Look at that photo above. Would you trust those two to babysit your cat? Or even your gerbil? Alright, enough morbid creepification. I want your attention, not the contents of your stomach. This is a simple story to tell. The subject is Afghanistan.
Enter President Obama, stage left:
“We Will Execute This Transition Responsibly, Taking Into Account Conditions On The Ground.” From Obama’s speech announcing the deployment of additional troops to Afghanistan, December 1, 2009
“The Presidents further recognized that developing the Afghan National Security Forces’ capabilities is necessary to facilitate implementation of an orderly, conditions-based security transition process.” In a Joint Statement with President Karzai of Afghanistan, May 12, 2010
“The Pace Of Our Troop Reduction Will Be Determined By Conditions On The Ground.” Discussing the end of combat operations in Iraq on August 31, 2010
And enter Liz Cheney, stage right:
“You know, what I’d like to see — because I do believe that setting the 2011 deadline did cause significant damage to the effort, in terms of convincing people that we’re committed to be there to win — I’d like to see the president repudiate it. I’d like to see him say, ‘Just let’s be clear: We are going to make our decisions based on conditions on the ground, not based on dates we set back here in Washington.’“ Fox Broadcasting Company’s Fox News Sunday, December 5, 2010
What conclusions must we draw from the evidence? Liz, you went to law school. This should be an easy one for you, a gimme. I’m sure the University of Chicago Law School must offer a class in ethics.
But let’s not be needlessly magnanimous. Liz Cheney is demonstrably no better than her father was in adhering to facts, as Media Matters for America has revealed. At least she didn’t say “refudiate,” but proper English doesn’t improve her fact quotient and character references.
Oxymoron: See Republican character references
Republican pundits and politicians show repeated and consistent aversion to facts. They are not really interested in the facts but in building a narrative, a narrative that puts liberals and progressives and in particular, President Obama, in a negative light. Contrasted to these is the shining Camelot-like purity of the Republican Party.
Cheney is supposed to be a Republican expert on Near Eastern/Middle Eastern affairs. Granted, “expert” in a Republican context doesn’t mean much to judge from the examples of Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann but Liz Cheney’s resume at least isn’t entirely imaginary: From 2002-2003 she was Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs under the Bush administration. After taking 2004 off to work on the Bush-Cheney campaign she returned to the State Department in February 2005 as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State For Near Eastern Affairs and Coordinator for Broader Middle East and North Africa Initiatives. In 2006 she added to her resume by heading the Iran Syria Policy and Operations Group (ISOG), a part of the State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs.
Impressive credentials. We have a right to expect that experts try to stay abreast of affairs in their fields. I mean, how do you make or understand policy if you don’t understand the facts on the ground? Isn’t that what she is saying, that policy should be based on the conditions that actually obtain?
Ah yes, but the facts are often at odds with narrative. And when facts get in the way, facts must go in order to not impair the ideological purity of the narrative. When push comes to shove, the conditions on the ground give way before the demands of ideology. Isn’t that right, Liz?
FACT: Liz Cheney and her fellow Republicans feel they are themselves free of any reality-based constraints that (they insist) must bind the president and do not only truth but the American people a disservice by throwing the facts (and our president) under the bus in the name of political posturing.
As Bill Maher said the other day, “the Republican brand of ‘American exceptionalism’ is based on an unrealistic ‘fantasy’ that’s contradicted by facts.” Liz is not a cause but a symptom. “These people love the truth, they just hate facts,” Maher said.
It’s not as if Liz has ever really shown herself to have a scrupulous regard for the facts. Like father like daughter: Liz is a real chip off the old block, the daughter of one of the most reprehensibly creepy figures in modern American history. And this is not the first time Liz has told a big old lie about our president.
Back in September, President Obama reportedly said (according to Bob Woodward),
“We can absorb a terrorist attack. We’ll do everything we can to prevent it, but even a 9/11, even the biggest attack ever … we absorbed it and we are stronger.”
Liz was apparently ignorant of his words when she said,
“Americans expect our President to do everything possible to defend the nation from attack. We expect him to use every tool at his disposal to find, defeat, capture and kill terrorists. We expect him to deter attacks by making clear to our adversaries that an attack on the United States will carry devastating consequences. Instead, President Obama is reported to have said, ‘We can absorb a terrorist attack.’ This comment suggests an alarming fatalism on the part of President Obama and his administration. Once again the President seems either unwilling or unable to do what it takes to keep this nation safe. The President owes the American people an explanation.”
The real explanation is owed by Liz Cheney (and perhaps Bob Woodward). Why do you keep telling lies, Liz? Why don’t you tell the truth? Why don’t you give us an honest response to what has been said rather than inventing conditions to which to respond? You owe the American people an explanation.