7 October 2004

Cheney Edward Debate

A Summary of the Cheney-Edwards Debate: The War in Iraq

In the first part of the vice-presidential debate, Edwards and Kerry were asked about the hows and whys of Shrub's War. Cheney, citing administration sources, claimed that the war was necessary to eliminate the danger posed by Iraq's current and potential links with terrorism. Cheney views the war as part of the grand project of establishing global security. Edwards, citing key government and administration sources, denies there are firm links between terrorism and Saddam.

Regarding the general conduct of the war, Cheney praises current administration policies to include the training of Iraqi troops and preparations for elections, whereas Edwards, referring to the dire situation portrayed in much of the media and even described by many Republican leaders, claims that the Bush Administration has dropped the ball in its failure to provide adequate troops and training, and more importantly, in its failure to form an effective international coalition.

Swerve Left's Analysis: Cheney, while tepidly repeating earlier assertions of a link between Iraq and terrorists, is switching to an end justifies the means sort of argument for the war. We get the sense that the war, whatever its original justifications, is justifiable in terms of the dawning democracy taking root in Iraq. The problem with this argument is that it attempts take the focus off of the administration's incompetence or duplicity (take your pick) leading up to the war in order to place focus on a potential good that is still clearly unrealized. We all need to keep in mind that regardless of how we want to feel about the issue, Iraqi democracy is clearly unrealized at this point. Allawi is a dictator. The U.S. calls the shots. And probably will for decades. It follows that the future prospects for true democracy in Iraq are extremely grim. Of course, Cheney did not spend too much time trying to sell us on Iraq's flowering democracy. Instead, we got vague promises of "global security." Of course, the watered-down concept of global security doesn't fare much better than abstractions such as "democracy" if we search for concrete benchmarks to evaluate the administration success. I know of no American deaths due to Iraqi terrorist attacks prior to the war. It's hard to see how the administration could improve on this record.

Edwards, I think, did a good job of firmly stating what everyone in the world except Dick Cheney realizes at this point--the connection between Iraq and terrorism was tenuous at best. The promises to get more troops into Iraq or provide more training are more of the same rhetoric we hear so often from Kerry's camp, as when Kerry promised to secure nuclear weapons and so on. It sounds like just so many election year promises to do everything Bush is doing but better.

Cheney's ability to utter complete falsehoods without even a subtle change of expression is truly remarkable. Our fellow bloggers have been busy tallying the long record of deception:


Charles2 said...

Hey, a really great gathering of thought on the debate; your own and lost of others. Including me - thanks.

Do you think that those damned "undecideds" will begin to notice the suddenly public (thanks, media... about damned time) lies, piling up like the bodies in Iraq? We can only hope.

Karlo said...

I doubt it very much. When you already have the 9/11 Report, the CIA, and pretty much every academic worth his salt concurring, I don't think there's much else that can be done to convince the unconvincable barring divine intervention.

delftsman3 said...

"..except Dick Cheney realizes at this point--the connection between Iraq and terrorism was tenuous at best."

Yeah Karlo, $25,000 a shot to suicide bomber families is a real tenuous connection.

How about You give me $25,000 to change my vote to Kerry? If thats "tenuous" I'll be more than happy to accept it! (I'm easy, but NOT cheap!) I would apply the same honor to the agreement that Kerry has displayed to his fellow veterans, just as a matter of copying your guy's sense of ethics.

Karlo said...

You know, what. You're actually right about this. Hamas is a terrorist organization. And if someone says that Saddam support such groups, I have no reason to doubt them. When I think about this, I realize that I should be more precise in my statements. I've become convinced that the word "terrorist" is meaningless. The U.S. supported Pinochet's thugs and the Contras in South and Central America--both groups are terrorists in pretty much any sense of the word. So how should we describe this. "The U.S. terrorists must rid the word of minor terrorists so that they can monopolize terrorism." Actually, I'm not being facetious when I say you're right. I shouldn't say Saddam didn't support terrorism. Technically, it isn't accurate. And for that matter, I should give up on this word "terrorist." It's a loaded term that the right uses to imply that only U.S. terrorism is legitimate.