Friday, May 22, 2009

Two Bush-era officials reject Cheney's security stance

WASHINGTON (AFP) Two top Bush-era officials on Friday rejected ex-vice president Dick Cheney's scathing criticism of US President Barack Obama, saying the country's national security was not in jeopardy.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who served in the same post under former president George W. Bush, and Tom Ridge, the former head of homeland security, both voiced disagreement with Cheney a day after he attacked Obama's performance as the new commander-in-chief.

Gates said in an interview that opponents of Obama's decision to close the "war on terror" prison at Guantanamo were engaging in "fear-mongering," a reference to Cheney's stance on the issue.

Defending the president's decision to shut the detention center at the US naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Gates said the prison was damaging America's image and served as a propaganda tool for Al-Qaeda.

"The truth is, it's probably one of the finest prisons in the world today. But it has a taint," Gates told NBC television's "Today" program during a visit to New York.

"The name itself is a condemnation. What the president was saying is, this will be an advertisement for Al-Qaeda as long as it's open," he said.

In an interview with CNN's "State of the Union," Ridge said he could not support the former vice president's charge that Obama had undermined US national security.

Asked if he believed the country was now less safe as a result of Obama's policies, Ridge said: "I do not."

The Republican said the discussion had become too politically charged with Cheney making a televised speech on Thursday immediately after an address by the sitting president....


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Ryan Biddulph said...

If Obama thinks we lost our way than he has lost his. No attacks since 9-11, we are doing just fine with the war on terror thank you.