Former Vice President Dick Cheney said Wednesday that the Bush administration had developed a new strategy on the war in Afghanistan before leaving office -- a strategy that he said "bears a striking resemblance" to the one announced by President Obama in March.
In a speech to the Center for Security Policy, Cheney said the Bush administration handed Obama's transition team a policy review of the Afghan war conducted last fall to meet the new challenges posed by the Taliban.
"They asked us not to announce our findings publicly, and we agreed, giving them the benefit of our work and the benefit of the doubt," Cheney said.
The former VP went after the Obama administration's policies on GITMO, missile defense, enhanced interrogations, among just about every foreign policy initiative. Cheney also went after Obama on Afghanistan. It isn't that the policy is different but instead that it's the same. Rahm Emanuel suggested over the weekend that the Bush administration left the Obama administration "starting from scratch".
Cheney countered that the Bush administration had done a thorough review of the situation for the Obama administration on the request of the Obama administration. The current counter insurgency strategy is, in the former VP's words, much like the policy that the Bush administration recommended privately. To top it off, the former VP says that the Obama administration asked the Bush administration to keep their analysis and review quiet. Then, Emanuel claims that Bush left them with nothing. If this is all accurate, this is dirty, cynical and the worst kind of politics.
The speech came late in the day and the news media has only now started to cover it. Expect this to be a major story all day tomorrow. Cheney has been much effective attacking Obama policies and defending Bush policies out of the White House than inside the White House. Each of his attacks has had an effect, and you can bet this will drive the debate for at least the next twenty four hours.