The one-word-man deviated from his standard one-word script this morning on CNN’s State of the Union when discussing the recent drone strike that killed American-born terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki.
But, first, credit where credit is due. Uncharacteristic as it is for him, Former Vice President Dick Cheney praised the U.S. drone strike that killed al-Awlaki and President Obama’s decision to carry it out:
I do think this was a good strike. I think the president ought to have that kind of authority to order that kind of strike, even when it involves an American citizen when there is clear evidence that he’s part of al Qaeda, planning, cooperating and supporting attacks against the United States… I think the president has all the authority he needs to order this kind of strike…
So far so good. However, Cheney just could not resist poking Obama by claiming that the President’s success is because “[The Bush administration] developed the technique and the technology for it…”
OK, Mr. Cheney, you can take some credit for that one. But why do you have to be so cantankerous and demand an apology from Obama for actually doing the things that your administration only talked about; for using “some of the same techniques” your administration recommended; for “taking robust action” against the same terrorists you were never able to capture or kill; for Obama’s “reluctance to describe the fight against al Qaeda as a ‘war,’” and yet achieve the successes that eluded your administration—in spite of your semantics.
Mr. Cheney, with all due respect, this is a classic example of when and where actions speak louder than words, and certainly much louder than bluster.
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At the risk of sounding like a McCain fan, let me for a second time within a 10-day period compliment the Senator. Last week, I recalled his civility during the 2008 presidential campaign in contrast to the just plain indifference or callousness displayed by today’s Republican presidential candidates at the booing of a gay soldier serving in Iraq; at the applause and loud cheers when Rick Perry was asked about the death penalty and the more than 200 executions that have occurred in his state on his watch; at the cheering and shouts of “yes” when Ron Paul was asked if a catastrophically sick man who chose not to get health insurance should be allowed to die in the hospital rather than have the state pay his medical bills.
Well, today, John McCain was a maverick again when, in an appearance on CNN, he “appeared to reject a suggestion from former Vice President Dick Cheney and his daughter, Liz Cheney, that the Obama administration owed the Bush administration an apology, following a recent drone strike that killed Anwar al-Awlaki … refusing to judge it as a broader victory for ‘enhanced interrogation techniques, i.e. torture,’ as he put it,” according to the Huffington Post.
“It is very obvious that one of the great recruitment tools that our enemy has is the fact that we tortured people, which is not in keeping with the standards of the treatment of prisoners,” McCain said. “We never got useful information as a result of torture, but we sure got a lot of angry citizens around the world, and deservedly so.”
Pressed more directly on the supposed need for an apology, McCain pointed to arguments that he has used repeatedly against the Cheneys’ defense of the controversial practices, noting the Senate’s overwhelming for putting limits on interrogation techniques and the clear protections provided by the Geneva Convention.
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Ron Paul has now jumped into the al-Awlaki fray:
Ron Paul said Monday that President Barack Obama’s targeted killing of Anwar al-Awlaki might be an impeachable offense.
Asked at a Manchester, N.H. town hall meeting about last week’s killing of the American-born Al Qaeda leader, the Texas congressman said impeachment would be “possible,” but that he wants to know more about how the administration “flouted the law.”
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The author is a retired U.S. Air Force officer and a writer.