It is said that you cannot teach an old dog new tricks. Unfortunately in politics one of the oldest tricks in the book is to say and do something so insulting to the common sense and intelligence of the opposition that they completely abandon reason and strike back in an irrational and ultimately self-defeating manner. Dick Cheney is an old dog and is up to his usual dirty tricks, but I will not allow him or the bile that exits his mouth to incite me to irrational words or actions. Imagine a world without Dick Cheney in it. What a better place it would be. Well, at least can we just ignore him while he is here?
I have written pieces on several occasions decrying his inane ramblings on affairs domestic and international. The latest incendiary barrage leveled against the president, defending Dick's War in Iraq. This ill-conceived and grossly mismanaged plan is universally acknowledged to be the deadliest miscalculation in modern history except by those who created it. The natural inclination in response to its continued defense is a sharp rebuke filled with profane invectives. But we will not go there; it only humors those who are immensely frustrated with the enormity of their failure.
Going to war is without a doubt the most serious decision that a leader must confront. It requires every ounce of intellect, reasoning, factual examination, political dexterity, diplomatic consideration, compassion, and strength of conviction that a mere mortal possesses. The Bush administration's decision to invade Iraq in 2003 was strong on conviction and marketing and short on all other counts. It was a bad decision that has seriously put this nation in a position of weakness and suspicion internationally, has shortchanged the American people by redirecting considerable financial resources away from investment in them and to wartime profiteers, has created a class of military veterans who struggle with deep wounds that have not been and may never be adequately treated, has energized a worldwide jihadist movement, and has left the millennial generation with no conception of a world without war.
Imagine a surgeon who removes the wrong limb, then picture the patient continuing to consult the doctor for additional surgical advice. Absurd you say, who in their right mind would do such a thing? The answer is the news media. That's right, our information outlets. I don't care what qualifications or credentials the doctor possesses or claims to possess -- would you take your child back to this quack? Of course you wouldn't, yet here we are being buffeted by the likes of Cheney, Wolfowitz, Bremer, Kristol and other architects and apologists of a policy so fraught with miscalculation that in another setting it would qualify for criminal prosecution.
Dick Cheney has not the least amount of credibility on the Iraq situation, either this one or the one 11 years ago. He has audaciously illustrated time and again that he has no capacity for self-reflection, introspection, analysis or questioning on issues that involve life and death on a large-scale. These qualities are important to human growth; Dick's growth was stunted at a very early age.
He has every right to speak his mind, which is the hallmark of a free democratic society. But he also has a responsibility as both a leader and a former leader in such a society to evolve, to contribute to the betterment of society by examining his actions and thoughts, and correcting his mistakes. Refusal to admit mistakes and challenge one's own assumptions is the most selfish, irresponsible, and immature behavior that any leader, whether of a nation or a family, can exhibit and is reflective of insufficient capacity to lead.
No human is infallible; everyone makes mistakes, true leaders own up to them. Dick Cheney's childishness does not deserve the print either he or his co-conspirators regularly receive. The only way to shut him down is to pay him no attention. That would be far more devastating to him than hurling verbal jousts that are richly deserved and instinctual to the well-adjusted and reasonable among us.
So I offer this plea that in the name of all that is good, can we please refrain from giving Dick and his droogies a platform? The world would be a better place.