a New Year’s Eve to celebrate what isn’t…

Posted on Thursday 31 December 2009

White House hits back at Cheney, blames Bush for security failures
Raw Story

By Daniel Tencer
December 30th, 2009

‘Obama doesn’t need to beat his chest’ to prove US is at war, White House says

dickcheney20090710 White House hits back at Cheney, blames Bush for security failuresThe White House has issued a stinging rebuke to Dick Cheney after the former vice president accused President Barack Obama of trying to "pretend" that the US isn’t fighting a war against terrorists. And in a sign that it plans to engage in the political battle over the attempted Christmas Day terrorist attack on flight 253, the White House made it clear it sees the Bush administration as being responsible for the relative lack of success in what it now refers to as the "war against al-Qaeda."

"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," wrote White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer. In a written statement to the Politico news site Tuesday, Cheney said: “We are at war and when President Obama pretends we aren’t, it makes us less safe. … Why doesn’t he want to admit we’re at war?"

Pfeiffer responded by pointing to "numerous" instances in which the president has stated that he considers the US to be at war, and added: "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."

Pfeiffer also outlined an interpretation of the war formerly known as the "war on terror" that places the blame for the continuing existence of al-Qaeda on the Bush administration.
    [F]or 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. … 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.
Pfeiffer added that "it is telling that Vice President Cheney and others seem to be more focused on criticizing the Administration than condemning the attackers."

In the debate over the attempted flight 253 attack, some Democratic politicians have spotted weaknesses in Republican arguments against Obama. The National Journal reports that the head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Chris Van Hollen, and US House Rep. Eric Massa (D-NY) are attacking the Bush administration for failing to address the al-Qaeda threat. "In general, we are facing the consequences of the Bush administration’s failures to deal with al-Qaeda," Van Hollen told the National Journal. "The Republicans have no business in pointing fingers at the Obama administration on terrorism and national security." In recent days the Obama administration has made it clear it doesn’t intend to shift its foreign policy goals in light of the December 25 attempted attack on Northwest Airlines flight 253, allegedly carried out by Nigerian national Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. Greg Sargent at the Plum Line reports that the White House has rejected calls by senators Joe Lieberman, John McCain and others to stop the planned shut-down of the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay in the wake of the foiled attack.

"The detention facility at Guantanamo has been used by al-Qaeda as a rallying cry and recruiting tool — including its affiliate al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. As our military leaders have recognized, closing the detention facility at Guantanamo is a national security imperative," said "a senior administration official" in an email obtained by Sargent.
Hip, Hip, Hooray. Obama’s finally fighting back against the inappropriate comments of the Dark Lord Cheney. He’d be within his rights to put him in the Dungeon for Sedition, but kicking back is good enough. To be serious for a moment, Dick Cheney is currently going crazy, and needs to get some help. He’s getting nastier and nastier. His logic makes less and less sense. That bit yesterday takes the cake. The only thing I could think of after I calmed down was to ask which medication might help him the most. He’s well beyond Prozac, coming into the realm of major antipsychotics.

Obama commented that the leadership in Iran is at war with its own people. He might well have said it about the Republican Party – at war with our own government. Their criticisms are trivial – Obama didn’t decry the violence soon enough, loud enough – didn’t use the right phrases. It’s as if Cheney thought that he was Vice President for life – and what he thought was the only right way to think.

It’s the last day of a hard year, at the end of a hard decade. I don’t think it’s melodramatic to say that what we’ve done in this decade is survive in spite of ourselves. It’s hard to look back over it and see how much of it was our own doing, and to realize that Dick Cheney, Joe Lieberman, and John McCain are still at it. We remain haunted by the ghosts of the last decade, though mercifully, they don’t have the pilot wheel right now. It’s a New Year’s Eve to celebrate what isn’t

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