A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Monday, February 15, 2010

Battling Veeps

There is something unbecoming about a very public spat between two grown men. I can accept feuds real or imagined, conjured up by a public relations firm between two entertainers (Jack Benny and Fred Allen as an example), or even pre-event posturing between two sports figures (Muhammad Ali and everyone else as another example). These two cases at least had a monetary goal in mind: radio ratings and selling tickets to a world class boxing match. This leaves me to wonder what will be the end result of the verbal sparring between Vice President Joe “Fightin'” Biden and former Vice President Dick “Mad Dog” Cheney.

Cheney has criticized the Obama administration's war on terror before, so his latest salvos were nothing new. His rhetorical assault on Obama began after the Christmas Day bomber was apprehended in Detroit. Conservative talk radio pounced on the incident as an indication that Obama was soft on terror.

Unfortunately, the bungled bombing attempt highlighted major shortcomings in the Department of Homeland Security’s terrorist list. The list has over a half-million names with few identification numbers (like Social Security if applicable) and very few photos to visually verify the alleged culprit. Given this list, it doesn’t seem practical for airport security personnel to check a name against every passenger preparing to board a flight. These are short-comings that Obama inherited from the Bush administration. Yet Obama, being a stand-up leader, accepted responsibility anyway, even though it was not a problem his administration created.

What was new was the frequency and ferocity of the statements, starting with Biden answering Cheney’s earlier criticisms. Biden taped his appearance on NBCs Meet the Press, and within hours Cheney responded to Biden’s remarks on ABCs This Week. Who could blame Biden for being defensive? After all, Cheney is his predecessor, who had more than ample time to resolve the problems that he himself now declares are being mishandled.

Isn’t it a bit late for Cheney to act like a Monday morning quarterback?

According to Cheney, Obama is not taking the al-Qaeda threat seriously enough when he prepares to close the military prison at Guantanamo Bay and plans to try terrorists in civilian courts and not military tribunals. Perhaps it's time we pointed out something to Mr. Cheney. The administration for which he worked took the threat of al-Qaeda less seriously when they diverted military resources away from Afghanistan for the comedy of errors that became known as the regime change in Iraq.

Al-Qaeda was more dominant (with the ruling Taliban’s blessing) in Afghanistan. They were not as dominant in influence — at that time — in Iraq. The Bush administration was able to oust the Taliban and they could have dismantled al-Qaeda once and for all. But no, we had to look away and focus on the mirage that was the weapons of mass destruction under Saddam Hussein.

Biden has dismissed Cheney’s remarks as someone trying to rewrite history, and obviously the debate of who gets to write this history is the crux of their conflict. Biden has a point, but we hasten to remind the current veep that only the victorious get to write history. The United States involvement in the war on terror is still in its infancy. It is bound to continue for years, perhaps generations. It is not time yet to write or re-write history.

So, gentlemen, put your daggers down, and sharpen your swords for the common enemy of intolerance who awaits us.

(Thank you for reading. Please remember to live for the day, and leave history to the grandchildren.)


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