Archive for the ‘Cheney’ Category

President Bush, Vice President Honor Veterans, War Dead

November 11, 2008

President Bush, marking Veterans Day at a Manhattan pier that is home to the World War II aircraft carrier Intrepid, praised veterans past and present who have defended U.S. liberty.

“Veterans have inspired me,” Bush said in a speech Tuesday before attending rededication ceremony of the Intrepid Air, Sea and Space Museum. “I was raised by a veteran. I appreciate the commitment to our country that the veterans have made.”

By DEVLIN BARRETT, Associated Press Writer

“Our nation is blessed because our liberties have been defended by brave men and women in the past and we are blessed to have brave men and women defend our liberties today.”

The Intrepid returned last month to the pier where it has served for 24 years as a military and space museum. In late 2006, the carrier was moved for extensive repairs and improvements costing nearly $120 million.

Launched in 1943 as one of the Navy’s then-new Essex-class attack carriers, the USS Intrepid figured in six major Pacific theater campaigns including Leyte Gulf, the war’s greatest naval battle. It survived five Japanese kamikaze planes and a torpedo but lost 270 crew members in combat.

After World War II, the Intrepid saw service in the Korean and Vietnam wars and was twice a recovery ship for NASA astronauts before it was decommissioned and mothballed in a Philadelphia shipyard — slated for demolition until rescued by New York real estate developer and philanthropist Zachary Fisher.

AP

U.S. President George W. Bush and first lady Laura Bush greet ... 
U.S. President George W. Bush and first lady Laura Bush greet veterans at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York, November 11, 2008.REUTERS/Jim Young (UNITED STATES)

In Arlington, Va., meanwhile Vice President Dick Cheney placed a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery in the traditional Veterans Day ceremony.

Above: Tomb of the Unknowns.  The World War I unknown is below the marble sarcophagus. Other unknowns are beneath the white slabs on the ground (World War II, left; Korean War, right). A Vietnam War unknown was under the middle slab until 1998, when he was identified.

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Bush and Obama Teams: Thoughtful, Peaceful, Lawful Transition of Power

November 9, 2008

While meeting with a group of immigrants to American on the night of Barack Obama’s election last Tuesday, several new Americans said they could never have voted in the nation of their birth — or their vote was just for show and not counted by the ruling powers.  Others said they had never witnessed a peaceful transition of political power…

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By Robert Barnes, Dan Eggen and Anne E. Kornblut
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, November 9, 2008; Page A01

Faced with one of the most important transfers of presidential power in American history — amid wars on two fronts, the looming threat of terrorism at home and a full-blown economic crisis — the outgoing Bush administration and the incoming Obama team have responded with exceptional cooperation on those issues, aides and outside experts say.

Serious decisions, and potentially divisive ones, still remain for the politically and ideologically divided camps, such as access to classified information and, in particular, battles over the regulations and executive orders that will define the policy of the two administrations.

But the days since Tuesday’s election have shown a striking level of comity following the rancor of the campaign, enhanced by President Bush‘s months-long efforts to pave the way for a smooth transition and President-elect Barack Obama‘s preelection determination to move quickly.

“Ensuring that this transition is seamless is a top priority for the rest of my time in office,” Bush said in his weekly radio address yesterday. “My administration will work hard to ensure that the next president and his team can hit the ground running.”

Bush has created a transition coordinating council, populated by experts from inside and outside the administration, and has streamlined the process for obtaining security clearances for key transition officials. National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell flew to Chicago on Thursday to deliver Obama his first daily intelligence briefing.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/w
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By Jim Rutenberg
The New York Times

There is a great tradition of paint-peeling political hyperbole during presidential campaign years. And there is an equally great tradition of backing off from it all afterward, though with varying degrees of deftness.

But given the intensity of some of the charges that have been made in the past few months, and the historic nature of Mr. Obama’s election, the exercise this year has been particularly whiplash-inducing, with its extreme before-and-after contrasts.

The shift in tone follows the magnanimous concession speech from Mr. McCain, of Arizona, who referred to Mr. Obama’s victory Tuesday night as “a historic election” and hailed the “special pride” it held for African-Americans. That led the vice president-elect, Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., to get into the act. During the campaign, Mr. Biden said he no longer recognized Mr. McCain, an old friend. Now, he says, “We’re still friends.” President Bush, in turn, also hailed Mr. Obama’s victory, saying his arrival at the White House would be “a stirring sight.”

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http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/09/us/politics/
09memo.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin

Campaign: Positively Negative Home Stretch

November 3, 2008

By Shailagh Murray, Juliet Eilperin and Robert Barnes
Washington Post Staff Writers
Monday, November 3, 2008; Page A01

The waning hours of the longest presidential campaign in history elicited a fresh round of stinging attacks from Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain and their supporters on Sunday, a departure from the positive messages that candidates normally revert to before an election.


Above: John McCain and Barack Obama make their cases on the last weekend before Election Day. (Photos: Post)

The two candidates kept swinging at each other as their campaigns focused on a handful of states that will determine the election. Obama cut an ad that used Vice President Cheney‘s endorsement of McCain to reinforce his central argument that his rival represents a third term of the unpopular Bush administration.

Republicans in Pennsylvania brought back the controversial comments of Obama’s former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., despite McCain’s admonition that he should not be used as a political weapon, and the campaign unleashed robo-calls that employed the withering dismissal that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton made of Obama’s experience when the two were competing against each other in the Democratic primaries.

McCain adviser Charlie Black said his candidate would have preferred that the Pennsylvania GOP not air the ad using Wright’s controversial anti-American statements. But “as McCain said back in the spring, he can’t be the referee of every ad,” Black said.

Ending a campaign on a positive note, said Republican strategist Scott Reed, “may be part of the old way, but this is unlike any campaign we’ve ever seen. There is such a small slice of undecided out there, I think both sides are going to finish the campaign really going after them.”

Those voters, according to polls, represent McCain’s last, best hope. But his campaign manager, Rick Davis, made the rounds of the talk shows to forcefully rebut pollsters and pundits uniformly predicting an Obama victory. “I think what we’re in for is a slam-bang finish,” Davis said on “Fox News Sunday.” “I mean, it’s going to be wild. . . . John McCain may be the greatest closer politician of all time.”

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/AR2008110202604.html?hpid=topnews

Multidimensional Chess

March 28, 2008

By Arnaud de Borchgrave
The Washington Times
March 28, 2008

To understand the chasm between mainstream media and the blogosphere, Lewis Carroll’s “Through the Looking Glass” is a helpful guide. Tweedledum and Tweedledee, they are not. But they are frequently fact and factoid (an invented fact taken to be true because of its appearance in print). And many blogs have achieved the status of print since countless millions get their news online. The average age of a newspaper reader is 55. Onliners? Try 30.
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Sen. John McCain and his independent (formerly a Democrat) fellow traveler Sen. Joe Lieberman wound up their most recent Mideast foray in Israel where the Republican candidate for the presidency got a little help from the man widely tipped to be his choice for vice president in adjusting his yarmulke. .
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For many Middle East bloggers, the yarmulke gesture was proof Mr. McCain would be even less inclined than President Bush to coax/cajole/pressure Israel into the kind of concessions that would make a Palestinian state possible.
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Mr. McCain also fueled the speculation when he said Jerusalem was to remain the indivisible capital of the Jewish state and Israel must not be asked for anything that might jeopardize its security. Without a Palestinian capital in Arab East Jerusalem, no Palestinian leader could sign a peace agreement — and expect to stay alive.

Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman (L) speaks to U.S. Republican ... 
Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman (L) speaks to U.S. Republican presidential candidate Senator John McCain following a meeting with France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy at the Elysee Palace, in Paris March 21, 2008.
REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer (FRANCE)

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http://www.washingtontimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080328/COMMENTARY/384798343

Missile Defense at 25

March 23, 2008

By James Hackett
The Washington Times
March 23, 2008

It is fitting that the 25th anniversary of Ronald Reagan’s announcement of the Strategic Defense Initiative is on Easter Sunday, a day synonymous with peace. As a result of Reagan’s vision, and President Bush’s determination in withdrawing from the ABM treaty and fielding defenses, this Easter the world is a safer place.
Ronald Reagan
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Despite the collapse of the Soviet Union, the danger of nuclear-armed missiles is still with us. Russia under permanent ruler Vladimir Putin still has 2,945 deployed nuclear warheads and is fielding new SS-27 Topol-M intercontinental missiles (ICBMs). And Moscow is developing a new version known as the RS-24, which has been tested with three warheads but is expected to carry as many as six.
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Mr. Putin threatens to target missiles on Poland and the Czech Republic if they host U.S. missile defenses, and on Ukraine if it joins NATO.
Vladimir Putin
And in Asia, China is engaged in a massive military buildup, with new ballistic and cruise missiles designed to strike U.S. aircraft carriers, new DF-31A ICBMs aimed at the United States, and more than 1,000 short-range missiles opposite Taiwan.
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Other countries are developing longer-range missiles while seeking nuclear weapons, notably North Korea’s oddball regime, which seems willing to sell nuclear technology as well as missiles to anyone, and the mullahs in Iran. Then there is Pakistan, which already has an arsenal of nuclear warheads and missiles to carry them. Pakistan is an ally today, but al Qaeda wants to seize power and control the “Muslim bomb.”
 

Google Earth captured an image of the new Chinese ballistic-missile submarine, docked at the Xiaopingdao base south of Dalian. U.S. officials say the new submarines may increase Beijing´s strategic arsenal.
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The main value of missile defense is to deter opponents from using nuclear missiles to intimidate and achieve their goals through fear. Defenses also provide security in the event of an actual missile launch by design or accident. And as the recent shoot-down of a falling satellite showed, missile interceptors can be used for other useful purposes, including deflecting asteroids on a collision course with Earth.
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The missile defense program has come a long way since Reagan’s speech 25 years ago today when he said deterrence works, weakness invites aggression, and we maintain peace through strength. He urged use of our technological strength to find a way to deter attack. It may take decades, he warned, “but I believe we can do it.”
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He was right about American technology. The idea of striking a very fast missile with a fast interceptor was considered a joke by many at the time. But that technology, unmatched by any other country, is now the key element of our missile defenses. After several test failures, the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) has done a remarkable job of improving the program to conduct successful flight tests.
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Since 2005, there have been 26 intercepts in 27 tests, an amazing record for a new weapon system. Today there are 24 interceptors in silos in Alaska and California protecting the United States, and 25 on ships in the Pacific, with more on the way. It is important to keep this successful program on track and not make changes that might jeopardize progress toward deployment of a global layered defense.
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As Vice President Richard Cheney said at a recent Heritage Foundation dinner, the talk about which presidential candidate would be best to take a call at 3 a.m. reminds us that no president should ever be told that a missile is coming toward the United States and there is no way to stop it.
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Missile defense can stop it.
 

The plan is to base 40 interceptors in Alaska, four in California and 10 in Poland, a radar in the Czech Republic and a mobile radar closer to Iran. But as the threat grows, more interceptors will be needed, at least 20 in Europe and up to 100 in Alaska, given the growing threat from China.
 

There is some discussion of breaking up the missile defense program to separate sustaining current deployments from future development. It is natural for MDA to want to turn operational activities over to the services and concentrate on research and development. But that could lead to future budget cuts as research projects fail and the services meet their immediate needs by reducing missile defense funds.
 

Another issue involves moving toward a very centralized command-and-control system, which could increase the risk of systemwide failure. It is important not to tinker too much with the program that has been highly successful in producing the defenses protecting the nation today. It is up to the White House and defense secretary to keep this effort on track, finish negotiations for the bases in Europe this year, and preserve the legacy of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.

James T. Hackett is a contributing writer to The Washington Times based in Carlsbad, Calif.

Cheney Tells Troops U.S. Will Complete Iraq Mission

March 18, 2008
Holly Rosenkrantz

March 18 (Bloomberg) — Vice President Dick Cheney, rallying troops during a visit to Iraq, vowed that the U.S. will stay committed to its mission to end the conflict in the country.

US Vice President Dick Cheney (L) shakes hands with Iraq's ...
US Vice President Dick Cheney (L) shakes hands with Iraq’s Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki ahead of their meeting in Baghdad on March 17. Iraq’s main Sunni parliamentary bloc has boycotted a crucial national reconciliation conference, delivering a fresh blow to the country’s battered political process.(AFP/POOL/Ceerwan Aziz)

“Tyranny in Iraq was worth defeating,” Cheney said today. “Democracy in Iraq is worth defending.”

This week marks the fifth anniversary of the March 20 U.S.- led invasion of Iraq. Cheney spent two days in the country meeting with U.S. commanders and Iraqi leaders to assess the needs of troops before a report on the conflict is delivered to Congress next month. He stayed last night at Balad Air Base, about 45 miles (72 kilometers) northwest of Baghdad, where mortar fire could be heard throughout the night.

Cheney later flew to Irbil, in Iraqi Kurdistan, to meet with Massoud Barzani, president of Iraq’s Kurdish administration. Iraqi Kurdish leaders have criticized Turkey for an incursion into Iraq last month that targeted the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, saying it was an attack on Iraq’s sovereignty. The PKK is designated a terrorist group by the U.S. and the European Union.

There is evidence of “dramatic improvements” in security in Iraq, Cheney said yesterday. U.S. military commanders will brief Congress on progress in the country since President George W. Bush ordered the deployment of 30,000 extra U.S. soldiers and Marines a year ago.

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Cheney warns against large cuts in Iraq

March 18, 2008
By DEB RIECHMANN, Associated Press Writer

BAGHDAD – Vice President Dick Cheney warned Monday against large U.S. troop cuts that could jeopardize recent security gains in Iraq, as he marked the fifth anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion with a two-day visit to the country.

Iraq's President Jalal Talabani (R) sits next to U.S. Vice President ...
Iraq’s President Jalal Talabani (R) sits next to U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney in his office in Baghdad March 17, 2008.
(Mohammed Jalil/Pool/Reuters) 

Cheney used words like “phenomenal” and “remarkable turnaround” to describe a drop in violence in Iraq, and he hailed recently passed legislation aimed at keeping Iraq on a democratic path.

“It would be a mistake now to be so eager to draw down the force that we risk putting the outcome in jeopardy, and I don’t think we’ll do that,” Cheney said after spending the day zigzagging through barricades and checkpoints to get to meetings in and out of the heavily guarded Green Zone. He spent the night at a U.S. military base, the second overnight stay in Iraq for the vice president — the highest-ranking official to do so. Reporters accompanying him were not allowed to disclose the location. Last May, Cheney stayed at Camp Speicher, a base near former leader Saddam Hussein‘s hometown and about 100 miles north of Baghdad.

“It is good to be back in Iraq,” Cheney, dressed in a suit and dark cowboy boots, said after his meeting with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. “It’s especially significant, I think, to be able to return this week as we mark the fifth anniversary of the beginning of the campaign that liberated the people of Iraq from Saddam Hussein’s tyranny, and launched them on the difficult but historic road to democracy.”

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Cheney says US needs missile defense

March 12, 2008
By TOM RAUM, Associated Press Writer 

WASHINGTON – Borrowing a theme from the presidential contest, Vice President Dick Cheney said Tuesday that the possibility of a 3 a.m. emergency call to the White House is all the more reason for the next commander in chief to follow through on President Bush‘s plans for a national missile defense.

Vice President Dick Cheney speaks at a Heritage Foundation Dinner ...
Vice President Dick Cheney speaks at a Heritage Foundation Dinner commemorating the 25th Anniversary of President Ronald Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative Proposal on Tuesday, March 11, 2008, in Washington.
(AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke)


“It’s plain to see that the world around us gives ample reason to continue working on missile defense,” Cheney told the conservative Heritage Foundation at a dinner recognizing the 25th anniversary of President Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative, a proposed network of rockets capable of shooting down incoming intercontinental ballistic missiles.
Bush has set in motion a more modest version of Reagan’s original plan.

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Esquire Magazine on Admiral William “Fox” Fallon

March 11, 2008

By Thomas P. M. Barnett
Esquire Magazine
March 11, 2008

As the White House talked up conflict with Iran, the head of U.S. Central Command, William “Fox” Fallon, talked it down. Now he has resigned.
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If, in the dying light of the Bush administration, we go to war with Iran, it’ll all come down to one man. If we do not go to war with Iran, it’ll come down to the same man. He is that rarest of creatures in the Bush universe: the good cop on Iran, and a man of strategic brilliance. His name is William Fallon, although all of his friends call him “Fox,” which was his fighter-pilot call sign decades ago. Forty years into a military career that has seen this admiral rule over America’s two most important combatant commands, Pacific Command and now United States Central Command, it’s impossible to make this guy–as he likes to say–“nervous in the service.” Past American governments have used saber rattling as a useful tactic to get some bad actor on the world stage to fall in line. This government hasn’t mastered that kind of subtlety. When Dick Cheney has rattled his saber, it has generally meant that he intends to use it. And in spite of recent war spasms aimed at Iran from this sclerotic administration, Fallon is in no hurry to pick up any campaign medals for Iran. And therein lies the rub for the hard-liners led by Cheney. Army General David Petraeus, commanding America’s forces in Iraq, may say, “You cannot win in Iraq solely in Iraq,” but Fox Fallon is Petraeus’s boss, and he is the commander of United States Central Command, and Fallon doesn’t extend Petraeus’s logic to mean war against Iran.
Commander of the U.S. Central Command Navy Adm. William Fallon ... 
Commander of the U.S. Central Command Navy Adm. William Fallon testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington March 4, 2008.
REUTERS/Larry Downing 

So while Admiral Fallon’s boss, President George W. Bush, regularly trash-talks his way to World War III and his administration casually casts Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as this century’s Hitler (a crown it has awarded once before, to deadly effect), it’s left to Fallon–and apparently Fallon alone–to argue that, as he told Al Jazeera last fall: “This constant drumbeat of conflict . . . is not helpful and not useful. I expect that there will be no war, and that is what we ought to be working for. We ought to try to do our utmost to create different conditions.”

What America needs, Fallon says, is a “combination of strength and willingness to engage.”

Read the rest:
http://www.esquire.com/features/fox-fallon

Related:
Admiral William Fallon Resigns as U.S. Mideast Military Chief

A Centcom Chief Who Spoke His Mind

Fallon’s Exit Provokes Concern on Path of Bush’s Iran Policy

Several Warriors Welcome Fallon’s Resignation

Justice Dept. ‘Cannot’ Probe Waterboarding, Mukasey Says

February 8, 2008

By Dan Eggan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, February 8, 2008; Page A04

The attorney general yesterday rejected growing congressional calls for a criminal investigation of the CIA‘s use of simulated drownings to extract information from its detainees, as Vice President Cheney called it a “good thing” that the CIA was able to learn what it did from those subjected to the practice.

The remarks reflected a renewed effort by the Bush administration to defend its past approval of the interrogation tactic known as waterboarding, which some lawmakers, human rights experts and international lawyers have described as illegal torture.

Testifying before the House Judiciary Committee, Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey said Justice Department lawyers concluded that the CIA’s use of waterboarding in 2002 and 2003 was legal, and therefore the department cannot investigate whether a crime had occurred.