Last week, President Barack Obama and former vice president Dick Cheney presented competing views of how America was kept secure after September 11, 2001 – and how to proceed in the future.
Mr. Cheney, who has rejoined the Board of Trustees of the neoconservative think tank American Enterprise Institute (AEI) since leaving government in January 2009, gave a widely covered speech at AEI on May 21, 2009, just minutes after President Barack Obama spoke. The president defended his ban on enhanced interrogation techniques and his plans to close the terrorist detention facility at Guantanamo Bay.
Mr. Cheney first documented the threats America faced in the wake of the 9/11 attacks and how the Bush administration shaped the nation’s response. The post-9/11 “comprehensive strategy” has “required the commitment of many thousands of troops in two theaters of war, with high points and some low points in both Iraq and Afghanistan – and at every turn, the people of our military carried the heaviest burden,” he said. “Well over seven years into the effort, one thing we know is that the enemy has spent most of this time on the defensive–and every attempt to strike inside the United States has failed.”
Key to the successful post-9/11 strategy, Mr. Cheney said, was “accurate intelligence” – including that received through enhanced interrogation.
Danielle Pletka, foreign policy insider and former staff member for Near East and South Asia at the Committee on Foreign Relations of the U.S. Senate, commented on the Cheney speech in the pages of USA Today.