The Weakness of Liz Cheney

03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Jon Soltz Co-Founder of, Iraq War Veteran

Last year, as the presidential campaign was heating up, the far right introduced a new group to counter the progressive voice of the veterans at Freedom's Watch started and ended with a sputter, mainly because the group was led by political folks who never served a day in their life -- from original leader Ari Fleischer through Brad Blakeman, who saw the group through to its quick end.

History seems to be repeating itself, with Liz Cheney, rolling out a new neo-con organization, Keep America Safe. The group's mission seems to be two-fold. First, try to rewrite history so that Dick Cheney looks like a visionary. And second, convince Americans that they're all going to die because of Barack Obama.

The problem, however, with this is also two-fold. First, Liz Cheney has no experience fighting wars and gets details wrong when she tries to look like she knows what she's talking about. Second, no matter how tough she talks, Liz Cheney's positions are weak, just like her father's.

From trying to falsely argue that our troops on the battlefield read Miranda rights to those enemy combatants we detain, to claiming that we employ waterboarding on our own soldiers in the same way we did with detainees (around 4:15 in the link), Liz Cheney shows she simply has no idea what she's talking about. It's not surprising, since she's simply carrying on the same failed philosophy put forth by a guy who never had the courage to put on the uniform himself -- indeed, actually evaded the call of his nation to do so.

More importantly, though, is that despite her tough bluster, Liz Cheney is an incredibly weak person. Weak people see everything in black and white, and take the easiest path. It's pretty easy to ignore the reputation issues Guantanamo Bay presents to our troops in harm's way who are trying to win hearts and minds, or that the facility is used as a recruiting poster for al Qaeda. It's easy to ignore what's Jay Bagwell says in this video -- that detainees in Afghanistan had pamphlets on them depicting what happened at Gitmo. It's easy to ignore the Geneva Conventions and human rights laws, and what they say about torture. It's easy to ignore the fact that torture doesn't get actionable intelligence. It's easy to forget that what makes us the greatest nation in the world is partly based on our system of Justice, which involves trials. It's easy to fail to recognize that for the Muslims in the Middle East and Afghanistan region, snatching people up and putting them away forever without a trial is what hardline dictators and regimes do -- and that is the real problem that Guantanamo presents.

It takes a strong person to take all those things into consideration, and keep America on the moral high ground while protecting this nation. Only a morally and intellectually weak person can toss all those considerations away so willy-nilly. And that's what you have in Liz Cheney.

The ironic part of it is that, especially on Gitmo, those opposed to Liz Cheney have the tougher stance on terrorists. One of the favorite points that neo-cons like to make is that the facility at Gitmo allows detainees to socialize with each other, that they have top notch medical facilities there, and that besides the whole torture thing, they have life pretty good.

Excuse me? People that may have plotted to do America harm have it pretty good? That's not acceptable. By moving the detainees to our Super Max prison and putting them on trial, we can finally convict those who are guilty. Then, we can move those not sentenced to death to solitary at the Supermax, where they'll live out the rest of their days completely alone in a living hell -- the fate that they deserve -- shut away from the general population, so they cannot influence other prisoners with their bile. That's not only a tougher position than Cheney, it also upholds our values.

It also has been done already with terrorists and done successfully. The Supermax has been the home of Ramzi Yousef, who headed the group that carried out the first bombing of the World Trade Center; Zacarias Moussaoui, 9/11 conspirator; Ahmed Ressam, of the Los Angeles airport millennium attack plots; Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, who conspired to kill President George W. Bush; Wadih el-Hage, guilty of the 1998 bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Kenya; Jose Padilla, who plotted detonating a dirty bomb; Terry Nichols and Timothy McVeigh of the Oklahoma City bombing; and the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski.

In the end, Liz Cheney and Keep America Safe are just a re-run of what was already tried and failed in 2008. Namely, using the veil of fear to mask an un-informed, false, and weak position. Maybe it'll win her points within the extreme right, but the American people have smartened up to her game, and they've decided they're stronger than she is.

Crossposted at