Thursday, December 31, 2009

White House Fires Back at Cheney (Finally!)

The White House (finally) responds to our rogue, former Vice President, Dick Cheney, and puts him in his place:

"There has been a lot of discussion online and in the mainstream media about our response to various critics of the President, specifically former Vice President Cheney, who have been coming out of the woodwork since the incident on Christmas Day. I think we all agree that there should be honest debate about these issues, but it is telling that Vice President Cheney and others seem to be more focused on criticizing the Administration than condemning the attackers. Unfortunately too many are engaged in the typical Washington game of pointing fingers and making political hay, instead of working together to find solutions to make our country safer.

First, it’s important that the substantive context be clear: For seven years after 9/11, while our national security was overwhelmingly focused on Iraq — a country that had no Al Qaeda presence before our invasion — Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda's leadership was able to set up camp in the border region of Pakistan and Afghanistan, where they continued to plot attacks against the United States. Meanwhile, Al Qaeda also regenerated in places like Yemen and Somalia, establishing new safe havens that have grown over a period of years. It was President Obama who finally implemented a strategy of winding down the war in Iraq and actually focusing our resources on the war against Al Qaeda — more than doubling our troops in Afghanistan and building partnerships to target Al Qaeda’s safe havens in Yemen and Somalia. And in less than one year, we have already seen many Al Qaeda leaders taken out, our alliances strengthened and the pressure on al Qaeda increased worldwide.

To put it simply: This President is not interested in bellicose rhetoric, he is focused on action. Seven years of bellicose rhetoric failed to reduce the threat from Al Qaeda and succeeded in dividing this country. And it seems strangely off-key now, at a time when our country is under attack, for the architect of those policies to be attacking the President.

Second, the former Vice President makes the clearly untrue claim that the President — who is this nation’s commander in chief — needs to realize we are at War. I don’t think anyone realizes this very hard reality more than President Obama. In his inaugural, the President said “our nation is at war against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred.” In a recent speech, Assistant to the President for Terrorism and Homeland Security John Brennan said “Instead, as the president has made clear, we are at war with Al Qaeda, which attacked us on Sept. 11 and killed 3,000 people. We are at war with its violent extremist allies who seek to carry on al-Qaida’s murderous agenda. These are the terrorists we will destroy; these are the extremists we will defeat.” At West Point, the President told the nation why it was “in our vital national interest” to send an additional 30,000 U.S. troops to fight the war in Afghanistan, adding that, as commander in chief, “I see firsthand the terrible wages of war.” And at Oslo, in accepting the Nobel Peace Prize, the president said, “We are at war, and I am responsible for the deployment of thousands of young Americans to battle in a distant land.”

There are numerous other such public statements that explicitly state we are at war. The difference is this: President Obama doesn’t need to beat his chest to prove it, and — unlike the last Administration — we are not at war with a tactic (“terrorism”), we at war with something that is tangible: Al Qaeda and its violent extremist allies. And we will prosecute that war as long as the American people are endangered."


T. Paine said...

I'd have more faith in our commander in chief's actions if he wouldn't refer to the latest piece of human debris to attempt to light his underwear on fire as an "alledged terrorist". Sounds to me like we are still treating this crap as a crime instead of the war acts that they are.

Regardless, I wish you a happy New Years, Splash.

Dave Splash said...

Considering that using armies of hundreds of thousands of Americans has done little to stop terrorism (in fact, it's made it worse), I'm not sure why you righties keep insisting we follow the same failed strategies. Terrorism is a tactic. We need to be smarter than them and acknowledge that they are criminals. Using tried and true investigative methods and human intelligence has been the most successful, and it is what we should continue to use.

T. Paine said...

While there is a bit of merit to your argument, it still goes astray to handle these issues strictly as crimes to be prosecuted.

For example, this latest terrorist scum bag that was apprehended trying to blow up the plane on Christmas has been read his constitutional rights (besides the fact that he is not a U.S. citizen entitled to our Constitutional protections) and is remaining silent while awaiting trial.

Far better had he been placed in a military brig and interrogated to determine what intelligence he might provide to see if there were other such attacks etc planned or in process that could possibly be thwarted and save lives and property as a result.

Treating this as something to be handled by the police... THAT is not the way to defeat terrorism in my opinion, even as a tactic, Dave.

Dave Splash said...

From what I understand about the situation, the guy was quick to confess his connections to Al Qeada and spilled the beans without any need for force. He also told them he was kept separate from other low level terrorists so that he knew nothing about what other plans they had. It was on a "need to know" basis, and they determined he didn't need to know. To me, that says he is pretty low level and probably gave up what he knew for a soda and some attention. The higher-ups who plan the attacks are not usually the ones sent to execute them. We probably got all we could ever get.