Speaking at a press conference in Tokyo, with reporters pressing him about his decision last week to reject all four of the plans for Afghanistan that had been presented to him, President Obama gave some of the best answers explaining his decision in a matter of war that I’ve heard a United States president give in a long time.
At first, he answered reporters, saying that
those who participated I think would acknowledge that it has been not a academic exercise, but a necessary process in order to make sure that we’re making the best possible decisions.
But when reporters continued to press him, asking why the process was taking so long, President Obama pushed back:
It’s a matter of making certain that when I send young men and women into war, and I devote billions of dollars of U.S. taxpayer money, that it’s making us safer, and that the strategies that are placed not just on the military side but also on the civilian side are coordinated and effective in our primary goal.
And when they pressed him even harder, President Obama finally lost his cool, admirably acknowledging that
there have been critics of the process. They tend not to be folks who I think are directly involved in what’s happening in Afghanistan. Those who are [involved] recognize the gravity of the situation and recognize the importance of us getting this right.
Listen carefully, and you can hear President Obama tactfully telling Dick Cheney to go fuck himself.
President Obama wasn’t nearly as crude about it as Cheney himself was in 2004 when he much less artfully told Senator Patrick Leahy to – and I quote – “go fuck yourself.”
But the sentiment was unmistakably there in President Obama’s words. In his very tactful way, President Obama said that Dick Cheney was one of the assholes who, having ordered our troops into war, failed to do the proper planning or to formulate the best strategies to enable our young men and women to accomplish clear goals. He’s saying that Cheney is not directly involved in what’s happening in Afghanistan and that, had Cheney been more engaged in what was happening in Afghanistan, he might be able to "recognize the gravity of the situation and recognize the importance of [the United States] getting this right." Indeed, had Cheney done a better job, the problems there might not be nearly as bad now as they are.
While Cheney clearly doesn’t have the intelligence or leadership skills to plan or run wars, no one can doubt his ability to misdirect and obfuscate discourse in the political arena in order to push for more and more war, regardless of whether the war is conducted properly.
In fact, reporters threw the barrage of questions at President Obama in part because critics have been following Cheney’s lead in going on the attack.
With a single word, the former Vice President has dismissed months of hard work by President Obama and his administration as President Obama and his advisors work out the best strategy for fixing the mess created by the Bush administration, i.e. the mess created by intellectually weak weasels like Dick Cheney, who pushed for many of the Bush administration’s stupidest policies.
And the word is: “dithering.”
Yes, uttering this single word, Dick Cheney has roused mindless morons all across the country to whip out their dictionaries, figure out what “dithering” means, and then rally behind their newfound label for denigrating the efforts of President Obama to plan carefully in order to fix the huge messes created by the Bush administration.
President Obama is “dithering,” Joe “the Heckler” Wilson (R-SC02) mouthed, once he figured out what “dithering” means.
As a result, we read articles like “Barack Obama demands exit strategy in Afghanistan” (Telegraph, 11/12/09), asserting:
After two months of discussions with his advisers he rejected all four options they had touted on the number of troops to be sent, in a surprise move that risked provoking further allegations of “dithering”.
Really? The Telegraph thinks that, as President Obama works to develop the best strategy possible for Afghanistan, his biggest problem is that Dick Cheney might reappear on the tv again to accuse him of "dithering"? Reporters do apparently take their cues from a guy like Cheney and so push President Obama into answering the nonsensical accusations of this warmongering critic of careful deliberation.
“No,” President Obama is saying, “I’m not dithering. I’m doing the work that the neocon assholes should have done eight years ago and that they should have been doing all throughout the time that they were sending our young men and women into war.”
Robert Gibbs, President Obama’s spokesperson, said aboard Air Force One:
The president believes that we have been there for eight years, and we’re not going to be there forever. And it’s important to fully examine not just how we’re going to get folks in but how we’re going to get folks out.
In other words, behind closed doors, President Obama is demanding that his advisors stop figuring out how to continue aimlessly speeding down the highway and start figuring out where the exits are.
I found myself wishing that President Obama would have turned away from the reporters in Tokyo for a moment, looked into the camera, and said, “Mr. Cheney, go fuck yourself. Our troops deserve so much better than anything you assholes ever bothered to come up with. Now that the job is mine, I want all Americans to know that I won’t be standing under any bullshit ‘Mission Accomplished’ banners before I’ve done my work so that our troops can do theirs.”
Alas, President Obama is too good a man to have stooped to Dick Cheney’s level, so we’ll just have to read between the lines.