I think we all agree that there should be honest debate about these issues, but it is telling that Vice President Cheney and others seem to be more focused on criticizing the Administration than condemning the attackers.
In the next paragraph, Pfeiffer does as all good Obamadsmen do: Blame the previous administration for where we are at today:
First, it’s important that the substantive context be clear: for seven years after 9/11, while our national security was overwhelmingly focused on Iraq – a country that had no al Qaeda presence before our invasion – Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda’s leadership was able to set up camp in the border region of Pakistan and Afghanistan, where they continued to plot attacks against the United States. Meanwhile, al Qaeda also regenerated in places like Yemen and Somalia, establishing new safe-havens that have grown over a period of years.
It is a lie that Iraq had “no al Qaeda presence” prior to invasion. It also misunderstands the nature of the war we find ourselves in, which is not limited to just al Qaeda, but a network of Islamic terror groups, many of which are affiliated with al Qaeda. (Interestingly, Pfeiffer’s post even mentions it’s not just al Qaeda who mean to do us harm, without seeing the contradiction he makes, here). Note that Osama bin Laden and his terror group wasn’t the only signatory to his 1998 fatwa, but was one of five. All can be said to fall under the umbrella moniker, “World Islamic Front for Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders”. We are at war with an Islamic (Jihad) Terror Movement. Not just one terror group directly responsible for 9/11, but an entire network of religious nuts who cooperate and collaborate, and have shared ideology and goals.
It is why from the get-go, President Bush said our focus will not be limited to just al-Qaeda:
“Our war on terror begins with al Qaeda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated.”
-President Bush in an address to a Joint Session of Congress and the American People, United States Capitol, Washington D.C., September 20, 2001.
As far as Iraq, it became the central front of the GWoT from 2003-2008. Zawahiri regarded it with great importance. As Lawrence Wright, author of the definitive geneology on al Qaeda- The Looming Tower- said on national radio, it was al Qaeda that became bogged down by Iraq. Iraq became their Vietnam. And it is thanks to the war in Iraq that al Qaeda was exposed for the human aberration that they are, losing legitimacy in the eyes of many in the Islamic world- amongst both moderates and radicals, alike (they never had legitimacy in the eyes of peaceful Muslims- and yes, they do exist).
President Bush kept us safe since 9/11. And for the president who campaigned on reaching across the aisle, bipartisanship, and being a new kind of politician, he’d live up to that ideal if he would be gracious enough to acknowledge that and quit scapegoating the last administration for today’s current event difficulties. But president Obama can’t help but be who he is: A divisive, petty, all-about-me-and-my-legacy partisan, blame-handing, far-to-the-left politician. A divider, not a uniter.
Ah…but Pfeiffer’s distortions haven’t stopped spinning yet:
It was President Obama who finally implemented a strategy of winding down the war in Iraq, and actually focusing our resources on the war against al Qaeda – more than doubling our troops in Afghanistan, and building partnerships to target al Qaeda’s safe-havens in Yemen and Somalia. And in less than one year, we have already seen many al Qaeda leaders taken out, our alliances strengthened, and the pressure on al Qaeda increased worldwide.
President Obama is merely riding out the coattails of the decisions made before he ever came into office, including the signing of the SoFA. The war as it currently stands in Iraq today was “already winding down” with troop withdrawal planned before his watch even began. But he takes credit for success there, conveniently forgetting he opposed the decision that helped bring about that success.
It’s beyond humor to see that in September of ’08, presidential candidate Barack Obama was criticizing President Bush for lack of urgency, as 43 mounted a “quiet surge” into Afghanistan in response to dealing with ever-changing circumstances on the ground. The need for an increase of troop strength for a counterinsurgency strategy was part of a 2008 strategy review. Meanwhile 44, in his continued criticism, seems to have not only adopted “lack of urgency” in dealing with Afghanistan, but made “dithering” one of the memorable words/phrases of 2009 (along with “teachable moment”).
Let’s be clear: President Obama is an inheritor and beneficiary of many of the tools and policy-decisions he will need to continue keeping America safe. This includes the “partnership building”. The notion that Bush only engaged in cowboy diplomacy and did not build alliances and cooperation with other nations is ludicrous and false. A lot of the GWoT was waged “behind the scenes”. But somehow “shock and awe” military aggression has come to define the Bush approach. This ignores the truly multi-pronged effort President Bush did take in engaging the Islamic terror network. Not only were they decimated on the field of battle, but much of their financing choked off and bank assets frozen due to Bush being engaged on the diplomatic front, resulting in law enforcement and intelligence gathering and sharing. The constant usage of the phrase “military alone can’t solve this” is strawman nonsense to fuel the false premise that the Bush Administration only pursued military use of force in combating Islamic terror.
To put it simply: this President is not interested in bellicose rhetoric, he is focused on action.
Try “dithering”. Where was his action when it came to supporting the people of Iran? When it came to Afghanistan?
And he has used “bellicose rhetoric”. On the campaign trail in regards to how to handle Pakistan and Iran. And against political opposition (remember “get in their faces”?).
Seven years of bellicose rhetoric failed to reduce the threat from al Qaeda and succeeded in dividing this country.
The “bellicose rhetoric” did not happen for 7 years. It only happened on the heels of 9/11, then toned down (rather unfortunately in some cases, imo).
And it seems strangely off-key now, at a time when our country is under attack, for the architect of those policies to be attacking the President.
How about being “off-key” in spending so much time attacking what a former VP (who left office as deeply unpopular in opinion polls as the president, as noted by Mark Hemmingway) has to say, than in attacking those who wish to kill us:
the White House is still in campaign mode, worried about what a private citizen — who left office remarkably unpopular! — thinks of them.
What is laughable is the absurdity of the Administration to wax so indignant and Obama supporters and liberals to be so outraged that “How dare you! How dare former VP Cheney speak out against the sitting president!”
Well, maybe he wouldn’t feel so inclined to speak out if the current administration would have more class and dignity than to make political swipes at the previous administration in rationalizing their every decision in how they are dealing with the current state of affairs.
Maybe when you quit blaming Bush for your own inadequacies in how you’re handling today’s problems, then maybe Bush’s hatchet man will quit chopping you down a notch or two, Mr. President.