Sen. Levin: Cheney Creating a ‘Poisonous, Dangerous’ Political Environment

Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) pushed back hard today on former Vice-President Dick Cheney’s recent charge that President Obama was “dithering” on making a decision on Afghanistan strategy.

Speaking at a RAND conference on Afghanistan on Capitol Hill, Levin defended the Obama administration’s ongoing strategic review, and condemned those who were “willing to toss cheap and easy lines about presidential ‘dithering,’ or alleging the president is ‘afraid’ to reach a decision, in an effort to push him to immediately, indeed automatically, endorse recommendations from a general who is highly capable, but whose focus is understandably more narrow than that of Secretary Gates or President Obama”:

This pressure on the president goes beyond mistaken. It creates a political environment that is not just poisonous; it is dangerous — it creates growing pressure for decisions before the president has considered all the options, when what the nation needs and the troops deserve is careful, thoughtful deliberation. The wrong decisions could endanger far more lives than taking the time needed to deliberate and reach the right decisions.

Reaching for an historical analogy, Levin said “If we could go back in time, don’t you think President Kennedy would tell us that he wished he would’ve taken the time for his own deliberations, rather than immediately accepting his military advisers recommendations to undertake the Bay of Pigs invasion?”