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Friday, October 21, 2016

Washington (AFP) — He spent eight years bending the ear of George W. Bush. On Wednesday, former vice president Dick Cheney sought to advise another U.S. leader, this time over how to contend with violent jihadists.

In a Washington speech, Cheney, an architect of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, criticized a “disengaged” President Barack Obama for his defensive posture in the face of extremist threats, including those posed by the Islamic State (IS).

“While the president was claiming the tide of war was receding and core Al-Qaeda had been decimated, the threat was actually increasing,” Cheney said at the American Enterprise Institute think tank where he received a standing ovation.

“From Iraq, Syria and Yemen, over to Pakistan, all the way down to Somalia and west to Nigeria –- in various places under various names — a whole new wave of jihadists was on the rise.”

Cheney has served four Republican presidents, and while conservatives applaud his hawkish national security positions, he is despised by many Democrats for his role in invading Iraq.

Speaking hours before Obama unveils his IS strategy, Cheney said the administration needed to take a stronger tack.

“We must move globally to get back on offense in the war on terror,” he warned.

“Our president must understand we are at war and that we must do what it takes, for as long as it takes, to win,” Cheney said, decrying the “decline of American military power” due to “irrational” budget cuts.

His advice to Obama on tackling IS?

“Immediately hit them in their sanctuaries, staging areas, command centers, and lines of communication wherever we find them.”

That includes Syria, where the U.S. administration has hesitated to get directly involved in that country’s raging civil war.

And he stressed the importance of contributing U.S. military trainers and special forces to the Iraqi army and Kurdish Peshmerga forces waging battle against IS.

The 73-year-old Republican was invited to address AEI on the eve of the anniversary of the attacks of September 11, 2001.

Cheney was Bush’s deputy at the time, and he was a prime backer of the Iraq war — which Obama eventually ended in December 2011 by removing the last American troops.

The Bush administration came under fire for its muscular post-9/11 policies, including opening the Guantanamo military prison, harsh interrogation practices like “waterboarding” which Obama equated with torture, and the creation of secret programs like sprawling phone and electronic surveillance.

Cheney routinely speaks out against the Obama administration, and on Tuesday he was invited to address the Republican caucus of the House of Representatives.

Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr

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Copyright 2014 The National Memo
  • tiredofitall

    Why isn’t the administration taking legal action against bush and cheney?

  • Dominick Vila

    Getting advice from Cheney on foreign policy strategy is like getting fire prevention training from an arsonist. Hiding in a bunker while Sen. Kennedy and Alexander Haig stood on the steps of the Capitol trying to calm a shocked nation while the effects of the 9/11 attacks were still evident across the Potomac, giving a free pass to the homeland of Osama bin Laden, 15 of the 18 terrorists that carried out the 9/11 attacks, and the Al Qaeda financiers is not something Mr. Cheney and his ignorant followers should be proud of. Creating diversions, such as Iraq, to project an illusion of revenge when there was none, is not something we should be proud of. Sacrificing the lives and health of so many American soldiers, and the wholesale slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis in the pursuit of political and economic goals is not something we should be proud of.
    The crimes against humanity committed in the aftermath of 9/11, for reasons that had little to do with the need to bring justice to our enemies, is second only to the naive arrogance of those who believe that our presence in Muslim countries would end the sectarian violence that has existed in the Islamic world since two distinctly different religious factions fragmented Islam. If anything, our presence exacerbates the problem and provides the most radical Islamic fundamentalists with the excuse they need to get physical and material support from the most radical members of their society, often at the expense of their own people.

  • Brian

    I think Cheney is right but he should go too. He can lead some of the attacks. I am sure the troops will appreciate it.