Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A Weird Time, What with the Convergence of Cheney's Book and 9/11 Anniversary

Nothing reminds of us the failure of the elites more than an examination of Dick Cheney. And nothing -- from reviews, reports, and reactions to his memoirs -- seems more amusing than Dick Cheney examining himself. Talk about the stupid-or-evil conundrum, though I will say Cheney made that call easy. He can act stupid in his book, but that doesn't discount how almost sublimely evil he was during his tenure.

What's fascinating is appreciating the irony both of Cheney's purposeful self-deception in his memoirs and his use of what is rightly called criminal deception in selling the war in Iraq. Nothing can polish that policy turd, no matter how many memoirs by Bushies -- and Bush himself -- are published. As the examination of the grapes of wrath stemming from 9/11 proceeds in the midst of Cheney's book rollout, no small number of pundits great and small are chiming in.

Atrios, via Balloon Juice, catches a classic fudge from Bill Keller, his a typical case of "if only I could have known" that applies to elites who were dead wrong and not the Dirty Hippies that got it right. Keller had a whole newsroom at his disposal and one that ranked right up there with the best in the world, so how could he have gotten it so wrong? Oh, yes, one forgets the Judith Millers, Tom Friedmans, John Burns, and Michael Gordons around the building at the time. That, however, does little to help forge a positive opinion of Bill Keller's statement today. He got it wrong and should admit it and not couch it in the usual Teflon.

We're going to experience more of the same before we get through next weekend. Hopefully, there will be a few more views expressed like that of Anne Applebaum's in Slate:
Let me repeat: The U-turn that American foreign policy made after Sept. 11 was not a failure. But under President Bush, we narrowed our horizons, stopped thinking in broader strategic terms, and paid little attention to future competitors and even less attention to our own domestic weaknesses. President Obama, dealt a bad hand from the beginning, hasn't had the energy, the resources, or the willpower to do much better. Ten years after the events, I now find myself asking: Could it be that the planes that hit New York and Washington did less damage to the nation than the cascade of bad decisions that followed?
 When you tie this together with the economics of it all -- in light of the mess the Republicans in Congress are making of our economy through their obstructionism -- we've got a bleak outlook that Dick "Deficits don't matter" Cheney, Bill Keller and the rest of the elites can't ignore. So, one more time: How did this happen?

Oh yeah.

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