Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Cheney, the middle linebacker

Bill Kristol has an excellent piece over at the Weekly Standard about Dick Cheney hitting the news circuit to defend the CIA, interrogation techniques, and decisions made by the Bush administration on the war on terror. Oops, sorry. I forgot. It's "Overseas Contingency Operation" now.

The Obama administration may call it whatever they wish, but at least it seems they understand the fight enough to keep some security measures from the previous administration, including the dreaded warrantless wiretapping and military tribunals. The Democrats were sure they could keep spinning it their way, but a funny thing happened on the way to avoiding the truth---Cheney happened:

He challenged the president to release CIA memos evaluating the effectiveness of the enhanced interrogation techniques. He raised the question of whether congressional Democrats--Nancy Pelosi, for one--had known of, and at least tacitly approved of, the allegedly horrifying abuses of the allegedly lawless Bush administration.

Now, a month later, Pelosi is attacking career CIA officials for lying to Congress, and other Democrats are scrambling to distance themselves from her. Meanwhile, the Obama administration has pulled back on threats to prosecute Bush-era lawyers, reversed itself on releasing photos of alleged military abuse of prisoners, and embraced the use of military commissions to try captured terrorists. The administration now looks irresponsible when it lives up to candidate Obama's rhetoric, and hypocritical when it vindicates Bush policies the candidate attacked.

The Democrats have demonized Cheney for so long, and the media willingly went along, that some think he may not be a good spokesman. I think he is a good spokesman. He is a great part of the reason that we were not attacked again, and for that I will always be grateful. I've written before about the millions he has given away to the poor, and about the unconditional love he has shown for his gay daughter, but I think it is time to point out how clearly important it was for him to make sure we didn't experience the pain and grief we went though on 9-11 again on his watch.

And we didn't.

What Cheney proves to us is that when we come out fighting when we know we are right, then we win. Even if it comes from a unpopular source. If Cheney had not come out to defend the CIA then we would have been left with the leftwing spin and no one would be questioning Pelosi's lies. Now at least, even if the Obama administration won't release the memos that show we thwarted an attack in L.A., at least the American people know about it.

The big picture is always a good thing. Having a fighter willing to force the media to show the big picture is even better. To put a sports metaphor to it, Kristol ends with this:

After all, if you're behind on the scoreboard, and your defense is on the field--there's nothing better than to jam up a couple of running plays, sack the quarterback on a blitz, and force a punt from bad field position. The momentum changes as your offense takes over with a shot at putting some points on the board. Dick Cheney probably won't be the glamour quarterback of the Republican comeback. But he's proving to be a heck of a middle linebacker.

h/t BigDog