Cheney’s recommendations for blowback

In his first interview since Obama took office, former veep Dick Cheney warned that the new president’s practice of “turning the other cheek” in the War on Terror would expose the country to a significant possibility of a catastrophic terror attack on the scale of 9/11.  Cheney argued that terrorists are likely to try to plant “a nuclear weapon or a biological agent of some kind” in the center of a major American city, killing thousands or even hundred of thousands, if the new administration did not keep up the “policies that have allowed us to defeat all further attempts, since 9/11, to launch mass-casualty attacks against the United States.”

In advocating a “tough on terror” type approach, Cheney seems to be missing two things:

First, that Obama is hardly abandoning the War on Terror.  He has already ordered a drone strike on Pakistan, killing at least 22 people, of whom several were children.  True, he has closed the Guantanamo Bay prison, but has done so while expanding a comparable facility in Afghanistan.

Second, the approach the U.S. has been taking is unlikely to keep the country safe in the long run, as Chalmers Johnson explains in Blowback.  American policy abroad will have consequences at home, and not necessarily favorable ones: antagonizing other countries and groups increases the probability that they will take action against us; it doesn’t make us safer.

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