Tags: Dick Cheney

Rand Paul Defends President Obama From Dick Cheney


Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.) defended President Obama from former vice president Dick Cheney’s critiques of his policy in Iraq, saying that he faults Cheney and the rest of President George W. Bush’s team for launching an invasion of Iraq that ultimately strengthened Iran.

“What’s going on now, I don’t blame on President Obama,” Paul told NBC’s David Gregory. “But I do blame the Iraq War on the chaos that is in the Middle East. I also blame those who were for the Iraq war for emboldening Iran.”

Paul explained that “Iran is much more of a threat because of the Iraq war than they were before. Before, there was a standoff between Sunnis and Shiites; now, there is Iranian hegemony throughout the region.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) made a similar point while dismissing Secretary of State John Kerry’s suggestion that the United States could collaborate with Iran on a response to the militants now storming Iraq. Pelosi, noting that Saddam Hussein’s regime was a counterweight to Iran in the region, said that Iran is now ”free and clear because we took out their main check.”

Fox News’ Megyn Kelly raked Cheney over the coals for the mistakes made in the lead-up and during the Iraq War.

“But time and time again, history has proven that you got it wrong as well in Iraq, sir,” Kelly told him.  “You said there were no doubts Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.  You said we would greeted as liberators.  You said the Iraq insurgency was in the last throes back in 2005.  And you said that after our intervention, extremists would have to, quote, ‘rethink their strategy of Jihad.’  Now with almost a trillion dollars spent there with 4,500 American lives lost there, what do you say to those who say, you were so wrong about so much at the expense of so many?” 

Cheney responded that no one, in the lead-up to the invasion, doubted that Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. “We had a situation where if we — after 9/11, we were concerned about a follow-up  attack, it would involve not just airline tickets and box cutters as the weapons, but rather something far deadlier, perhaps even a nuclear weapon,” he said.

Paul has hit Cheney over his support for the Iraq War before.  ”I think there’s at least the appearance and the chance of a conflict of interest,” Paul said of Cheney’s work with Halliburton. ”And in his case, there was a policy of thinking it was a bad idea to invade Baghdad — then going to work in private for a contractor, coming back and now saying it was good. I don’t know what his thought process is, and I’m not trying to say. I’m just saying there’s an appearance that there could be a conflict of interest.”

The comment was made in 2009, but didn’t receive much attention until Mother Jones published the video in April, at which point Paul emphasized that he didn’t believe Cheney supported the war in order to benefit his old company.

“The point I was trying to make is one similar to one Eisenhower made,” Paul told Business Insider. ”He said that the military-industrial complex — beware, because then they could be influencing policy by people who make money off government contracts. I wasn’t intending really to impugn his personal motives. I think he is a patriot as much as anyone else, and wants what’s best for the country. I don’t always agree with him, but I don’t question his motives.”

Charles Krauthammer explains how Obama bears responsibility for failing to secure a status of forces agreement that would have helped prevent the current instability by leaving United States forces in Iraq.

“David Petraeus had won the war. Obama’s one task was to conclude a status-of-forces agreement (SOFA) to solidify the gains. By Obama’s own admission — in the case he’s now making for a status-of-forces agreement with Afghanistan — such agreements are necessary ‘because after all the sacrifices we’ve made, we want to preserve the gains’ achieved by war,” Krauthammer wrote. “Which is what made his failure to do so in Iraq so disastrous. His excuse was his inability to get immunity for U.S. soldiers. Nonsense. Bush had worked out a compromise in his 2008 SOFA, as we have done with allies everywhere. The real problem was Obama’s reluctance to maintain any significant presence in Iraq.”


Tags: Iraq , Rand Paul , Barack Obama , Dick Cheney

Cheney: Why Investigate Those Who Helped Get Osama?


From the first Morning Jolt of the week:

Cheney: Why Are We Still Investigating CIA Interrogators?

While I’m on board with Cheney’s complaint, doesn’t it seem like the extremely slow-moving investigation of CIA interrogation techniques is an Obama administration puppet show to amuse and please its far-left base? For starters, we’re nearly two-and-a-half years into this administration, without much of a peep out of this investigation. The evidence for a prosecution may not be there anymore, or any prosecutor may feel iffy about their chances before a grand jury. I realize that for an indictment a grand jury doesn’t need to be unanimous, but I believe you need 12 out of a pool of 16 to 23 to bring charges, and how many Americans would look at the evidence of water-boarding or other hard interrogation techniques and shrug and say, “Yeah, but it’s Khalid Sheik Mohammad, the mastermind of 9/11. He had it coming!”

Fox News: “Former Vice President Dick Cheney said Sunday it’s an “outrage” the Obama administration continues to investigate CIA agents who interrogated terror suspects, claiming they did nothing wrong and expressing concern about the precedent it sets.  Cheney weighed in on the probe after several Republicans and other ex-officials have renewed their call for the Justice Department to drop the investigation — launched nearly two years ago by Attorney General Eric Holder — in light of the killing of Usama bin Laden. Though it’s unclear what role so-called enhanced interrogation played in finding bin Laden, Cheney told “Fox News Sunday” the techniques probably “contributed” and suggested the circumstances make the Justice probe all the more unsettling. ”It’s unfortunate,” Cheney said. “These men deserve to be decorated. They don’t deserve to be prosecuted.” Cheney noted there was a “complete investigation” during the Bush administration that concluded the agents had not violated the law. He said the decision by Holder to reopen that case and hand it over to a special prosecutor sets a “terrible precedent.” 

The Lonely Conservative notes, “Everything the government has been doing lately should send a chill through every American. Oh, and remember when they prosecuted Navy SEALS for “abusing” terrorists? The case fell apart, they were just trying to make examples of them. Now they bask in the glory brought to them by the Navy SEALS. Chris Wallace also interviewed National Security Adviser Tom Donilon and asked him why it was okay to shoot Osama bin Laden in the face when he was unarmed, but it’s wasn’t okay to waterboard Kaleid Sheik Mohammad. He didn’t have a very good answer, but stood by the assertion. He said we were at war with bin Laden, Wallace pressed him, pointing out that we’re also at war with KSM. Like a stubborn child confronted with the truth and logic, he still refused to budge.”

Don Surber: “Let’s ask Laden if he prefers a bullet in the head to water boarding.” 

Reminds me of Leno’s joke from last week: “Bin Laden was buried at sea. Or as Dick Cheney calls it, “the ultimate waterboarding!”

Tags: Barack Obama , Dick Cheney

Trust the Pronunciation From the Man Himself


In an earlier edition of the Jolt, I referred to Chris Matthews’s habit of referring to the former vice president and members of his family as “Chee-nee” instead of the widespread pronunciation of “Chay-nee.”

Apparently Matthews bases his pronunication based on a 2007 statement by Lynne Cheney that members of Dick Cheney’s family always pronounced it “Chee-nee” before he became a public figure; the matter is also discussed in Stephen Hayes’s biography of Cheney. But no less a figure than Liz Cheney called Matthews misinformed, and I note that both times Cheney was sworn into office, he said “I, Richard Chay-nee.”

I suspect if Dick Cheney wanted to be called “Chee-nee,” he would let us know.

Tags: Dick Cheney

The New, Slim, Kinder, Gentler Cheney Debuts


This morning on the Today show, a dramatically slimmer Dick Cheney reappears, leading off this morning’s Jolt . . .

Dick Cheney Compliments Obama! Well, Sort of. Kinda. Almost.

Hey, look, everyone, a Kumbaya moment! Former Vice President Dick Cheney is saying nice things about President Obama!

ABC News offers bits from an upcoming interview with Cheney: “Asked if he still believed that Obama has made America less safe, Cheney said his previous comments were in reference to concerns that Obama would roll back counterterrorism policies the Bush Administration had put in place, such as enhanced interrogation techniques and the terror surveillance program. ‘I think he’s found it necessary to be more sympathetic to the kinds of things we did,’ Cheney said, noting that it was ’all well and good’ that the Obama administration has ‘gotten active’ with the drone program against terrorists. But, Cheney said, he still worries that Obama does not have the same absolute commitment to preventing a terror attack that he and George W. Bush had simply because Obama has yet to go through a day like 9/11, as they did. ‘[Sept. 11] certainly stimulated in me and I think the president I worked for an absolute commitment that that’s never going to happen again on our watch. And that we’ll do whatever we have to do in order to prevent it,’ he said. ‘And I hope President Obama is to that point now where he has that same basic attitude. But we might never find out until there’s actually another attack.’”

See, the old hard-line Cheney would have said Obama was certainly a squish on the war on terror, and today the new, kinder, gentler, old softie Cheney is saying there’s a possibility he might not be a squish on the war on terror. Hey, there is a new tone in politics!

USA Today focuses on these quotes: “Cheney said Obama appears to have learned because he has ‘been through the fires of becoming president, and having to make decisions and live with the consequences . . . As I say, I think he’s found it necessary to be more sympathetic to the kinds of things we did,’ Cheney said. ‘They’ve gotten active, for example, with the drone program, using Predator and the Reaper to launch strikes against identified terrorist targets in the various places in the world.’”

Moe Lane: “Cheney genially praising Obama for showing the elementary good sense to follow George W Bush’s lead on the GWOT is pretty good stuff.  My only quibble there is that the former Vice President didn’t observe that the current President had really ‘grown in office’ in that regard; but then, that can be a killing insult, inside the Beltway.  The doctors probably told Cheney to take it easy until he’s more comfortable with his cyborg body . . .”

I saw nothing on Daily Kos or other blogs about this Monday night, and perhaps they’re not as Cheney-obsessive as they used to be; maybe Palin Derangement Syndrome squeezes out the time they used to be able to devote to hating other prominent conservatives. Expect Cheney to dominate a news cycle or two with his typically blunt assessments.

Also note this point in the addendum: “Be warned: All of Washington will be unproductive Tuesday morning, on account of some ice and snow. This presumes, of course, that Washington has some measurable productivity on a regular Tuesday morning.”

Tags: Barack Obama , Dick Cheney

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