The Return of Dick Cheney

Normally, I believe that it is out of line for the former President of the United States to criticize his successors. By extension, that should apply to former Vice-Presidents as well. However, the criticism of the Bush Administration by the Obama Administration is unprecedented. From the almost daily attacks on the Bush Administration to the release of the so called “torture memos”, along with accompanying anti-Bush commentary, it is perfectly understandable why former Vice President Dick Cheney has decided to speak out in defense of his administration.

It cannot be left to stand unanswered that President George W. Bush allowed torture and that he was the Torturer–in-Chief. The honor of this man and the policies that have kept America safe for almost 8 years must be defended by those with direct knowledge of the situation. Mr. Cheney is such a person. While his actions are, in part, for the purpose of defending his own legacy, the Vice President was instrumental in developing the successful strategies in the War on Terror. Therefore, on behalf of himself, those in his administration and those who had supported (and continue to support) these effective policies, Vice President Cheney is adding an informed and useful voice to not only analyze what has transpired, but also to the debate as to how the current administration should proceed going forward.

Based upon Mr. Cheney’s statements, and those of four former Directors of the CIA and the current Director of National Intelligence, the information that was gained by using enhanced interrogation techniques was invaluable. Those who say that these techniques do not work are either lying or badly misinformed. Mr. Cheney also rebuts the canard that those such as Khalid Shaikh Mohammed may have talked if the CIA had only used conventional interrogation techniques. According to the Vice President, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed did not cooperate fully in terms of interrogation until after waterboarding. Cheney goes on to say, “Once we went through that process, he produced vast quantities of invaluable information about Al Qaida.”

I am inclined to believe the former Vice President when he claims that the actions of the Bush Administration saved thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of lives. Some of these foiled plot have been made public (flying an airplane into a skyscraper in Los Angeles, blowing up the Brooklyn Bridge, poisoning the water supply to the US Embassy in Rome, attacking the US Embassy in Singapore, just to name a few). And, of course, the mind set in the country immediately following September 11 was that another Al Qaida attack was imminent.

As Mr. Cheney points out, the public announcement of the halting of enhanced interrogation techniques does increase the danger to the American people. Whether we these techniques or not, the belief that they may be used would stand as a deterrent for those who may be captured. Also, the closing Guantanamo Bay with no plan as to what to do with the terrorists imprisoned there not only shows weakness on the part of President Obama, but also a lack of judgment on the single most important issue relating to our national security. It is pathetic to see him begging our European allies to take these terrorists and then to have his request rejected. That is not a good example of strong American leadership.

Is our position on the War on Terror weaker today than under the previous administration? The answer is yes. Is President Obama responsible for this? The answer is, again, yes.

However, to the victor goes the spoils. President Obama has been charged with the defense of the American people. I just hope that he spends time dealing with this in a serious manner rather than sniping at his predecessor. If he does, Dick Cheney can happily retreat into retirement.

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