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Cheney Urges House GOP To Support A Hawkish National Defense

McClatchy Tribune News Service Politics

Cheney Urges House GOP To Support A Hawkish National Defense


By Lisa Mascaro and Michael A. Memoli, Tribune Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON — Former Vice President Dick Cheney, often considered the brain behind President George W. Bush’s war strategy in Iraq, gave a pep talk to House Republicans on Tuesday highlighting the value of a hawkish national defense.

As Congress is weighing President Barack Obama’s strategy for fighting Islamic State militants, Cheney’s visit lends new influence to the interventionist wing of the GOP — traditional defense-aligned Republicans who have increasingly been at odds with the emerging isolationist wing of tea party lawmakers.

The mood inside the private morning meeting at Republican Party headquarters across from the Capitol was one of “rapt attention,” according to one congressman. Cheney was accompanied by his daughter, Liz, who had briefly run for Senate from their home state of Wyoming.

Cheney “reiterated to us the importance of the Republican Party standing strong on national defense,” said Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a former Air Force pilot and one of the few veterans in Congress of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

“It was a great message — and something we needed to hear and hopefully it sticks with a lot of my colleagues who kind of had this creep towards isolationism,” Kinzinger said. “Hopefully this is an awakening that we have to be very strong and very serious.”

Cheney “highlighted how Americans want a check and balance on this disengaged commander in chief,” according to a GOP aide who did not want to be identified discussing the private session.

Not all lawmakers emerged inclined to support new military intervention in Iraq or Syria. As violence from Islamic State militants escalates, including the videotaped slaying of two captive U.S. journalists, the president is set to announce the administration’s strategy Wednesday.

“I still remain skeptical,” said Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY). “I don’t think two beheadings justifies a war. I think justice is warranted, but I don’t think war is warranted over two YouTubes.”

The visit from the former vice president, who is also scheduled to speak Wednesday at the conservative American Enterprise Institute think thank, was at the invitation of the National Republican Congressional Committee, the party’s campaign arm.

Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr

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  1. Independent1 September 9, 2014

    Guess I’m confused here with at least this comment. “my colleagues who kind of had this creep towards isolationism”.

    In my mind, what Cheney is suggesting is”isolationism”. He’s suggesting that the U.S. should go into these potential wars ALONE. Not take the time to develop backing from other countries, but simply charge out there whenever some zealots in America feel threatened. Just like he and Bush were wanting to do with Iraq a decade ago. Kinzinger seems to me to have this whole issue backwards.

    A number of months back there was a clear group of “hawkish” legislators who were chomping at the bit to run out there and start threatening Iran; maybe even dropping some bombs if Iran didn’t listen. They weren’t suggesting that the U.S. should develop a coalition, they wanted us to run right over to Iran and convince them forcefully to change their ways – just like Netanyahu was chomping at the bit to do.

    But guess what, without any major threats, without any bombings or really forceful language, Iran has converted all its weapons-grade uranium to only a form that serves peaceful purposes, and because of that a number of the sanctions against Iran have been lifted or are much less damaging to its economy. And this was accomplished by a president who Cheney and those he’s convinced to be more “hawkish” don’t think is forceful enough.

    All anyone needs to do is think about about all the tragedies that occured during the Bush Administration to realize how wrong Dick Cheney can be; why are there still legislators listening to him??

    1. FireBaron September 10, 2014

      I do find it amusing that a man who managed to obtain seven draft deferments (because he was “too busy”) still thinks he should articulate our defense posture. Of course, the nature of things is for aged “chicken hawks” to rattle their rusty sabers and encourage others to send their children to die for questionable causes, like Haliburton’s “no-bid” contracts.

  2. Dominick Vila September 10, 2014

    One of the funniest comments in this article was the reference about our “disengaged President”. Wow, one moment they accuse him of precipitating WWIII, the next moment he is an appeaser. I wish they would make up their minds.
    The most fascinating part of claims like these is the fact that the people making them are, apparently, suffering from a severe case of amnesia. On the eve of a 9/11 anniversary, I wonder how many of them remember who controlled the WH and Congress when the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil took place. I wonder how many of these bozos remember who was in charge when 11 U.S. diplomatic facilities were attacked, who decided to give a free pass to the homeland of the 9/11 mastermind, the terrorists that carried out that horrible act, and its financiers?
    Talk is cheap, what is not so easy is coming up with effective policies to address the root cause of the international problems we are having. Then again, what else can we expect from someone like Dick Cheney?

  3. latebloomingrandma September 10, 2014

    Yes, Herr Cheney. Let’s go gangbusters! It worked so well the first time around. It’s also very good your business, eh?


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