"We are here, above all, because the terrorists who have declared war on America and other free nations have made Iraq the central front in that war," he said, according to a transcript of his remarks. "The United States, also, has made a decision: As the prime target of a global war against terror, we will stay on the offensive. We will not sit back and wait to be hit again." Dick Cheney, Vice President, speaking in Baghdad on May 10, 2007.
Just as a stylistic note, to which I'm perhaps more sensitive than the general population, have you ever noticed Cheney's habit of inserting throat-clearing phrases in the middle of his sentences? "Above all." "If you will." I think it's his way of adding gravitas to his sententious utterances. I doubt that anyone ever born takes himself as seriously as Dick Cheney takes himself. He loves mumbling dreadful, spooky things, and it doesn't matter how often history proves him absolutely dead wrong about everything he says, he just comes back with another ominous declaration about the way it all is. I don't know if Guinness maintains a category for Most Consecutive Times Wrong About Matters of Foreign Policy, but if they do, they should retire the trophy in Cheney's honor. If Cheney had flipped a coin, I think he would have had results at least 49% better than his actual track record, being generous and allowing him a 1% chance of being right about anything.
Possibly this is all related to the fossilized state of Cheney's vascular system. He spends about half his time in the hospital getting thrombi Roto-Rooted out, and I really wonder why he puts himself through the ardors of international travel in order to growl out another dumb-ass comment on world affairs. Such as the above. What the hell does it mean? If it's true that George W. Bush, with his philtrumless face and donkey ears, is a Fetal Alcohol experiment gone horribly wrong, and Cheney is HypoxiaMan, with maybe 10% of the required oxygen actually getting through to the cerebrum - then maybe America's foreign policy woes (and looming financial catastrophe) are easier to understand.
But back to a parsing of Cheney's trenchant insight: I think the terrorists who "declared war on America" are bin Laden and his gang, who were and are Wahhabist Muslims from an extremist sect originating in Saudi Arabia. From what I have read about bin Laden's operation, he ran a kind of terrorist grant committee, assessing various promising proposals for murder and mayhem and funding those he thought especially devilish and creative. The Brain, the oft-dunked Khallid Sheik Mohammed, brought an idea to Osama for finishing off the World Trade Center, a job KSM and his nephew began in 1993 but were unable to complete to their satisfaction. KSM was a Kuwaiti national. As has been said many times, no one who attacked America on 9/11, and no one who worked in the back room to make it happen, came from Iraq. I've never read anything which indicates Osama bin Laden has ever been in Iraq. Since al Qaeda is not confined to any particular nation, and since it's mainly just a name for a group of outlaws who conduct business primarily by burro, I don't know that the "Al Qaeda in Iraq" formulation popular in White House press releases means these jihadis have anything to do with the 9/11 plot. The "al Qaeda in Iraq" moniker, in fact, sounds suspiciously like the sort of name given to upscale hotel chains: the Ritz-Carlton on Maui, or Four Seasons in Grosvenor Square.
So of course jihadis have made Iraq a "central front" in a war against the United States. Like Willy Sutton's logical answer for robbing banks ("that's where the money is"), there are a lot of Americans in Iraq, and the U.S. soldiers are required by their "mission" to expose themselves daily to bombs and ambushes. If we weren't in Iraq, they'd have to find somewhere else for the "central front." (Hint: it won't be the World Trade Center.)
The part about the "United States as the prime target in a global war against terror" [sic] I prefer to chalk up, if you will, to oxygen deprivation rather than to the more sinister imputation of a Freudian slip.