What Vice President Cheney calls dithering, President Obama calls his solemn responsibility to the men and women in uniform," Gibbs said Thursday. "I think we've all seen what happens when somebody doesn't take that responsibility seriously
I think it's pretty safe to say that the vice president was for seven years not focused on Afghanistan," Gibbs said. "Even more curious given the fact that an increase in troops sat on desks in this White House, including the vice president's, for more than eight months
The problem here is two fold. Attacking the Bush administration may contribute to souring the legacy of the Bush administration but it does nothing to settle the criticism that Cheney made. There's no doubt that while the Bush administration figured out Iraq in the end they never finally did figure out Afghanistan. That doesn't change the way that President Obama has behaved in Afghanistan. I agree that the Bush administration could have and should have done a better job in Afghanistan but that won't excuse the current president if we lose there. It certainly won't change the fact that we lose if we lose.
Everyone understands that decisions of war are monumental however this decision hasn't been two, three, or even six weeks in the making but seven months in the making. While it's a solemn decision that must be done with the utmost of care, the president announced a new strategy in March, not six weeks ago. We all know this and his announcement is on You tube and a matter of public record.
This is where the criticism is from. The administration can attack Cheney all they want. That won't change the fact that seven months ago President Obama announced a new strategy. His general wants more troops and now President Obama refuses to make a decision. That isn't simply something that Dick Cheney is saying. That's becoming something that everyone from all sides of the political aisle.
Of course, politically, by responding so directly, they give more life to the story. The problem there is that even if you were to marginalize and bloody Cheney, he is not going to run for office again. Even if the administration bloodies Cheney, they have raised his criticism and allowed the media to discuss and analyze them for several more days. They haven't dealt with the substance of Cheney's criticism and so the criticism is out there with no response.