Wednesday, May 20, 2009

What's Cheney got on Obama?

The hidden hand of 
Dick Cheney
Juan Cole, Salon: The Obama administration just forced the Pakistani military to invade the Malakand region and to displace hundreds of thousands of civilians in the course of shelling and bombing a few thousand Taliban tribesmen. Among its rationales for this massive application of force was that the Taliban had advanced too close to Islamabad and, apparently too close to that country's nuclear warheads. (In fact, the idea that a small force of rural Taliban could take over the Pakistani government or get access to its closely guarded arsenal is fantastic.)

In the government's commitment to a doctrine of 'state secrets' that protect the executive from the scrutiny of other branches of government, in the continued attempt to block lawsuits and release of important documents, and in the shielding of secret programs of torture, unlawful kidnapping and warrantless wiretapping, Obama is preserving policies to which Cheney is deeply committed. In configuring Pushtun fundamentalists in southern Afghanistan and northern Pakistan as a mortal threat to the US and potentially even a nuclear power, the Obama administration is picking up themes from Cheney's old speeches and running with them. Cheney may or may not win his struggle for the soul of the Republican party. If we are not careful, he will win the struggle for the soul of the country as a whole.

ThinkProgress: In an interview on NPR's Fresh Air, host Terry Gross asked investigative journalist Seymour Hersh if, as he continues to investigate the Bush administration, 'more people' were 'coming forward' to talk to him now that 'the president and vice president are no longer in power.' Hersh replied that though 'a lot of people that had told me in the last year of Bush, 'call me next, next February,' not many people had talked to him. He implied that they were still scared of Cheney.

'Are you saying that you think Vice President Cheney is still having a chilling effect on people who might otherwise be coming forward,' asked Gross. 'I'll make it worse,' answered Hersh, adding that he believes Cheney 'put people back' in government to 'stay behind' in order to 'tell him what's going on' and perhaps even 'do sabotage.'
Image source here.