More deliberate deception from the Vice President of the United States — something that has become terribly familiar.
The latest example comes from an article today in The New York Times, which quotes the Vice President, at a recent political event, saying that John Kerry has “embraced the strategy of the 1990’s, which holds that when we are attacked, we ought to round up those directly responsible, put them on trial, and then call it a day.”
He then said that was insufficient because “it leaves the network behind the attacks virtually untouched.”
There are so many layers of misinformation here that it’s difficult to know where to start. But it probably makes most sense to note that this even misstates his administration’s position as even the administration’s theorists or idea men themselves understand and articulate it.
The debate is not whether you leave terrorist networks intact. That’s the baseline — rooting out the networks. The real question — the one on which there may be said to be a true debate — is whether the terrorist networks are truly independent actors or whether they cannot subsist without states backing them, whether they are in fact the pawns of states.
The Bush approach has been fundamentally the latter one — a belief in the continuing centrality of states as the actors in international affairs. Thus, the focus on taking down states as a means of combatting al Qaida. The contrary approach is one that actually focuses much more on the terrorist networks.
Cheney has doubly misstated the facts of the matter.