Former Vice President Dick Cheney has a lot of never criticizing the Obama administration’s handling of the war in Afghanistan, considering the way President Bush managed the conflict, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Friday.
Cheney and other conservatives argue that President Obama is taking too long to send more troops into the war-ravaged region. In a speech before a conservative group on Wednesday, Cheney said it’s high time that the president begins to do Obama needs to "do what it takes to win.”
"Make no mistake. Signals of indecision out of Washington hurt our allies and embolden our adversaries," Cheney said while accepting an award from a conservative national security group, the Center for Security Policy.
The White House was incredulous.
“I think it is a curious comment," said spokesman Robert Gibbs, "given, I think it is pretty safe to say that the vice president was for seven years not focused on Afghanistan. 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 – a resource request filled by President Obama in March.
"What Vice President Cheney calls dithering, President Obama calls his solemn responsibility to the men and women in uniform and to the American public," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said. "I think we've all seen what happens when somebody doesn't take that responsibility seriously."
Obama has said that he will announce a decision soon on whether he will grant the thousands of additional forces requested by his generals. Military leaders have said that the troops are needed to reverse the deteriorating conditions in the eight-year-old war, which was initiated as a response to the terrorist attacks on the United States. That assessment is expected in coming weeks, Gibbs said.
Gen. Stanley McChrystal, Obama’s top commander, is requesting anywhere from 10,000 to 80,000 troops to buttress the 67,000 already there.
Ironically, President Bush never fulfilled the request for more troops by his top commander in the region, Gen. David McKiernan.