I’m fascinated by the so-called war of words between Vice President Joe Biden and former Vice President Dick Cheney. Their little tiff made all the Sunday news talk shows and was still being talked about on Monday.
Of course, I have a few thoughts on all of this.
First, I’d like to address the idea of who can take credit for the current tentative stability in Iraq. Biden was in the news last week, basically giving the Obama administration credit for that success. Perhaps that’s what set Cheney off.
Here’s the deal. If within the next four years, Iraq continues to follow a path of stability, and the majority of our troops are able to exit Iraq and leave that nation operating independently, then the Obama administration can legitimately take credit for that success.
Why? Because it would have occurred during their administration.
Yes, the Bush administration made some tough choices that enabled the surge to occur and to succeed. However, we all know that whatever administration is in office at the time of a victory or a defeat of any kind, that’s the administration that will get the credit.
Iraq has been a much longer process than our nation’s leaders anticipated. No one expected these situations to drag out eight, 10, 12 years. But, what our short-sighted leaders often fail to realize is that worthwhile efforts take first, courage and, second, persistence.
The courage part of this thing definitely belonged to the Bush administration. The Obama administration can keep the success going by being persistent. They seem to be willing to do that.
Second, I agree with the former vice president that errors have been made by the Obama administration on the overall war on terror. Yet, what is the vice president’s goal in being so vocal publicly about his opinions?
Former President George W. Bush had plenty of faults, one of which was his inability to articulate his goals on the war on terror. He also failed to use the bully pulpit to defend the constant (and often inaccurate) criticisms of his administration’s handling of the war on terror. I’m sure it ate Cheney up not to be defensive, because that’s Cheney’s style.
Being defensive definitely was not W.’s style.
So, perhaps now Cheney believes he can take the gloves off and defend the Bush administration’s handling of the war on terror and all that has come along with it.
Yet, I can’t see where this constant criticism accomplishes anything but noise in the media.
Judgment will come as the Obama administration carries on. How they move forward and what strategy they use to keep this nation from suffering another terrorist attack will be the legacy of both the Bush administration decisions and also the Obama administration decisions.
Biden is a blatherer, and the reason he’s on Sunday news shows is because they all hope he’ll have foot-in-mouth disease at any moment. But, in this little debate, Biden can claim the high road because its his administration carrying the ball now.
Cheney’s opinions, while mostly correct, just doesn’t carry the weight unless he intends to throw his hat in the ring and run for president in 2012. Perhaps that’s what he’s up to.
But, right now, both he and Biden are just making noise.