"The thing that’s partly disturbing about it is the fact that, the standpoint of our adversaries, if you will, in this conflict, and the al Qaeda types, they clearly are betting on the proposition that ultimately they can break the will of the American people in terms of our ability to stay in the fight and complete the task."
Thus Cheney on the Lamont victory in the Connecticut primary. An ally of the Iraq war has been lost, says the VP, thus calling into question our ability to stay in the fight and complete the task. Cheney finds this development "partly disturbing," in the same manner he found the prospect, in 2004, of a Kerry victory, raising as it did the odds America would be hit again, and this time in a devastating way.
I've never quite understood why Cheney doesn't believe his own administration screwed up in allowing 9-11 to happen in the first place. Are they entitled to some sort of national security mulligan? America was "hit hard in a devastating way" when Bush & Cheney were in office. The planning stages for 9-11, according to government investigations, took the better part of 5 years. While the 4 pilots (Atta, Hanjour, al-Sheihi and Jurrah) had been in the United States off and on for several years prior to 2001, almost all the 15 muscle hijackers made their first entry after Cheney's inauguration. One could almost say, in other words, that the hijackers were waiting until true incompetents were in charge of American security. Clinton had smart people in charge who had foiled the Millenium Plot, and captured, prosecuted and imprisoned the perpetrators of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Bush & Cheney appointed a woman who didn't and doesn't know anything about national security to defend America against terrorist threats. No one in the West Wing had any real interest in terrorism before 9-11, despite clear warnings and nearly frantic messages from FBI field offices that something was dangerously imminent.
One should not forget that Osama bin Laden starred in a videotape in the fall of 2004 which had as its obvious purpose the consolidation of Bush's position as the front runner in the presidential election. Maybe that crafty and definitely deranged auteur Ayman al-Zawahiri wrote, produced and directed the film, but it was clear they were quite content with America's leadership, and perhaps, most of all, with Dick Cheney. For hadn't Cheney been in on the ground floor of the stupidest, costliest, and most distracting endeavor of all, the "fiasco" of the Iraq war? Hadn't he said:
"We would be greeted as liberators."
"There is now no doubt that Saddam has weapons of mass destruction, including a nuclear capability."
"The insurgency is in its death throes."
"Al Qaeda is glad that Lamont won the Connecticut primary."
Does Cheney ever say anything that is not 100% wrong? He's a bumbler, a pretender, and grossly incompetent. How could bin Laden ever hope for anything better than what he's got? A Vice President who apparently pulls the policy strings of the American leadership, who participates in the disclosure of American undercover operatives, who urges a bankrupting and unnecessary war against an Arab nation unrelated to any terrorist threat while we are supposedly in the middle of a life-and-death struggle elsewhere, who stumbles along with an 18% approval rating at home -- if Cheney didn't exist, wouldn't Osama have to invent him? Doesn't Osama, wherever he is, in whatever grotto or Persian condominium the night finds him, conclude his day by praying to Allah for Cheney's fragile health? That no short circuit or power failure disturbs the delicate operation of Cheney's pacemaker/defib device? That he is allowed to serve out his term, spreading propaganda in the USA that this same incompetent regime which allowed 9-11 in the first place, and then let Osama himself vanish into the Afghan mists so Cheney's harebrained idea of invading Iraq could command center stage, should continue to have undiluted Republican support for these follies?
America's adversaries, "if you will," are not reassured by changes in the American political landscape. It disturbs them, it unnerves them. America, against all odds, might be wising up. Bush's 33% rating and Cheney's life-support 18% disturb them. They miss the good old days when the stupidity of the Bush Administration, and particularly of Cheney himself, went unchallenged.