After reading the speech in it’s entirety several times, I have to say it is the quintessential “Yes we did it, and thought it was right” speech. It is also a perfect example of the black and white thinking that even psychologists say is present in conservatives.
From Cheney’s speech:
So were left to draw one of two conclusions and here is the great dividing line in our current debate over national security. You can look at the facts and conclude that the comprehensive strategy has worked, and therefore needs to be continued as vigilantly as ever. Or you can look at the same set of facts and conclude that 9/11 was a one-off event coordinated, devastating, but also unique and not sufficient to justify a sustained wartime effort.
That’s it, those are the only two choices he presents. There is no middle ground. You either support his views, or you don’t and you’re asking for another attack on this country. No middle ground. No shades of grey. No compromise.
Some may quote this section as a rebuttal:
The administration seems to pride itself on searching for some kind of middle ground in policies addressing terrorism. They may take comfort in hearing disagreement from opposite ends of the spectrum. If liberals are unhappy about some decisions, and conservatives are unhappy about other decisions, then it may seem to them that the President is on the path of sensible compromise. But in the fight against terrorism, there is no middle ground, and half-measures keep you half exposed. You cannot keep just some nuclear-armed terrorists out of the United States, you must keep every nuclear- armed terrorist out of the United States. Triangulation is a political strategy, not a national security strategy. When just a single clue that goes unlearned one lead that goes unpursued can bring on catastrophe its no time for splitting differences. There is never a good time to compromise when the lives and safety of the American people are in the balance.
But once again we see the absolute thinking in action: “no middle ground.” He outright says that to debate and compromise on policy will bring another attack. This combines uncertainty avoidance, fear and agression, and terror management in an attempt to persuade the listener.
Cheney’s speech was a self-justification of his ideals and actions. Cheney is defending his decisions as well as those of the Bush administration. Since they are under attack, it’s completely understandable for him to do so. However, I disagree with his actions, and his justifications for those actions, and conclusions about the results of those actions.
Mr. Cheney has given the terrorists even more ammunition with his actions after 9/11, as well as his current arguments defending said actions. Here is what the terrorists most likely concluded post-9/11: America under Bush and Cheney didn’t stand for the ideals that it touted. America will treat terrorists just like they treated us, thus America must be destroyed not only for the great evil of freedom, but the hypocrisy of touting freedom while holding and torturing people in violation of the very laws America says it holds dear. Not only that, but it re-writes said laws to justify it’s illegal actions. Terrorists see 9/11 not only as a successful attack that brought down two symbols of American greed, but as their successful exposure of what America really is: a nation of hypocrites.
That is what the terrorists and their sympathizers see. That is what they tell their recruits. Thank you, Mr. Cheney, for giving them this victory. You dragged America down to their level.