Cheney's Pre-Speech Criticism of Obama on Afghanistan Went Too Far Posted: 12/3/09 Filed Underick Cheney, Foreign Policy, Afghanistan, Conservatives Since leaving office a little more than 10 months ago, former Vice President Dick Cheney has become the most outspoken critic of President Obama's foreign policy decisions. Most of the time, this has been a good thing, as Cheney has often very eloquently made the conservative case for forcefully fighting terrorism. Recently, though, he went too far. On the eve of President Obama's speech at West Point regarding the troop buildup in Afghanistan, Cheney gave a 90-minute interview to Politico where, according to the news outlet, he "slammed President Barack Obama for projecting 'weakness' to adversaries." Get the new PD toolbar! Cheney went on to question Obama's motives for the speech, saying, "I begin to get nervous when I see the commander in chief making decisions apparently for what I would describe as small 'p' political reasons, where he's trying to balance off different competing groups in society." As a conservative, let me be clear: Having listened to Obama's speech on Tuesday night, I'm comfortable saying that most of Cheney's analysis was correct. Still, despite the president's dithering prior to the announcement, and his lack of enthusiasm during the speech, Obama did ultimately order an additional 30,000 troops -- which is hardly doing an imitation of Neville Chamberlain. Moreover, there are questions of taste and timing to consider. The former vice president had a pretty good idea what Obama was going to say Tuesday night (transcripts were leaked early to the press). Still, proper protocol and manners would seem to require a former vice president to at least wait until after a speech of this magnitude and international importance before criticizing it. Part of my problem with Cheney's comments stems from the fact that he already had his opportunity to wield public policy. Had those same comments come from a political pundit such as Ann Coulter, I would not have blanched. But the fact that a former vice president -- possibly the most influential in American history -- chose to criticize the policies of the sitting president of the United States on the eve of his committing 30,000 troops to war strikes me as inappropriate. Again, I say this despite the fact that I tend to agree with Cheney's views. The worst-case scenario is that Cheney's premature criticism may have signaled to the world that we are divided as a nation. Moreover, they may have reinforced the notion that many Americans -- including those who ought to know better -- do not respect the office of the president. This leads me to wonder why conservatives have generally remained silent on this. The obvious reason is that most conservatives strongly agree with Cheney's sentiments, and thus are willing to overlook the lack of manners. Certainly, there is hypocrisy on both sides. Conservatives were incensed -- and had a right to be -- when Democratic leaders, including Harry Reid and Joe Biden, took verbal potshots at George W. Bush while the president was on foreign soil. (Jimmy Carter was even tackier: Carter went abroad and criticized Bush.) We tended to view that kind of behavior as unpatriotic. Granted, Cheney didn't criticize Obama while he was on foreign soil, but it was on the eve of an important announcement, delivered at the United States Military Academy, regarding the deployment of American troops. In my estimation, this is an issue that should transcend partisan politics. Someone of Cheney's stature should wait until after the president gives a speech to critique it. And even then, he should be measured in that criticism. Cheney has a personal and mental problem, It is very plain, that he is not Obama's fan, but the old fart needs to back off and chill!!!