PFEIFFER MAKES IT PLAIN…. It’s understandable that the White House, any White House, wants to stay “above the fray.” A president and his/her team have broader responsibilities that preclude tit-for-tat squabbles with petty partisans.
That said, some criticisms deserve responses. Dick Cheney, for example, isn’t some two-bit radio shock-jock in a third-tier market — he only acts like it — but is rather the former vice president of the United States. His loathsome and spectacularly dishonest attack on the president yesterday was hard to ignore.
And with that in mind, White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer published an important item yesterday, offering a surprisingly forceful response to Cheney’s latest vile nonsense. Pfeiffer noted at the outset that it’s “telling” that Cheney and his right-wing cohorts “seem to be more focused on criticizing the Administration than condemning the attackers.”
Just as important, Pfeiffer offered a “substantive context” for those who seem desperate to assign blame for a failed terrorist attack.
[F]or seven years after 9/11, while our national security was overwhelmingly focused on Iraq — a country that had no al Qaeda presence before our invasion — Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda’s leadership was able to set up camp in the border region of Pakistan and Afghanistan, where they continued to plot attacks against the United States. Meanwhile, al Qaeda also regenerated in places like Yemen and Somalia, establishing new safe-havens that have grown over a period of years. It was President Obama who finally implemented a strategy of winding down the war in Iraq, and actually focusing our resources on the war against al Qaeda — more than doubling our troops in Afghanistan, and building partnerships to target al Qaeda’s safe-havens in Yemen and Somalia. And in less than one year, we have already seen many al Qaeda leaders taken out, our alliances strengthened, and the pressure on al Qaeda increased worldwide.
To put it simply: this President is not interested in bellicose rhetoric, he is focused on action. 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.
That’s a rather diplomatic way of saying, “Dick, you had your shot and you failed. Now shut up while we clean up your mess. You can thank us later.”
Cheney’s disgusting missive also insisted that the president, by his estimation, doesn’t realize we’re “at war.” Pfeiffer reminds us of several instances in which Obama has made it clear that, as far as this administration is concerned, we are very much at war.
There are numerous other such public statements that explicitly state we are at war. 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 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.