President Obama is expected to announce today that he will order more than 30,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan as part of his new strategy to end the conflict there. Vice President Dick Cheney has been a constant critic of Obama, particularly over his decision making process on Afghanistan, saying that the President has been “dithering.”
Despite Cheney’s well-known and worn-out attacks on Obama, Politico’s Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei secured an interview with the former vice president in order to inform their readers today of the shocking revelation that Cheney thinks Obama is projecting “weakness” on Afghanistan. The paper’s top reporters sat down with Cheney for a 90-minute interview and transcribed Cheney’s attacks without challenge, criticism, or rebuttal:
Cheney said the president’s “agonizing” about Afghanistan strategy “has consequences for your forces in the field.” [...]
“Every time he delays, defers, debates, changes his position, it begins to raise questions: Is the commander in chief really behind what they’ve been asked to do?” [...]
“Here’s a guy without much experience, who campaigned against much of what we put in place … and who now travels around the world apologizing,” Cheney said. “I think our adversaries — especially when that’s preceded by a deep bow … — see that as a sign of weakness.”
Of course, not much of what Cheney said is news. He’s been the GOP’s lead attack dog on Obama since the White House decided to release memos earlier this year detailing the Bush administration’s authorization of torture.
This passage in the Politico article best captures the passive, obedient approach that Allen and VandeHei took with Cheney:
Cheney rejected any suggestion that Obama had to decide on a new strategy for Afghanistan because the one employed by the previous administration failed.
Cheney was asked if he thinks the Bush administration bears any responsibility for the disintegration of Afghanistan because of the attention and resources that were diverted to Iraq. “I basically don’t,” he replied without elaborating.
Allen and VandeHei didn’t elaborate either. Did they press Cheney to explain? If not, why not? If they had, they should have come to the same conclusion former Republican senator Rick Santorum came to recently. “Let’s be very clear,” Santorum said, the Bush administration did not give the generals “the resources they need to accomplish the mission.”
Instead of playing Dick Cheney ghostwriters, perhaps Allen and VandeHei can take a lesson from McClatchy’s Jonathan Landay on how to fact check his baseless smears.