Friday, May 22, 2009

Obama vs. Cheney

Upon watching today's two speeches, the difference between Obama and Cheney was clear, it was form versus substance. This was evident from just comparing the two venues.

Obama's setting was loaded with imagery designed to give him the gravitas of POTUS. The National Archives with its backdrop of our nation's most sacred documents and his booming voice echoing in the cavernous hall, were all there to give weight to his assertions, half truths and double speak. Now compare and contrast that with Cheney's venue.

Dick Cheney gave his speech at the American Enterprise Institute with a simple white and grey logo covered wall as a backdrop. His only aids were his raspy voice and prepared text. Yet, it was the words of that text that has set the liberal world reeling and has ignited the conservative base once again. This is because the words from that text carried with them the weight of common sense and honesty.

We continue to see more form versus substance in the fact that Cheney's speech was scheduled way in advance of Obama's. Obama only recently changed the date to match Cheney's. Despite the differences in time, Cheney's speech answered all of Obama's criticisms. This being the result of a man who knows what he is talking about and who has full command of the issue at hand.From Obama's first criticism of the Bush Administration, Cheney had an answer:

Obama: Unfortunately, faced with an uncertain threat, our government made a series of hasty decisions. I believe that many of
these decisions were motivated by a sincere desire to protect the American people. But I also believe that all too often our government made decisions based on fear rather than foresight; that all too often our government trimmed facts and evidence to fit ideological predispositions. Instead of strategically applying our power and our principles, too often we set those principles aside as luxuries that we could no longer afford. And during this season of fear, too many of us -- Democrats and Republicans, politicians, journalists, and citizens - fell silent.

Cheney: ... And when he faults or mischaracterizes the national security decisions we made in the Bush years, he deserves an answer. The point is not to look backward. Now and for years to come, a lot rides on our President’s understanding of the security policies that preceded him. And whatever choices he makes concerning the defense of this country, those choices should not be
based on slogans and campaign rhetoric, but on a truthful telling of history.

The other thing that stuck out to me about both speeches was that the question of the effectiveness of Enhanced Interrogation Techniques is unanswered. Obama makes the assertion that they are ineffective but offers no proof to back it up:

Obama: I know some have argued that brutal methods like waterboarding were necessary to keep us safe. I could not disagree more. As Commander-in-Chief, I see the intelligence. I bear the responsibility for keeping this country safe. And I categorically reject the assertion that these are the most effective means of interrogation...
Cheney on the other hand, makes asking for this information an important part of his speech:

Cheney: Yet somehow, when the soul-searching was done and the veil was lifted on the policies of the Bush administration, the public was given less than half the truth. The released memos were carefully redacted to leave out references to what our government learned through the methods in question. Other memos, laying out specific terrorist plots that were averted, apparently were not even considered for release. For reasons the administration has yet to explain, they believe the public has a right to know the method of the questions, but not the content of the answers.

Without the answer to whether or not EITs worked or not, the subject is open to debate and conjecture. Clearly, the Obama administration doesn't want us to know that answer for sure, because there is probably good reason to believe it does not help his argument. We can safely draw that conclusion because if there was no harm in releasing the memo detailing the techniques we use, then what is the harm in releasing the results?

I was particularly galled by this statement in Obama's speech:

Obama: ... We're cleaning up something that is, quite simply, a mess -- a misguided experiment that has left in its wake a flood of legal challenges that my administration is forced to deal with on a constant, almost daily basis, and it consumes the time of government officials whose time should be spent on better protecting our country.
What I find so galling about this statement is the fact that it was Obama and the Democrats who created the situation themselves. It was their politicizing of the entire Gitmo issue in order to score points against Bush that created this "mess". It was the left that insisted that massive torture was going on there, it was the left that has brought all the legal challenges, it was the left demands the place to be shut down, it is the left that are trying to give the Gitmo prisoners our Constitutional rights and it is the left who wants to try the Gitmo prisoners in the American court system. Mind you, Democrats were all in for creating Gitmo and using EITs in the beginning, it wasn't until they were desperate to discredit the Bush Administration that they all of a sudden found faults.

In the end Obama and the Democrats have created their own problem. It is a problem that has the ability to split their party and or completely discredit them in the eyes of Americans as far as national security is concerned. This is why Republicans need to push hard for the release of the memos Cheney requested. It will help to bring more fair minded people to the side of the GOP and help to further the rift in the Democratic party. If Michael Steels' words the other day have any weight behind them, then he should start rallying Republicans to Cheney's cause.

Finally some thought about Dick Cheney. You have to admire him for standing up against the on coming onslaught the left will no doubt launch against him. He has put the great Obama on the defense on the national security issue. He galls the Democrats for refusing to stay vanquished and discredited. CNN's own polls show he is making a comeback. He even exposed their childish and foolish ways:

Cheney: Behind the overwrought reaction to enhanced interrogations is a broader misconception about the threats that still
face our country. You can sense the problem in the emergence of euphemisms that strive to put an imaginary distance between the American people and the terrorist enemy. Apparently using the term “war” where terrorists are concerned is starting to feel a bit dated. So henceforth we’re advised by the administration to think of the fight against terrorists as, quote, “Overseas contingency operations.” In the event of another terrorist attack on America, the Homeland Security Department assures us it will be ready for this, quote, “man-made disaster” – never mind that the whole Department was created for the purpose of protecting Americans from terrorist attack.

And when you hear that there are no more, quote, “enemy combatants,” as there were back in the days of that scary war on terror, at first that sounds like progress. The only problem is that the phrase is gone, but the same assortment of killers and would-be mass murderers are still there. And finding some less judgmental or
more pleasant-sounding name for terrorists doesn’t change what they are – or what they would do if we let them loose.

Cheney's sober speech showed us what was missing these last 100+ days and that is a certain level of maturity. There has been a complete lack of "grown ups" since January 20th. Instead we are treated to childish things like the blame game, flimsy excuses for unsuitable cabinet members, unsubstantiated assertions, rosy images pasted over bad situations and arrogance by the truck load.


Nikki said...

Great post! I love that Dick is making a comeback...when all is said and done, our memories are much longer than Obama gives the American people credit and we are shaky at best at his approach to national security. I think righties and mods are the majority and they don't like what they hear. :)N

Clifton B said...


It is refeshing to see Cheney again. An adult presence has been sorely missed, especially where National Security is concerned.

The Pondering Catholic said...

GREAT post!!! I too am loving seeing the VP defend and proclaim. Great patriot!

Clifton B said...


I love the fact that the left is outraged that Cheney is not only back but effective too!

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