If Obama Can Meet With Our Enemies, He Should Meet With Cheney
Jonathan Alter at Newsweek has a point. If Obama can meet with our adversaries around the world, why not a powwow with Dick Cheney?
It’s easy to say that Cheney is not significant, that he’s just an embittered private citizen with an approval rating well below freezing.
But Cheney is not a radio talk-show host or a blowhard congressman who can spout any nonsense without consequence. He served at the top of the American government for eight years and designed the war on terror he now champions. His words are carried all around the world.
And those words are now unquestionably harming the national security of the United States.
When Bush was president and was criticized by the likes of Al Gore we were told that it was giving aid and comfort to the enemy. It’s not that Cheney doesn’t have the right to criticize, but his attacks are dishonest.
It’s important to distinguish between in-bounds political rhetoric and out-of-bounds lying. Cheney unambiguously lied by saying Obama is “trying to pretend we are not at war,” when in fact the president said explicitly in his Inaugural Address and on at least a dozen subsequent occasions that we are at war. Obama’s only amendment to the war language has been to drop the “on terror” part. The president, who has sharply stepped up Predator drone attacks on jihadists from the Bush-Cheney years, knows you can’t fight a war against a tactic.
If Cheney says we’re weak, reasons Alter, al Qaeda may think it’s a good time for anther attack. He emboldens our enemies. So, if Obama calls Cheney in and tells him to knock it off, will Cheney listen?
That depends on how big a hypocrite he is. Cheney has consistently argued on behalf of a “unity executive” theory of presidential power. This means, essentially, if the president says so, it must be legal. So if the president tells Cheney that his comments are harming our national security by emboldening our enemies, Cheney should, in theory, back down. If he doesn’t, he’ll look even worse, further discrediting what he says.Click here for reuse options!
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