Dick Cheney’s Obscenity

by Brian J. Foley

Here’s an obscenity even greater than the bare breast of a statue for Attorney General Ashcroft to cover up: the U.S. war against Afghanistan.

That’s the implication of Vice President Dick Cheney’s damage control efforts on the Sunday talking heads news shows earlier this week. On NBC NEWS’ MEET THE PRESS, the Vice President purported that the U.S. has made some progress in the war on terrorism but warned, “the prospect of another attack against the United States is very, very real. It’s just as real, in my opinion, as it was September 12.”

It is? Even after seven-and-a-half months of war against Afghanistan? At more than $1 billion per month? A war that has killed and maimed and shattered the lives of thousands of people?

Last Fall a group founded by Dick Cheney’s wife attacked college professors and students who cautioned restraint in response to September 11, or who sought to learn why terrorists might want to attack the most powerful nation on earth. Lynne Cheney’s right wing, not-for-profit, tax-exempt organization, the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, collected these “unpatriotic” utterances and issued its report, DEFENDING CIVILIZATION: HOW OUR UNIVERSITIES ARE FAILING AMERICA AND WHAT CAN BE DONE ABOUT IT. Here are a few statements ACTA found so scandalous, so uncivilized:

“We have to learn to use courage for peace instead of war.”
– Jerry Irish, Professor of Religious Studies, Pomona College.

“The question we should explore is not who we should bomb or where we should bomb, but why we were targeted. When we have the answer to why, then we will have the ability to prevent terrorist attacks tomorrow.”
– Rania Masri, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

“Stop the violence, stop the hate.”
– Chant at University of California-Berkeley.

“If Osama Bin Laden is confirmed to be behind the attacks, the United States should bring him before an international tribunal on charges of crimes against humanity.” –Joel Beinin, Stanford professor.

“[We should] build bridges and relationships, not simply bombs and walls.” – Jesse Jackson, at Harvard Law School.

Despite our bombs and brave troops in Afghanistan, “the prospect of another attack against the United States is very, very real … just as real, in my opinion, as it was September 12.”
– Dick Cheney, U.S. Vice President.

OK, save that one for the revised version.

Many pundits, politicians and regular citizens likewise challenged (to put it politely) the patriotism of Americans who questioned whether war would work against an elusive, transnational terrorist group. Whether it would decrease the threat. Whether improving our intelligence and police efforts might prove more effective.

Some Americans who spoke up were even libeled and slandered as “helping the terrorists.” No one was immune: Even Dan Rather admitted in a BBC interview last week that he feared being labeled “unpatriotic” last Fall, and that this fear kept journalists from asking tough, necessary questions.

Such as whether the threat to Americans is actually GREATER than on September 12. We have not destroyed Al Qaeda by waging war against Afghanistan (And how could we? Al Qaeda is an elusive, transnational terrorist group!), but we may have increased the murderous motivation of its survivors — and of other transnational terrorist groups.

Questions such as whether threats worldwide have increased as well. Following the U.S. example, Israel pumped up its “war on terrorism.” Suicide bombings and military incursions volley back and forth, like a deadly tennis ball. India and Pakistan veered, and are veering again, toward war. Both countries wield atomic bombs.

As Colonel Kurtz famously observed in the 1979 film APOCALYPSE NOW, “We train young men to drop fire on people. But their commanders won’t allow them to write ‘fuck’ on their airplanes because it’s obscene! ” Last Fall, as we dropped fire on people in Afghanistan, “peace” was deemed obscene.

But Dick Cheney uttered an even darker obscenity on MEET THE PRESS: At his behest, Americans have killed and died to protect us, but we are no safer.

I hope it was just political duck and cover, that the Vice President sought merely to scare us, to distract us from recent revelations about the massive intelligence and security failure that helped terrorists murder innocent people on September 11. I hope the Vice President doesn’t plan to trick us into throwing good money after bad: “Hey, maybe this war didn’t work, but I have a great one to sell you in Iraq ….”

Brian J. Foley is a professor at Widener University School of Law in Wilmington, Delaware. He can be reached at Brian.J.Foley@law.widener.edu


Brian J. Foley, Inc. is a separate entity from Brian J. Foley, who created Brian J. Foley, Inc. after the United Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010), so he’d have more rights than you. brianjfoleyinc@gmail.com

November 30, 2015
Henry Giroux
Trump’s Embrace of Totalitarianism is America’s Dirty Little Secret
Omur Sahin Keyif
An Assassination in Turkey: the Killing of Tahir Elci
Uri Avnery
There is No Such Thing as International Terrorism
Robert Fisk
70,000 Kalashnikovs: Cameron’s “Moderate” Rebels
Jamie Davidson
Distortion, Revisionism & the Liberal Media
Patrick Cockburn
Nasty Surprises: the Problem With Bombing ISIS
Robert Hunziker
The Looming Transnational Battlefield
Ahmed Gaya
Breaking the Climate Mold: Fighting for the Planet and Justice
Matt Peppe
Alan Gross’s Improbable Tales on 60 Minutes
Norman Pollack
Israel and ISIS: Needed, a Thorough Accounting
Colin Todhunter
India – Procession of the Dead: Shopping Malls and Shit
Roger Annis
Canada’s New Climate-Denying National Government
Binoy Kampmark
Straining the Republic: France’s State of Emergency
Bill Blunden
Glenn Greenwald Stands by the Official Narrative
Jack Rasmus
Japan’s 5th Recession in 7 Years
Karen Lee Wald
Inside the Colombia Peace Deal
Geoff Dutton
War in Our Time
Charles R. Larson
Twofers for Carly Fiorina
John Dear
An Eye for an Eye Makes the Whole World Blind
Weekend Edition
November 27-29, 2015
Andrew Levine
The Real Trouble With Bernie
Gary Leupp
Ben Carson, Joseph in Egypt, and the Attack on Rational Thought
John Whitbeck
Who’s Afraid of ISIS?
Michael Brenner
Europe’s Crisis: Terror, Refugees and Impotence
Pepe Escobar
Will Chess, Not Battleship, Be the Game of the Future in Eurasia?
Ramzy Baroud
Forget ISIS: Humanity is at Stake
Vijay Prashad
Showdown on the Syrian Border
Dave Lindorff
Gen. John Campbell, Commander in Afghanistan and Serial Liar
Colin Todhunter
Class, War and David Cameron
Jean Bricmont
The Ideology of Humanitarian Imperialism
Mark Hand
Escape From New York: the Emancipation of Activist Cecily McMillan
Dan Glazebrook
Deadliest Terror in the World: the West’s Latest Gift to Africa
Karl Grossman
Our Solar Bonanza!
Mats Svensson
Madness in Hebron: Hashem Had No Enemies, Yet Hashem Was Hated
Walter Brasch
Terrorism on American Soil
Louisa Willcox
Grizzly Bears, Dreaming and the Frontier of Wonder
Michael Welton
Yahweh is Not Exactly Politically Correct
Joseph Natoli
A Politics of Stupid and How to Leave It Behind
John Cox
You Should Fear Racism and Xenophobia, Not Syrian Refugees or Muslims
Barrie Gilbert
Sacrificing the Grizzlies of Katmai Park: the Plan to Turn Brooks Camp Into a Theme
Rev. William Alberts
The Church of “Something Else” in “an Ecclesiastical Desert”
Andrew Gavin Marshall
Bank Crimes Pay
Elliot Murphy
Cameron’s Syrian Strategy
Gareth Porter
How Terror in Paris Calls for Revising US Syria Policy
Thomas S. Harrington
Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe and the Death of Ezra Schwartz
Michael Perino
The Arc of Instability