Sunday, January 3, 2010

White House attacks Cheney over his accusations that administration is soft on terror

It's the White House vs. Dick Cheney -- and the verbal attacks are heating up.

The Obama administration rebuked the former vice president over his comments that the White House was not forceful enough in its response to the attempted terrorist attack of a Northwest Airlines flight. Cheney claimed that Obama "is trying to pretend we are not at war" and is making America "less safe," CNN reported.

"He seems to think if he gives terrorists the rights of Americans, lets them lawyer up and reads them their Miranda rights, we won't be at war," Cheney said in the statement. "He seems to think if we bring the mastermind of 9/11 to New York, give him a lawyer and trial in civilian court, we won't be at war. He seems to think if he closes Guantanamo and releases the hard-core Al Qaeda-trained terrorists still there, we won't be at war."

Within hours, the White House had rebutted Cheney's claims.

"It is telling that Vice President Cheney and others seem to be more focused on criticizing the administration than condemning the attackers," White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer wrote on the White House blog. "Unfortunately, too many are engaged in the typical Washington game of pointing fingers and making political hay, instead of working together to find solutions to make our country safer."

And Pfeiffer went further, saying that it was the Bush-Cheney focus on Iraq that led to Al Qaeda's strengthened presence in Afghanistan and Pakistan and that President Obama is now making America safer by employing a strategy that focuses more resources on Afghanistan.

"To put it simply: This President is not interested in bellicose rhetoric. He is focused on action," Pffiefer wrote. "Seven years of bellicose rhetoric failed to reduce the threat from Al Qaeda and succeeded in dividing this country. And it seems strangely off-key now, at a time when our country is under attack, for the architect of those policies to be attacking the President."

Finally, Pfiffer attacked Cheney's comments that Obama acts like this country is not a war.

"There are numerous … public statements that explicitly state we are at war," Pfeifer wrote. "The difference is this: President Obama doesn't need to beat his chest to prove it, and – unlike the last administration – we are not at war with a tactic ("terrorism"), we are at war with something that is tangible: Al Qaeda and its violent extremist allies. And we will prosecute that war as long as the American people are endangered."

It may almost be a new year, but we're seeing the same old political battles.

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