Point of View Columns

Tales from the Crypt

Not surprisingly the news of the summary execution of Osama bin Laden pursuant to an executive order from Barack Obama dominated the news right through this past weekend. In a stunning display of icy coolness and steadfast resolve to keep his promise, President Obama did not flinch when presented with the opportunity to dispatch the living symbol of terrorism.

Not surprisingly, the besmirched and discredited alumni of the administration of George W. Bush dusted themselves off to take an undeserved victory lap. Dick Cheney crowed that the successful assault on bin Laden “probably” was due to intelligence derived from torture. Mr. Cheney is about as credible on this point as he was about his outright lies about non-existent weapons of mass destruction in Iraq that he used to justify America’s blood soaked and irresponsible venture into that country.

In point of fact Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense at the time, argued quite forcefully that torture was not the instrument by which the U.S. military gained intelligence. Of course Mr. Rumsfeld is discredited by his failed strategy of an attack on Afghanistan that had no ultimate goal, save the capture of bin Laden. And it was on the Rumsfeld Watch the bin Laden escaped the U.S. forces at Tora Bora.

Condoleezza Rice has been mercifully silent during the past two years leaving us without reason to point out that she zealously participated in the lies, incompetence and witless plotting that lead to the twin debacles in Iraq and Afghanistan. Ms. Rice correctly pointed out that the military-intelligence apparatus that resulted in the demise of bin Laden had its origins in the Bush Administration.

Clearly demonstrating that she is a willing stranger to the truth, Ms. Rice then went on to once again misinform the American public by omitting the fact that by the end of the Bush Administration the capture of Osama bin Laden was not a priority and all urgency in that regard had dissipated as energy, blood and treasure were mistakenly directed towards Saddam Hussein and Iraq.

Ms. Rice then went on to state that in giving the order to kill Osama bin Laden Barack Obama “did what any President would have done”. Aside from attempting to once again insult the intelligence of the American public, Condoleezza Rice also seeks to gratuitously demean and denigrate the executive abilities of the current President.

Even some of the most mean-spirited anti-Obama zealots have grudgingly admitted that Barack Obama demonstrated leadership and decisiveness – as well as intelligence. Condoleezza Rice’s boss was famous for acting upon the impulses from his “gut”. And it was his “gut” that caused hesitation at Tora Bora. It was the Bush “gut” and the connivance of Ms. Rice and her colleagues that misguided the United States into a war in Iraq.

Barack Obama uses his brain instead of his “gut” and the results are apparent to all but the still-besotted Condoleezza Rice. Now troops are being withdrawn from Iraq. Now Osama bin Laden is dead. And now there is a rational and compelling reason to begin bringing U.S. troops back from the maw of war in Afghanistan that continues to await them.

Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rice have had the good grace and/or the good sense to be quiet so as not to encourage comparisons between the current Administration and the one in which they served and in turn served the American people in such a disgraceful fashion.

We are now reminded that it was during the Bush Administration that the wrong headed strategy that called for the pursuit of Saddam Hussein, a thug who represented no danger to U.S. national security, was at the expense of decapitating al Qaeda by capturing or killing Osama bin Laden.

We are now supposed to believe that the lies of the past are now the truth of the present. Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rice have done grievous damage to this country, as did most of the national security team during the Bush Administration.

To rise out of the crypt of history and try to dim the luster of the Obama Administration is unseemly, uncalled for and an attempt to perpetrate another set of lies and mistruths.

There are thousands upon thousands of dead and wounded American troops who don’t have a voice and cannot ask this awful triad what was their motivation. We can ask them now if we care to hear more lies.

History is ultimately determined by who is telling the story of the past. The Cheney-Rumsfeld-Rice unholy trinity would have us believe in a history that just didn’t happen. We must be certain to disbelieve the lies and believe the evidence that is before us in the present.

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