Dick Cheney is again inflating the threat of terrorism so as to scare the American public and build support for his goals, which are a presidency with unconstrained power in foreign interventions, U.S. global hegemony based on high-tech military power, a condition of permanent warfare, and unilateral U.S. interventions whenever and wherever the president pleases. Cheney basically wants a presidential dictatorship in the area of foreign affairs, bolstered by a never-ending war.
Cheney hates constraints on the presidency, coming from Congress, the public, the media, the intelligence community, the Pentagon, the Department of State, or anywhere. It is to be expected that Cheney keeps hidden that he also wants a presidential dictatorship in domestic affairs. This inference is a logical corollary to his aims in foreign policy.
Asked this week about nuclear attack, Cheney lied. “He cited the continuity of government program, saying it ‘involved having a government-in-waiting, if you will, ready to go in the event of a nuclear attack…so that we could always maintain the constitutional-based, governmental authority.'” Cheney frequently lies, see here and here. In the contingency planning for nuclear attack on Washington, which involved moving the government to safe locations, “Rumsfeld and Cheney were the leaders of two of these teams”, we are told in Duggan’s thesis. “Once a year 3 separate teams were taken to an unknown location somewhere in the United States to simulate a shadow government in hiding that gamed out a response to World War III…The leaders of the teams or presidents acted as the sole authority of government and the exercises failed to include a role for Congress and ignored the regular line of succession in the Constitution.”
Cheney has used the threat and fear of terror many times in order to justify higher Pentagon budgets, massive surveillance, unconstitutional methods, and untrammeled presidential power, even though none of these effectively ward off terror attacks; and even though the use of U.S. power overseas is producing more and more potential terrorists here and abroad.
In May of 2002, Cheney warned of a terror attack in America, saying it was certain but the date unknown. He was correct, this being a safe prediction. However, is this justification for a big shift toward dictatorial government in America and for a big shift toward a police state? These did not thwart attacks for which there was ample information of their impending probability. In 2004, Cheney used the threat of a terror attack to argue against electing John Kerry. In 2009, Cheney again warned of a terror attack and mixed it in with an attack on Obama: “Former Vice President Dick Cheney warned that there is a ‘high probability’ that terrorists will attempt a catastrophic nuclear or biological attack in coming years, and said he fears the Obama administration’s policies will make it more likely the attempt will succeed.”
There are several problems with Cheney’s predictions. First, his predictions are inflated. The problem is not that Cheney is wrong or will be proven wrong that there will be terror attacks of some sort at some time in the future. There already have been, but there are no intelligence sources saying that terrorists have access to nuclear weapons. Second, he has ulterior motives that have nothing to do with terror. He is using the terror issue, piggybacking on it, so as to push his real agenda: increased presidential power, increased military power and projecting U.S. power worldwide. Third, the policies of war and intervention that he wants don’t reduce the chances of terror. They increase it. They also increase the motivation of terrorists to seek more powerful weapons. Fourth, these interventionist policies divert foreign policy, energy and resources away from actions that will reduce terror threats. Fifth, the blanket surveillance policies abrogate rights and are ineffective to boot by flooding the system with irrelevant information.6:28 pm on June 27, 2014 Email Michael S. Rozeff