Cheney and Obama: the Great Evasion
The refusal to acknowledge the Iranian evil—which I address at length in a forthcoming book entitled Accomplice to Evil, and which is eerily reminiscent of the desperate efforts in the West to blind ourselves to the evils of fascism, Nazism and Communism, as to similar willful blindness to terrible events in Cuba, Rwanda, and Darfur—prevents us from evaluating the current spat over ‘torture,’ Guantanamo, military commissions, and so forth. For all of Cheney’s pious calls for the release of the results of enhanced interrogations, at no point during his eight years in office did he or President Bush or their secretaries of state and defense or their top intelligence officials, tell us in any meaningful detail what we learned about Iran’s role in the real war. And for all of the frantic contacts with Iran launched by Obama, the many reports about the mullahs’ wicked activities in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon and elsewhere have not been integrated into a clear picture of the Iranian war against America.
Many of the most important prisoners at Guantanamo received assistance from Iran. Why should that information not be made public? We have interrogated numerous Iranian military and intelligence officers in Iraq, and most likely in Afghanistan. Why does Cheney not tell us something about it?
One understands that Obama has a political reason for not addressing it: a clear picture of Iran’s assault against the West would make it impossible to put all our chips on an agreement concerning the Iranian atomic project. It would make Obama’s efforts to embrace the Islamic Republic look silly. But surely it is better to get beyond our willful blindness right away, than to play a losing hand and have to try to catch up later on. Better politically, and far better strategically.
So here we are, eight years after the al-Qaeda attacks, and we have yet to address the central issues. There is still no national leader who seems to understand this, and who is determined to drive the real debate about the real war.