I try to balance my reading – I’ll read Powerlineblog.com or Instapundit and then I’ll read the Puffington Host or Salon.com. I’ll see myself in disagreement at times with the former, but the latter can put me in a blogging mood.

And so it is with Andrew O’Hehir’s latest at Salon, "Dick Cheney, Iraq and the ghosts of Vietnam."
To start with, you have to marvel at a man who can cause such apoplectic convulsions of hatred close to six years after leaving office. Many hard-left liberals are still disappointed that Scooter Libby, not Cheney, was sent to jail by special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald. Some even continue to argue thatLibby lied to protect Cheney, even though Fitzgerald and Secretary of State Colin Powellknew at the outsetthat it was Richard Armitage who leaked Valerie Plame’s name to Bob Novak (although it was David Corn who later made it public that Plame was a covert agent).
All of this forms the backdrop to O’Hehir’s piece, which responds to the former Vice President’srecent WSJ op-edwhile not responding to it at all. Instead of quoting Cheney’s piece – there is not one link or quotation – he characterizes it as "all blame for the actual or impending Iraqi disaster should be assigned to the cut-and-run pussies of the current administration, and none at all to the one that lied its way into the whole catastrophic misadventure in the first place." (Interesting that a liberal can use a slang term for a female body part as a pejorative, butLarry Correia can’t).
There are several things to note about this sentence. First, it’s focus on blame. O’Hehir argues that it’s not Obama’s fault we invaded Iraq. Second is his characterization of the "lies" that led us into Iraq. Third, there’s no actual foreign policy analysis here. O’Hehir is writing a partisan political piece, he doesn’t care what actually happens to the Shia or Sunni or Kurds in the region – he may care, to be fair, but they never come up.
The war he wants to talk about isn’t even Iraq – it’s Vietnam. He blames the invasion of Iraq on what he calls PVSD – Post-Vietnam Stress Disorder. Iraq wasn’t actually about Saddam or WMDs or terrorism or genocide. The people that voted for and ordered the invasion thought that "a foreign war with a plausible-sounding excuse, and one that ended with a clean victory, would be good for America and might restore the sense of national unity and purpose we putatively lost in the ’60."
I know that journalists and columnists will – even if there is no important news of the day – report it to you like there were. But this is something quite beyond comprehension.
Let’s state the obvious, the US had already gotten over PVSD, in whatever form it ever actually existed. Anyone remember the 1991 Gulf War? I do. I was a college student, in ROTC, watching live on television the first war to enter my consciousness. I remember watching CNN (at the time it was the only choice) and calling my dad later to ask if he thought the war would still be going on when I graduated. I remember hearing the comparisons to Vietnam made by reporters who – I figured out later – had absolutely no clue what they were talking about. I remember newsmen playing up the size of the Iraqi Army, how effective and battle tested it was from it’s war with Iran and it’s lightning invasion of Kuwait. In the words of Joe Biden, Operation Desert Storm was a Big F’ing Deal.
For a long time afterwards, I had a hard time squaring the news coverage I saw with the completely lopsided result. How could that happen? It wasn’t until I had a full understanding of our military and had read the bookInto the Storm, by Tom Clancy, that I figured it out.
(As an aside, I heard Joe Galloway, who co-wroteWe Were Soldiers Once…and Young, tell a great story about how General Schwarzkopf used CNN and other media outlets to convince Saddam that he was making an amphibious assault on Kuwait, thereby changing the defensive alignment of Saddam’s forces and leading to the lopsided defeat)
PVSD was dead, long dead, by the time Bush and Cheney were contemplating the invasion of Iraq. But they were dealing with the aftermath of Operation Desert Storm, which, by choice, failed to remove Saddam from power. Blame – something O’Hehir focuses on – could be traced to this decision, but just bringing up this war would invalidate the PVSD point he wants to make so he simply ignores it.
He wants to focus on blame. His judgment is "those who shaped policy and held the levers of power, like Cheney and Rumsfeld, deserve most of the blame for the recycled fiasco of Iraq." Why they deserve most of the blame isn’t immediately evident, O’Hehir trusts that his liberal readership will simply nod along in agreement to this line of thinking. But it deserves a little analysis.
It deserves analysis because it’s unbelievably condescending. O’Hehir is, in effect, saying that those uneducated brown people in Iraq can’t be trusted to work things out amongst themselves, so they should be governed by a sadistic, genocidal maniac from a minority religious group because he’s the only one who can keep them in line. O’Hehir and others condemn the US for unleashing sectarian hatred in Iraq without passing comment – at all – on the hatred itself.
Does O’Hehir describe the hatred? No. The word "Sunni" appears once, the words Shia and Kurd and Islam not at all. He’s not interested in Iraq, he’s interested in Iraq as it applies to US politics, and specifically how it can me make Dick Cheney look like an idiot. Or a dark wizard.
Here is O’Hehir toward the end of the piece, "Obama must feel as if his presidency has been cursed by a malicious wizard; the principal foreign-policy pledge that got him elected, and that he more or less fulfilled, is unraveling as if by magic."We know who that dark wizard is.
Cheney apparently has some wicked powers if he can convince tens of thousands of people to hate each other because of centuries old religious disagreements. One wonders why he hasn’t used those powers to win the lottery, make Jennifer Lopez fall in love with him, or keep the Kardashians off of television.
O’Hehir is a partisan so his only goal here is to absolve Obama of guilt, but the blame here is equally spread. Bush probably shouldn’t have invaded, the Iraqi Sunni and Shia didn’t have to actively fight the American forces who were trying to give them their country back, and Obama didn’t have to abandon Iraq when it was clear that our presence there was a stabilizing force on the country.
But that’s not a point O’Hehir can make, because the only thing he’s serious about is his partisanship.
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