Is Dick Cheney Unpatriotic?

Former Vice President Dick Cheney has been railing against President Barack Obama for being weak-kneed on terrorism and failing to interdict the BVD bomber’s recent attempt to blow up a plane. Cheney seems to want us to put aside his own administration’s abysmal record on the subject—ignoring warnings and failing to prevent the most deadly foreign attack on U.S. soil in American history, failing to prevent the similar shoe bomber’s attempt to bring down an aircraft, and using 9/11 to launch invasions of Muslim countries that led to an increase in terrorist attacks worldwide—and thus tries to make us believe Republicans are better at countering terrorism than Democrats because, well, they’re Republicans.

Cheney told the political newspaper Politico, “We are at war, and when President Obama pretends we aren’t, it makes us less safe” and that Obama’s “low-key response” to the BVD bomber’s attack, the president’s refusal to use the phrase “war on terror,” and his plan to close Guantanamo’s prison all indicate that Obama thinks that terrorism is a law enforcement problem rather than a military issue. Cheney concluded by asking, “Why doesn’t he want to admit we’re at war?”

Since Cheney’s attack on Obama lacked any substance and was mainly political demagoguery, his choice of Politico to launch it was appropriate. But an even greater problem may be the Obama’s administration’s defensive response to Cheney’s attack. Administration officials said that Obama did too know that the country was at war and that he had explicitly stated so in the past.

The Democrats always end up playing defense when attacked on national security, largely because they are afraid that if they don’t adopt a veneer of toughness—the Republicans’ specialty—and out-macho them, they will always be tagged as “Democratic wimps.” But what if, following the example of Republican president Dwight Eisenhower, the Democrats instead adopted a more reasoned approach to national security? Eisenhower was very skilled in making sure that no international problem was ever labeled as a “crisis,” knowing that this would box him into taking pressure for rash, imprudent acts.

What would Eisenhower have done about Islamic terrorism? Ike, after being subjected to the horrors of World War II, disdained and avoided unneeded military action. He would have quickly realized that the “war on terror” has been counterproductive, especially the part in which the U.S. invades Muslim countries. After all, the much under-publicized reason that Osama bin Laden began attacking the United States was its meddling and military presence in Islamic countries. The attempted BVD bombing, emanating from a local al-Qaeda affiliate in Yemen, occurred only after stepped-up U.S. “covert” military help in recent months to a Yemeni government at war with Islamists. According to the Islamic faith, every good Muslim must do all he or she can to repel non-Muslim invaders from Muslim lands—and Islamist extremists from poor countries have found that terrorism is their only effective weapon in attempting to do so.

Even if one subtracts the deaths from terrorist attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq (which there is really no reason to do because they were a response to the U.S. invasion of a Muslim land), the number of monthly worldwide deaths from terrorism increased substantially after 9/11. Thus, the “war on terrorism” has not only failed, it has been counterproductive.

ivan-eland.jpgConducting a “war” against terrorists merely makes them warriors instead of criminals and causes more money and fighters to flock to the jihad. Using a lighter touch—intelligence, law enforcement, and maybe even a rare military strike—to counter terrorism would at least be less likely to make the problem worse. And after all, what is wimpy about calling mass murder what it is—an evil crime? If anything is unpatriotic, it’s the macho rattling of the saber from the conservative chairborne brigades—for which five-deferment Cheney is the chief spokesman—because it paints a bull’s eye on America’s back.

Ivan Eland

This article first appeared in The Independent Institute and is republished with permission.

LA Progressive


  1. JR says

    Stop the nonsense. Cheney and Bush are Terrorist and un Patriotic. And should be imprisoned for treason. No one wants to stand up and say that it is their doing that has America spiraling down into the toilet. They want to speak out against President Obama who is merely trying to get us our of unknown territory.

    No one has called to task Haliburton for their involvement in the oil rig explosion and the secret deals of the Bush administration that gave the oil company’s the freedom to think that they can do what they please.

    America wants to make this a Black and White isue, Republicans have lost their power and will stop at nothing to get it back..including blowing up a rig to make the President look bad.

  2. Michaelangelo Price says

    Ivan Eland,
    Looks like somebody read the your piece to the Dick Chaney Apologists’ Brunch & Bitch Association. Just look how quickly they got their talking points from Fox News and sent them on to you. I can’t help but suspect that pegw and Katie and the other Katie are all part of the same massive fourteen percent of Americans who can’t think for themselves, and since defending Dick is no walk in the Rose Garden, you’re a cinch to be abused with even more delusional claptrap in the near future. But be of good cheer. Don’t forget that for every one of them, there are two sane Americans, and that’s what’s driving them even crazier. You gotta pity the poor things, being that ignorant ain’t easy.

  3. says

    Imagine, using your logic, we should have just left the Japanese alone after they attacked Pearl Harbor. Afterall, more people died from fighting them in WWII than if we would have just rolled over and given up. If people like you were running things back then, we would be speaking German or Japanese and no freedom. Your thoughts on this matter or immature. You do not have a grasp of America or what made/make it great. We are the land of the free – the home of the brave! Please, if you hate the US so much, go away! You don’t seem to want freedom or treasure bravery. Real Americans do not want to be like France or Germany or Holland or any of the other wannabe world powers. We like the US the way it is. Stop trying to get us bend over so you can shove the change up our…..

  4. says

    Mr Eland,
    Did you forget that all the muslim extreemist terrorism aginst the US started under the watchful eye of the peanut farmer president? And he knew what was going on and chose the wrong paths all along the way.

    Cheney just wants the US to be safe and would do what is necessary to make it that way. Obama just hopes nothing will happen until he is out of office. See the difference? Once the republicans take over again, you can sleep safely at night. Until then, be scared… be very scared.

  5. pegw says

    Mr. Eland – Did you forget about the attack on American soil under Clinton’s watch? Did you forget about the chance he had to get Osama shot after this attack? So up until now has Obama ever said we are at War. He has called it some other name which I do not remember now. He has paid less attention to Iran, North Korea & Russia & Pakistan a lot of other countries which needed to be observed more.We need to back Israel more. So now we need not to get rid of our nuclear weapons. He should have stopped trying to be friends with countries that are never going to be our friends & with a little bit of history reading he would have paid more attention to our security & less attention on healthcare & cap & trade. The important things now are the economy & keeping us safe.
    Stop with this stuff that is taking away our freedoms & costing us more taxes. Our government is making one power grab after another & we need it to stop. Cheney is right & you writers should stop putting him down & Obama needs to listen to him more. Bush & Cheney after the 9/11 attacts kept us safe until they left office. We have not been safe since then because Obama did not & would not admit that we were at war. He even called us more of a Muslim Nation then a Christian Nation. He even went to other countries & insulted us by saying we have been demisive,derrisive, & arrogant. We the American people do not apologize for anything. We need the leader of the free world to stand up for us, praise us & our Constitution & live up to the oath he took. And stop trying to take us down & socialize us. He did not even reconize D-Day, the anniversity of the Berlin wall, Pearl Harbor, & so many more dates that American Presidents have reconized all of these years. These are things very important to us.


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