Two speeches, two very different men. Former Vice President Cheney seeks no political future. He speaks from the vantage of one who witnessed the killing of our fellow citizens, who deliberated and defined the strategy that would successfully prevent further murders of our fellow Americans.
His address today was direct, well-reasoned, and convincing.
President Obama, on the other hand, continues to speak as a politician. Contrary to the advice I and others gave him, he has placed two of his top political consultants in the West Wing, looking to them to opine on matters of national security. Barack Obama is having a hard time going from politician to president. His speech and his policies have one foot in campaign mode and another in presidential mode. He struggles to explain how he is keeping faith with the liberal advocates who promoted his campaign but in doing so, he breaks faith with the interests of the American people. When it comes to protecting the nation, we have a conflicted president. And his address today was more tortured than the enhanced interrogation techniques he decries.
It is laughable to suggest that Guantanamo is a meaningful aid in terrorist recruiting. Before Guantanamo came the first bombing of the World Trade Center, the bombing at Riyadh, the attacks on Khobar, the bombing of our embassies, the Cole. There will always be rallying cries for recruitment whether it is the existence of Israel or the freedoms enjoyed by Americans. Appeasement has not ever, does not now, and will never satisfy a foe who looks to destroy freedom and rule the world.
Vice President Cheney has been the target of every media, from mainstream to comic. But he spoke today as before without regard to the politics but with abiding respect for the truth. Barack Obama is still hanging on to the campaign trail. He said that the last thing he thinks about when he goes to sleep at night is keeping America safe. That’s a big difference with Vice President Cheney–when it came to protecting Americans, he never went to sleep.