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.
In a wide-ranging address on foreign policy matters, Mr. Cheney criticized the Obama White House 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 techniques “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.”
Watch Mr. Cheney’s speech here.
The full text of Mr. Cheney’s speech is available HERE.