On Fox News Sunday former vice president Dick Cheney explained to his own party why Obama deserves credit for getting Osama Bin Laden. Cheney said, “It’s no question that was his responsibility and I think he handled it well.”
According to Fox News, Chris Wallace asked Dick Cheney how much credit Obama deserves for getting Bin Laden. Cheney answered,
Well, I think you’ve got to give him a lot of credit for making the decision to have SEAL Team Six conduct the raid that got bin Laden. There is no question that was his responsibility. And I think he handled it well. I give him high marks for it, for making that decision.
I still am concerned about the fact that I think a lot of the techniques that we had used to keep the country safe for more than seven years are no longer available. That they’ve been sort of taken off the table, if you will.
When the president first came into office, he moved to close Guantanamo. He has had to give up on that now. He also suspended the enhanced interrogation program and substituted the provisions of the U.S. Army Manual for that purpose. So, it’s not clear to me today if we still have an interrogation program that we can put somebody through should we capture a high-value detainee that had crucial information.
Cheney was forced to make the weak argument that even though Obama got Bin Laden, America is still less safe because we aren’t torturing people. Cheney also failed to mention that the only reason GITMO is still open is because cowardly Democrats bowed to Republican fear mongering and blocking the funding to close the detention center. Obama didn’t back off of it. His own party was too weak kneed to carry out his agenda.
Cheney also expressed confusion over Obama’s Libya policy, “I’ve been confused by it. I think most people have been. It’s not clear exactly what the policy is. The idea that you can turn something that important over to Libya or over to NATO and have NATO deal with Libya, and pursue our interests there, doesn’t work very well. Frankly, NATO only functions effectively when the United States is involved to lead NATO.”
Cheney is a neo-con, so of course he is going to hate any policy that involves cooperating with NATO or the UN. I would have thought that former vice president would have learned something from his experience of screwing up the invasion of Iraq so badly that in 2007 George W. Bush had to go the UN, hat in hand and ask for help, but I guess you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, or in Cheney’s case any tricks beyond the Nixon era imperial presidency.
Dick Cheney basically explained to his own party why Obama deserves the credit for the killing of Bin Laden. It was President Obama’s call. It was Obama’s decision. Those Navy SEALS would have never been in Pakistan if Obama did not approve of the mission. The right wing chatter that Obama does not deserve the credit for the death of Bin Laden leaves out the little fact that the military can’t act without the Commander in Chief’s approval.
This was all Obama’s decision. If the mission to get Bin Laden fails, Obama becomes Jimmy Carter. This can’t be parsed to marginalize Obama. He made the call. Without him taking the risk, Bin Laden is still alive and lounging around his living room in Pakistan. Dick Cheney was correct. Obama should get high marks for this.
Cheney also illustrated why the Republicans are facing an uphill battle against Obama in 2012. Republicans will be forced to either give Obama credit for getting Bin Laden, or take the national security issue off of the table. In post-9/11 politics, national security has become the tent poll issue of Republican campaigns. Republicans ran on national security in 2002, 2004, 2006, and 2008. The last two GOP presidential campaigns were national security centric.
What are Republicans going to run on in 2012? Criticizing Obama for an action in Libya that American ground troops aren’t involved in? Are Republicans going to seriously run on the idea that America needs to commit ground troops to a third war? Are they going to revive the torture debate? Are they going to run on the economy by reminding everyone that they are the ones who tanked the economy in the first place?
You know the Republican Party is seriously screwed when Dick Cheney has to give Obama credit for anything.