government. They are adversaries sponsoring competing sides in a bloody civil war.

Iranian-backed Shiite death squads and al-Qaeda-inspired Sunni insurgents are fighting for control of Iraq. Yes, they both attack U.S. troops and chant slogans like "Death to America" and "Death to Israel," but they also hate each other and have spent the better part of the post-Saddam Hussein era trying to settle scores that date back decades and even centuries. But that didn't stop the congresswoman from making this stunning claim recently:

"(L)et's remember, Shiia and Sunni were fast friends, for years, and years and years. This is a recent development that has come up; they'll go back to being brothers again in their country, and they won't be hated enemies. They aren't ? this isn't like Bosnia where you had enemies that had happen over millennia; these aren't enemies for millennia."

That Bachmann hasn't studied the Middle East and the root of the conflict there is OK, few have. But even a cursory knowledge of the situation would help the congresswoman with other simple facts like "western, northern" Iraq is made up of Sunnis and Kurds ? groups that are hardly supportive of predominately Shiite Iran. (Not reading a legitimate newspaper or even watching television news ? Fox programming and the 700 Club don't count ? is simply inexcusable for someone in the congresswoman's position.)

Lacking a clear understanding of the issues facing our country, the congresswoman concludes her pathetic attempt to un-ring a bell in the Star Tribune by wrapping herself in the American flag and boldly proclaiming that we "must stand strong in the face of terrorism." (Meanwhile millions of Americans who oppose the Iraq war, and therefore must want to surrender New York and Washington to Osama bin Laden, are quaking in their Birkenstocks.)

The congresswoman offers no plan for Iraq ? or defeating those who actually attacked us ? aside from past declarations of support for President George W. Bush's reckless strategy to escalate U.S. involvement in someone else's civil war. If that's what she means by "support(ing) our troops" and campaign pledges to defend America from "radical jihadis," we're in trouble.

In case she hasn't noticed, the American military has fulfilled all of the stated pre-war objectives. Saddam has been ousted, executed and buried, the weapons of mass destruction threat has been eliminated (which was easy since it didn't exist) and Iraqis have elected themselves a new government and ratified a constitution. There's nothing left for us to accomplish by staying other than awarding more of America's bravest Purple Hearts ? posthumously.

If the congresswoman wants people to understand her and her vision for the Middle East and victory in the war on terrorism, she can start by doing one simple thing: making sense.

Christopher Truscott can be reached at chris.truscott@gmail.com. As a reporter and editor at the Stillwater Gazette during 2004 and 2005 he covered Michele Bachmann and knew that if elected to Congress she'd eventually make an ass of herself. He's surprised it happened this quickly, however.
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Activist Dilemma -- (Next 3 Posts)

Category: US Politics
Posted: 02/28/07 16:34

by Dave Mindeman

I encourage you to look through the next couple of posts after this one... it's about activist frustration; about people who are looking for new ideas and bold leadership from their elected officials and sadly, finding none.

The next post has reports from the latest round of meetings with the good Congressman from the 2nd District, John Kline. And the one following that is commentary about where we are now, and how we need to take action ourselves.

Last week, the activists were encouraged that this district would finally have a public forum on this war and get their chance to have a voice in the matter.

But this week, that flicker of reason was snuffed out. It is like the previous efforts never happened. Could be, that in a way, the Congressional Democrats have unwittingly provided cover for Pro-War Republicans like Kline. As the Dems flop around like fish out of water, there is no incentive for the War hawks to modify their position. They will wait as the Democrats try to find a "watered down" consensus.

I understand the Democrats dilemma, the damage has been done.... it is the horrible policy of this President that makes all options untenable; but at some point, acts of political courage need to surface.

While Congress looks for answers, it is up to us to keep the debate front and center. Actions at Kline's office may seem futile, but it is persistence that gives hope to win the day. We have to keep going because this country just can't abide by 2 more years of this war.

Read on.....



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