America and terror: Whose world do you live in?

President Barack Obama and former Vice President Dick Cheney today gave back-to-back speeches on terrorism, national security and the fate of the Guantanamo detention facility.

You can read Obama’s speech here, and Cheney’s here. But below is a section from each. And I’m wondering: which of these two worlds do you live in?

From Obama:

And we will be ill-served by some of the fear-mongering that emerges whenever we discuss this issue. Listening to the recent debate, I’ve heard words that, frankly, are calculated to scare people rather than educate them; words that have more to do with politics than protecting our country.

Whose world do you live in?

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So I want to take this opportunity to lay out what we are doing, and how we intend to resolve these outstanding issues. I will explain how each action that we are taking will help build a framework that protects both the American people and the values that we hold most dear.

And I’ll focus on two broad areas: first, issues relating to Guantanamo and our detention policy; but, second, I also want to discuss issues relating to security and transparency.

Now, let me begin by disposing of one argument as plainly as I can: We are not going to release anyone if it would endanger our national security, nor will we release detainees within the United States who endanger the American people.

Where demanded by justice and national security, we will seek to transfer some detainees to the same type of facilities in which we hold all manner of dangerous and violent criminals within our borders — namely, highly secure prisons that ensure the public safety.

As we make these decisions, bear in mind the following face: Nobody has ever escaped from one of our federal, supermax prisons, which hold hundreds of convicted terrorists. As Republican Lindsey Graham said, the idea that we cannot find a place to securely house 250-plus detainees within the United States is not rational.

And from Cheney:

[This] administration seems to pride itself on searching for some kind of middle ground in policies addressing terrorism.

They may take comfort in hearing disagreement from opposite ends of the spectrum. If liberals are unhappy about some decisions, and conservatives are unhappy about other decisions, then it may seem to them that the President is on the path of sensible compromise.

But in the fight against terrorism, there is no middle ground, and half-measures keep you half exposed.

You cannot keep just some nuclear-armed terrorists out of the United States, you must keep every nuclear-armed terrorist out of the United States.

Triangulation is a political strategy, not a national security strategy. When just a single clue that goes unlearned, one lead that goes unpursued, can bring on catastrophe–it’s no time for splitting differences. There is never a good time to compromise when the lives and safety of the American people are in the balance.

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17 comments Add your comment

The Snark

May 21st, 2009
4:03 pm

Cheney has amply proven the President’s charge of fear-mongering with his own words about keeping “nuclear armed terrorists out of the United states.” There are no “nuclear armed terrorists.” Cheney’s “assume the worst” thinking has led the most powerful nation in the world to panic and trash its core Constitutional values over a tiny group of nuts on the other side of the world.

We sustained more casualties and more damage in any given day of World War Two than all the terrorist attacks on America combined — and Hitler/Mussolini/Tojo were a far more powerful threat — yet we managed to hold on and prevail without panicking and throwing our Constitution in the toilet.

Neither Cheney nor President Obama can make us 100% safe. If the ragheads want to kill people, they will find a way to kill people. But they cannot destroy our way of life. Only we can do that.


May 21st, 2009
4:07 pm

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Please check out this website, thanks!

Cynthia Tucker McKinney

May 21st, 2009
4:39 pm

Cheney’s popularity is climbing, even PMSNBC reported it last night. I am one of the tweleve people that watch that house organ for the Obama white house. It is like every anchor/newsreader is a deputy press sec. for The Obama. All the libs get their panties in a wad whenever Chenety speaks. They tell him to “shut up,” “go away,” and all that jazz. The funny thing is that if they really thought that he was harmful to the Republican party then they would encourage him to speak. Truth is that the libs, democrat hacks and their wh@res in the media fear Cheney. They, deep down, fear that The Obama’s policies are weakening our defenses. They see that the Senate Democrats are unwilling to support The Obama’s plan to shut down Club Gitmo. It was so funny when Keith Overbite, of the PMSNBC show Countdown to no Ratings, said that the Senate Democrats have been brain washed by Bush and that explains their votes. First of all that would require that the Senate Democrats to have brains to begin with and secondly, the Senate Democtrat did everything they could to oppose the Bush administration while Bush was in office. Keith is scrambling, as always. I bet this nephew, that Maddow dude, is going to have to administer so O2 to Keithy if they do not close Club Gitmo.

If we get hit again it will fall directly at the feet of The Obama.

Curly Girly-man

May 21st, 2009
4:53 pm

I’m hiding under my bed as I type. Like most GOPers, I am very very scared.

Career Highway guy

May 21st, 2009
6:39 pm

People amaze me the 9/11 terrorists planned for 10 yrs before the attack, thne 24 guys with boxcutters accomplished all that damage , and liberals dont think that achmadeniajad in Iran wont hand off a nuke to Hamas, or Osama’s bunch or North Korea wont do it? Placating dictators & terrorists with words has never worked ala Chamberlin & Hitler? These people are ready to die for their cause & we are splitting the country apart on waterboarding? Do you not understand why Al queda is trying to take over Pakistan? One of the few country’s in Asia with Nukes Hellooo? Even a blind monkey could see whats coming if we dont get ready. Obama is going around with his head in the clouds with all his little liberal worshipers telling him how wonderful he is. Has any President in History ever involved himself in so many faucets of american life that affects so many people in such a short time? Even the best people get overwhelmed when they attempt too much in a short period of time much less an individual who has no experience in operating a large entity such as the U.S. goverment. Now they are talking National Healthcare? ask canadians or british about there healthcare how well it operates. If ours is so messed up why do most foriegn dignitaries, and wealthy peole who can afford to come to the U.S. does instead of Hosipitals in their own countries? think about it people use common sense instead of politics?

Big Jim Loves Sarah Palin

May 21st, 2009
7:26 pm

It is America’s fault that we were attacked on 9/11. I guess that if we are attacked after Obama’s Apology Tour, then this argument will be settled once and for all. According to the douches on the left, his Apology Tour and reaching out and listening, and blah, blah, blah, will keep us safe. Whatever.


May 21st, 2009
7:35 pm

If “common sense” is code for paranoia and hyper-violent bullying, then no–”common sense” has not served us well.

America’s a nation of ideals and principles, and we stick to them EVEN WHEN bad guys are attacking us. Isn’t that AMAZING, conservative cowards? We actually value freedom more than safety! Gosh. And we use diplomacy and sanctions and containment strategies before rushing into another doomed, foolish war.

It’s almost like we’ve got an administration with a lick of sense for a change, isn’t it? The bullies and cowards among us will never be happy until we conquer and/or nuke the world–but fortunately, they’re not in charge any more.


May 21st, 2009
7:37 pm

Oh, and Highway Guy? You have the answer to your last question right in your own statements, even if you don’t recognize it.

“Why do so many foreign dignitaries and other wealthy people come to the U.S. for healthcare, instead of their own countries?”

Because we have the best healthcare options in the world… FOR WEALTHY PEOPLE. As for working-class and poor people? Heck, we don’t even take care of our OWN in that case.

Sir Winston

May 21st, 2009
8:27 pm

Copyleft, show me, in The Constitution, where it says that government run/controlled health care is a right? I need to see that passage. Yes, there will always be about 10% of the population that will need to be on the government dole, and that is why we have Medicaid and the other programs for the poor, disable, or whatever. Sure our health care system is flawed, but so is your “logic.” The reason the rich and wealthy come here is because the US has the best treatment on the face of the earth. It’s superiority is based on the fact that it is the product of competition, research, development, and freedom from the government. You socialize the health care system and all the rewards for research, development and the advancement of medicine will shift to other shores. The countries where the “state” has taken over health care are the same countries where the rich and well to do come from when they travel here for medical treatment. The Obama will likely get some kind of national health care program, it heartens me that it will not take long from Americans to see that the “transformational change” he gave them wrecked medicine. My side will be able to show videos of those denied treatment, the long lines, and suffering caused by unintended consequences of The Obama’s big Change. He will, as all libs do when their policies fail, say look at my intention not the outcome. Although this usually works for the left, it will not fly when there will be a body count directly attributable to Obama and leftist Democrat Party. Peace.

Will Jones - Atlanta

May 21st, 2009
9:14 pm

Healthcare flourishes in America due to “freedom from the government?”

Then why, pray tell, has the American Medical Association been the largest single contributor to political campaigns and fund-raising since 1900?

An overt, manifestly obvious false-elite rules America. Any who deny this easily demonstrated fact are part of it…or wish to be.

The Creed says “E Pluribus Unum.” What part of that do the fascists posting here not understand?

Jones, Will Lunatic and Kook.

May 21st, 2009
10:20 pm

Hey will, you lunatic, 9/11 was not an inside job. Pope, Bush, Rome, Rockefeller noses notwithstanding.

Democrat Voter

May 21st, 2009
10:51 pm

I live in the “Obama is the best. He can read a telelprompter better than anybody and by his charm and apologies to the rest of the world, the terrorist murderers will decide that they will abondon their jihad and join the ‘Obama is a great big hope and change Cirle J#rk’ for unity and peace and harmony and ponies and rainbows and no more climate change ever movement.” I just hope that the explosives the terrorist use are carbon neutral!!

Sir Winston

May 21st, 2009
10:55 pm

Nancy Pelosi was for water boarding before she was against it. And Ted “The Swimmer” waterboarded that poor girl to death in 4 feet of water when he was drivng drunk and crashed. Peace.


May 22nd, 2009
8:20 am

Highway Guy, al Queda gained a foothold and sanctuary in Pakistan because the Bush/Cheney administration kissed a do nothing dictator’s butt for 8 years. This country has a long history when it comes to misguided support of dictators around the world. The mindset that trades off long term gain for short term control is one of the prime reasons we have lost entire populaces for many generations to come. Latin America is a perfect example. How many fiascos does it take before this nation realizes that long term gain comes not from brutal dictatorial control of a populace, but from the goodwill of the populace of the regions in question. You don’t gain that by burning their damn houses down, raping, pillaging, and plundering. Control by fear ALWAYS becomes the catalyst and creates the opportunity for the very guys you don’t want in control to take control. Look no farther than Nicaragua. Guess who’s back? Daniel Ortega. Why? It ain’t rocket science folks.

Jim Callihan

May 22nd, 2009
9:33 am

Is there REALLY a difference? Jon Stewart, take a bow!

Wake up people – REAL AMERICANS are under attack and our Constitution shredded…BY BOTH W.H. ADMINISTRATIONS. Barry, the Soothsayer, Dick the Cowardly Tyrant…one in the same/same global agenda.


May 23rd, 2009
9:35 am

Obama was, is, and always will be a bed-wetting left wing moron about terrorism and everything else.

Listening Tour

May 26th, 2009
8:11 am

Obama is out crossing party lines “listening” to to republicans right now. He’s actually taking a vote on which innocent nation they want us to invade this time.

Hint..hint… It’ll probably be one that allows abortion and alcohol sales on sunday.