Saturday, May 12, 2007

P.M. Carpenter: Cheney is Pathetic

Oddly enough, those were my exact words for the whole freakin' administration, just last night, in an email to a freind.

That's all, folks

The only thing lacking from Dick Cheney's Persian Gulf appearance yesterday aboard the USS John C. Stennis was the Warner Bros. cartoon theme song as a musical introduction, for this pathetic blusterer has finally become the Yosemite Sam of U.S. foreign policy, if I may be so charitable as to label the hapless presentation of the Bush administration's international conduct as "policy."

On the darker side, the sight and sound of Mr. Cheney aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier also had an Oscar Wilde touch to it -- a lugubrious, Dorian Gray portrait of superficial vim and vigor masking its true core of rotting, impotent corruption.

With Sam's six-guns metaphorically strapped to his waist, the vice president intoned: "Throughout the region our country has interests to protect and commitments to honor. With two carrier strike groups in the Gulf, we're sending clear messages to friends and adversaries alike. We'll keep the sea lanes open. We'll stand with our friends in opposing extremism and strategic threats. We'll disrupt attacks on our own forces. We'll continue bringing relief to those who suffer and delivering justice to the enemies of freedom."

Just who was it that Mr. Cheney thought he was spooking? Mahmoud Ahmadinejad? His Iranian brothers? "Extremist adversaries" at large? No doubt that was his intent, but no man has so singlehandedly and thoroughly reduced a one-time superpower to paper-tiger status in such short order as Mr. Cheney. And Mahmoud & Friends knows it.

We're not only bogged down in Iraq. We're tied down, Gulliver-like, and spent. We can't adequately respond to a small town's tornado-strike, let alone take on Persia's modern military forces. We're toothless. Mr.Cheney had to gum his way through those words, and their transparent emptiness produced nothing but uneasy consternation for his own team and, surely, cocky amusement for the other's.

While Mr. Cheney bluffs, Ms. Rice makes nice, mumbling something or other about "trying to launch diplomatic dialogue with Tehran" -- both of which present a "good-cop, bad-cop strategy" that some analysts say proves an internal administrative divide and others say "is instead simply contradictory."

But these analysts might as well be counting angels on pinheads. Because the fact of the matter is, whether divided or contradictory, the administration's insoluble dilemma remains formidably intact. Because, as Iran knows full well, we're impotent, friendless, clueless and stand naked with little to trade. Because, what is it we have that Iran can't live without -- except our continued, self-defeating and self-destructive presence in Iraq and extraordinarily alienating, hegemonic bluster about "strategic threats" to U.S. "interests" in the Middle East?

On the other hand we can end our presence in Iraq -- and thereby hand Iran the keys. Even better.

Never has one man contributed such thoughtlessness to "policy," such a lack of foresight, such a massive barrel over which to place us, as Mr. Cheney. Watching him drone on and on about muscular efforts we can neither afford to undertake or sustain -- muscular efforts of knock-out force, to us -- was more than the final insult. To those who comprehend just how sticky the wicket is that he and his boss have fashioned, it was a national embarrassment. The co-emperor could not have been more clotheless.

Still, his performances are entertaining in a perverse sort of way. If only he'd add the Warner Bros. theme, they'd be complete.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. The Lantern has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is The Lantern endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

....And The Truth Shall Set Us Free

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