The day President Barack Obama is scheduled to address the threat of ISIS in the Middle East, former Vice President Dick Cheney took Obama to task for what he described as limp responses to international problems and laid out a forceful course of action to take on terrorism.
Cheney, who minutes earlier had come under fire from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on the Senate floor, also suggested President Obama has been naive about the Muslim Brotherhood and that other nations in the Middle East have a perception the U.S. “has been supportive of the Muslim Brotherhood.”
The Brotherhood, Cheney said, is the “ideological source for all radical Islamic terrorist groups around the globe.”
“We ought to designate it as the terrorist organization it is, and we should provide full backing and support for those governments across the Middle East who are standing against the Muslim Brotherhood,” he said.
Later, during the question and answer portion of his appearance, Cheney went on to say that due to a decline in trust, some of America’s allies believe it has aided the Muslim Brotherhood.
“There is a perception — and again these are some Israelis, Arabs, so forth — perception that the United States cannot be trusted the way we had been in the past. And that we need to go in and act, work with them closely to restore their faith in our commitments because it’s been seriously eroded there is a deep belief for example, I don’t want to zero in on any one particular country, but it’s general throughout the region that the United States has been supportive of the Muslim Brotherhood,” he said — during the question and answer portion — going on to say that the U.S. needs to show that “we understand that, its not just their concerns its our concerns as well.”
Cheney said the problems with Obama’s foreign policy stem from the president’s discomfort with American power.
“[Obama] has demonstrated his own distrust for American power as a force for good in the world,” Cheney said during his speech Wednesday at the American Enterprise Institute. “Five years ago this month, he put it this way to the United Nations. Quote: ‘No world order that elevates one nation or group of people over another will succeed.’ End quote.”
“This is one sample from a whole collection of such sayings that seem to regard American influence as a problem to be solved in the world, rather than a solution to be offered,” he said.
Cheney stressed that Obama’s view of America stands in stark contrast to leaders before him and argued that while Obama has said the threat of terrorism has declined it has in fact increased — something Cheney noted America’s enemies have been watching.
“In other words, while the president was claiming the tide of war was receding and core al-Qaeda had been decimated, the threat is actually increasing,” Cheney said. “From Iraq, Syria, and Yemen, over to Pakistan, all the way down to Somalia, and Nigeria, in various places under various names, a whole new wave of jihadists was on the rise.”
While Cheney expressed hope that America would hear plans from Obama for a robust response to the crisis in Iraq, he said it would stand in contrast to the Obama administration’s responses to date — which he describes as laying out the things “he will not do.”
Cheney encouraged people to look for Obama to show a real understanding of the threat of ISIS and a strategy that will require an offensive victory in the war on terror.
The former vice president further detailed his advice for taking on the terrorist group ISIS.
“ISIS does not recognize a border between Syria and Iraq – so neither should we. We should immediately hit them in their sanctuaries, staging areas, command centers, and lines of communication wherever we find them,” Cheney said. “We should provide significantly increased numbers of military trainers, special operations forces, an intelligence architecture, and air power to aid the Iraqi military and the Kurdish Peshmerga in their counteroffensive against ISIS.”
And stressed that Obama needs to understand that the United States is at war.
“Our president must understand we are at war and that we must do what it takes, for as long as it takes, to win,” he said, adding that the United States needs to work to regain the trust of its allies to take on the threat.
Cheney, in his remarks, went on to call for an end to the drawdown of troops in Afghanistan, to avoid a repeat of the situation in Iraq and called for the Obama administration to stop looking at terrorism as a law enforcement issue.
He went on to slam the administration for failing to keep the “9/11 security apparatus” current and called for a build up of the U.S. military, saying the country’s military power is nearing a “crisis point” due to the recent drawdowns.
“In this very time of hasty withdrawals, continuous disengagement, and such self-congratulation for all of it, we have also seen dramatic and devastating drawdowns in the military power of the United States,” he said. “Ours is the power that underlies so much else, yet even this has been taken for granted during these years. We’re nearing a crisis point in the decline of American military power. It has to be addressed, and right away.”
Cheney concluded, stressing the Obama needs to show leadership and stop speaking in platitudes without action.
“The terrorists, he’s observed a time or two, are on the wrong side of history – a useful thought, only if it is expressed in the active and not the passive to motivate and not just to console,” he said. “The terrorists who threaten this country and our friends are on the wrong side of civilization. They will be on the wrong side of history only if we put them there.”