Beyond the talk show fireworks, Cheney supported some Obama decisions

February 15, 2010

Former Vice President Dick Cheney swapped barbs with Vice President Joe Biden on the morning talk shows Sunday.

Beyond the fireworks, however, there were interesting things they didn’t argue about.

Cheney endorsed President Barack Obama’s approach in Afghanistan.

He backed an end to the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that limits the ability of homosexuals to serve in the military.

And he disagreed with former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s comment that people might think Obama is tough enough to be president if he would declare war on Iran.

“I’m a complete supporter of what they’re doing in Afghanistan,” Cheney told ABC’s “This Week” program. “I think the president made the right decision to send troops into Afghanistan.”

One complaint, though, was the nearly nine months it took Obama to approve a way forward.

“I thought it took him a while to get there,” Cheney said.

Cheney told ABC it was time to move beyond the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that allows homosexuals to serve in the military only if their sexual preferences remain unknown. Obama promised in his State of the Union address to work to repeal the measure.

“I think the society has moved on. I think it’s partly a generational question,” Cheney said.

“Twenty years ago, the military were strong advocates of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ when I was secretary of defense,” he said. “I think things have changed significantly since then.”

He said Admiral Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had indicated the U.S. should support a change of policy.

USA/“When the chiefs come forward and say, ‘We think we can do it,’ then it strikes me that it’s time to reconsider the policy. And I think think Admiral Mullen said that,” Cheney said.

The former vice president also expressed reservations about remarks made recently by Sarah Palin, the former Alaska governor who was Republican presidential candidate John McCain’s running mate in 2008.

Arguing that the Obama administration is weak on terrorism, Palin said recently people might begin to think Obama was tough enough to be president if he decided to declare war on Iran.

“I don’t think a president can make a judgment like that on the basis of politics. The stakes are too high, the consequences too significant to be treating those as simple political calculations,” Cheney said when asked about the remark.

“When you begin to talk about war, talk about crossing international borders, you talk about committing American men and women to combat, that takes place on a plane clear above any political considerations.”

Asked if Palin was qualified to be president, Cheney said he hadn’t made a decision yet on who he would support for president in 2012.

“All the prospective candidates out there have a lot of work to do if … they’re going to persuade a majority of Americans that they’re ready to take on the world’s toughest job,” he said.

For more Reuters political news, click here.

Photo credit: Reuters/Larry Downing (Biden and Cheney at the U.S. Capitol in January 2009)

2 comments

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

Former V.P. actually sounds rationale in this article. It’s too bad that rationality gets completely destroyed by his unwaivering support of torture.

Posted by Streetfighter | Report as abusive

Biden really ought to think twice before sharing the podium with an admitted war criminal like Dick Cheney.

It looks like he has no comprehension of legal principle.

Posted by HBC | Report as abusive