Friday, October 23, 2009

Gen. Eaton has Obama's back in war of words with Cheney

by Gregory Patin
President Obama has a new ally in the war of words that Dick Cheney started after leaving his coffin and running his mouth once again in a speech to the Center for Security Policy.
His name is Gen. Paul Eaton (Ret.), who served more than 30 years in the United States Army and oversaw the training of the Iraqi military from 2003-2004. He is currently the National Security Network Senior Adviser for the Obama administration.
On Wednesday former vice president Dick Cheney criticized President Obama's approach to war in Afghanistan, accusing Obama of "dithering" in his weeks-long assessment about whether to add 40,000 new U.S. troops to the fight in Afghanistan. Cheney said Obama "seems afraid" to make a decision.
On Thursday, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs shot back at Cheney, dismissing the Republican's criticism of delays in President Obama's decision-making on Afghanistan strategy. "What Vice President Cheney calls 'dithering,' President Obama calls his solemn responsibility to the men and women in uniform and to the American public," Gibbs told reporters. "I think we've all seen what happens when somebody doesn't take that responsibility seriously."
Today, Gen. Paul Eaton also had a few words for Dick Cheney. His words are clear and need no further elaboration:
The record is clear: Dick Cheney and the Bush administration were incompetent war fighters. They ignored Afghanistan for 7 years with a crude approach to counter-insurgency warfare best illustrated by: 1. Deny it.  2.  Ignore it. 3. Bomb it. While our intelligence agencies called the region the greatest threat to America, the Bush White House under-resourced our military efforts, shifted attention to Iraq, and failed to bring to justice the masterminds of September 11.
The only time Cheney and his cabal of foreign policy 'experts' have anything to say is when they feel compelled to protect this failed legacy. While President Obama is tasked with cleaning up the considerable mess they left behind, they continue to defend torture or rewrite a legacy of indifference on Afghanistan. Simply put, Mr. Cheney sees history throughout extremely myopic and partisan eyes.
As one deeply invested in the Armed Forces of this country, I am grateful for the senior military commanders assigned to leading this fight and the men and women fighting on the ground. But I dismiss men like Cheney who inject partisan politics into the profound deliberations our Commander-in-Chief and commanders on the ground are having to develop a cohesive and comprehensive strategy, bringing to bear the economic and diplomatic as well as the military power, for Afghanistan -- something Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld never did.
No human endeavor can be as profound as sending a nation's youth to war.  I am very happy to see serious men and women working hard to get it right.
The only thing to add to that is that it is ludicrous for anyone to consider a self-proclaimed expert like Cheney, who had five draft deferments and never served a day in the military, worthy of a single word in the debate on Afghanistan or any war. It is also ironic that Cheney speaks more to the press now than he did when he was in office. Perhaps you have something to hide, Dick. Do you feel the noose tightening?

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