Still politi­ciz­ing U.S. na­tional se­cu­rity

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - David Lim­baugh

Democrats are out­raged that for­mer Vice Pres­i­dent Dick Cheney is pub­licly de­fend­ing the Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion’s poli­cies re­gard­ing the war on ter­ror. How dare he de­fend the Bush record in the face of the par­ti­san slan­der that be­gan dur­ing Pres­i­dent Bush’s first term and con­tin­ues to this day un­abated? Why, he’s de­mean­ing the of­fice he serves.

It must have slipped their minds that rad­i­cal en­vi­ron­men­tal­ism’s high priest, for­mer Demo­cratic Vice Pres­i­dent Al Gore, has gal­li­vanted the world over, ma­li­ciously ex­co­ri­at­ing the Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion. Cor­rect me if I’m wrong, but I don’t be­lieve there was ever the slight­est com­plaint from the Demo­cratic deco­rum po­lice.

Does this ring a bell? “He be­trayed this coun­try! He played on our fears. He took Amer­ica on an ill-con­ceived for­eign ad­ven­ture danger­ous to our troops, an ad­ven­ture pre­or­dained and planned be­fore 9/11 ever took place.”

How con­ve­nient, also, for Democrats to over­look that Mr. Cheney didn’t start any of this. He isn’t go­ing about the coun­try lev­el­ing un­pro­voked at­tacks against the ad­min­is­tra­tion. He is re­spond­ing to Demo­cratic at­tacks and thug- gish threats to crim­i­nal­ize Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion poli­cies.

But it’s not Mr. Gore’s at­tacks to which Mr. Cheney is re­spond­ing. He’s re­act­ing to the far more cur­rent but equally vi­cious (though sub­tler) at­tacks against the Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion by Pres­i­dent Obama him­self.

Never has a sit­ting pres­i­dent been as ob­sessed with scape­goat­ing the poli­cies of the pre­ced­ing ad­min­is­tra­tion as Mr. Obama. We are four months into his ad­min­is­tra­tion, folks, and he is still sneer­ing at — and blam­ing — Messrs. Bush and Cheney for our eco­nomic woes and na­tional se­cu­rity poli­cies.

In his much-bal­ly­hooed na­tional se­cu­rity apolo­gia on May 21, which ended up serv­ing as re­but­tal fod­der for Mr. Cheney’s stemwinder at the Amer­i­can En­ter­prise In­sti­tute, Obama lashed out at the pre­vi­ous ad­min­is­tra­tion, be­cause he doesn’t dare blame con­gres­sional Democrats for re­fus­ing to fund his reck­less scheme to close Gitmo without any plan to house the de­tainees.

“We’re clean­ing up some­thing that is, quite sim­ply, a mess — a mis­guided ex­per­i­ment that has left in its wake a flood of le­gal chal­lenges that my ad­min­is­tra­tion is forced to deal with on a con­stant, al­most daily, ba­sis, and that con­sumes the time of gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials whose time should be spent on bet­ter pro­tect­ing our coun­try.”

I can’t imag­ine Pres­i­dent Bush spew­ing such nas­ti­ness at his pre­de­ces­sor or at any of the other Democrats who cease­less bashed him — pre­cisely be­cause he didn’t.

But Democrats, evinc­ing their vir­tu­os­ity at the fine arts of psy­cho­log­i­cal pro­jec­tion and hypocrisy, re­served their out­rage for Mr. Cheney, not Mr. Obama, ig­nor­ing that Mr. Obama and his party are al­ways the ones draw­ing first blood.

Demo­cratic strate­gist Bob Shrum says the charge that Democrats are play­ing pol­i­tics with na­tional se­cu­rity is “a smear.” Demo­cratic strate­gist Bob Beckel said: “I’ve never heard a more slan­der­ous, dis­grace­ful per­for­mance by a for­mer vice pres­i­dent or pres­i­dent than I just lis­tened to. The idea that Dick Cheney would sug­gest that the Obama ad­min- is­tra­tion was putting, for po­lit­i­cal pur­poses, at risk the se­cu­rity of the United States of Amer­ica and lives of Amer­i­can peo­ple is ou­tra­geous.”

No, Bob(s), what’s ou­tra­geous is that the charges ring true. Why else, be­sides pol­i­tics, would Mr. Obama and other Democrats have lam­basted and dis­cred­ited the Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion for years over its WOT poli­cies and then adopt many of those very same poli­cies, from ex­traor­di­nary ren­di­tion to the NSA war­rant­less sur­veil­lance pro­gram to rec­og­niz­ing that the laws of war per­mit the U.S. to cap­ture en­emy com­bat­ants and de­tain them without trial un­til the con­clu­sion of hos­til­i­ties to the use of cos­met­i­cally mod­i­fied mil­i­tary com­mis­sions, which Mr. Obama had ear­lier called a “le­gal black hole”?

If rank par­ti­san­ship hasn’t been at play here, how does one rec­on­cile the Democrats’ dem­a­goguery against Mr. Bush to close Gitmo come hell or high wa­ter with con­gres­sional Democrats’ present re­fusal to fund Gitmo’s clo­sure un­til Mr. Obama presents a plan con­cern­ing place­ment of the pris­on­ers?

Apart from rec­og­niz­ing it as a par­ti­san witch hunt, how do you ex­plain why the Oba­maHolder Jus­tice Depart­ment con­demned en­hanced in­ter­ro­ga­tion tech­niques as tor­ture, to the point that it con­sid­ered pros­e­cut­ing Bush of­fi­cials and its Jus­tice Depart­ment lawyers for au­tho­riz­ing and rec­om­mend­ing them, yet en­dorsed the Bush po­si­tion on tor­ture just weeks ago, in Dem­jan­juk v. Holder? How do you ex­plain the ap­proval of th­ese very tech­niques by the Demo­cratic lead­er­ship, in­clud­ing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, when briefed by the CIA and the Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion?

And the money ques­tion: If, in­deed, Mr. Obama is so con­vinced that en­hanced in­ter­ro­ga­tion meth­ods vi­o­late our val­ues and the rule of law, how do you ra­tio­nally ex­plain his reser­va­tion of the au­thor­ity to re­in­sti­tute the prac­tice?

Demo­cratic strate­gists are free to dra­ma­tize their man­u­fac­tured in­dig­na­tion over the charge of sub­or­di­nat­ing our na­tional se­cu­rity for po­lit­i­cal gain, but their chick­ens are com­ing home to roost. Their in­con­sis­tent, un­ten­able, reck­less po­si­tions have been ex­posed, and they’ve tied them­selves in knots.

How else do you ex­plain Mr. Obama’s un­hinged na­tional se­cu­rity speech on May 21?

David Lim­baugh is a na­tion­ally syndicated colum­nist.

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