by Chris Bodenner
The full speech is here. Townhall rounded up YouTube highlights and Josh Marshall summed up in Tweet form. Andrew's reaction is here. As a follow-up to my post featuring Kristol and Roth, here's some more key commentary:
The speech was striking in its lack of anything newor compelling. ... Looking at counter-terrorism as alaw-enforcement matter is a mistake; Obama, Democrats, and the New York Timesare putting us at risk; except for all of the spectacular failures,Cheney's approach to national security was effective; torture is good,but releasing torture memos is bad; the rule of law is "an elaboratelegal proceeding"; Obama is only worried about impressing Europe; andsomeday, historians will agree that Bush/Cheney was just terrific.
Cheney talks about the run-up to 9/11, the events of 9/11, where he wason 9/11 (”I’ll freely admit that watching a coordinated, devastatingattack on our country from an underground bunker at the White House canaffect how you view your responsibilities”), ... thethreat of a “9/11 with nuclear weapons,” and how the administrationprevented another 9/11. In all, he mentions “September 11″ or “9/11″ 25times.
HuffPo's Allison Kilkenny:
Cheney went on to mock Obama's philosophy of compromise. "In the fightagainst terrorism, there is no middle ground, and half-measures keepyou half exposed." Again, I find myself in the odd position of agreeingwith Cheney. When it comes to torture, there is no middle ground andthere is no such thing as a little torture. It's always wrong, andthose that torture and allowed torture should be prosecuted.
One key moment from the [speech]: He called on Obama to use his presidential powers todeclassify the intelligence that Cheney says will prove torture worked,ensuring that this debate will continue. ... It’s kind of remarkable that in a speech that spent so much timeattacking Obama as dangerous for our country Cheney also asked Obamafor help in salvaging his legacy.
A serious, important speech.Politicians and the media seem unduly impressed by favorability polls,often drawing unwarranted conclusions from them. Since Cheney hasrelatively high unfavorables, it's assumed that the public dismisseshis statements. It would be interesting to see the results of a more finely calibratedpoll, one that compares how well-respected, competent, and effectivethe subject is perceived to be relative to similarly situatedindividuals. As a friend succinctly puts it, "When that big asteroidfinally heads toward Earth, who's the person you'd most want to be incharge?" I suspect Cheney would score at or near the top.
But in a nutshell, the Cheney argument is, "it worked." And when henotes that after 9/11, the administration and all of the variousgovernment agencies managed to prevent another attack on American soilfor 2,689 days, it's a rather illuminating figure. ... If there is another successful and terrible terror attack, either onU.S. soil or on a U.S. target abroad, the immediate moment will be tooterrible to hear the words "I told you so." But if, God forbid, thatday comes, we will know that indeed Dick Cheney did tell us so.
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