Yesterday, Mother Jones reported on remarks by Dick Cheney to the Republican Jewish Coalition in casino mogul Sheldon Adelson’s Las Vegas retreat. The public was never supposed to hear Cheney’s remarks to the lobby, and it’s no wonder.
|Cheney with Saudi Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz|
Dick Cheney, the man who lied shamelessly to engineer an illegal war of aggression against Iraq at the cost of hundreds of thousands of lives, was not backing down from his bloodthirsty view of the world.
In Las Vegas, Cheney advocated an illegal preventive strike against Iran, attacked supporters of troop withdrawal, and attacked President Obama—who has abused executive authority to wage war in South Asia, the Horn of Africa, North Africa, and the Arabian Peninsula—for being “weak”. Cheney should be delighted with the President’s violent foreign policy.
The former Vice-President also bemoaned the allegedly growing distance between the United States and countries like Israel, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan. Irrespective of whether Cheney’s characterisations of U.S. relations with these countries is accurate—remember, the U.S. backed dictators or dictatorial monarchs in several of these places during the Arab Spring, and remains a staunch supporter of Israel—I would question whether we should be so close to such countries.
After all, the Egyptian military, which we fund, has been suborning that country’s democratic politics for years. The UAE exploits a massive pool of foreign workers who account for 90% of its workforce and have none of the labour rights associated with citizenship. Israel is a hyper-aggressive colonial power which possesses nuclear weapons and routinely violates international law. Jordan has an undemocratic executive in the person of its king. And Saudi Arabia, notorious for its refusal to recognise the rights of women, sent troops to neighbouring Bahrain to help that country’s undemocratic government crush dissent during the Arab Spring.
Saudi Arabia, one of the countries about which Cheney is always so enthusiastic, recently provided fresh evidence as to why the United States should not be associating with such a regime. The Independent newspaper reported that “Saudi Arabia has introduced a series of new laws which define atheists as terrorists, according to a report from Human Rights Watch”.
Saudi Arabia has long sought to persecute Muslim dissenters who question the right of the monarchy to rule, but recent legislation goes further by defining terrorism “as ‘calling for atheist thought in any form’”. Human Rights Watch decried this effort to “turn almost any critical expression or independent association into crimes of terrorism”.
Dick Cheney and other neocons defended the methods of barbarism used by the U.S. in Afghanistan and Iraq as necessary for the defence and spread of democracy in the Middle East. Of course we know now that the only thing spread by their illegal war, sold by Cheney who claimed that Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein were somehow connected, was Al Qaeda, which had no presence in Iraq before the U.S. military reduced that country to rubble and opened up a new front on which Islamic fundamentalists could confront the Christian fundamentalists and neocons in the Bush administration.
But if that was not bad enough, the regimes that the U.S. government has been actively supporting in the Middle East are those which stifle free expression, spurn democratic institutions, and persecute people on the basis of their religious beliefs.
Dick Cheney is no friend of democracy, and his words make him a supporter of violent, terroristic, and discriminatory regimes which violate people’s human rights.