Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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October 22, 2009

DICK CAN'T STOP TALKING.... It's very tempting to just blow off Dick Cheney's latest harangue. He's just a failed former vice president whose ideas have already been discredited, and whose catastrophic record on national security issues is pretty obvious.

But his comments last night were just a little too offensive to let pass by unnoticed.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney on Wednesday night accused the White House of dithering over the strategy for the war in Afghanistan and urged President Barack Obama to "do what it takes to win."

"Make no mistake. Signals of indecision out of Washington hurt our allies and embolden our adversaries," Cheney said while accepting an award from a conservative national security group, the Center for Security Policy. [...]

"The White House must stop dithering while America's armed forces are in danger," the former vice president said. "It's time for President Obama to do what it takes to win a war he has repeatedly and rightly called a war of necessity."

It's hard to know where to start, but I suppose it's worth noting from the outset that Cheney and the most recent administration left the mess in Afghanistan for President Obama to clean up. Hearing the guy who screwed up tell the Commander in Chief, "Hurry up and mop faster" is more than a little disturbing.

For that matter, Cheney wants to see Obama "do what it takes to win"? That's a fine idea -- too bad Cheney didn't follow that advice when he was helping run the previous administration. Conditions in Afghanistan were stable and improving when Bush/Cheney decided it was time to launch an unnecessary and costly war in Iraq, making it easier for the Taliban to regroup and go on the offensive.

The White House isn't sending "signals of indecision"; the White House is doing what Cheney failed to do: come up with a strategic plan for the future of U.S. policy in Afghanistan. In Grown-Up Land, it's the former vice president who "dithered" his way through eight years in Afghanistan. Taking a few weeks to come up with a coherent plan doesn't put U.S. troops "in danger"; listening to Dick Cheney puts U.S. troops "in danger."

Cheney said last night that the Bush White House left Obama with a great plan. That's an interesting claim.It'd be more compelling if we had any reason to believe it.

Let's taks a quick look back at recent history.

The Bush White House delivered a major review of Afghanistan [in December 2008] that echoed that judgment, acknowledged that a modern Afghan democracy -- stable and free of extremists -- may be both unattainable and unaffordable, and said that the United States may have to accept trade-offs among priorities.

"We have no strategic plan. We never had one," a senior U.S. military commander said of the Bush years.

Retired Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton explained today:

The record is clear: Dick Cheney and the Bush administration were incompetent war fighters. They ignored Afghanistan for 7 years with a crude approach to counter-insurgency warfare best illustrated by: 1. Deny it. 2. Ignore it. 3. Bomb it. While our intelligence agencies called the region the greatest threat to America, the Bush White House under-resourced our military efforts, shifted attention to Iraq, and failed to bring to justice the masterminds of September 11.

The only time Cheney and his cabal of foreign policy 'experts' have anything to say is when they feel compelled to protect this failed legacy. While President Obama is tasked with cleaning up the considerable mess they left behind, they continue to defend torture or rewrite a legacy of indifference on Afghanistan. Simply put, Mr. Cheney sees history throughout extremely myopic and partisan eyes.

When speaking about national security policy, Dick Cheney a) owes us an apology; and b) should be politely asking for Americans' forgiveness. That Cheney feels comfortable making demands of the administration dealing with his failures shows a certain pathological quality.

Post Script: Just as an aside, I think it's fair to say that if Al Gore had delivered a speech like this one during a crisis moment in Afghanistan, as the Bush White House formulated a policy, Gore would have quickly seen his patriotism questioned, and words like "treason" would be thrown around casually by Cheney's allies, if not Cheney himself.

Steve Benen 1:30 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (87)

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Comments

I am assuming you meant "an unnecessary and costly war in Iraq."

Posted by: Bill on October 22, 2009 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

Oops.

"Conditions in Afghanistan were stable and improving when Bush/Cheney decided it was time to launch an unnecessary and costly war in Afghanistan, making it easier for the Taliban to regroup and go on the offensive."

You meant Iraq, right?

Posted by: Tomm on October 22, 2009 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

He ain't named "Dick" by accident, you know. ;O)

Posted by: Mistamatic on October 22, 2009 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

Nine whole minutes into the post, and no sight of neill. . .

Posted by: DAY on October 22, 2009 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

I'm calling a spade a "spade" -- Dick Cheney is a traitor.

Posted by: DeeCee on October 22, 2009 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

That Cheney is given space in the MSM to say this crap is a much bigger sign of America's weakness than anything Obama is doing now.

Posted by: chrenson on October 22, 2009 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

Steve, you missed the really over the top line, which was omitted from the article you cited but featured prominently at the CSP site:

“We cannot protect this country by putting politics over security, and turning the guns on our own guys”

Despicable, incendiary, and absolutely SOP for Cheney and his daughter.

Posted by: Newton Whale on October 22, 2009 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

Pat Tillman?

Posted by: st john on October 22, 2009 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

>>Cheney said last night that the Bush White House left Obama with a great plan.

Why not share then ?

We're listening, dick.
(The small 'd' was used advisedly.)

Posted by: Nigel on October 22, 2009 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

"Cheney said last night that the Bush White House left Obama with a great plan."

Perhaps he should check his "mansized safe" Jon Stewart pointed out. Perhaps it's still in there.

This reminds me when McCain said he knows how to find Osama Been Forgotten and here we sit a year later and Been Forgotten has not been found. If they know best, these wars should have been over about now.

Posted by: Dave on October 22, 2009 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

It's very tempting to just blow Dick Cheney's latest harangue.

You do mean 'blow off,' right?

Posted by: Stranger on October 22, 2009 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

I believe it is the same plan that John McCain offered during the campaign. What was that plan, again?

Posted by: st john on October 22, 2009 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

Nine whole minutes into the post, and no sight of neill. . .

Well, it has to be said and I can't wait any longer. In honor of neill,

Goddamn Cheney's shit-filled soul to hell.

Posted by: Bobo Teh Clown on October 22, 2009 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

This is the guy who out-maneuvered and out-smarted everyone in the Bush administration, hoarded power, applied power ruthlessly, at will and in secret, had no qualms about ending the career of anyone who opposed him-- and now, no surprise, thinks that Obama isn't ruthless enough.

Posted by: MattF on October 22, 2009 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

I am sure Republicans will go to any extreme to avoid the real reality that they are losing their ability to appeal to the minds of the American people.

All they have left is extremism, the cold facts paint a sad picture of a party that has just about alienated every American on some issue close to the heart.

Posted by: Dean on October 22, 2009 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

It's pretty clear that during one of Big Dick's numerous coronary surgeries he threw a serious clot to the brain.

Posted by: J. Frank Parnell on October 22, 2009 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

I know what the Republicans are against, I am just wondering what are they 'for' that helps me, a working American doing the jobs that need to be done?

Just who are these Republicans? I know what they are against but beyond that, I can't think of a single thing they are for that could possibly help me?

Posted by: Dean on October 22, 2009 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

They are 'for' applauding you when you vote for them.

Outside that you're on your own.

Republicans are a social disease.

Posted by: cld on October 22, 2009 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

"It's very tempting to just blow Dick Cheney's latest harangue."

Meant to say "blow off" ?

Is there a proofreader in the house? I do enjoy Steve's perspective on issues, but it's getting harder to ignore the small typos and grammatical errors in his posts.

Posted by: Andrew on October 22, 2009 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

Boy oh boy.

Posted by: Stevio on October 22, 2009 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

Damn straight! Can't cut Benen any slack for his typos and grammatical errors!

After all, when he only makes 2 or 3 postings in a day, he should get them correct grammatically.

Just between you and me - cut the guy some slack. Besides, it is fun to have people find and correct these errors. It's not like he is turning into a rethug with great grammar and no facts.

Posted by: AmusedOldVet on October 22, 2009 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

Dick, you had 8 years to get it done and find bin Laden. I would think you would want to lie low and hope people forget about your high fail rate.

Posted by: Syracuse on October 22, 2009 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

It's always worthwhile remembering that when Dick had his chance to step up to the plate during the War in Vietnam, he didn't dither, he ran the other way...and as fast as he could. What a guy. Maybe if he felt the impact of war first hand he would have a different view of committing troops, of war in general, and, indeed, of himself.

Posted by: Regis on October 22, 2009 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

Let me see if I have this right.
Veep Cheney said that there was no doubt that there were WMD in Iraq. WRONG.
Veep Cheney said that we would be greeted as Liberators in Iraq. WRONG.
Veep Cheney said that sometimes "we" have to walk on the dark side. WRONG.
That's a mere three in a very long list of FAIL.
So now, that mediocre, nasty, psychopath is lecturing the current president on what to do in Afghanistan.
If Cheney says a thing, do the opposite and it will turn out okay.

Posted by: Maude on October 22, 2009 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

Note to dick: "Swarm in and kill as many brown people as possible" is not a viable long-term strategy for success.

Posted by: Keori on October 22, 2009 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

No, Cheney won't stop talking, and God help us if he does. He's one of the few with enough intestinal fortitude to confront the gangster-style intimidation of the Obama Administration.

Posted by: John Breland on October 22, 2009 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

Before we cast the incompetent Cheney aside, consider this: he is continuing to fight for the Bush legacy in real time. That allows the Democrats to continue to campaign against Bush and his policies for as long as Cheney continues talking.

Sometimes, it is worthwhile to have someone talking about failed policies so the public doesn't forget how bad it really was. It is one sided (though correct) for Obama, et. al., to go after the failed Bush with no one from the administration defending it.

It is far better to have such a nice foil in the continuing crap from Cheney to compare and contrast your policies to the idiots in the previous administration.

Honestly, you couldn't have a better (for Democrats) person defending the Bush realm than the least popular Vice President in (history?).

Posted by: Scott on October 22, 2009 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

A good part of what Cheney's doing has to do with pumping up the political future of the family triumvirate.

Cheney himself may (just possibly) not have figured just how much of his mouthing off is about the kiddies' futures. Remember how the Repubs used to dismiss any criticism of Bush from the left as "promoting a book"? I think Cheney is doing just that, only he's promoting the tots. Oh, and isn't he working on a book? Nothing like staying in the public eye to insure book sales.

Not that he needs the bucks but boy oh boy he's got one of the hungriest egos in DC, a town full of the starving obese.

Posted by: PW on October 22, 2009 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

We tend to forget that Cheney's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are very profitable to him and his war buddies. Why not send in more troops? Think military-industrial complex. Think Cheney. Now connect the dots.

Perpetuawar is a godsend, winning is sucking trillions of dollars into bank accounts, no more, no less.

Ofcourse Dick wants to "win" more. Greed. Pure simple greed is all the two wars are about. Permanent bases, gas pipelines, damn the beauty of it all.

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on October 22, 2009 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

Thank you, Bobo, for doing a clown's work... bless you!

I was deep inside the new issue of the Nation -- on Afghanistan -- but it can never be said to often:

God damn Dick Cheney's shit-filled soul to hell. Selah.

Posted by: neill on October 22, 2009 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

If Gore had made a speech like this, people wouldn't just have called him a traitor, they'd have claimed he was clearly psychotic and delusional, and Ann Coulter would have suggested that he should get the death penalty.

But for me, the most thoroughly offensive line in the entire speech was the one in which Cheney claimed that "the U.S. has never lost its moral compass." Maybe not all of us, Dick, but you surely did, if you ever had one.

Posted by: T-Rex on October 22, 2009 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

Every day that Obama fiddles around on Afghanistan = one more day of increasing risks for our troops there.

Obama put McChrystal in charge and then denies him what he needs to win a critical war that Obama himself declared necessary. Oh! Wait! That was "the other day"! Oops! Me bad.

I hope McChrystal likes the view from under the bus.

Posted by: Jack Davis on October 22, 2009 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

Interesting how Jimmy Carter can run around undermining people and nothing is said but somehow it's not ok for Dick Cheney.

As long as Obama continues to take shots at the previous administration for where we are today as an excuse for his inability to get things done, expect Dick Cheney to respond.

You want Dick to be quiet, then tell Obama to suck it up and start looking forward rather than behind him.

Posted by: wsblack on October 22, 2009 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

LOL.
They should call him "Vice President Costanza." Because whatever advice he gives...you do the diametric opposite.

Posted by: Cazart on October 22, 2009 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK

I dunno. If Cheney was lying about the report given to Obama last Fall, Gibbs would have said so. Instead he said he hadn't reviewed it. Interpretation: It is true.

Posted by: ncatty on October 22, 2009 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

This administration was briefed extensively on Afghanistan during the transition.
We are now almost a year into the new presidency.
What has improved in the war that Obama termed "necessary"? I'm waiting.
I don't mind that you Lefties are still suffering from Bush-Derangement Syndrome, but really...at what point does the responsibility for the country's problems become Obama's? January? The end of 2011? Please, just give us a date.

When a new CEO is brought into the private sector to save a struggling company from the "mess" (to use one of this administration's favorite deflect-responsibility terms) it finds itself in, he's usually given a year to 18 months.
Even though changes to Bush's Iraq strategy were late in coming, they ultimately, despite the idiotic pronouncements of folks like "White Flag" Harry, worked.

What successes has this administration achieved in Afghanistan? Or, for that matter, ANY area? Again, rebut the SNL skit and name just ONE.

Posted by: DeadMediaWalking on October 22, 2009 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

Didn't BO ask for the job of POTUS? If he can't handle the job, he shouldn't have applied. He should either stop whining or resign.

Posted by: Mikie on October 22, 2009 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

Regarding Cheney, I'd paraphrase Ed Harris, playing Howard Hunt in Oliver Stone's Nixon: "He's the darkness reaching out for the darkness."

Posted by: electrolite on October 22, 2009 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

"It's very tempting to just blow Dick Cheney..."

Little Freudian slip there Steve? Maybe you like Dick more than you're willing to admit.

Posted by: Janus on October 22, 2009 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

Bush and Cheney had the best plan they could: "hand gigantic mess off to successor administration". Is he suggesting that Obama should follow suit, not do anything, and stick it to the next guy?

Posted by: DH Walker on October 22, 2009 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

so far, comments about "blowing dick" and "big dick" obviously freudian slips but I haven't seen "faux news" or "rethuglicans" yet. You guys are slipping. Libs are the most hate filled intolerant people in this country.

Posted by: sheepdog on October 22, 2009 at 3:59 PM | PERMALINK

No, Cheney won't stop talking, and God help us if he does. He's one of the few with enough intestinal fortitude to confront the gangster-style intimidation of the Obama Administration.

Just out of curiosity, is there a clearer signifier of a phony internet tough-guy than use of the phrase "intestinal fortitude"?

Posted by: DH Walker on October 22, 2009 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, the crudity and base nature of the comments (and even the editorial, to a certain extent) is exactly why I've left the liberal Democratic party behind. And as far as Gore is concerned, he didn't bother attacking Bush on Afghanistan, because he was too busy peddling his global warming fear-mongering and attacking the Bush administration on other fronts. Gore started the tradition of former VPs criticizing their successors in the media; Cheney's just doing it with a different topic.

Posted by: FormerDem on October 22, 2009 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

While it may be true that things were on the slide in Afgahnistan when Obama took office it is simply lazy and wrong to suggest that Obama is cleaning up Bush's mess. First you have to acknowledge that Afgahnistan is a mess of its own making. It is also the country that harbored OBL. Nonetheless Obama ran for president on the claim that he had a better plan for that "necessary war". That he knew what to do to win it and could do so more effectively than McCain. It is silly and more than a little pathetic to come in a year later and say...gee I did not know this was such a mess. I am cleaning up after GWB. Obama sold himself as an expert in foreign affairs. As the guy who knew how to fix Afgahnistan and now he needs months to figure out what to do? I am no fan of Cheney but he can spot dithering when he sees it.

Posted by: Sog on October 22, 2009 at 4:09 PM | PERMALINK

To sheepdog:
Here's some hate-filled rhetoric: fuck Dick Cheney and everything he stand's for. Why don't you and big Dick go to Afghanistan and rambo those Taliban for us.

Posted by: rbe1 on October 22, 2009 at 4:09 PM | PERMALINK

To Sog:
Maybe you're color-blind, but Obama didn't say any such thing. His press secretary was doing his best to answer a stupid question. It wasn't Obama standing up at the podium. Just thought you'd want to know.

Posted by: rbe on October 22, 2009 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK

Jeez, who downloaded the conservatroll virus?

Posted by: 2Manchu on October 22, 2009 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, the crudity and base nature of the comments (and even the editorial, to a certain extent) is exactly why I've left the liberal Democratic party behind.

Are you sure it wasn't your extremely poor grasp of the facts?

Posted by: DH Walker on October 22, 2009 at 4:13 PM | PERMALINK

TO rbe:

A president's press secretary speaks to the press on behalf of the president...just thougt you would want to know

Posted by: Sog on October 22, 2009 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

While it may be true that things were on the slide in Afgahnistan when Obama took office it is simply lazy and wrong to suggest that Obama is cleaning up Bush's mess.

One of the biggest problems in Afghanistan right now is the Karzai regime, ushered in by the Bush administration and allowed to fester into the deep state of corruption it now enjoys as the result of six-plus years of benign neglect. Karzai is now facing a runoff election, in no small part due to the Obama administration's diplomacy.

It is silly and more than a little pathetic to come in a year later and say...gee I did not know this was such a mess.

Which is not at all what he's said or is saying, your silly and pathetic characterizations aside. Even if Afghanistan/Pakistan was the only issue he's working on fixing, it's hardly surprising that nine months in, everything isn't suddenly all better.

I am no fan of Cheney but he can spot dithering when he sees it.

Cheney can spot an opportunity to be a raging douchebag when he sees it. Obama isn't dithering on policy, just on some of the implementation details, as new circumstances warrant. And it's no surprise that the previous administration's chief defender is so critical of a "measure twice, cut once" approach, because it's so completely alien to him.

Posted by: DH Walker on October 22, 2009 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK

to rbe1:
There you go talking about big dicks again and you just proved my point by the way. One of your Obot buddies previously used the phrase "internet tough guy" in reference to "intestinal fortitude" which made absolutely no sense in that context but that's obviously what you are Dbag.

Posted by: sheepdog on October 22, 2009 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

It's very tempting to just blow Dick Cheney's latest harangue.

OFF

please insert OFF in that sentence !!!

OMG !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: omg on October 22, 2009 at 4:35 PM | PERMALINK

Cheney's foreign policy is quite simple: all's well for oil wells, whether it be for the government of oil,by oil and for oil or for his buddies at Haliburton. He did do a great job of putting the Vice back into Vice President.

Posted by: EJ on October 22, 2009 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK

The people who believe the U.S. is a bad country and spend most of their applauding Obama's apologizing for the U.S. clearly disagree with Dick Cheney. However, its hard to see how you credibly disagree with Dick Cheney regarding Obama's dithering? Obama's own General and Secretary of Defense clearly think Obama is dithering. I personally appreciate VP Cheney exercising his right to free speech and thank him for his patriotism. As for Gore giving a speech like this. Are you kidding?

Posted by: valwayne on October 22, 2009 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think you know what you are talking about. Cheney has been discredited by his political opponents who don't know anything. People, like say, you for instance. I got news for you, if Obama is not dumber than Bush, he certainly is dumber than Cheney. How sad. You guys are delusional and freaks of nature.

Posted by: gene on October 22, 2009 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

One of your Obot buddies previously used the phrase "internet tough guy" in reference to "intestinal fortitude" which made absolutely no sense in that context but that's obviously what you are Dbag.

Wow, not very bright, are you? Not only did you not understand what I was saying, but you've gone on to show how true it was. Nice work!

Posted by: DH Walker on October 22, 2009 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

The people who believe the U.S. is a bad country ...

In other words, nobody.

Can't you pathetic conservatives get some new stereotypes? Or would that excessively hurt what passes for your brains?

Posted by: DH Walker on October 22, 2009 at 4:43 PM | PERMALINK

Obama pushed through a non stimulating stimulus and spent the past few months desperately trying to reform health care with a plan that is somehow worse than the bad status quo. He evaluated the situation in Afghanistan, then got suggestions from his man in charge only to decide to re-evaluate his previous evaluation and Dick Cheney is a prick for saying Obama is dithering? I would think our troops in a war might have gotten some attention by now.

""We have no strategic plan. We never had one," a senior U.S. military commander said of the Bush years."

It seems Obama apparently has that exact same plan. I mean I get it, you all hate Cheney but how is he wrong that Obama is dithering and not doing what it takes to win, or get out, or anything. Even Bush only kept reading to children for about five minutes, Obama has spent a good portion of a year completely avoiding Afghanistan.

Posted by: Taylor on October 22, 2009 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

I still don't know what Cheney means when he says "win."

I don't think he does either.

Lots of trolls on this post. Must have hit a nerve.

Posted by: doubtful on October 22, 2009 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

to DH Walker:

You claimed the poster was an "internet tough guy" because he used the phrase "intestinal fortitude" Pretty simple just didn't make any sense.

Posted by: sheepdog on October 22, 2009 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

Pretty simple just didn't make any sense.

Considering that the phrase is phony internet tough-guy speak, it obviously does. It's right up there with "cracking skulls" and "terminate with extreme prejudice".

Besides, if something which is true "doesn't make sense" to you, that can't really be my problem.

Posted by: DH Walker on October 22, 2009 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK

Mr. Benen, it's amazing the lengths this magazine goes to defend the Obama administration. From reading your propaganda I have come to the conclusion you would be extremely happy with a one party system here in America. What kind of person are you that you have become so blind to doing your job of responsible journalism as opposed to the job you now do that of endless propaganda for the Obama Administration. Do you really believe the "Government" is the answer to everything and all the nasty things you have written about those you disagree with! Shame on you. You are not worthy of being called an American. To think that I served 26 years in the Army so a person such as you could exist in America turns me inside out!

Posted by: Mike on October 22, 2009 at 5:13 PM | PERMALINK

As unlovely as Karzai might be, contrast it to the Taliban's policy where little girls get battery acid in the face as a punishment for going to school.
If that isn't woirth fighting against, what is?

Posted by: John D. Froelich on October 22, 2009 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK

Cheney sure has nerve. Between the Bush administration's arrogance and its incompetence, there's quite a wide gulf. (It's called the Persian Gulf, I believe.) http://www.newsprism.com

Posted by: Newsprism on October 22, 2009 at 5:22 PM | PERMALINK

ok, simple question. Cheney is saying Obama needs to decide and do SOMETHING on Afghanistan. Are those of you who disagree then proposing that Obama do NOTHING?

Posted by: 2 for Instigating on October 22, 2009 at 5:24 PM | PERMALINK

Whether you hate Cheney or not how can anyone disagree that this administration has failed to do anything on the Afghanistan front? Does it you guys that much to admit that Obama is in fact dithering? If Obama isn't, then what is he doing? Did I miss a memo where Obama explained his grand plan?

Posted by: taylor on October 22, 2009 at 5:28 PM | PERMALINK

ok, simple question. Cheney is saying Obama needs to decide and do SOMETHING on Afghanistan. Are those of you who disagree then proposing that Obama do NOTHING?

Um, no. The choice here isn't between doing something or nothing - it's the choice between doing something before considering it or doing something after considering it.

The alternative to "shoot, then aim" is NOT "don't shoot". It's "aim, then shoot". In other words, your question isn't an honest one.

Posted by: DH Walker on October 22, 2009 at 5:28 PM | PERMALINK

well then let me try for an honest question. how long should Obama "consider" what to do? And what has he been doing these last 9 months if not "considering"?

Posted by: 2 for Instigating on October 22, 2009 at 5:30 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, and while we're on the subject of simple questions, I have one of my own.

I've heard for the better part of the last eight years that criticizing a sitting US president during wartime was an act of treason. When did this stop being true (and why), OR, is Cheney a traitor?

Posted by: DH Walker on October 22, 2009 at 5:31 PM | PERMALINK

well then let me try for an honest question. how long should Obama "consider" what to do?

I actually think that's a good question. I don't think he's considering policy so much as how to implement it, which I think has to be affected by recent events (Tablian resurgency, the Afghan election uncertainty, Pakistan/India tensions complicating diplomacy, and on and on). I would really like to see a concrete military strategy by Christmas, but that's just my personal view.

And what has he been doing these last 9 months if not "considering"?

Are you kidding me? Do you not remember anything about the near-collapse of the financial and banking system, and, I dunno, maybe getting healthcare reform passed? Dealing with the Iranian election? What, do you think he's just been playing golf all this time? He isn't Bush, you know.

Posted by: DH Walker on October 22, 2009 at 5:38 PM | PERMALINK

And what has he been doing these last 9 months if not "considering"?

Are you kidding me? Do you not remember anything about the near-collapse of the financial and banking system, and, I dunno, maybe getting healthcare reform passed? Dealing with the Iranian election? What, do you think he's just been playing golf all this time? He isn't Bush, you know.

______________________________________________

thought i will agree he did do something about the economy, I think what he did was pretty worthless.

you say getting health reform passed....when did that happen? It isn't passed and isn't even a good plan and definitely not more important than deciding on a strategy for Afghanistan.

Dealing with the Iranian Election....what exactly did he do besides ignore a very likely corrupt election and human rights violations?

Was that really the best you could answer? 2 out of 3 things that are definitely not more important than dealing with our military in Afghanistan and giving him credit for crappy unpassed health care and an election he ignored?

Posted by: taylor on October 22, 2009 at 5:48 PM | PERMALINK

presidents have to be able to manage multiple sitautions/crises at once. he cant say "OK I am only going to worry about health care, or iran, or whatever"

He HAS to have been getting advice about Afghanistan all this time. Cheney, McCrystal, and many others are saying "its time to act." I happen to agree. The longer he waits, even if he is actually having thoughtful deliberation and not just deaying a decision because he knows there is probably no good solution, the worse the situation gets and the harder it becomes to salvage aything from the situation. If he decided not to follow Mccrystals recommendations, I wont agree with it, but I will respect the fact that it is his prerogative as CIC to do so. But he MUST make a decision, one way or another, soon.

Posted by: 2 for Instigating on October 22, 2009 at 5:54 PM | PERMALINK

Isn't it interesting that during the Bush years pretty much all you heard from democrats was wailing about the war in Iraq and now that Iraq has settled down all they can do is wail about the neglect of Afghanistan and how Bush messed it up.

Where were you guys when we were in the Bush Administration? It would seem democrats and republicans both forgot about Afghanistan. How can you slam Bush for letting it fester with neglect when you guys payed no attention to Afghanistan either? If we played by your book there would never have been a surge in Iraq and we would have the same mess in Afghanistan and Iraq would more than likely be worse. Can you guys ever make a decision of is it just part of your nature to constantly show off your wisdom with hind sight? Is it really killing you guys now having to make decisions in real time? How much longer do you think you can get away with blaming Bush? We wouldn't be in this mess at all if it weren't for bush....and your votes....over and over again....but what am I thinking you guys had nothing to do with this mess.

Posted by: Taylor on October 22, 2009 at 6:04 PM | PERMALINK

The longer he waits, even if he is actually having thoughtful deliberation and not just deaying a decision because he knows there is probably no good solution, the worse the situation gets and the harder it becomes to salvage aything from the situation.

Really? That's fascinating, as Bush and Cheney spent seven years delaying doing anything about Afghanistan. Casualties mounted by hundreds of percent, commanders begged for more troops -- and nothing.

Where were you then?

Posted by: trex on October 22, 2009 at 6:06 PM | PERMALINK

nice revisionist history and evasion of the question. It doesnt matter one whit what Bush did. Thats history. It would have been a fair question if Bush was still President but hes not. The question before you is what is obama going to do and how long is it going to take him to do it?

Posted by: 2 for Instigating on October 22, 2009 at 6:10 PM | PERMALINK

Isn't it interesting that during the Bush years pretty much all you heard from democrats was wailing about the war in Iraq and now that Iraq has settled down all they can do is wail about the neglect of Afghanistan and how Bush messed it up.

Not only is it not interesting, it's not remotely true. If you do a google search on this blog alone you will find hundreds of comments decrying the fact that Bush completely ignored Afghanistan. Just because you're an ignorant boob it doesn't mean it didn't happen.

No, Obama hasn't resolved all of the crises and catastrophes in eight months that Bush and Cheney spent eight years making. That shouldn't be a surprise to anyone.

Posted by: trex on October 22, 2009 at 6:12 PM | PERMALINK

Taylor and 2,
The operation in Afghanistan is NATO.
Winter is coming soon there.
You must not have been around for Vietnam. Plenty of hasty decisions were made and plenty of lives
were lost or destroyed.
You are chairbornes.
You sit safe and take potshots at the president. Try reading and thinking about the soldiers in Afghanistan.
Bush did ignore Afghanistan and last year he said that he though that it would be romantic to be a soldier in Afghanistan.
Cheney never served in the armed forces.
This has to be done right and as well as possible. It takes time to work things out.

Posted by: Maude on October 22, 2009 at 6:20 PM | PERMALINK

The situation now reminds me of when I was serving the US Army during the Nam war. To see politicians discussing the shape of a table while our guys were been killed was inexcusable. Now Obama goes to fund raisers, to Copenhagen to political gatherings while some of our guys again pay the bill. As I believed of the politicians during the Vietnam era, I am completely sure that if Obama�s hide was in a foxhole, he would have already made the decision. The same go for all in this forum that talk nothing but hot air when others are dodging hot lead.

Posted by: Emphasis on October 22, 2009 at 6:23 PM | PERMALINK

"I think it's fair to say that if Al Gore had delivered a speech like this one... Gore would have quickly seen his patriotism questioned,"

Selective memory? Gore excoriated Bush on Iraq, the economy, global warming, wiretapping... what all am I forgetting? He was harsh too, not helpful and avuncular like Cheney.

Posted by: Charlie on October 22, 2009 at 6:31 PM | PERMALINK

[while you're discussing the matter with RealClearPolitics, let them know that you opened your remarks in this "seething pit of leftie indignation" by describing it as "masturbatory" and made your intentions clear that you were here for "amusement" -- mod.]

Posted by: 2 for Instigating on October 22, 2009 at 6:39 PM | PERMALINK

Bush and Cheney let Afghanistan get this bad, but Obama hasn't taken any definitive steps to make the situation better. Let's move on.

Posted by: michael on October 22, 2009 at 6:42 PM | PERMALINK

micheal thats exactly my point. Regardless of how it got this way Obama is in charge of fixing it. All i want is to know how, and when, he plans to do that. I dont think thats being unreasonable or even partisan. Americans of any political stripe have a legitimate right to have this question answered.

Posted by: 2 for Instigating on October 22, 2009 at 6:49 PM | PERMALINK

Taylor and 2,
The operation in Afghanistan is NATO.
Winter is coming soon there.
You must not have been around for Vietnam. Plenty of hasty decisions were made and plenty of lives
were lost or destroyed.
You are chairbornes.
You sit safe and take potshots at the president. Try reading and thinking about the soldiers in Afghanistan.
Bush did ignore Afghanistan and last year he said that he though that it would be romantic to be a soldier in Afghanistan.
Cheney never served in the armed forces.
This has to be done right and as well as possible. It takes time to work things out.

Obama had advisors on Afghanistan before he was officially in office, he has reviewed his strategy, had his general give him suggestions and is reviewing strategy again. It has been almost a year since he was elected. Him deciding on a course of action after a year is not asking him to be hasty.

I am no more a chairborne than those who sat back and chastised every decision Bush made for years. At least he made decisions. I feel very comfortable in my criticism of Obama not making decisions at all.

I am thinking about soldiers in Afghanistan and I don't think they like spending a whole year at war while politicians decide what they hell their strategy is. Obama needs to make an informed decision but you can't ask our troops to hold steady and take fire while the administration looks over it's options over and over and over.

The quote was
"“It must be exciting for you,” he said, as reported by Reuters. “[And] in some ways romantic, in some ways, you know, confronting danger. You’re really making history, and thanks.”

not the best quote I hope he meant romantic in a sense that he loves his country and is fighting for it.

Cheney never served in the armed forces. Very astute of you. Can you name two other? Obama and Biden.

This has to be done right and a year dithering is enough.

Posted by: Taylor on October 22, 2009 at 6:50 PM | PERMALINK
NBC News and news services updated 6:10 p.m. ET, Tues., Feb. 17, 2009

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama approved adding some 17,000 U.S. troops for the flagging war in Afghanistan, his first significant move to change the course of a conflict that his closest military advisers have warned the United States is not winning.

About 8,000 Marines are expected to go in first, followed by about 9,000 Army troops. Some 34,000 U.S. troops are already in Afghanistan.

more troops were added after this for a current deployment of appx. 62,000. Obama has almost doubled the number of troops in afghanistan since he came into office and increased the use of predators for strategic strikes. In what world is this dithering???

Posted by: st on October 22, 2009 at 7:03 PM | PERMALINK

Can we get a bit more hyperpartisan? The bipartisan military strategy of the US is to engage in a "win-hold-win" strategy if confronted by two medium sized wars. We had two medium sized wars and the Bush team picked Iraq as the first win. Now that Iraq is winding down, it's now time to move from the "hold" part to the "win" part.

This policy innovation came from the Clinton administration. Now its implications are working out in real life in Afghanistan and your side doesn't like it but it's those evil GOPers who are at fault. Of course they are.

Of course they are not.

Posted by: TMLutas on October 22, 2009 at 8:31 PM | PERMALINK

Can we get a bit more hyperpartisan?

No, you really can't get more hyperpartisan after Obama has almost doubled the troop levels that Bush had in Afghanistan last year and increased funding for the war by almost 80% -- and yet he is accused of not doing enough and dithering Dick Cheney of all people is held up as the gold standard.

Attacks, casualties, and fatalities increased in Afghanistan every year after 2001 and Bush barely increased troop levels but he did say "freedom" a lot. Now that Obama has dramatically committed to the war the wingnuts complain he isn't serious enough about it.

Posted by: trex on October 22, 2009 at 8:42 PM | PERMALINK

I missed the memo, when did it start not being okay to voice an opposing position. Wasn't this in vogue for the last 8 years (never mind the 200 plus years before that?)

Posted by: t22 on October 22, 2009 at 10:31 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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