Huffpost Homepage

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Stephen Elliott Headshot

It's Fighting Words

Posted: Updated:

"The president and I cannot prevent certain politicians from losing their memory, or their backbone, but we're not going to sit by and let them rewrite history," Mr. Cheney said in an address to the group, Frontiers of Freedom, in Washington.


There's a war on and we're losing. We're losing the war on terror and we're losing in Iraq. And now, the people responsible for the disaster, Republicans in congress and the white house, are calling their critics irresponsible.

But what is irresponsible? Manipulating intelligence? Invading Iraq without a plan to secure the country? More than 2,000 Americans have died and Iraq has become a haven for terrorists, something it wasn't before. Who is 'irresponsible' for that?

Then of course you have the former CEO of Halliburton, Dick Cheney, saying his critics lack backbone. Cheney, a man who had five deferments during Vietnam, criticizing war heroes, painting soldiers as cowards and by extension the men and women who have fought and died on behalf of his bad judgment. Backbone is not sitting in a secure bunker watching Fox news. Backbone does not describe supporting wars you have no intention of fighting in.

The GOP have now released a video showing early Democratic support for the administration's policies along with their current comments critical of the administration's efforts. As if this somehow made it OK? They call it flip-flopping, but how about owning up to your mistakes. How about changing course when you've been proven wrong? There is nothing honorable about defending a bad decision. The GOP point to how the senators and congressmen believed, as the administration did, that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction. But that intelligence came from the executive branch and when the intelligence is wrong the executive branch is responsible for it. Instead they say, "Well, everybody believed this to be true." As if the CIA and the Pentagon were independent research organizations based out of Canada and beyond the president's control.

But why should we be surprised by the administration's continuing lies? By their inability to accept responsibility? They're still referring to Iraq as part of the war on terror. You can't have a serious discussion with someone who insists on a link between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein. We're talking about a president, who just days ago, had the unmitigated gall to say America does not torture, yet opposes legislation making torture illegal. George Bush may not have had a drink in many years, but he is still drunk.

Now there are senators on both sides looking for a way out of Iraq. It may be impossible to fix the mess we've made there. It will certainly be impossible as long as this administration and its chickenhawk leaders insist on a policy of dishonesty and obfuscation. I agree with Barack Obama who, in a recent interview on the Daily Show, when asked what to do about the war, compared it to driving a bus into a ditch. You have to figure out how to get the bus out. The first thing you should do, he said, is fire the driver.

- Stephen Elliott