Maureen Dowd / The neocons are driving me crazy again

Cheney’s back on TV, growling and blaming Obama for not cleaning up his mess

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George W. cut off Dick Cheney. Why can’t we?

Who would have thought that Iraq imploding would give the mountebanks who tricked us into war a chance to rear their heads and seek rehabilitation — somehow grabbing onto the hellish spiral as proof that they were right in their original wrongness? But, then, they did always create their own reality spun from grandiosity.

They are shamefully showcased on cable TV, which has so much airtime to fill that it doesn’t care if it’s hot air. They are once more pounding on the fear button and warning that America needs to attack or risk being emasculated by Middle Eastern terrorists. Doesn’t Vice know that most Americans, especially the Bushes, cannot stand his demented scaremongering anymore? Even Fox News anchors are now pressing him with skeptical questions about the war.

Asked by Fox’s Elisabeth Hasselbeck if he thought we “could be on track for something worse than 9/​11,” Mr. Cheney replied, “I think that’s a possibility.”

He’s always busy predicting another 9/​11. Too bad he and W. ignored warnings about the first one. Dick Cheney is responsible not only for Iraq melting down and Afghanistan being mucked up, he can also claim credit for so exhausting John Wayne’s America that a skeptic on military intervention, Rand Paul, is a credible candidate for the Republican nomination.

That causes the man without a pulse to pulsate with bile. Shooting Mr. Paul in the face, Vice told Fox: “The Republican Party traditionally has had the reputation as the go-to guys with respect to national security, and we want to reclaim that mantle for the party.”

Darth Vader is campaigning for validation with his cowboy hat and “Sith apprentice,” as Jon Stewart calls Liz Cheney. Liz acted in her failed Wyoming Senate bid as Dick did with the globe: swaggering and pre-emptorally blowing off allies and foes. So she has her own fences to mend if she wants a career in politics.

Their idea of a charm offensive is to growl and spit and create something called The Alliance for a Strong America, a group demanding a more chesty foreign policy in a statement redolent of the manifesto that neocons and other Republicans waved back during the Clinton administration.

Speaking to Fox News’ Megyn Kelly and to conservative radio host Chris Salcedo, Liz blamed President Barack Obama for the chaos wrought by her father and W., basely claiming that he was intentionally trying to weaken America.

When Bill Clinton said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that it was “unseemly” for Dick Cheney to attack the Obama administration “for not doing an adequate job of cleaning up the mess that he made,” the venomous Liz tweeted “@billclinton calls Dick Cheney ‘unseemly.’ Well, I guess he would know.” (Not much of a denial by Liz.)

The creepy comeback scenario is playing out with the Cheneys, Paul Wolfowitz (who absurdly rejects the moniker of the Iraq War “architect,”) Bill Kristol, Paul Bremer, Elliott Abrams (who actually had the chutzpah to write a Politico piece about Mr. Obama titled “The Man Who Broke the Middle East”) and Robert Kagan (who prefers the term “liberal interventionist” to “neocon”) .

As a cherry on top of our $3 trillion disaster, there on the front page of The New York Times Tuesday was Ahmad Chalabi, the neocons’ cagey partner in fakery and initial choice to replace Saddam Hussein.

“He took millions of dollars from the CIA, founded and was accused of defrauding the second-biggest bank in Jordan and sold the Bush administration a bill of goods on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq,” Rod Nordland wrote. Yet now Mr. Chalabi is a serious candidate for prime minister.

In his book about Mr. Chalabi, “Arrows of the Night,” Richard Bonin, a “60 Minutes” producer, wrote this about the secular Shiite who managed to manipulate Washington into getting rid of Saddam, thinking he could return and take his place: “There has never been a foreigner more crucially involved in a decision by the United States to go to war than Chalabi.”

When Mr. Bonin asked Mr. Chalabi who used whom in his unholy alliance with the neocons who later scorned him, he answered: “It was a commonality of interest, a convergence of conceptions about the future.”

Just when you thought our wreck in Iraq could not get any more sulfurous, The Times’ James Risen revealed that a State Department inquiry into the out-of-control Blackwater protection brigade was stifled by U.S. diplomats in Baghdad and then abandoned after Blackwater’s top manager threatened “that he could kill” the government’s chief investigator and “no one could or would do anything about it as we were in Iraq.”

Asked on HuffPost Live on Tuesday whether Mr. Cheney was immoral or amoral, Lawrence Wilkerson, the regretful former aide to Colin Powell, replied amoral.

“Immorality is something that can be ferreted out, checked and balanced,” he said. “Amorality is an altogether different affair, especially when you’re exploiting the politics of fear in order to carry out state purposes, which is what Dick Cheney’s forte is.”

Maureen Dowd is a syndicated columnist for The New York Times.



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