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Published: Saturday, 10/24/2009

Get Cheney a positive job

BY ROSE RUSSELL

PLEASE tell me what political office former Vice President Dick Cheney is running for. He has so much time on his hands that he injects himself into the affairs of the Obama Administration. Though he has the right as a U.S. citizen to free speech, when was the last time you heard a White House official from a previous administration often commenting about the new White House occupants' affairs?

Exactly. And his latest remarks were in a speech Wednesday in an address to the Center for Security Policy when Mr. Cheney lambasted and niggled President Obama for moving slowly and for being afraid to decide whether to send 40,000 more troops to Afghanistan.

“The White House must stop dithering while America's armed forces are in danger. Make no mistake, signals of indecision out of Washington hurt our allies and embolden our adversaries,” he said.

The former veep doesn't like it that the President has not donned a cowboy hat and busted out of the corral on a horse with guns drawn and shooting, as his George W. Bush did when he got us into this mess in the first place.

Mr. Cheney's acerbic remarks brought incisive responses from White House press secretary Robert Gibbs and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

“What Vice President Cheney calls ‘dithering,' President Obama calls his solemn responsibility to the men and women in uniform and to the American public,” Mr. Gibbs said. “I think we've all seen what happens when someone doesn't take that responsibility seriously.”

By golly we sure have.

After dealing with George Bush for eight years, Mr. Cheney must think the best national policy is to act first and investigate later. Remember the Bush administration's insistence that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, only for the whole world to learn that there were none?

Speaker Pelosi said, “I don't think it's very constructive for the vice president to say that. He's forgotten whose administration made matters worse in Afghanistan by their neglect.”

Mr. Cheney is apparently impervious to the fact that it was his administration that created this quagmire for the nation and Mr. Obama, and now he has a problem with the President responding to the situation in Afghanistan with thoughtful consideration. After all, Mr. Obama is burdened with the job of balancing the possibility of sending in more troops with getting out of Afghanistan as responsibly as he can.

“Having announced his Afghanistan strategy last March, President Obama now seems afraid to make a decision and unable to provide his commander on the ground with the troops he needs to complete his mission,” Mr. Cheney said.

“Afraid” in that regard is not applicable to this President. If he's afraid of anything, it's making the wrong decision and results more disastrous than what initially got us into mire.

“I find it interesting that he is blaming us for something he didn't see fit to do over, best I can tell, seven years of war in Afghanistan,” Mr. Gibbs pointed out.

Some Republicans also appreciate Mr. Obama's thoughtful, and no doubt prayerful, consideration of how to answer Gen. Stanley McChrystal's requset for 40,000 more troops in Afghanistan.

Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee told MSNBC that “President Obama is entitled to take sufficient time to decide what our long-term role ought to be in Afghanistan. I want him to take the time to get it right.”

And so do most of the rest of us.

Rose Russell is a Blade associate editor.

Contact rrussell@theblade.com



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