William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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CHENEY SPEAKS OUT – AT 11:06 A.M. ET:  Dick Cheney is one of the most smeared officials of our era.  To me, he has always been a model public servant.  There's no job he hasn't done well.  He has spoken out on issues, regardless of their political popularity.  The very national-security tools he developed are still being used because they're correct.  Despite wild charges to the contrary, he has not gained personally from any position he's held.

Yet the smears from the left, in politics, the universities, and in journalism, go on.  Hillary Clinton once referred to him as "Darth Vader," the evil character in "Star Wars."   (Hillary Clinton has said a lot of things that ought to be examined. )

Now former Vice President Cheney is speaking out, correctly, about some of Obama's recent and bizarre national-security appointments.  From AP: 

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Former Vice President Dick Cheney said Saturday night that President Barack Obama has jeopardized U.S. national security by nominating substandard candidates for key cabinet posts and by degrading the U.S. military.

"The performance now of Barack Obama as he staffs up the national security team for the second term is dismal," Cheney said in comments to about 300 members of the Wyoming Republican Party.

Cheney, a Wyoming native, said it was vital to the nation's national security that "good folks" hold the positions of secretary of state, CIA director and secretary of defense.

"Frankly, what he has appointed are second-rate people," he said.

John Kerry, the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee, has been confirmed as secretary of state. CIA designate John Brennan and defense secretary nominee Chuck Hagel are still awaiting U.S. Senate confirmation.

Wyoming's two U.S. senators, Mike Enzi and John Barrasso, voted for Kerry's confirmation. Both Enzi and

Barrasso gave introductory speeches for Cheney Saturday night.

Cheney said Hagel, a former Nebraska U.S. senator, was chosen because Obama "wants to have a Republican that he can use to take the heat for what he plans to do to the Department of Defense."

He said Obama's plans are to allow severe cuts in U.S. defense spending, which would limit the capability of the U.S. military to respond to future foreign crises well after Obama has left office.

"He is today ... establishing what limitations will be on future presidents," Cheney said.

Cheney noted that the security situation in the Middle East and North Africa has worsened under Obama's watch with Iran actively pursuing nuclear weapons and with turmoil in Egypt, Syria, Mali and elsewhere.

"That part of the world is as dangerous now as it has ever been," he said.

The Obama administration's response has been to pull back U.S. military presence and influence, resulting in rising mistrust of the U.S. from allies such as Israel and Saudi Arabia, he said.

COMMENT:  Cheney has laid it on the line.  He is correct all around.  The damage being done now will extend well into the future.

Americans are generally unaware of how quickly a foreign policy and a defense policy can deteriorate.  We were a major participant in victory in World War II.  Yet, only three years after that war, General of the Army Omar Bradley said that the military of 1948 "couldn't fight its way out of a paper bag."  When President Truman decided to commit American forces to Korea in 1950, Douglas MacArthur had to scrounge around for ships to launch his spectacular invasion at Inchon.  Our troops were woefully undertrained, some being veterans of parade divisions.  We didn't have enough pilots, and had to call back veterans of the Second World War, including the great center fielder, Ted Williams.  Our first fighter aircraft proved inferior to those supplied to the North Koreans by the Soviet Union. 

That is what we face if the current crowd gets its way.  And it is not only the fault of the liberal Dems.  The so-called "moderates" have gone right along with their president on national-security issues.  And the Republican Party has helped mightily by blowing two golden chances, in 2010 and 2012, to take control of the U.S. Senate, their failure caused by putting up embarrassing candidates.  If Republicans controlled the Senate, some of Obama's nominees could never get confirmed.  But they don't control the Senate.

Welcome to four more years.

February 10, 2013