Yesterday former Vice President Cheney spoke to a full room at American Enterprise Institute on the subject of national security and the policies of the Bush administration in fighting the war on terror. As a former secretary of defense, the former vice president has an experienced point of view. And, he has the viewpoint of one who has been in the meetings and helped form the policy.
Cheney is not willing to stand by and allow history to be re-written for the convenience of a new president and his personal goal of re-election to a second term. Thank you, Dick Cheney.
President Obama scheduled his speech - ironically given at the National Achieves, though his people no doubt thought it clever - only last Friday. The Cheney speech was booked over two weeks ago. Those questioning why two speeched on the same day have only Obama to ask. Obviously he felt the need to tell his own story. The Democrats in the Senate overwhelming voted along with the Republicans to deny Obama funding to close GITMO as he doesn't even have a plan to carry out this Executive Order that was so very important it had to be done on his very first day in office. It was purely theatrics - pandering to the far left that initially supported him in the primaries and allowed him to eventually beat Hillary Clinton - and he would be able to say he fulfilled a campaign promise. Even his press secretary, Robert Gibbs, now admits it was a hasty action that now must be "re-wound".
Gibbs, when asked about the dueling speeches, said that Cheney is "extending the argument" about closing GITMO and techniques used there to gather intelligence. He said that Obama is "strongly committed to changing how we conduct foreign policy." That is stating the obvious.
In Obama's speech, he declared he is not interested in finger pointing and then he proceeded to point to the Bush administration in a negative light 28 times. Pundit Charles Krauthammer called Obama "a master of disingenuous".
Cheney said,"When President Obama makes wise decisions, as I believe he has done in some respects on Afghanistan, and in reversing his plan to release incendiary photos, he deserves our support. And when he faults or mischaracterizes the national security decisions we made in the Bush years, he deserves an answer."
"So we're left to draw one of two conclusions - and here is the great dividing line in our current debate over national security. you can look at the facts and conclude that the comprehensive strategy has worked, and therefore needs to be continued as vigilantly as ever. Or you can look at the same set of facts and conclude that 9/11 was a one-off event - coordinated, devastating, but also unique and not sufficient to justify a sustained wartime effort. Whichever conclusion you arrive at, it will shape your entire view of the last seven years, and of the policies necessary to protect America for years to come."
Cheney calls for the release of the documents that show which techniques worked in gathering intelligence. Obama refuses, so far, to sign an Executive Order to release them. That is all it would take. He simply could have walked up to the second floor of the National Achieves after his speech which re-wrote history for his own benefit and signed the order. Everyone could read both sets of documents - those Obama released, though heavily redacted, to let every terrorist in the world read of our techniques, and those that would show what worked. Simple enough. One can only conclude that Obama doesn't want to be exposed as a panderer again at the expense of the safety of the American people.
I don't think our Constitution or our country will collapse due to the fact that three (3) prisoners were waterboarded. The naysayers would like you to think it was every prisoner there. It was not. It was three.
President Obama's Director of National Intelligence, Admiral Blair stated that high value information came from the methods used at GITMO. You may remember Blair is in this position as a trophy to the 'bipartisan' approach the Obama administration claims to take. Blair is certainly a qualified and dedicated professional. But, interestingly enough, his statements about the effectiveness of the techniques have been scrubbed from the Obama website.
The two speeches delivered on the same day show that we are a nation in need of a healthy debate. One-sided dialogue and lectures do not accomplish reasoned thought.