Of course this is nothing new. We would have to be childish ourselves not to know that politicians lie and even more naïve not to expect it. But to what extent is the current administration lying and what are they lying about. Well last night, the winner of the Center for Security Policy’s “Keeper of the Flame” award, Vice President Dick Cheney, shed some light on that question.
Compelled by a recent statement from President Obama’s Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, the former Vice President indicated that the administration’s own lack of experience, direction, inability to make hard decisions and their reluctance to commit themselves to a war in Afghanistan that they admitted to being necessary, has chosen to make the previous administration a scapegoat. That assessment was made quite apparent when on CNN, Rahm Emanuel recently reported President Obama is;
“asking the questions that have never been asked on the civilian side, the political side, the military side and the strategic side.”
“It’s clear that basically we had a war for eight years that was going on, that’s adrift, that we’re beginning at scratch, just at the starting point…and that there’s not a security force, an army, and the types of services that are important for the Afghans to become a true partner.”
To this, Vice President Cheney pointed out that in the Fall of 2008, the Bush Administration saw that they faced new challenges in Afghanistan and went through extensive and intensive policy reviews, sent countless teams to Afghanistan and Pakistan to review options and consider the opinions of all involved in order to develop a strategy that dealt with the new challenges and that could be passed on to the incoming President. While this was happening, the Bush-Cheney Administration was keeping the President-Elect and his transition team apprised of this new policy and strategy that was being designed to deal effectively with the counter insurgency that was building. During his speech, Vice President Cheney disclosed that during this same time, the Obama team asked the administration to keep it quiet and not make their findings and policy changes public. According to Cheney;
“we agreed, giving them the benefit of our work and the benefit of the doubt.”
“The new strategy they embraced in March, with a focus on counterinsurgency and an increase in the numbers of troops, bears a striking resemblance to the strategy we passed to them. They made a decision – a good one, I think – and sent a commander into the field to implement it. Now they seem to be pulling back and blaming others for their failure to implement the strategy they embraced. It’s time for President Obama to do what it takes to win a war he has repeatedly and rightly called a war of necessity”.
The disclosure indicates several things. First, it shows that this obviously is not a “buck stops here” President. It shows that the Obama Administration is not confident about any of the decisions they are making. Their indecisiveness and procrastination regarding the war in Afghanistan is frighteningly evident. This is the same administration that has been trying to rush together healthcare reform yet they will not act with speed concerning our forces fighting on fields of battle? Furthermore; the attempt to suggest that President Obama inherited a disorganized policy that needed to be rebuilt, indicates further that the Obama team is unsure of what to do but preparing to push the blame for any blunder or failure that occurs under their watch, on to George Bush.
Apparently this Administration is lying about much more than just health care reform and the effects of the stimulus package. They are lying about a war that they are not fully committed to winning and they are preparing to blame it on Bush.
Vice President Cheney stated that while President Obama “dithers”, the situation in Afghanistan deteriorates. It is a point that can’t be denied. Especially after only just recently experiencing the largest monthly total of casualties in Afghanistan since the war there began. All of this makes our chances of insuring that the existing Afghan government does not get toppled by the Taliban increasingly difficult. According to Cheney
“Make no mistake, signals of indecision out of Washington hurt our allies and embolden our adversaries. Waffling, while our troops on the ground face an emboldened enemy, endangers them and hurts our cause.”
Quite insightfully, Cheney also reminded us that while we had supported Afghanistan’s Mujahadeen against the Soviets in the 80‘s, when that successful policy delivered the results we wanted, we left the cause. The result, as he put it, was that after abandoning Afghanistan “no one was watching, what followed was a civil war, the takeover by the Taliban, and the rise of bin Laden and al-Qaeda.”.
The point resonates well with those of us who understand that by not fully committing to our mission in Afghanistan we are at risk of Afghanistan again becoming a training ground to kill Americans from.
As for the rest of the former Vice President’s speech, it was consistently frank and always sharp. He addressed security concerns in several different areas, pointed out the mistakes that President Obama has made so far , and offered words of advice on future decisions that the still new President must be prepared to make.
Cheney was critical of President Obama’s decision to end a missile defense shield in Eastern Europe, calling it a
“strategic blunder and a breach of good faith”.
The former Vice President made it clear that the decision to abandon our Polish and Czech allies by “conceding ground and accommodating” to the wishes of Russia and Vladimir Putin, we received nothing in return but more trouble and
“opposition to sanctioning Iran for its pursuit of nuclear weapons.”
He summed up the decision to dismantle the missile defense system by eloquently describing the fallout from it when he declared;
“President Obama’s cancellation of America’s agreements with the Polish and Czech governments was a serious blow to the hopes and aspirations of millions of Europeans. For twenty years, these peoples have done nothing but strive to move closer to us, and to gain the opportunities and security that America offered. These are faithful friends and NATO allies, and they deserve better. The impact of making two NATO allies walk the plank won’t be felt only in Europe. Our friends throughout the world are watching and wondering whether America will abandon them as well.”
The former congressman, Presidential Chief of Staff, Secretary of Defense and Vice President proceeded to assail President Obama for continuously extending his hand to the totalitarian leaders of Iran’s Islamic Republic and other extremists while they;
“provide lethal support to extremists and terrorists who are killing American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Islamic Republic continues to provide support to extremists in Syria, Lebanon, and the Palestinian territories. Meanwhile, the regime continues to spin centrifuges and test missiles. And these are just the activities we know about.’
Mr. Cheney also criticized the President for missing an opportunity by not standing with the Iranian protestors who stand for democracy and were defying the government and their rigged election as they were being slaughtered in the streets this past June.
Other points of contention included Cheney’s longstanding defense of “enhanced interrogation techniques” involving known terrorists. Calling the left’s belief that these techniques did no good is “an act of faith” for them, Mr. Cheney explained that;
“the left ignores the hard, inconvenient truth that we did try other means and techniques to elicit information from Khalid Sheikh Muhammed and other al-Qaeda operatives, only turning to enhanced techniques when we failed to produce the actionable intelligence we knew they were withholding. In fact, our intelligence professionals, in urgent circumstances with the highest of stakes, obtained specific information, prevented specific attacks, and saved American lives.”
“In the fight against terrorism, there is no middle ground, and half-measures keep you half exposed.”
Upon hearing the Vice President’s keynote last night, I was reminded of the need for our nation to never allow our heads to be buried in the sand. I was reminded that no matter how wide a smile some may wish to put the face of evil, evil’s threat still exists and if our vigilance ceases to exist, evil can quite possibly put an end to the existence of life as we know it. I was also reminded that Dick Cheney is more than just Lynne Cheney’s husband. It was quite clear to me why The Center for Security Policy chose to award Dick Cheney the honor of “Keeper of the Flame”.
The image of the flame represents tireless devotion and in his speech last night, Dick Cheney demonstrated that his devotion to the security of our nation burns bright within him. It burns as a bright beacon that leads us down a path that can secure the realization of our dream of freedom and peace. No matter how much those on the left try to malign him, Dick Cheney’s flame of devotion to our country and defense of freedom, make him a true keeper of the flame.
His record, experience and success add great meaning to his words. Far more than those of any of his critics. And so I think it only appropriate that I leave for all his critics, the words that Dick Cheney himself used to end his speech with last night. They are words I can only hope those who so vociferously deny his wisdom will someday come to understand.
“Last January 20th, our successors in office were given the highest honors that the voters of this country can give any two citizens. Along with that, George W. Bush and I handed the new president and vice president both a record of success in the war on terror, and the policies to continue that record and ultimately prevail. We had been the decision makers, but those seven years, four months, and nine days without another 9/11 or worse, were a combined achievement: a credit to all who serve in the defense of America, including some of the finest people I’ve ever met.We cannot hope to win a war by talking down our country and those who do its hardest work – the men and women of our military and intelligence services. They are, after all, the true keepers of the flame.”
What the present administration does with those policies is their call to make, and will become a measure of their own record. But I will tell you straight that I am not encouraged when intelligence officers who acted in the service of this country find themselves hounded with a zeal that should be reserved for America’s enemies. And it certainly is not a good sign when the Justice Department is set on a political mission to discredit, disbar, or otherwise persecute the very people who helped protect our nation in the years after 9/11.
There are policy differences, and then there are affronts that have to be answered every time without equivocation, and this is one of them. We cannot protect this country by putting politics over security, and turning the guns on our own guys.