Imagine you realize you have created the worst foreign policy debacle for the US since Vietnam. Imagine you have single-handedly wrecked America's reputation for humane treatment of military detainees. Imagine further that your own pushing of the legal envelope even forced the president to commute your chief aide's prison sentence for perjury. Imagine that your strategy in Iraq, now unspinnably failed, is grinding the US military into the dust, and uniting the entire country toward realism in the Middle East. What are you going to do? There's only one thing that truly changes the game in your favor - a vast and reckless expansion of the war to another country. Obviously, the Congress will not assent. Obviously, the international community will not assent. Obviously, the State Department will not assent. Obviously, the American people will not assent without a very intensive, careful and persuasive case being made. But how on earth do Bush and Cheney have credibility on the question of intelligence that would be the core of the argument?
But you're Dick Cheney. And as long as you control the president, you can still do what you want:
The Washington source said Mr Bush and Mr Cheney did not trust any potential successors in the White House, Republican or Democratic, to deal with Iran decisively. They are also reluctant for Israel to carry out any strikes because the US would get the blame in the region anyway.
"The red line is not in Iran. The red line is in Israel. If Israel is adamant it will attack, the US will have to take decisive action," Mr Cronin said. "The choices are: tell Israel no, let Israel do the job, or do the job yourself."
It seems to me that the question of who trusts any potential successors to Bush and Cheney should be left to the American people. But we know the contempt Bush and Cheney have for them. It also seems to me that a decision to go to war with another sovereign country while the US military is largely tied down policing a civil war in Iraq is the Congress's. But we also know the contempt Bush and Cheney have for them. With rational people, we could be assured of some caution, preparation and transparency. These are not very rational people.