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Real “Hope” and CHENEY

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


We cannot hope to win a war by talking down our country and those who do its hardest work – the men and women of our military and intelligence services. They are, after all, the true keepers of the flame. (Dick Cheney)

Thank G-d for Dick Cheney. He is the last American standing who is refuting the garbage and filth the Obama administration mass produces on a daily basis. Whew.

It is pathetic that while Obama slams Bush on Afghanistan, they are adopting the very strategy that the Bush team devised. Worse, Obama asked Bush and co. to keep the plan quiet …. and they did. So Obama takes it as his own and simultaneously slams Bush. This is one ugly demagogue.

Cheney 2012. Cheney 2012. Cheney 2012. Cheney 2012. Cheney 2012.  No one comes near him.

Cheney accuses Obama of 'libel' against CIA interrogators

Maintaining his stature as one of the most forceful defenders of the Bush Administration's defense policies former Vice President Dick Cheney accused
President Obama of committing "libel" against CIA interrogators on
Wednesday

Mr. Cheney’s criticized the Obama White House in a wide-ranging address on
foreign policy matters for abandoning commitments to allies in Poland and the
Czech Republic in favor of the Russians, sacrificing American intelligence
officials to satisfy the political left and "dithering" on taking action in
Afghanistan, among other things.

The speech, delivered to the Center for Security Policy, comes as the White
House considers U.S. Commander of Afghanistan Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s request
for an additional 40,000 troops and struggles with the legal consequences of
shutting down Guantanamo Bay. On the domestic front, most of political
Washington is consumed with massive health care reform plans moving through
Congress.

Meanwhile, Keep America Safe, a
new 501c4 co-founded by the Weekly Standard’s William Kristol and Mr. Cheney’s
daughter, Liz, has been created to pressure the Obama Administration on security
issues. Mr. Cheney’s Wednesday speech was published in full by Mr. Kristol on
the Weekly Standard’s website, with several selected highlights noting what Mr.
Cheney had to say about Afghanistan, American allies who have been spurned and
CIA interrogators.

In the speech, Mr. Cheney charged that President Obama has "filled the air
with vague and useless platitude" when talking about torture and by calling
enhanced interrogation technigques "torture" he has committed “libel” against
CIA interrogators whom Mr. Cheney described as “dedicated professionals who
acted honorably and well, in our country’s name and in our country’s cause.”

“What’s more, to completely rule out enhanced interrogation in the future, in
favor of half-measures, is unwise in the extreme. In the fight against
terrorism, there is no middle ground, and half-measures keep you half exposed,”
he said.

“The White House must stop dithering while America’s armed forces are in
danger,” the former vice president said at another point in his speech.

“Make no mistake, signals of indecision out of Washington hurt our allies and
embolden our adversaries. Waffling, while our troops on the ground face an
emboldened enemy, endangers them and hurts our cause.”

Here is Cheney's Speech tonight, from the Weekly Standard:

Dick Cheney…will be speaking at the Center for Security Policy
tonight. The speech is a real humdinger. Check back here at 6 for the full text
of the former vice president's remarks.

Update: Highlights from the Cheney speech…

Most anyone who is given responsibility in matters of national security
quickly comes to appreciate the commitments and structures put in place by
others who came before. You deploy a military force that was planned and funded
by your predecessors. You inherit relationships with partners and obligations to
allies that were first undertaken years and even generations earlier. With the
authority you hold for a little while, you have great freedom of action. And
whatever course you follow, the essential thing is always to keep commitments,
and to leave no doubts about the credibility of your country’s word.

So among my other concerns about the drift of events under the present
administration, I consider the abandonment of missile defense in Eastern Europe
to be a strategic blunder and a breach of good faith. …

You hardly have to go back to 1939 to understand why these countries desire –
and thought they had – a close and trusting relationship with the United States.
Only last year, the Russian Army moved into Georgia, under the orders of a man
who regards the collapse of the Soviet Union as the greatest geopolitical
disaster of the 20th century. Anybody who has spent much time in that part of
the world knows what Vladimir Putin is up to. And those who try placating him,
by conceding ground and accommodating his wishes, will get nothing in return but
more trouble.

What did the Obama Administration get from Russia for its abandonment of
Poland and the Czech Republic, and for its famous “Reset” button? Another deeply
flawed election and continued Russian opposition to sanctioning Iran for its
pursuit of nuclear weapons.

In the short of it, President Obama’s cancellation of America’s agreements
with the Polish and Czech governments was a serious blow to the hopes and
aspirations of millions of Europeans. For twenty years, these peoples have done
nothing but strive to move closer to us, and to gain the opportunities and
security that America offered. These are faithful friends and NATO allies, and
they deserve better. The impact of making two NATO allies walk the plank won’t
be felt only in Europe. Our friends throughout the world are watching and
wondering whether America will abandon them as well.

….

I have long been skeptical of engagement with the current regime in Tehran,
but even Iran experts who previously advocated for engagement have changed their
tune since the rigged elections this past June and the brutal suppression of
Iran's democratic protestors. The administration clearly missed an opportunity
to stand with Iran's democrats, whose popular protests represent the greatest
challenge to the Islamic Republic since its founding in 1979. Instead, the
President has been largely silent about the violent crackdown on Iran's
protestors, and has moved blindly forward to engage Iran's authoritarian regime.
Unless the Islamic Republic fears real consequences from the United States and
the international community, it is hard to see how diplomacy will work.

….

We should all be concerned as well with the direction of policy on
Afghanistan. For quite a while, the cause of our military in that country went
pretty much unquestioned, even on the left. The effort was routinely praised by
way of contrast to Iraq, which many wrote off as a failure until the surge
proved them wrong. Now suddenly – and despite our success in Iraq – we’re
hearing a drumbeat of defeatism over Afghanistan. These criticisms carry the
same air of hopelessness, they offer the same short-sighted arguments for
walking away, and they should be summarily rejected for the same reasons of
national security.

Having announced his Afghanistan strategy last March, President Obama now
seems afraid to make a decision, and unable to provide his commander on the
ground with the troops he needs to complete his mission.

President Obama has said he understands the stakes for America. When he
announced his new strategy he couched the need to succeed in the starkest
possible terms, saying, quote, “If the Afghan government falls to the Taliban –
or allows al-Qaeda to go unchallenged – that country will again be a base for
terrorists who want to kill as many of our people as they possibly can.” End
quote.

Five months later, in August of this year, speaking at the VFW, the President
made a promise to America’s armed forces. “I will give you a clear mission,” he
said, “defined goals, and the equipment and support you need to get the job
done. That’s my commitment to you.”

It’s time for President Obama to make good on his promise. The White House
must stop dithering while America’s armed forces are in danger.

Make no mistake, signals of indecision out of Washington hurt our allies and
embolden our adversaries. Waffling, while our troops on the ground face an
emboldened enemy, endangers them and hurts our cause.

Our administration always faced its share of criticism, and from some
quarters it was always intense. That was especially so in the later years of our
term, when the dangers were as serious as ever, but the sense of general alarm
after 9/11 was a fading memory. Part of our responsibility, as we saw it, was
not to forget the terrible harm that had been done to America … and not to let
9/11 become the prelude to something much bigger and far worse.

Eight
years into the effort, one thing we know is that the enemy has spent most of
this time on the defensive – and every attempt to strike inside the United
States has failed. So you would think that our successors would be going to the
intelligence community saying, “How did you did you do it? What were the keys to
preventing another attack over that period of time?”

Instead, they’ve chosen a different path entirely – giving in to the angry
left, slandering people who did a hard job well, and demagoguing an issue more
serious than any other they’ll face in these four years. No one knows just where
that path will lead, but I can promise you this: There will always be plenty of
us willing to stand up for the policies and the people that have kept this
country safe.

On the political left, it will still be asserted that tough interrogations
did no good, because this is an article of faith for them, and actual evidence
is unwelcome and disregarded. President Obama himself has ruled these methods
out, and when he last addressed the subject he filled the air with vague and
useless platitudes. His preferred device is to suggest that we could have gotten
the same information by other means. We’re invited to think so. But this ignores
the hard, inconvenient truth that we did try other means and techniques to
elicit information from Khalid Sheikh Muhammed and other al-Qaeda operatives,
only turning to enhanced techniques when we failed to produce the actionable
intelligence we knew they were withholding. In fact, our intelligence
professionals, in urgent circumstances with the highest of stakes, obtained
specific information, prevented specific attacks, and saved American lives.

In short, to call enhanced interrogation a program of torture is not only to
disregard the program’s legal underpinnings and safeguards. Such accusations are
a libel against dedicated professionals who acted honorably and well, in our
country’s name and in our country’s cause. What’s more, to completely rule out
enhanced interrogation in the future, in favor of half-measures, is unwise in
the extreme. In the fight against terrorism, there is no middle ground, and
half-measures keep you half exposed.

For all that we’ve lost in this conflict, the United States has never lost
its moral bearings – and least of all can that be said of our armed forces and
intelligence personnel. They have done right, they have made our country safer,
and a lot of Americans are alive today because of them.

The full speech after the jump…

As prepared for delivery
October 21, 2009

Thank you all very much. It’s a pleasure to be here, and especially to
receive the Keeper of the Flame Award in the company of so many good friends.

I’m told that among those you’ve recognized before me was my friend Don
Rumsfeld. I don’t mind that a bit. It fits something of a pattern. In a career
that includes being chief of staff, congressman, and secretary of defense, I
haven’t had much that Don didn’t get first. But truth be told, any award once
conferred on Donald Rumsfeld carries extra luster, and I am very proud to see my
name added to such a distinguished list.

To Frank Gaffney and all the supporters of Center for Security Policy, I
thank you for this honor. And I thank you for the great energy and high
intelligence you bring to as vital a cause as there is – the advance of freedom
and the uncompromising defense of the United States.

Most anyone who is
given responsibility in matters of national security quickly comes to appreciate
the commitments and structures put in place by others who came before. You
deploy a military force that was planned and funded by your predecessors. You
inherit relationships with partners and obligations to allies that were first
undertaken years and even generations earlier. With the authority you hold for a
little while, you have great freedom of action. And whatever course you follow,
the essential thing is always to keep commitments, and to leave no doubts about
the credibility of your country’s word.

So among my other concerns about the drift of events under the present
administration, I consider the abandonment of missile defense in Eastern Europe
to be a strategic blunder and a breach of good faith.

It is certainly not a model of diplomacy when the leaders of Poland and the
Czech Republic are informed of such a decision at the last minute in midnight
phone calls. It took a long time and lot of political courage in those countries
to arrange for our interceptor system in Poland and the radar system in the
Czech Republic. Our Polish and Czech friends are entitled to wonder how
strategic plans and promises years in the making could be dissolved, just like
that – with apparently little, if any, consultation. Seventy years to the day
after the Soviets invaded Poland, it was an odd way to mark the occasion.

You hardly have to go back to 1939 to understand why these countries desire –
and thought they had – a close and trusting relationship with the United States.
Only last year, the Russian Army moved into Georgia, under the orders of a man
who regards the collapse of the Soviet Union as the greatest geopolitical
disaster of the 20th century. Anybody who has spent much time in that part of
the world knows what Vladimir Putin is up to. And those who try placating him,
by conceding ground and accommodating his wishes, will get nothing in return but
more trouble.

What did the Obama Administration get from Russia for its abandonment of
Poland and the Czech Republic, and for its famous “Reset” button? Another deeply
flawed election and continued Russian opposition to sanctioning Iran for its
pursuit of nuclear weapons.

In the short of it, President Obama’s cancellation of America’s agreements
with the Polish and Czech governments was a serious blow to the hopes and
aspirations of millions of Europeans. For twenty years, these peoples have done
nothing but strive to move closer to us, and to gain the opportunities and
security that America offered. These are faithful friends and NATO allies, and
they deserve better. The impact of making two NATO allies walk the plank won’t
be felt only in Europe. Our friends throughout the world are watching and
wondering whether America will abandon them as well.

Big events turn on the credibility of the United States – doing what we said
we would do, and always defending our fundamental security interests. In that
category belong the ongoing missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the need to
counter the nuclear ambitions of the current regime in Iran.

Candidate Obama declared last year that he would be willing to sit down
with Iran's leader without preconditions. As President, he has
committed
America to an Iran strategy that seems to treat engagement as an objective
rather than a tactic. Time and time again, he has outstretched his hand to the
Islamic Republic's authoritarian leaders, and all the while Iran has continued
to provide lethal support to extremists and terrorists who are killing American
soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Islamic Republic continues to provide
support to extremists in Syria, Lebanon, and the Palestinian territories.
Meanwhile, the regime continues to spin centrifuges and test missiles. And these
are just the activities we know about.

I have long been skeptical of engagement with the current regime
in
Tehran, but even Iran experts who previously advocated for engagement have
changed their tune since the rigged elections this past June and the brutal
suppression of Iran's democratic protestors. The administration clearly missed
an opportunity to stand with Iran's
democrats, whose popular protests
represent the greatest challenge to the Islamic Republic since its founding in
1979. Instead, the
President has been largely silent about the violent
crackdown on Iran's protestors, and has moved blindly forward to engage Iran's
authoritarian regime. Unless the Islamic Republic fears real consequences from
the United States and the international community, it is hard to see how
diplomacy will work.

Next door in Iraq, it is vitally important that President Obama, in his rush
to withdraw troops, not undermine the progress we’ve made in recent years. Prime
Minister Maliki met yesterday with
President Obama, who began his press
availability with an extended
comment about Afghanistan. When he finally got
around to talking
about Iraq, he told the media that he reiterated to Maliki
his
intention to remove all U.S. troops from Iraq. Former President
Bush's
bold decision to change strategy in Iraq and surge U.S. forces there set the
stage for success in that country. Iraq has the potential to be a strong,
democratic ally in the war on terrorism, and an example of economic and
democratic reform in the heart of the Middle East. The Obama Administration has
an obligation to protect this young democracy and build on the strategic success
we have achieved in Iraq.

We should all be concerned as well with the direction of policy on
Afghanistan. For quite a while, the cause of our military in that country went
pretty much unquestioned, even on the left. The effort was routinely praised by
way of contrast to Iraq, which many wrote off as a failure until the surge
proved them wrong. Now suddenly – and despite our success in Iraq – we’re
hearing a drumbeat of defeatism over Afghanistan. These criticisms carry the
same air of hopelessness, they offer the same short-sighted arguments for
walking away, and they should be summarily rejected for the same reasons of
national security.

Having announced his Afghanistan strategy last March, President Obama now
seems afraid to make a decision, and unable to provide his commander on the
ground with the troops he needs to complete his mission.

President Obama has said he understands the stakes for America. When he
announced his new strategy he couched the need to succeed in the starkest
possible terms, saying, quote, “If the Afghan government falls to the Taliban –
or allows al-Qaeda to go unchallenged – that country will again be a base for
terrorists who want to kill as many of our people as they possibly can.” End
quote.

Five months later, in August of this year, speaking at the VFW, the President
made a promise to America’s armed forces. “I will give you a clear mission,” he
said, “defined goals, and the equipment and support you need to get the job
done. That’s my commitment to you.”

It’s time for President Obama to make good on his promise. The White House
must stop dithering while America’s armed forces are in danger.

Make no mistake, signals of indecision out of Washington hurt our allies and
embolden our adversaries. Waffling, while our troops on the ground face an
emboldened enemy, endangers them and hurts our cause.

Recently, President Obama’s advisors have decided that it’s easier to blame
the Bush Administration than support our troops. This weekend they leveled a
charge that cannot go unanswered. The President’s chief of staff claimed that
the Bush Administration hadn’t asked any tough questions about Afghanistan, and
he complained that the Obama Administration had to start from scratch to put
together a strategy.

In the fall of 2008, fully aware of the need to meet new challenges being
posed by the Taliban, we dug into every aspect of Afghanistan policy, assembling
a team that repeatedly went into the country, reviewing options and
recommendations, and briefing President-elect Obama’s team. They asked us not to
announce our findings publicly, and we agreed, giving them the benefit of our
work and the benefit of the doubt. The new strategy they embraced in March, with
a focus on counterinsurgency and an increase in the numbers of troops, bears a
striking resemblance to the strategy we passed to them. They made a decision – a
good one, I think – and sent a commander into the field to implement it.

Now they seem to be pulling back and blaming others for their failure to
implement the strategy they embraced. 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 worth recalling that we were engaged in Afghanistan in the 1980’s,
supporting the Mujahadeen against the Soviets. That was a successful policy, but
then we pretty much put Afghanistan out of our minds. While no one was watching,
what followed was a civil war, the takeover by the Taliban, and the rise of bin
Laden and al-Qaeda. All of that set in motion the events of 9/11. When we
deployed forces eight years ago this month, it was to make sure Afghanistan
would never again be a training ground for the killing of Americans. Saving
untold thousands of lives is still the business at hand in this fight. And the
success of our mission in Afghanistan is not only essential, it is entirely
achievable with enough troops and enough political courage.

Then there’s the matter of how to handle the terrorists we capture in this
ongoing war. Some of them know things that, if shared, can save a good many
innocent lives. When we faced that problem in the days and years after 9/11, we
made some basic decisions. We understood that organized terrorism is not just a
law-enforcement issue, but a strategic threat to the United States.

At every turn, we understood as well that the safety of the country required
collecting information known only to the worst of the terrorists. We had a lot
of blind spots – and that’s an awful thing, especially in wartime. With many
thousands of lives potentially in the balance, we didn’t think it made sense to
let the terrorists answer questions in their own good time, if they answered
them at all.

The intelligence professionals who got the answers we needed from terrorists
had limited time, limited options, and careful legal guidance. They got the
baddest actors we picked up to reveal things they really didn’t want to share.
In the case of Khalid Sheik Muhammed, by the time it was over he was not was not
only talking, he was practically conducting a seminar, complete with chalkboards
and charts. It turned out he had a professorial side, and our guys didn’t mind
at all if classes ran long. At some point, the mastermind of 9/11 became an
expansive briefer on the operations and plans of al-Qaeda. It happened in the
course of enhanced interrogations. All the evidence, and common sense as well,
tells us why he started to talk.

The debate over intelligence gathering in the seven years after 9/11 involves
much more than historical accuracy. What we’re really debating are the means and
resolve to protect this country over the next few years, and long after that.
Terrorists and their state sponsors must be held accountable, and America must
remain on the offensive against them. We got it right after 9/11. And our
government needs to keep getting it right, year after year, president after
president, until the danger is finally overcome.

Our administration
always faced its share of criticism, and from some quarters it was always
intense. That was especially so in the later years of our term, when the dangers
were as serious as ever, but the sense of general alarm after 9/11 was a fading
memory. Part of our responsibility, as we saw it, was not to forget the terrible
harm that had been done to America … and not to let 9/11 become the prelude to
something much bigger and far worse.

Eight years into the effort, one
thing we know is that the enemy has spent most of this time on the defensive –
and every attempt to strike inside the United States has failed. So you would
think that our successors would be going to the intelligence community saying,
“How did you did you do it? What were the keys to preventing another attack over
that period of time?”

Instead, they’ve chosen a different path entirely – giving in to the angry
left, slandering people who did a hard job well, and demagoguing an issue more
serious than any other they’ll face in these four years. No one knows just where
that path will lead, but I can promise you this: There will always be plenty of
us willing to stand up for the policies and the people that have kept this
country safe.

On the political left, it will still be asserted that tough interrogations
did no good, because this is an article of faith for them, and actual evidence
is unwelcome and disregarded. President Obama himself has ruled these methods
out, and when he last addressed the subject he filled the air with vague and
useless platitudes. His preferred device is to suggest that we could have gotten
the same information by other means. We’re invited to think so. But this ignores
the hard, inconvenient truth that we did try other means and techniques to
elicit information from Khalid Sheikh Muhammed and other al-Qaeda operatives,
only turning to enhanced techniques when we failed to produce the actionable
intelligence we knew they were withholding. In fact, our intelligence
professionals, in urgent circumstances with the highest of stakes, obtained
specific information, prevented specific attacks, and saved American lives.

In short, to call enhanced interrogation a program of torture is not only to
disregard the program’s legal underpinnings and safeguards. Such accusations are
a libel against dedicated professionals who acted honorably and well, in our
country’s name and in our country’s cause. What’s more, to completely rule out
enhanced interrogation in the future, in favor of half-measures, is unwise in
the extreme. In the fight against terrorism, there is no middle ground, and
half-measures keep you half exposed.

For all that we’ve lost in this conflict, the United States has never lost
its moral bearings – and least of all can that be said of our armed forces and
intelligence personnel. They have done right, they have made our country safer,
and a lot of Americans are alive today because of them.

Last January
20th, our successors in office were given the highest honors that the voters of
this country can give any two citizens. Along with that, George W. Bush and I
handed the new president and vice president both a record of success in the war
on terror, and the policies to continue that record and ultimately prevail. We
had been the decision makers, but those seven years, four months, and nine days
without another 9/11 or worse, were a combined achievement: a credit to all who
serve in the defense of America, including some of the finest people I’ve ever
met.

What the present administration does with those policies is their call to
make, and will become a measure of their own record. But I will tell you
straight that I am not encouraged when intelligence officers who acted in the
service of this country find themselves hounded with a zeal that should be
reserved for America’s enemies. And it certainly is not a good sign when the
Justice Department is set on a political mission to discredit, disbar, or
otherwise persecute the very people who helped protect our nation in the years
after 9/11.

There are policy differences, and then there are affronts that have to be
answered every time without equivocation, and this is one of them. We cannot
protect this country by putting politics over security, and turning the guns on
our own guys.

We cannot hope to win a war by talking down our country and those who do its
hardest work – the men and women of our military and intelligence services. They
are, after all, the true keepers of the flame.

Thank you very much.

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