After accusing the Bush-Cheney administration of having no strategy for and handing over no strategy for Afghanistan, and claiming that the Obama team had to start “from scratch,” to run the war, Dick Cheney answered that accusation.
In a pathetic answer back to Cheney’s tough commentary, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs mocked Cheney. In retort to Cheney’s advice that that Obama stop “dithering,” Gibbs quoted Obama saying his responsibility to the men and women in uniform was a “solemn” one, intimating, I suppose, that it was not “a solemn” responsibility for the Bush administration. Gibbs further said that Bush and Cheney failed to keep “focus” in the Afghanistan war.
Speaking at a dinner at the Center for Security Policy, where he received the Keeper of the Flame award, Cheney spoke of exactly what was handed over the the White House:
the fall of 2008, fully aware of the need to meet new challenges being
posed by the Taliban, we dug into every aspect of Afghanistan policy,
assembling a team that traveled to Pakistan and Afghanistan, reviewing
options and recommendations, and briefing President-elect Obama’s team.
They asked us not to announce our findings publicly, and we agreed,
giving them the benefit of our work and the benefit of the doubt. The
new strategy they embraced in March, with a focus on counterinsurgency
and an increase in the numbers of troops, bears a striking resemblance
to the strategy we passed to them.
We have an ill-mannered bunch sitting in the White House once again. An outgoing administration gives an incoming administration their intense research on war, wants to publish their recommendations as they exit, and the new administration requests that the report not be published, then excoriates what was in the report.
Very convenient. Then you can deny what you knew. That’s just what Robert Gibbs today.
Gibbs sidestepped a question about whether Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute, who
was tasked with assessing war strategy by the Bush administration,
had filed a report with the recommendations Cheney mentioned.
“I have not looked at that review,” Gibbs said. “I don’t know whether what he describes is accurate.”
I would think Gibbs should know that answer. Now we’ll see how soon the question is followed up, and an answer is demanded.