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Spinning History January 10, 2009

Posted by Kate Ryan in Iraq War, National Politics, Republicans.
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VP Dick Cheney
VP Dick Cheney

I have always heard that it is the victorious that write the history books, and that the defeated rarely get their stories told.  In recent times, however, and with enough advance work, history can be bent, altered, or changed to spin any dark moment into benign historical anecdotes.  How else would Richard Nixon have become so rehabilitated in the eyes of the American people – so much so that his crimes seem almost quaint stacked up against the Bush-Cheney crew’s?  Or how else would we forget that – until George Bush – Ronald Reagan racked up record deficits and increased American poverty? 

Enter now the Prince of Darkness himself, current Vice President Dick Cheney.  Cheney has been making the media rounds for several “exit interviews” in the past week – and it amazes me how the current administration is explaining or defending its roles in the mess we now find ourselves in.  According to Cheney, nobody saw the current financial meltdown coming.  Apparently, it was a big surprise, even though there were warnings of at least the subprime mortgage crisis a year earlier.  But even better, Cheney says that President Bush took “bold and decisive action” on the financial crisis.  I must have missed that.  I saw a lot of dithering around – and it looked like Hank Paulson was actually the president. 

Cheney said that nobody could have predicted 9/11, either.  Really?  How about the intelligence memo dated two weeks prior to the 9/11 attacks entitled “Bin Laden Determined to Attack Within the U.S.”?  What about the FBI agents reporting Saudis on student visas taking flying – but not landing – lessons?  Cheney also says – even now – that Saddam Hussein had the capability to make WMD and that we were justified to go into Iraq. 

I saw a snippet of one of Cheney’s interviews on television the other night.  He said that history will vindicate the Bush administration for Iraq because we haven’t been attacked since 9/11.  This is the obfuscation of fact that has always appalled me.   After ignoring intelligence pointing toward the catastrophic events of that day and turning a deaf ear to the experts who WERE predicting it, we are just supposed to forget that 9/11 happened on George Bush’s watch and be glad that nothing has happened since. 

Can you imagine if a convicted murderer moved on to your block and started behaving oddly?  At first, you might be uncomfortable and try to ignore him, but sooner or later you would call the police.  Then, imagine that you called several times in 8 months, and each time the police condescended to you and told you to mind your own business.  The one day you wake up to find that the entire family next door has been murdered – and your neighbor the killer is responsible?  Are you supposed to feel better 7 years later because no other families on your block have been taken out?  Especially if your murdering neighbor is still at large? 

George Bush and Dick Cheney are deperately trying to build themselves some sort of positive legacy that history will look kindly upon.  They are spinning the disastrous consequences of their administration and hoping that none of us who lived through it will remember what really happened.  Let us all hope that since we are the victors – we will write the history – and write the truth.

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