Dick, the wanderer

February 23, 2007

Peter Hartcher’s column says it all. With approval ratings at 29%, a Congress and Senate controlled by the Democrats and his mate Rummy no longer in the corridors of power, what’s a vice-president to do? Visit Australia of course! To say “thanks” of course! That this chief war-monger is still traversing the globe in Air Force II spewing forth pro-war sentiment is a testament to the kind of unrealistic, selfish and downright arrogant thinking that neo-conservatives seem to be prone to.

Just before coming to Australia, Dick the brave gave a fervently pro-war speech to US troops on an aircraft carrier stationed in Yokosuka in Japan. With over three thousand US troops dead as a result of the Bush/Cheney administration’s decision to go to war with Iraq, Cheney again showed his utter comtempt for the lives of the soldiers he has sent off to fight this despicable war:

We will be flexible. We’ll do all we can to adapt to conditions on the ground. We’ll make every change necessary to do the job, and I want you to know that the American people will not support a policy of retreat.

Does Cheney, Bush or Howard or anyone else ever say what “the job” is? No, except of course for the new Vietnamisation “shift the responsibility to the Iraqis” policy. It was interesting to see Dick’s fellow lame-duck John Bolton on Lateline last night drive home the rhetoric on that one.

Cheney has no right to speak of “retreat” in a negative tone to anyone, as Hartcher points out:

With the US at war in Vietnam, the young Cheney, of drafting age, applied for four deferments to avoid service. “I had other priorities in the ’60s than military service,” he would say later. This is why he has been branded in the US as one of the Administration’s so-called “chicken hawks”.

And yet Cheney has the hide, during his visit to Sydney, to schedule an event at Victoria Barracks where he will pose with Aussie war veterans, hoping, one presumes, for valour by association.

I wonder if the three thousand US soldiers who are now dead had other priorities. I wonder if their families had other priorities. Why is Cheney only visiting Australia now? It’s been six years since his last visit and it’s been four years since the beginning of the war in Iraq. To say “thanks”? Yeah right! He has nothing better to do.

Is Howard guilty by association with this man? Of course not. Australia is close to the US and always has been. However, Howard is guilty for blindly following the bad policies that Cheney and the neo-cons have espoused, for involving Australia in an unjust war based on lies and for putting Australian lives at risk in doing so. This is the point that Kevin Rudd is making and it’s an entirely valid one. Howard, like Cheney is defending the undefendable and turning blue in the face as he insists that he wasn’t wrong, still isn’t wrong and never will be wrong. It’s OK to be arrogant sometimes when you believe in something – but not when you’re sending young men and women off to war. Rudd, like the Democrats in the US, is pointing out the obvious and appealing for common-sense and a way foward. I’ll be remembering that come election day.



  1. I am discouraged that this man is out there “representing” me. But, many of the English-speaking countries are seemingly at odds with their politicians.

    We have just had a partial changing of the guard in America, but it is my belief that until we have viable 3rd and even 4th political parties, with grass-roots instigation and support, that we will not have anything other than Tweedledee and Tweedledumb politics in any and all of these countries.

    First BushDad-Cheney (as Sec. of Defense etc.), now Cheney-BushKid at the helm have had a mesemerized, largely disinterested electorate, and why there was barely a hue and cry after the first election and barely a whimper after the second is absolutely “beyond” me.

    The average American is hurting like they rarely have in this country’s history, but too many are into “pretending” or “hoping” it will get better — when, realistically, it won’t.

    The New York Times had a heart-breaking story on the front-page today, which I am sure has been repeated in Oz, or Britain or Italy or Canada etc, as well. All the allies are learning first-hand how these much-more-severely-maimed but alive Vets will have to live for decades knowing that this was a “personal” war for BushI-Cheney-BushII. Yes, that’s all it ever was.

    Shame on them.


  2. Em, yep, I agree. Rest assured that many of us are aware that there are millions upon millions of decent Americans and we know full well that Bush et al. don’t represent them. Just as our Australian PM is a major misrepresentation for many of us. We’ve just got to soldier on and keep fighting the good fight. The founding fathers of your great nation would indeed be turning in their graves if they knew what was going on today. But, with people like Obama out there, the forces for good seem to be stirring. It may take some time and probably won’t even start with Obama as President, but we’ve got to have hope! People are slowly but surely starting to wake up I think, or at least I hope!

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