Friday, May 05, 2006

"Daddy's Favorite Little State Dept. Subversive and Bestest Spy," Liz Cheney, Goes on Maternity Leave

[Liz Cheney, her husband (Phil Perry) and their four children joins her parents on the stage of the Republican National Convention, September 2004.]

Elizabeth Cheney, Vice President Dick Cheney's older daughter, left the post that her father created for her at the State Department to await the birth of her fifth child:
Two State Department officials yesterday confirmed that Friday will be Ms. Cheney's last day at Foggy Bottom before an open-ended maternity leave. Foreign service officers are eligible for one year of unpaid maternity leave and civil service employees at the State Department can have 12 weeks, though they can apply for more time.
And she could, no doubt, get more time. But staying home to bond and care for her children, while a Republican-value (heh), apparently isn't a Liz Cheney value. Her father, the country, the WORLD, couldn't get along without her, so her children will continue to be raised by others.

Liz Cheney is too important to the Bush administration at this point in time, when Bush is preparing to go to war with Iran, and an integral part of her father's administration, a liaison between him and his staff:
For White House and campaign staffers, the Cheney family can be dangerous to cross and easy to disappoint. Since taking office, Cheney is on his fourth press secretary, and all of them have appeared to be afraid of even trying to pass on tough or annoying questions from reporters. Prospective Cheney staffers are expected to be "part of The Family." The connotation is not quite the Sopranos, but it's not about baking cookies, either.


Mary Matalin communicated with Cheney "through Liz," the veep's 37-year-old daughter, who recently quit her job as a deputy assistant secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs to work on the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign. Matalin readily acknowledges the central role played by the Cheney family. "They family together, they work together," she says. "It's a seamless operation." Liz Cheney says: "Family members can be completely honest. We're very direct with each other." That is not always true of Cheney staffers, who sometimes feel intimidated by going up against The Family.


The mother of four, [Liz] was back at work within a week of having the Cheneys' first grandson [4th child] earlier this month. She has e-mailed Bush-Cheney officials as early as 5 a.m., and she was even seen working during Ronald Reagan's funeral, sending messages via BlackBerry from inside the National Cathedral. A staffer wrote back, "Where are you e-mailing from? I just saw you on TV."

As a professional tummler in Bush's upcoming war with Iran:
Elizabeth Cheney was one of the architects of the Middle East Partnership Initiative, a multi-million dollar aid initiative aimed at spurring democratic reform in the region. She was also instrumental in pushing through the recently announced $75 million aid package for broadcasting pro-democracy programs into Iran and helping that country's liberal dissidents.

Elizabeth Cheney is a former associate at the former deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage's consulting firm. In some ways, her 2003 appointment to the State Department represented a political marriage between the neoconservatives in the administration aligned with her father, and the career foreign service loyal to Mr. Armitage.

This article supports the false impression that Armitage was at odds with Bush and Cheney over the Iraq war, when that wasn't the case. Armitage and his boss, Colin Powell, weren't against going to war in Iraq; they were against going into Iraq as Bush and Cheney went into Iraq; without sufficient troops or a plan for the post-war reconstruction. There are people in the State Department, however, career diplomats who are not happy with how the Bush administration has cast aside the role that diplomacy plays in keeping peace in the world.

Liz Cheney's job has been to "spur democratic reform in the Middle East" by crafting oldstyle conservative policies and programs from the Cold War days that undermine existing governments that U.S. doesn't like:
The project, which will spend $US7 million ($9.6 million) in the current fiscal year, would become many times larger next year if Congress approves a broad request for $US85 million that the White House has requested for scholarships, exchange programs, radio and television broadcasts and other activities aimed at shaking up Iran's political system.

The effort, overseen by Elizabeth Cheney, a deputy assistant secretary of state who is a daughter of the Vice-President, Dick Cheney, has been denounced by Iran's leaders as meddling in their internal affairs.

It comes at a time of escalating confrontation between Iran and the west over Tehran's nuclear program, exacerbated by reports, denied by the White House, that a military option is also on the table.

While the US has marshalled international support for diplomatic pressure on Iran, many Asian and European allies have expressed misgivings about other avenues of pressure, seen as aimed at undermining the government in Tehran. One Asian diplomat, who refused to be named, said the effort was reminiscent of the subsidies the US provided to Iraqi exile groups in the 1990s. "They don't call it 'regime change,' but that is obviously what it is," he said.

To find people to promote change in Iran, the State Department has announced a competition for grant applications. A website advertisement says applicants "must outline activities linked to reform and demonstrate how the proposed approach would achieve sustainable impact in Iran".

A State Department official said it had received numerous applications. But he admitted that various groups were squabbling over how and who would be best to promote reform.

The biggest problem for the applicants is the risks they might face. There have been reports in Iran of advocates of change being arrested after meeting US officials at conferences, though some experts say Iran has exaggerated those reports in order to discourage contacts with the West.

Other experts said some applicants might not be the most suitable. "It sounds good to fund civil society groups, but not when you don't know who they are," said Vali Nasr, an Iranian-born professor at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. "No real group wants a direct affiliation with the US. It will just get them into trouble with the Government."

This program is just a repeat of what the U.S. has been doing for decades, and why "they hate us." It's not "for our freedom and democracy." It's for depriving them of theirs. Brutally. If it had anything to do with bringing freedom and democracy to people, we would be undermining the governments of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

The United States has aggressively interfered in the internal affairs of other nations (as long ago as a hundred years), overthrowing at least fourteen sovereign foreign governments, whether by supporting friendly coups, by fomenting internal revolutions, or by just plain military invasions. These include Cuba, Iran, Viet Nam, Chile, Grenada, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Panama, and most recently, Iraq.

One good book to read all about it is "Overthrow : America's Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq" by Stephen Kinzer. Another is "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man" by John Perkins, which offers a glimpse into America's certain future as a third world country, if we continue on the path that Republicans have us on. With some twists. The U.S.' roads to our resources are already built, so the foreclosers won't be pressing America's unemployed into road-building servitude. Unemployed Americans with guns are more likely to be hired to clear tenants or resisters off lands intended for 'harvest.'

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