Cheney’s cheap chicanery

CHENEY’S CHEAP CHICANERY…. Former Vice President Dick Cheney, after quite a bit of time in the media spotlight of late, started to fade away, at least a little. He piped up again yesterday, though, complaining to the conservative Washington Times about U.S. policy in Iraq.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney on Monday said he is concerned about U.S. forces withdrawing from Iraqi cities within 24 hours.

Mr. Cheney told The Washington Times’ “America’s Morning News” radio show that he is a strong believer in Gen. Ray Odierno, commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, and that the general is doing what needs to be done.

“But what he says concerns me: That there is still a continuing problem. One might speculate that insurgents are waiting as soon as they get an opportunity to launch more attacks.” […]

“I hope the Iraqis can deal with it,” Mr. Cheney said. “At some point they have to stand on their own, but I would not want to see the U.S. waste all the tremendous sacrifice that has gotten us to this point.”

Andrew Sullivan responded, “[H]aving initiated the worst foreign policy decision in recent times, Cheney doesn’t want the occupation to end any time soon. More to the point, he is gearing up to blame Obama if the withdrawal leads to bloodshed or chaos.”

That’s probably true, but I’d go a little further. Cheney argued the Obama administration’s policy may produce a new round of violence and squander recent gains. What Cheney neglected to mention is that the Obama administration is simply following through on the SOFA deal negotiated by the Bush/Cheney administration.

As Fred Kaplan explained the other day, “[T]he withdrawal is not the doing of President Barack Obama. Rather, it was negotiated during the Bush administration, at — more to the point — the Iraqi government’s insistence. The Iraqis are the ones who wanted, and ordered, us out. Even if John McCain had won the 2008 election, we’d still be pulling out of Iraq’s cities.”

If Cheney doesn’t like the Status of Forces Agreement, signed in November 2008, he should take it up with Bush.

For that matter, Cheney is going to have to work a lot harder to convince the public. A new CNN poll found that 73% of Americans “favor the withdrawal of US combat troops from Iraqi cities and towns.” Among Republicans — the ones who bought into the “cut and run” rhetoric Cheney threw around for years — 74% favor the withdrawal plan being executed this week.

The national consensus is obvious. It’s just not what Cheney would like it to be.