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In his blog today, Dan Froomkin gave the simplest explanation I've ever read about why we're in Iraq and why the NeoCons want us to stay there forever. Follow me below the fold.

It's Not Just About Iraq examines Cheney's comments in regard to the proposed Kerry/Feingold amendments defeated in the Senate on Thursday and offers substantial insight into the war mongering motivations of our Vice President.
Vice President Cheney yesterday offered an unusually revealing glimpse of his worldview -- one in which a withdrawal from Iraq may have less to do with Iraq, and more to do with the message it would send to the world about the limits of American power.
To be specific Cheney said
"If we were to do that, it would be devastating from the standpoint of the global war on terror. It would affect what happens in Afghanistan. It would make it difficult for us to persuade the Iranians to give up their aspirations for nuclear weapons. It would threaten the stability of regimes like Musharraf in Pakistan and the Saudis in Saudi Arabia. It is -- absolutely the worst possible thing we could do at this point would be to validate and encourage the terrorists by doing exactly what they want us to do, which is to leave. . . .
We've heard this before. We've heard it from everyone who cloaks him/herself in the righteousness of the NeoCon Right. But what does it really mean? What is Cheney really saying? According to Froomkin, we need look no further than Ron Suskind's The One Percent Doctrine for this answer.
'If there's a one percent chance that Pakistani scientists are helping al Qaeda build or develop a nuclear weapon, we have to treat it as a certainty in terms of our response,' Suskind quotes Cheney as saying. And then Cheney went on to utter the lines that can be said to define the Bush presidency: 'It's not about our analysis, or finding a preponderance of evidence. It's about our response.' "
Froomkin sums it up and knocks it out of the park. Wrap your mind around this:
And if you subscribe to that theory -- that invading Iraq was fundamentally a way of delivering a message about U.S. power -- you can see why anything short of absolute victory would be so unpalatable.
Please take a few minutes to read the whole article and visit Gary Kamiya's review of Suskind's book. For the first time, it makes sense to me. To be clear, I think Cheney is nuts and I don't think World Domination is the business we should be in. It's just nice to finally have a clearer window into the mind of the opposition. What do you think?

Originally posted to working for change on Fri Jun 23, 2006 at 12:22 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Froomkin is a stud. (8+ / 0-)

    His column is one of the better things out there that is spot on in calling out the Bush administration on a regular basis. No wonder the Washington Post tried to marginalize him earlier, and thankfully that attempt failed.

  •  It's a bitch being wrong... (5+ / 0-)

    Cheney, not you. An overly simplistic mind sees only in black and white.

    Bushco is leading us to Hell on Earth.

    by mattes on Fri Jun 23, 2006 at 12:26:02 PM PDT

  •  Return of the 'domino theory' (4+ / 0-)
    It's baaack.

    The Republicans. The party of fear and smear.

    by Paleo on Fri Jun 23, 2006 at 12:29:45 PM PDT

  •  Darth Cheney (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sobermom, working for change

    Cheney admited in a recent CNN interview that he's the "Darth Vader" of the administration. Be afraid, be very afraid.

  •  Yes....but that is the point (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tmo, RunawayRose, sobermom

    What is 'absolute victory' in Cheney's mind.  In any war supporter's mind?

    A McDonald's on every street corner?  

    Iraq as the 51st state?

    Iraq as a peaceful American-style democratic republic?


    Iraq having a competent army capable of defending Iraq from and responding to terrorists and insurgents?

    All of the above seem unlikely within the next 3 years.  

  •  Tales from the Dark Syde...... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sobermom, anniethena, Fredly

    ...He makes it up as he goes along. There is no coherent policy here, not even one of world domination. These people are beyond reason, and so even when they are appear to state a "reason" for doing this, it should be discounted to zero, and thrown in the trash heap with other reasons: Saddam was a bad person, have to fight them in this particular country so we don't have to fight them there, he's attempting to obtain quantities of enriched URANIUM, a thriving Democracy will send a message, yada yada.

    Utter failure. Remember, this is the guy who was in favor of screwing his own daughter out of recognition of her relationship before he backpedaled slightly and said he might be against it but he supports the President.


    "I am my brother's keeper. I am a Democrat." -- That's your slogan, Democrats.

    by Bensdad on Fri Jun 23, 2006 at 12:37:44 PM PDT

    •  They Bought Their Own Bullshit (6+ / 0-)
      All those late nights at AEI sipping scotch and talking about how easy it would be to take over Iraq, scaring all the bad guys back in line, turning the Iraqi oil fields over to their "rightful" owners (Exxon/Halliburton).

      They really thought it would be a "cakewalk", and made no plans for anything else, even when folks like Gen. Shinseki, who spent his entire life learning (the hard way) how to plan and execute military operations, told them they were screwing the pooch.

      The whole damned bunch should have to walk point on dismounted patrols in Ramadi for a month...

      Evolution is the organizing principle of all known life; Your God is a theory postulated by goatherders before movable type.

      by The Baculum King on Fri Jun 23, 2006 at 12:45:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sobermom, Carnacki, anniethena, Fredly

        Forget for a minute that their theory was ridiculous.  These guys never put the plan behind the idea.  

        They're all start and no finish.  
        All talk and no action.  
        All invasion and no victory.  
        All frosting and no cake.

        We are the people we are looking for.

        by working for change on Fri Jun 23, 2006 at 12:51:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Taking Over Iraq Would Have Worked (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          working for change
          With the forces that should have been deployed, defeating the Iraqi Army and establishing order was well within our capability. With Armored Cav securing the supply lines shit like the Jessica Lynch saga and the "pause that refreshes" (when we almost got our asses handed to us when we stalled outside Baghdad, with our lead Brigades practically cut off and low on ammo, fuel and even water) wouldn't have happened, Saddam's "Fedayeen" would have met early, ugly deaths when they tried to hit the "trains".

          IF we had put troops on every street, firmly but respectfully imposing order long enough for basic services to be improved and a friendly government to be stood up...

          Instead, we have Rumsfeld's abortion with no good end in sight.

          Evolution is the organizing principle of all known life; Your God is a theory postulated by goatherders before movable type.

          by The Baculum King on Fri Jun 23, 2006 at 01:02:10 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  We Sure Sent a Clear Message (4+ / 0-)
    Unfortunately, the message we sent is that any potential adversary needs to update their plans for "irregular" warfare, for which we have no answer.

    The shame is it didn't have to be this way. Whether advisable or not, the invasion and occupation of a shithole like Iraq was entirely within the capabilities of the U.S. military, but it required competent leadership, which we lacked.

    Evolution is the organizing principle of all known life; Your God is a theory postulated by goatherders before movable type.

    by The Baculum King on Fri Jun 23, 2006 at 12:38:08 PM PDT

    •  Do you think that's true? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      working for change

      I have another theory based on this equation:

      U.S. Taxpayer => U.S. Treasury => Defense Contractors => Republicans (and Joementum)

      Cheney doesn't give a shit about whether Iraq is a democracy, he just wants it unstable enough to warrant the use of our military and mercenary defense contractors.  What if that was the plan from the beginning?

      1. Start war; create instability
      1. Oil >> $70
      1. U.S. Taxpayer => U.S. Treasury => Defense Contractors => Republicans (and Joementum)

      The best thing about the plan is that Congressional political support is assured since both Rethugs and a large number of Neocon Dems take defense contractor money.

      That means you got a majority and no opposition in Congress.

      Any opposition at home is squelched by oppressive War Powers that the Federal courts are not likely to interfere with.

      The plan -- "PermaWar on Terror" -- is chugging quite merrily along if you look at it from this perspective.

  •  'Worldwide general deterrence' and more (4+ / 0-)

    I think there were three reasons for the Iraq invasion, none of which have anything to do with Saddam's mushroom clouds:

    1. Worldwide general deterrence. The invasion was a warning to the rest of the world: get out of line, and you're next.
    1. Tame the Middle East. The neo-cons saw that region as a tough neighborhood, and their prescription was a gigantic police station manned by our military.
    1. The "clash of civilizations." The neo-cons bought into this idea, believed that the enemy had attacked first, and set out to finish what they started.

    "History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake."--Stephen Dedalus

    by Dump Terry McAuliffe on Fri Jun 23, 2006 at 12:47:58 PM PDT

  •  Froomkin (5+ / 0-)

    Go Dan! If only some of our elected reps. had some of your vision and insight.

  •  domino effect redux (4+ / 0-)

    Oh, man, didn't we just get finished with a era in which every atrocity, every foreign policy blunder, every morally-suspect intervention in the affairs of sovereign nations was justified by the "theory" that we were all that stood against a "domino effect" of expanding worldwide communism?

  •  Tuesday night's Frontline (3+ / 0-)

    explored this as well.

    This is what these folks mean by "making their own reality".  Its about not relying on traditional "proof".  Before, we've always used evidence to justify our actions...this is about turning that around.  Suspicion is now grounds for action.  Think about it...this is why they want to dumb us all down...they don't want questioning, they want people who will don't understand the difference between anecdotal and proven.  Such people are very easy to manipulate.

    Yeah, Iraq is a message, but that message is scary.  Its about total dominion of the world.  They don't just want to dominate the market, they want to define it.

    •  Which is why I'm afraid (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TracieLynn, tjb22, anniethena

      of policies like:
      Warrentless Domestic Wiretaps
      The "No Knock" Rule
      Detention Without Charges

      If suspicion is enough to invade a country, then suspicion is enough to snatch you out of your home and lock you away with no evidence, no proof, no charges.  

      Forget the Founders.  Too bad about the Constitution.   Global Domination is way more important than personal freedom.

      We are the people we are looking for.

      by working for change on Fri Jun 23, 2006 at 01:44:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Bad Ideas Exposed... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    anniethena, working for change

    Iraq was always invisioned as a "Muscle Flex", a quick decisive overwhelming military victory intended to show the world just how powerful we are. In effect, "don't fuck with us or your next". The problem is, the chickenhawk necons failed(or refused) to realize just difficult such a large scale military and political operation they were undertaking. As a result we've been exposed as being not nearly as powerful as we need the world to believe we are. The poliferation activities in Iran and N. Korea are a direct result. Cheney and his fellow neocon are desperatly hoping that they can salvage some victory from their incompetent bubbling and are willing to stay in Iraq indefiantly to achive one. After all, it's not their children that are dying.

    •  And we have already failed in that objective (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      anniethena, working for change

      Regardless of the ultimate outcome in Iraq, as a demonstration of American military might, it's already a failure. It is painfully obvious that we can't impose a military solution on Iraq, and that all we can hope to do is suppress some of the violence until the Iraqi people can build a security infrastructure.
      As a way to demonstrate that we can crush you in an instant, it's been a miserable failure, demonstrating only that we can bomb and run around with artillery knocking things down all day, but in the end, we can't impose our will on people who are willing to fight us.
      All you have to do weather the initial strike, and then the US military comes down off the Olympian heights and down to the human level - just another imperial force, not even as effective as the British.
      The CIA formally concluded (according to Suskind) that Osama bin Laden wanted Bush re-elected. That tells you everything you need to know.

      We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office. Aesop (620 - 560 BC)

      by AWhitneyBrown on Fri Jun 23, 2006 at 02:25:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Good grief........ (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    anniethena, working for change

    Froomkin states

    In Cheney's view, withdrawal from Iraq would first and foremost make the United States look weak. And that, in turn, would have cataclysmic domino-style effects across the globe: Afghanistan could fall, and so could Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. The Iranians could get nukes. And the United States itself would become dramatically more vulnerable to attack, not to mention lose its ability to shape a new century favorable to American principles and interests.

    When I read that quote I thought I was traveling back in time to the Vietnam rationale for involving ourselves in that 'conflict.'

    The problem with this 'war' (read: occupation) is that we have 'turned the corner' so many times that we can't see the 'light at the end of the tunnel!'

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