August 6, 2001 PDB (Wikimedia Commons)
Dick Cheney is back in the news again, as he becomes the latest member of the Bush administration to cash in on what should be cause for criminal investigation and likely prosecution
. This is a classic chickenhawk, who himself got five deferments
to avoid fighting his generation's war, and whose idea of recreation
is to shoot birds that were raised as hunting fodder and released by the staff of an exclusive club, and who even in such a cruel, controlled environment still somehow managed accidentally to shoot a man in the face
. This is a man who as regent and Lord Protector to the Lesser Bush oversaw the destruction of the U.S. economy, the evisceration of the Clinton budget surplus and the creation of the largest budget deficit in U.S. history, and was catastrophically irresponsible
with what may have been the last chance to address the most important issue humanity has ever faced. But nothing so defined the Bush-Cheney era as issues of national security. And Cheney doesn't want you to remember what really happened under his Protectorate on national security. And you can be certain that the traditional media won't recount what happened under Cheney's Protectorate on national security. That is up to us.
I've posted this numerous times in numerous forms and it will need to be posted any time Bush or Cheney returns to the headlines. The facts are clear and the evidence overwhelming. Under Bush and his regent and Lord Protector Cheney, U.S. national security was undermined as it never before had been. Remember this. Bear witness. Don't let anyone forget.
And the Taliban grew stronger. Al Qaeda regrouped and grew stronger. And then the administration made at least 935 false statements to lie the nation into war with Iraq, which undermined the war in Afghanistan, spawned a new generation of terrorists, with terrorism increasing around the globe under their rule.
But that was only the beginning. There was more. Much more. The Bush-Cheney team undermined national security in multiple ways, including abusing and damaging the U.S. military. Click through to see the links. And share. And never forget.
National security was further undermined for petty political reasons.
Washington Post: When a new Bin Laden tape was obtained by an undercover intelligence operation, in November 2007, the Bush Administration was told to keep it a secret until Al Qaeda had released it. But the Bush Administration leaked it to the press, thus alerting Al Qaeda to the fact that they had a security breach, and destroying years of security work.
MSNBC: An entire intelligence network tracking Iran's nuclear ambitions was destroyed when members of the Bush Administration outed a classified agent, to exact political revenge on her husband.
The most successful international team ever assembled to probe suspected WMD activities is shutting down this week, thanks to U.S. and British insistence. The team (the U.N. commission initially acronymed UNSCOM and then UNMOVIC) spent 16 years uncovering and destroying Saddam Hussein's chemical, biological and missile weapons programs. The U.S. invasion of Iraq proved that the U.N.'s intel-overruled by the Bush administration-had indeed been correct: Saddam no longer had WMD. But late last month, the U.S. and British governments pushed through the U.N. Security Council a vote to halt funding for UNMOVIC.
Overall, U.S. national security was undermined from without.
Foreign Policy In Focus: Bush Administration policies undermined America's image and standing around the globe.
Washington Post: Bush's overhaul of security at federal buildings may have made federal employees less secure.
In February 2007, Foreign Policy and the Center for American Progress conducted a survey on national security issues. They called it The Terrorism Index:
Surveying more than 100 of America's top foreign-policy experts-Republicans and Democrats alike-the FOREIGN POLICY/Center for American Progress Terrorism Index is the only comprehensive, nonpartisan effort to mine the highest echelons of the nation's foreign-policy establishment for its assessment of how the United States is fighting the war on terror.
How bad was the Bush Administration?
Nearly every foreign policy of the U.S. government-from domestic surveillance activities and the detention of terrorist suspects at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, to U.S. energy policies and efforts in the Middle East peace process-was sharply criticized by the experts. More than 6 in 10 experts, for instance, believe U.S. energy policies are negatively affecting the country's national security. The experts were similarly critical of the CIA's rendition of terrorist suspects to countries known to torture prisoners and the Pentagon's policy of trying detainees before military tribunals.
No effort of the U.S. government was more harshly criticized, however, than the war in Iraq. In fact, that conflict appears to be the root cause of the experts' pessimism about the state of national security. Nearly all-92 percent-of the index's experts said the war in Iraq negatively affects U.S. national security, an increase of 5 percentage points from a year ago. Negative perceptions of the war in Iraq are shared across the political spectrum, with 84 percent of those who describe themselves as conservative taking a dim view of the war's impact. More than half of the experts now oppose the White House's decision to "surge" additional troops into Baghdad, a remarkable 22 percentage-point increase from just six months ago. Almost 7 in 10 now support a drawdown and redeployment of U.S. forces out of Iraq.
More than half say the surge is having a negative impact on U.S. national security, up 22 percentage points from just six months ago. This sentiment was shared across party lines, with 64 percent of conservative experts saying the surge is having either a negative impact or no impact at all.
They rated the handling of the war as a 2.9 on a scale of 10. Only 12 percent believed a withdrawal from Iraq would lead directly to a new terrorist attack in the U.S.
U.S. national security was undermined from within, through the systematic abuse of military personnel.
Overused and over-extended.
Washington Monthly: Stop-Loss policy prevented at least 50,000 troops from leaving the military when their service was scheduled to end.
USA Today: Multiple deployments were adding to the troops' stress.
CNN: In April 2007, tours of duty were extended from 12 to 15 months.
New York Times: Republicans killed Democratic Senator Jim Webb's attempt to give troops more down time between deployments.
MSNBC: Deployed single parents were having to fight to retain custody of their children.
International Herald Tribune: The bipartisan National Governors Association warned Bush that use of National Guard troops for his Iraq escalation was overburdening already overburdened units, and undermined the Guard's ability "to respond to hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, forest fires and other emergencies."
CBS News: To accommodate Bush's Iraq escalation schedule, two Army combat brigades had to skip their planned desert training.
Agence France-Presse: Nearly two-thirds of polled veterans from the Afghanistan and Iraq wars considered the military over-extended.
Inadequately protected and inadequately cared for.
New York Times: A 2006 study showed that eighty percent of marines killed from upper body wounds would have survived, if they'd had adequate body armor.
Newsweek: Troops were forced to improvise their own vehicle armor, because the military wasn't providing the real thing.
Washington Post: Even as the escalation began, thousands of Army Humvees still lacked FRAG Kit 5 armor protection.
TXCN News: Soldiers were provided such inadequate supplies of water, on the battlefield, that it was literally making them ill.
Salon: The Veterans Administration knew as early as 2004 that there were serious problems with the conditions at Walter Reed Army Medical Center- and did nothing.
Salon: The Department of Defense also knew about the problems long before public exposure, and the resulting outcry forced them actually to do something about it.
NPR: Veterans were receiving fewer medical disability benefits now than before the war
MSNBC: Up to twenty percent of Iraq Vets may have been suffering Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Washington Post: A Pentagon task force concluded that the available medical care for those troops suffering psychological problems was "woefully inadequate."
Salon: Wounded soldiers classified as medically unfit for battle were being reclassified as fit, so they could be sent back into battle.
Salon: These reclassifications were done to provide enough manpower for Bush's escalation.
Salon: Even soldiers with acute Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder were being sent back to Iraq.
Understandably, morale deteriorated
Spiegel Online: Troops stationed in Germany were increasingly going AWOL rather than be cannon fodder for Bush's insanity.
New York Times: The army had to revise upwards its understated desertion rate.
Boston Globe: West Point graduates were leaving the military at the highest rate in three decades, as repeated tours of Iraq drove out some of the army's best young officers.
Associated Press: The Army had its highest desertion rate since 1980.
Psychological trauma and suicide.
CBS News: By July 2007, some "38 percent of soldiers and 31 percent of Marines report psychological conditions such as brain injury and PTSD after returning from deployment. Among members of the National Guard, the figure is much higher — 49 percent — with numbers expected to grow because of repeated and extended deployments."
Journal of the American Medical Association, reported that:
The prevalence of reporting a mental health problem was 19.1% among service members returning from Iraq compared with 11.3% after returning from Afghanistan and 8.5% after returning from other locations (P<.001). Mental health problems reported on the postdeployment assessment were significantly associated with combat experiences, mental health care referral and utilization, and attrition from military service. Thirty-five percent of Iraq war veterans accessed mental health services in the year after returning home; 12% per year were diagnosed with a mental health problem. More than 50% of those referred for a mental health reason were documented to receive follow-up care although less than 10% of all service members who received mental health treatment were referred through the screening program.
Stacy Bannerman, Foreign Policy In Focus:
Soldiers who have served -- or are serving -- in Iraq are killing themselves at higher percentages than in any other war where such figures have been tracked.
Associated Press: The army experienced the highest suicide rate in 26 years.
New York Times: By January 2008, traumatized Iraq veterans were leaving "a trail of death and heartbreak in U.S."
Washington Post: Suicides among active-duty soldiers had reached their highest level since the Army began keeping such records.
Washington Post: In April 2008, 300,000 veterans of the Bush wars were reported to be suffering from PTSD or major depression.
The Oregonian: In July 2009, a report showed a dramatic jump in the rate of mental illness, among veterans of the Bush wars.
Boston Globe: By July 2009, homelessness was rising among female veterans of the Bush wars. Many are single parents.
Science Daily: By November 2009, the rate of PTSD among Iraq troops was reported to be as high as 35%.
San Francisco Chronicle: Homelessness, overall, was rising among veterans of the Bush wars.