Last Throes

Jeff Alworth

Dick Cheney
, a year ago today:

"But I think the level of activity that we see today, from a military standpoint, I think will clearly decline. I think they're in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency."

We try not to spend too much time on national and international politics on BlueOregon, but this date, particularly as it follows Memorial Day, is an occasion to note that decisions made by men far from home often have serious consequences here.  Since the Vice President made this comment (but one in a string of dubious statements he's made about Iraq) five Oregonians have died in Iraq.  Many more more have served.  The costs, of course, extend beyond those serving to their families, their communities, and to the larger community--including those who agree and disagree with the war. We are all affected by the language and actions of our leaders in Washington.


A parked car bomb hit a popular market in a Shiite area north of Baghdad on Tuesday, killing at least 25 people and wounding 65, the Interior Ministry said. Another car bomb went off at a dealership in southern Iraq on Tuesday, killing at least 12 people and wounding 32.

That story is from yesterday.  Throes, yes, but not the last.

  • Sid Leader (unverified)

    Oh, Deadeye Dick... so many fatuous quotes to choose from... my favorite is from the RNC Convention... when he almost wept... as he said he understood the cost of sending young men and women to war... because he sees the crosses on the gravestones as he flies over Arlington National Cemetery every single day.

    One small problem: The graves at Arlington National Cemetery have no crosses. It's non-denominational.

  • Patrick E. (unverified)

    My greatgrandfather's headstone at Arlington is a four foot white marble cross. There's not many, but maybe a dozen others (from the Spanish American War) within a hundred feet of his. His uncle's is a fifteen foot metallic obelisk, with a cross on top. They're around. Pat

  • Dan J (unverified)


    Politicians prognosticate. Is there a law that says if they are wrong, they shouldn't have ever spoke in the firts place? That is a weak point you are trying to make. It is meaningless in that you are criticizing someone for not having perfect foresight.

    Ah. I almost forgot. Liberals strive for the perfect society. In this society, there are no terrorists (just under-privledged & mis-understood). There is no crime (just under-educated that were dealt a bad deck of cards). There is no poverty (because socialism takes care of everything).

    In this society, leaders don't have to make difficult desicions. NOTE TO LIBERALS. A difficult decision means that there is NOT a clear cut answer when you make the decision. This requires leadership, not perfect human beings.

    People who only act when perfection is assured end up sitting on their hands all their life. They are good at complaining but very short on accomplishment. They are easy to pick out. Not all are Democrats. Many are Republicans.

    It's sad that you chose to tie in the deaths of five service people with the VP's comments. Your words are hollow and the use of other people's misery to make such a weak point is pitiful.

    Fortunately, the Marxist vision of Blue Oregon will never materialize on a national scale.

    Excuse the typos,

    Dan J

    Don't give me a fish, teach me to fish.

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    Hey look everybody! A new troll!

  • danJ (unverified)

    Wow, name calling. How original.

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    Politicians prognosticate. Is there a law that says if they are wrong, they shouldn't have ever spoke in the firts place?

    Well, at the risk of feeding the trolls, I will say this: BS. What Cheney was offering was not a prediction, but spin and rhetoric. I'd be willing to give him the benefit of the doubt on this one had he not willfully lied to Americans throughout the lead-up to the war, during the war, and following the war. He's run out of that benefit, Dan. (Follow the links in the original posts if you'd like to see the lies; they're there on the White House's official website.)

    But that, at least, is a debatable point. This, however, is not:

    It's sad that you chose to tie in the deaths of five service people with the VP's comments.

    That was the White House's war. I didn't tie the Veep's words to their deaths, they did. You might arguably say that their lives have served a higher purpose, that the war's aims will be achieved, and that it was on balance a good idea to invade Iraq. The thing you cannot do is distance Cheney from their deaths.

  • dan J (unverified)


    All politicians perform spin and rhetoric.

    I disagree with your point that the VP lied to the American public on this specific set of facts. Did he believe with conviction information that he received from US sources that was backed up by European sources? Yes.

    Does he make perfect decisions? No. Does anyone? No.

    If you'd like to tie the deaths of American servicemen to anyone, why don't you start with terrorists in Iraq?

    Better yet. Jeff, have you asked the families of the five people who recently died who they blame? I'll bet you lunch at any resaurant in town that it would be the terrorists in Iraq, not Dick Cheney.

    Who knows, maybe you think your opinion is carries more weight than theirs does.

    Dan J

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    Dan, you're looking for this blog over here or maybe this one.

    BlueOregon is not a place for left-right arguing. Rather, we're having a water-cooler conversation among progressives.

    Take your mindless bashing somewhere else.

  • Former Salem Staffer (unverified)


    What about "tolerance" and "diversity?" I think Dan J is bringing a perspective that is usually sorely lacking here. Otherwise, it would be a series of rants about how the war is bad and Dick Cheney is bad. I don't think anybody would benefit from such a discussion. Remember-you never know what your values are until you have to defend them. If "tolerance" and "diversity" are truly liberal values, then you should welcome dissenting opinions. Don't try to shout someone down who disagrees with you. Otherwise, you end up sounding like the lunatics on the blogs you mentioned.

  • LT (unverified)

    Wonder if Dan J. read the Sunday Oregonian story "We Talk. They Fought" earlier this year.

    Unless Dan has done a tour of duty in Iraq, I'll believe those Iraq vets quoted in the article over anyone else. As I recall, they each had a different point of view--diff. from each other, and diff. from what too many in politics and media try to sell as "those in the military believe..."

    But Former Salem Staffer has a point. Someone (forget who) was on Al Franken this morning saying the Truman foreign policy (although he was not very popular at the time) made more sense in the long run because it was not one sided. America had a variety of strengths, not just military. As I recall, the guest said something like "you can't persuade unless you are willing to listen and be persuaded".

    I suspect that history will judge Truman's foreign policy (giants like Kennan and Marshall, as I recall) as better than the Bush/Cheney foreign policy.

    And my guess is that the Iraq vets and their families have something in common with Vietnam vets and their families--if you put 5 of them in a room, you get 4 factions and a moderator.

    That line was told to me a couple decades ago when I was involved in lobbying for better treatement of veterans.

    Isn't the IAVA website something like ? Worthwhile reading for anyone who says the things Dan J. says.

    I wonder if Dan knows any Iraq vets, as some of us do.

  • Todd Hawes (unverified)

    Dan J, please what rock did you crawl from under?

    I agree with you on many points but when it comes to war, our politicians HAVE TO BE CORRECT 100% PERIOD. To sacrifice our blood and treasure on a baseless conflict in Iraq in attempt to fit in someone's narrow vision is abhorrent. We went to war in Iraq because we wanted to not because we had to. This was a war of choice regardless of the mindless intelligence that was pimped to the American public as authentic. Now Afganistan remains unhospitable and Osama Bin Laden still ranges free in Pakistan and Iraq is a disaster. We are guilty of creating the situation that were hoping to avoid.

    I am a veteran, although I have been out of the service for over 10 years. I supported the first Gulf War, conflicts in the Balkans, and intervention in Afganistan. But this war is now a debacle and the blood of our brave soldiers (and not so brave) squarely rests in the hands of the Bush Administration. So please quit with your apologist rhetoric for likes of Chenney and by way of extension W. War is a last resort option and this was NO last resort.


  • BOHICA (unverified)

    Better yet. Jeff, have you asked the families of the five people who recently died who they blame? I'll bet you lunch at any resaurant in town that it would be the terrorists in Iraq, not Dick Cheney.

    Better yet, why not ask Michelle and Steve Deford, Eric Blikenstaff, Annette Pritchard, Adele Kubein, Mary Geddry, or Lynn Bradach, all members of Military Families Speakout or Gold Star Families for Peace, and all right here in Oregon.

    In fact ask me, I've got a nephew in Afghanistan right now.

    "War is delightful to those who have no experience in it". -Desiderius Erasmus

    PS The recruitment office is on NE 13th and Broadway, right next to the Subway sandwich shop.

  • Dan J (unverified)

    Dear lynch mob,

    Thank you for the opportunity to share in your forum. I appreciate the one person that defends opinions that are contrary to the consensus.

    Jeff, should I ask your opinion next time before responding? That sounds a bit like a controlled society.

    I never said that war is wonderful. Maybe you can point out where I did? If not, then you are just continuing a typical lefty trick of placing words and then repeating the attack endlessly until you hope it becomes a given truth.

    There is nothing good about war. There is nothing satisfying about lives wasted. Servicemen and women losing their lives is perhaps the most bitter of deaths. These people are most often the best of our society.

    Mr. Hawes,

    Anyone who has taken the time to read any of a number of excellent books on WWII will spend some time in tears over the deaths of young GI's due to horrendous decisions made by military commanders. some of these decisions where made of somewhat dubious motives.

    WW II (in the European theater)was a war of choice as well. We chose to enter that continent even though Germany had not attacked our shores. Our President was a Democrat. He actively lied and witheld information from the Congress and Senate in order to get our forces into the European theater (Read "A Man Called Enigma").

    Would you consider WWII (this war of choice) to be a worthwhile endeavor? If you say no, I'll be interested to see who defends you. If you say yes, knowing that horrible decisions were made in specific battles for dubious motives, then you are just using temporary logic of convenience.

    "Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three...."

    Luke 12:51-53

    These words have been proved out time and again. The current wars are all about religion. The "family" is, of course, mankind.

    The only reason you & I have the freedom to write whatever we want in this space is due to the sacrifice of the divided in wars of choice. The Civil War was a war of choice. The North chose to fight the South. The South did not invade the North and march into Chicago.

    Dan J

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    Did he believe with conviction information that he received from US sources that was backed up by European sources? Yes.

    This seems to be the fulcrum of this non-debate.

    Some of us have followed this thing from the start. We are clear that the Project for a New American Century wanted to invade Iraq and install a bunch of massive forward air bases to control middle eastern oil. They said it themselves.

    These guys had been frozen out of Bush 41's administration as dangerous nuts. Under Bush 43/ Cheney, they formed the core vice presidential staff, and when the CIA sent 'em info that they didn't like, they formed the Office of Special Plans to cherrypick the intel so it would fit what they wanted to do.

    Cheney, Feith, Pipes, Hansen, Wolfie, and their ilk were over at CIA in person, riding roughshod over 20 and 30 year professionals to get their message to fit their desire.

    What happened to the pros from the Reagan, Bush, and Clinton administrations that gave 'em evidence that they didn't want to hear?

    Like everyone else who crossed 'em in any way, they were labeled LibrulsThatHateMurica, and demoted, fired, or otherwise marginalized.

    If you are misinformed enough or ignorant enough to have bought into the Bushie's revisionist recent history, you won't get this conversation and may be hurt and bewildered by our contempt for these people who call themselves "conservatives" but are actually nothing of the kind.

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    Oh, would that we could only assail Cheney for simply falling short of "perfection!" I'd give a week's pay for that level of competence.

    It's absurd to say Cheney's "prediction" simply didn't pan out. Many of us were saying BEFORE the war exactly what would happen, and it has.

    I'm sorry, but the time for legitimate argument on the war has long passed. It cannot be argued that it was a good idea, that it went well, or that improvement is on the horizon. Dick Cheney can go suck it: he was WRONG. OK?

  • Dan J (unverified)

    Dear Torrid,

    I appreciate your passion and even agree with your disgust at the execution of the Iraq war. There is a chasm that separates our opinion on the rational for entering. We agree to disagree.

    It is a shame you end your statement with the phrase, "Dick Cheney can go suck it"...

    That statement is sophomoric and defines you.

    This debate won't define if he was wrong or not. History will, as it always does.

    Dear Pat,

    I'm sure (unlike you) that in many areas I am mis-informed and ignorant. You'll have to excuse me and everyone else in the fly-over states for being so dumb.

    I sure wish I had the tree of knowledge planted in my backyard as apparently you do.

    Please send the rest of us some seeds so that we can all grow that tree and live life with a perfection of the thoughts and motives of others.

    Dan J

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    Yeah, come on, Pat! Put down the appletini and get out of the Pearl, man! You metrosexual city elites just hate anyone who doesn't live in a loft, don't you?

    (Dan apparently didn't read your bio.)

  • (Show?)

    I'm often ignorant, but rarely mis-informed, and almost never dumb, in the classic definition of being silent.

    I would be glad to provide you with the seeds to the Tree of Knowledge. It's a simple four stepper to plant and cultivate:

    1) Google a topic

    2) Read at least as many articles that offer the information that is the opposite of the result that you want to see

    3) Think critically about the results and form an opinion that must, of necessity, be temporary.

    4) When you get new, countervailing information, repeat steps one through three, and change mind as indicated by new information

    Repeat on every topic for the rest of your life.


    It's tough to live with uncertainty, but hey that's how reality works. It sapplies to Left Right and None of the Above.

    Sorry about that.


    Jeff, What the hell is an appletini??? (But I am loving the Metrosexual handle.......)

  • Dan J (unverified)


    thanks for clearing it all up for me. Wisdom via search engines. Amazing!

    I think you can take this secret four step process and solve many or the current Left/Right issues we have.

    <h1>1) Education: (Billions of $$ saved)</h1>

    Fire all of teachers and simply assign state mandated learning assignments. Students can just Google themselves to a state of Solomonic wisdom. They will of course be required to do this once each semester on the same topic to read all of the new research articles that are posted on the world wide web.

    I'll let you come up with #'2, 3, 4, etc.

    As a matter of fact, if you turn this into a book and CD package, this 4 step process could be sold via infomercials to the ignorant for the low price of $19.95.

    One problem though Pat:

    If we all go through the same four step process and come up with a different answer, whose wisdom is correct?

    Oh, I'm sorry that question gets answered in the second CD set. I'd charge $29.95 for that one though.

  • Karl (unverified)


    Did you go to history class?

    1) Civil War officially started when Confederate forces lay siege to Fort Sumter, SC. War of choice? Sure, I guess the US could have let a big chunk of the country pull away. I guess the consequences of wiping out slavery in the US and also of preserving the union aren't important to you.

    2) WWII officially started when Germany invaded Poland in 1939. France and Great Britain, which were (and still are) democratic states, declare war on Germany. France fell and Germans advance on Great Britain. Great Britain wasn't doing so well. So we should just stand by and let a totalitarian state which committed many crimes against humanity beat a democratic society? To me, that wasn't much of a choice. But wait, the US wasn't in the war yet.....

    3)September, 1940. Japan joins Axis alliance. You know, Germany, Italy, and other states.

    4) December 7, 1941. That's Pearl Harbor. You remember, Japanese bomb and torpedo US ships and planes. A few thousand US servicemen die. That's when the US declared war on Japan, I guess we could have chose not to declare war. Now, on December 8, 1941, Germany and Italy declared war on the US. December 11, US declares war on Germany.

    People die when they go to war. Sometimes mistakes are made or there are bad tactical or strategic decisions. But those consequences are more palatable when the decision to go to war is just.

    What is the justification for invading Iraq? WMD's? Cross that one out. Terrorism? No evidence connecting Saddam and Islamic terrorists. Saddam was a bad guy? Well, why didn't we take out Kim Jong-Il first since he has nukes and starves his own people to death. Or Robert Mugabe? Or House of Saud (they provide $$S to Islamic fundamentalists that hate the US)?

  • Dan J (unverified)


    Amazingly enough, my public education did include history classes. I'm not so sure my children will end up with the same. They'll be spending their time on state mandated "world culture" classes instead. They'll be very educated in how oppressive and imperialistic the hippies of the 70's (today's political ruling class) view US history.

    You actually made my point. Thank you.

    The US made a choice (the right choice on each occaision) to commit the military to a crisis that could not be solved through diplomacy.

    I do appreciate you grasp of history though. I simply disagree with you view of current conflicts.

  • (Show?)


    You'll notice that Dan J seems never to answer to the specifics of any post. Instead he wanders off on tangents leading to his predictable dogma.

    Actual debate is apparently fraught with peril. Information that might lead to a change of position is simply ignored in favor of ad hominem attacks.

    Whether he's stupid, intellectually dishonest, or lazy; the result for us is the same:

    Classic Troll

    We'll know he's a commenter of Blue quality when he engages someone on the merits and facts of a given case.



    Since you seem to know what you know (in a faith based sorta way), try looking to the conservatives and libertarians on this site that actually understand dialogue.

    They seem quite able to make coherent arguments, and frequently stimulate us to think in new ways about the topics under discussion.

    "It's easier to catch flies with a rotting steak than with bleached bones"

  • Dan J (unverified)

    I must admit, you guys are a lot of fun.

    I don't even mind your grade school ( I mean graduate school, "Blue quality") insults. They're funny, yet not quite clever.

    It reminds me of fly fishing. Just cast out the line and watch them jump at insignificant little things. As they jump out of the water, you get to see just what type of fish they are.

    " The art of war is governed by five constant factors, all o which need to be taken into account. They are: the Moral Law; Heaven; Earth: the Commander; Method and discipline."

    That is my "stupid, intellectually dishonest, or lazy" contribution to the topic of this Memorial Day post. I hope that our commanders take into into account with so many good lives at risk.

    Thanks for sharing with me the "Blue quality".

  • Todd Hawes (unverified)

    Dan J, please look up your history. The European Theater WAS NOT a war of choice in WWII. Comparing the War in Iraq with WWII is very simplistic and it is like the proverbial apples vs oranges argument. There is no way one can make a rational comparison between the two. Bush and his clan successfully passed Saddam as the second coming of Hitler and the Iraqi military as the SS and the American public took the bait hook line and sinker. Regardless of the poor intel, there was easily enough doubt that Iraq should have never been invaded.

    Lets see: 27million Russians killed, 6-10 million jews, 6 million Germans, 60+ million total. Even hundreds of thousands of French.

    <h2>I think you have fallen for the bait and switch just like the remaining 32% of the people who support Bush.</h2>

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