The Pretended Courage of Dick Cheney

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October 2004

I've listened long enough to Dick Cheney's pretenses to knowing more about what it means to command in wartime than veterans who've been there and done that. His self-projected war wisdom seems most accurately defined by the pipe dreams of the Project For a New American Century with which he has an intimate history.

Cheney's insistance that a vote for Kerry will result in another major attack on the U.S.A. is dishonest fear-mongering at its worst.

Mr. Cheney, you haven't been there. You haven't done that.
Pretending to speak as someone who has been there and has done that demonstrates the desparation of ignorant arrogance. Giving public speeches only before narrow and restricted audiences - preaching to your choir - in which you purport great wisdom about leadership is part and parcel of the shallowness by which you pretend to govern and administer your responsibilities. The reason for that in view of your lack of personal military experience is the intellectual hubris and academic assumptions so amply expressed by your fellow theorists at the Project for a New American Century.
Book learning is still just book learning. A college education without on-the-job experience and exposure is still limited to textbooks and theories. A Vice President's inability to express empathy with the American military's day-to-day reality continues to broadcast much more powerfully and loudly than criticisms around who is fit or unfit for leadership - particularly in a military role.

You and the President continue a stubborn insistence that America is safer because of Iraq and 130,000+ troops in Iraq.

In partnering with George Bush, who thinks that substance communicates itself in swagger, bravado and foolish stubbornness, you and he pretend to the wisdom of Lincoln and Roosevelt who actually demonstrated wise wartime leadership. However, you two reveal something more like the rash arrogance of George Armstrong Custer.

Your political advisors have been so blatantly devious, manipulative, and disingenuous that it is no longer possible to separate the candidates from their managers regardless of a pretense of aloofness and no connection to campaign negativity and dirty tricks.

Mr. Cheney, my vote for or against the incumbents will have no impact on a terrorist attack before or several months after the election. In either circumstance such an attack will be the responsibility of the Bush administration and everyone in it.

In either circumstance an attack will have occurred at a moment whose impact could have been diminished if you had given a higher priority to America's need for greater preparation and homeland protection while on your watch and not wasted our resources in a singularly misguided and mismanaged context in Iraq.

In either circumstance an attack will have occurred while the American Military is occupied abroad to a degree of expenditure that has left the Pentagon over which you and George preside struggling to manage and sustain.

If an attack could have been avoided, its enormity reduced and the consequences made less dreadful had there been a stronger presence of Active Duty, Reserve and National Guard troops within our own boundaries, all the foolishness about Weapons of Mass Destruction, Sadam/Osama linkage and nation-building in Iraq will become powerfully insignificant.

We the people will justifiably hold the Bush Administration responsible and no amount of yours and George's on-going flip-flops about Iraq; no amount of equating the War on Terrorism with the War in Iraq as one and the same and no amount of PNAC theorizing is going to change that.

You won't be able to blame Clinton, Kerry or Supreme Court Judges. You won't even be able to blame Rumsfeld or Powell. You won't be able to attack the messengers, discredit the critics or shift the blame to someone else.

But I will tell you this ... a Kerry election will put into place a much more experienced, capable and strong-willed wisdom for dealing with a terrorist-attack and its probable consequences.

John Edwards is right. There ARE two America's Mr. Vice President.

One is our electorate which is comprised of the entire spectrum of American life - the rich and the poor, the employed as well as the unemployed, the insured and the uninsured, the vetereans and those who did not serve, the military members and the families who support and pray for them.

The Other America are those currently elected officials who have demonstrated a fear of straight talk, an unwillingness to accept responsibility, a willingness to manipulate and even falsify truth in an all-out attempt to stay in office. They include elected Republican politicians who have compromised legitimate conservative values in an unwise desire to keep a Republican President in office regardless of his ability. You can see them on the talk shows struggling to put a positive spin on administration policies, behaviors and rationales..

The Other America is led by those who restrict their public appearances and speeches to hand-picked audiences and who are afraid to face disagreement and confront the hard questions publicly; who think they solve problems by attacking the messengers and betraying the whistle-blowers.

The Other America are those who fire employees for political opinions, broadcasters who pretend to fairness and balance and proclaim a monopoly on patriotism. These are those who have assumed that what is good for themselves is absolutely good for the country.

It has been asked, "Who wants to be the last soldier to die for a lie?"
An equally important question to be asked is, "Who wants to be remembered as that part of an electorate persuaded to vote for candidates whose most powerful political efforts demonstrated an acute lack of moral and ethical integrity, on obsession with secrecy and little reverence for the truth?"

Arthur Ruger 2004

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Arthur & Lietta Ruger 2002-2008. The American Choice is a  political internet journal based in Bay Center, Washington. The views expressed not authored by Arthur or Lietta Ruger are the writers' own and do not necessarily reflect those of The American Choice or SwanDeer Productions. Permission of author required for reprinting original material, and only requests for reprinting a specific item are considered.