Vice President Dick Cheney doesn’t expect President Barack Obama’s big Wednesday night speech outlining his strategy for confronting Islamic State will include a foreign policy vision that’s adequate to deal with the jihadist group’s threat.
Hours before Obama is set to give the primetime speech, Cheney delivered a prebuttal of sorts before the conservative think tank American Enterprise Institute. Cheney said he hopes Obama emerges with a “forceful” military plan for the Islamic State, also known as ISIS. However, Cheney also indicated such a move would be a “dramatic departure” from the president’s record.
“In a few hours we’ll hear what he has in mind for the terrorist onslaught currently in Iraq. We can hope for — and we should look for — signs of a forceful, bold, and immediate strategy to defeat ISIS. We can say already, however, that such a plan would mark an abrupt and dramatic departure from his rhetoric thus far,” Cheney said.
Islamic State (which is also known as ISIS and ISIL) has made rapid and surprising gains in Iraq and Syria over the last year. The jihadist group recently beheaded two American journalists and is threatening to conduct still more violence against the West.
Though the White House has touted U.S. efforts against ISIS thus far, Cheney said Obama was pursuing “utterly failed” policies that were “wilfully blind” of what is needed to maintain U.S. security. Cheney, a frequent Obama administration critic, blasted the president for allegedly reducing the scope of the U.S. military in particular.
“This is the most critical measure that we can apply to the president’s remarks today: Any serious strategy has to include a major new commitment to restoring our nation’s military preparedness,” he said. “We’re nearing a crisis point in the decline of American military power; it has to be addressed and right away.”
Cheney also accused Obama of taking credit of the security policies implemented under Cheney’s former boss, then-President George W. Bush.
“Despite years of criticising those policies, President Obama himself has lately been pointing to the Bush-Cheney security apparatus as evidence that he’s keeping America safe. This is a quote: ‘Since 9/11 … we have built up a security apparatus that makes us in the here and now pretty safe,'” he said.
“Nice to hear,” Cheney added to laughs, “especially from someone who used to speak so disparagingly.”
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