Tag Archives: national security

Dick 9/11 Cheney – 9/11 Spotlight 9/11 Whore 9/11

22 May

Yesterday, President Obama gave a speech about national security and torture. I was working at work like normal people do and missed it. I did, however, read Dick Cheney’s reply speech, given at that hive of scum & villainy, the American Enterprise Institute.

Cheney’s speech was a lot of 9/11, a lot of denial that waterboarding is torture, a very clever and specific compartmentalization of torture the US actually committed, ignoring the torture we paid for or sanctioned, and suggested basically that, because terrorists are bad people they deserve to be tortured, and the ends always justify the means.

I am always perplexed by the idea that 9/11 was the beginning of the world being dangerous for Americans, or that it was the genesis of all terrorism, ever. Listening to neoconservative warmongers like Cheney, you would think that this was so. The world was plenty dangerous before 9/11 and it’s plenty dangerous now. It will, incidentally, continue to be plenty dangerous as long as bad or insane people decide they want to do bad things to other people.

But fundamentally, the battle is joined – a battle that didn’t really take place in 2008 between Obama and McCain because the Republican nominee also opposed torture, having suffered it himself.

There remains a small minority of Americans who think that Dick Cheney is the bee’s knees, and absolutely adore when he opens his mouth to defend every outright and borderline illegality in which the Bush Administration engaged during its tenure.

But the vast majority of Americans believe, as the President does, that the United States can combat terrorism – even pre-emptively – without fundamentally losing and jettisoning our values, and the rule of law.

TPM put together this juxtaposition of the themes each speaker hit upon:

At least one Tweet from a conservative that I saw yesterday swooned over Cheney’s speech because of his will to do anything and everything to keep America safe.

The problem with that, of course, is that he ought to do anything and everything within the bounds of the law and constitution to keep America safe.

Also, Cheney insinuated that the administration that immediately preceded the one in which he served treated all terrorism as a law enforcement issue, and did not engage in preemption. That is false, and ignores the Millennium Plot.

Madame Secretary

1 Dec

President-elect Obama unveils his national security team. New York Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton will be secretary of state. Gen. James L. Jones, former NATO commander, will be national security adviser. Robert Gates will stay on as SecDef.

A quote from an Obama aide via the New York Times’ story:

During the campaign the then-senator invested a lot of time reaching out to retired military and also younger officers who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan to draw on lessons learned. There wasn’t a meeting that didn’t include a discussion of the need to strengthen and integrate the other tools of national power to succeed against unconventional threats. It is critical to a long-term successful and sustainable national security strategy in the 21st century.

Jones and Gates had been vocally critical of Bush policy and strategy in recent months:

A year ago, to studied silence from the Bush White House, Mr. Gates began giving a series of speeches about the limits of military power in wars in which no military victory is possible. He made popular the statistic, quoted by Mr. Obama, that the United States has more members of military marching bands than foreign service officers.

He also denounced “the gutting of America’s ability to engage, assist and communicate with other parts of the world — the ‘soft power’ which had been so important throughout the cold war.” He blamed both the Clinton and Bush administrations and said later in an interview that “it is almost like we forgot everything we learned in Vietnam.”

Mr. Obama’s choice for national security adviser, General Jones, took the critique a step further in a searing report this year on what he called the Bush administration’s failed strategy in Afghanistan, where Mr. Obama has vowed to intensify the fight as American troops depart from Iraq. When the report came out, General Jones was widely quoted as saying, “Make no mistake, NATO is not winning in Afghanistan,” a comment that directly contradicted the White House.

But he went on to describe why the United States and its allies were not winning: After nearly seven years of fighting, they had failed to develop a strategy that could dependably bring reconstruction projects and other assistance into areas from which the Taliban had been routed — making each victory a temporary one, reversed as soon as the forces departed.

Here is an excerpt from Obama’s remarks this morning:

And so, in this uncertain world, the time has come for a new beginning – a new dawn of American leadership to overcome the challenges of the 21st century, and to seize the opportunities embedded in those challenges. We will strengthen our capacity to defeat our enemies and support our friends. We will renew old alliances and forge new and enduring partnerships. We will show the world once more that America is relentless in defense of our people, steady in advancing our interests, and committed to the ideals that shine as a beacon to the world: democracy and justice; opportunity and unyielding hope – because American values are America’s greatest export to the world.

To succeed, we must pursue a new strategy that skillfully uses, balances, and integrates all elements of American power: our military and diplomacy; our intelligence and law enforcement; our economy and the power of our moral example. The team that we have assembled here today is uniquely suited to do just that.

In their past service and plans for the future, these men and women represent all of those elements of American power, and the very best of the American example. They have served in uniform and as diplomats; they have worked as legislators, law enforcement officials, and executives. They share my pragmatism about the use of power, and my sense of purpose about America’s role as a leader in the world.

I have known Hillary Clinton as a friend, a colleague, a source of counsel, and as a campaign opponent. She possesses an extraordinary intelligence and toughness, and a remarkable work ethic. I am proud that she will be our next Secretary of State. She is an American of tremendous stature who will have my complete confidence; who knows many of the world’s leaders; who will command respect in every capitol; and who will clearly have the ability to advance our interests around the world.

Hillary’s appointment is a sign to friend and foe of the seriousness of my commitment to renew American diplomacy and restore our alliances. There is much to do – from preventing the spread of nuclear weapons to Iran and North Korea, to seeking a lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians, to strengthening international institutions. I have no doubt that Hillary Clinton is the right person to lead our State Department, and to work with me in tackling this ambitious foreign policy agenda.

Best of luck to Senator Clinton and the rest of the Obama national security team.

Scowcroft – Obama

24 Nov

Obama’s ties to former Bush I National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft are examined by the Wall Street Journal:

Many of the Republicans emerging as potential members of the Obama administration have professional and ideological ties to Brent Scowcroft, a former national-security adviser turned public critic of the Bush White House.

Mr. Scowcroft spoke by phone with President-elect Barack Obama last week, the latest in a months-long series of conversations between the two men about defense and foreign-policy issues, according to people familiar with the discussions.

The relationship between the president-elect and the Republican heavyweight suggests that Mr. Scowcroft’s views, which place a premium on an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord, might hold sway in the Obama White House.

I thought getting rid of Saddam Hussein and making Iraq “stable” was supposed to be good for Israel – that was the neoconservative rationale, after all. See how stable the Middle East is now?

Is it January 20th yet?