You ask me what I’m thinking aboutI tell you that I’m thinking aboutWhatever you’re thinking aboutTell me something that I’ll forgetAnd you might have to tell me againIt’s crazy what you’ll do for a friend
~”Daddy Issues” by The Neighbourhood
Just when you thought there was the slightest possibility Republican “Team Sane” might eventually land the ship safely on Earth One, it’s leader former Wyoming Representative Liz Cheney proved that once Donald Trump is gone, it will be back to business as usual. On what do I base this pessimistic view of a functioning two-party democratic system? Her interview with Jake Tapper on the October 22 edition of CNN’s “State of the Union.” After an opening segment on the importance of plea deals by Sydney Powell and Kenneth Chesebro on Trump’s legal peril and Jim Jordan’s secret ballot reality check, Tapper turned to the Israel-Hamas War.
TAPPER: Let me ask you, just in terms of advising a country that is an ally — a lot of people are drawing parallels to 9/11, although, proportionally, this was worse. This is about — would be the same as killing 40,000 people in Israel, as opposed to 3,000 that happened here in 9/11.
On 9/11, your father was vice president. You came to work at the State Department after 9/11. Take a listen to what President Biden said in Israel this week.
VIDEO CLIP OF BIDEN: But I caution this: While you feel that rage, don’t be consumed by it. After 9/11, we were enraged in the United States. And while we sought justice and got justice, we also made mistakes.
TAPPER: Given the goal of not just defeating Hamas, but a long-term goal of Israel living in peace, of a two-state solution, if that’s even a serious proposition anymore, what lessons do you think we have learned as a country that we could tell Israel, that we could share with Israel?
CHENEY: Well, look, I think probably the biggest mistake that we made post-9/11 was President Biden’s decision to withdraw from Afghanistan the way that he did.
Leave it to Daddy’s little girl to conveniently skip over the 2003 invasion of Iraq. You know, the conflict predicated on what we once thought was “the BIG lie” until Trump came up with “a BIGGER lie.” Actually it was two lies: Saddam Hussein’s involvement in the 9/11 terrorist attack (not true) and his imminent development and potential use of weapons of mass destruction against the United States (also not true).
We can all agree the withdrawal from Afghanistan did not go as planned largely due to the fact that no one expected the Kabul government and military forces to surrender to the Taliban within days, if not hours, of the start of the evacuation. At a time when some Americans are questioning continued support for Ukrainians who are fighting and dying in defense of democracy, they seem to forget we provided 20 years of both American treasure and lives for a regime that showed no interest in standing up for itself. Since the U.S. withdrawal, Afghanistan, though ruled by the Taliban, has not been a credible terrorist threat to our homeland. They have enough problems to deal with governing their own country.
Compare that to the consequences of the 2003 Iraq invasion.
- A total of 4,492 U.S. members of the arm services killed and another 32,292 wounded.
- Direct funding of more than $750 million. Estimates of indirect costs at home and abroad raise that total to $3 trillion.
- An ISIS resurgence in the region.
- War profiteering of which the major financial beneficiary was Haliburton (you know, “Daddy’s corporation”) which received $39.5 billion in federal contracts during the conflict.
Perhaps the most devastating unintended consequence of the Iraq invasion was the removal of the single most efficient counter-balance to the rise of Iran. After eight years of armed conflict between Iraq and Iran beginning in 1980, the Iranian clerics agreed to a U.N. brokered cease-fire. According to a 2016 report by Satgin Hamrah of the Fletcher Forum of World Affairs, “While the war may have ended in 1988, its legacy lives on in the Sunni versus Shia sectarian conflicts that currently exist in much of the Muslim world.” Without Hussein’s presence to ensure a strong Sunni counter to the Iranian Shia theocracy, the threat to America is significantly higher than it was pre-2003. According to a 2022 assessment by the Council on Foreign Affairs:
Iran has built considerable political clout in Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime. Its wide sphere of influence could be expanding, raising domestic tensions and alarming U.S. policymakers.
When the GOP accuses the Biden Administration of enabling Iran’s rise as a global menace, politely remind them who created the opportunity by removing their preoccupation with a hostile next door neighbor.
The other piece of news coming out of the interview was Cheney’s announcement she had not ruled out a possible run for the presidency. My first thought? She will not have to worry about campaign financing. Certainly, she can self-fund her campaign with Daddy’s literal “war chest.”
For what it’s worth.