Learning On The Job
by Kiko Matsing
Dick Cheney is not the most popular of politicians, but when he offered a harsh assessment of the Obama Administration’s approach to terrorism last May, his criticism stung—so much that the President gave a speech the same day that was widely seen as a direct response. Though neither man would admit it, eight months later political and security realities are forcing Mr. Obama’s antiterror policies ever-closer to the former Vice President’s.
In fact, the President’s changes in antiterror policy have never been as dramatic as he or his critics have advertised. His supporters on the left have repeatedly howled when the Justice Department quietly went to court and offered the same legal arguments the Bush Administration made, among them that the President has the power to detain enemy combatants indefinitely without charge. He has also ramped up drone strikes against al Qaeda and Taliban operatives in Pakistan.
However, the Administration has tried to break from its predecessors on several big antiterror issues, and it is on those that it is suffering the humiliation of having to walk back from its own righteous declarations. This is Dick Cheney’s revenge.