Tags: Dick Cheney | Exclusive Interviews | MidPoint | war | powers | advisers

Ex-Cheney Advisers: He Was Right About Pre-Emptive War

By    |   Thursday, 25 Sep 2014 07:02 PM

Two Washington hands who worked for Vice President Dick Cheney after 9/11 say that President Barack Obama is embracing war powers that he spurned when they were wielded by his predecessor.

And it's about time, ex-Cheney advisers Bradley Blakeman and Stephen Yates told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner on Newsmax TV Thursday.

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Airstrikes and other military actions against the radical Islamic State are underway in Iraq and Syria, and without a formal declaration of war by Congress, leading some on Capitol Hill to complain that lawmakers have given the White House too much leeway.

But it was Congress that voted to grant those executive powers during the presidency of George W. Bush — and has yet to rescind them.

"Under the current state of the law the president does have the authority to act and then report to Congress, which he has done," said Bradley Blakeman, a Georgetown University professor and former White House to Cheney and Bush.

"If the Congress is not happy with a law, then they need to change the law," said Blakeman. "The fact is, today Congress is nowhere to be found in Washington … if anything, they gave a waiver to the president because they haven't returned and acted against his actions."

Yates, a former deputy assistant to Cheney who today runs a global risk assessment firm, said that a concept of pre-emptive strikes credited to his old boss — even though pre-emption predates Cheney by "milennia," he said — applies as readily to the Islamic State, or ISIS, as it did to al Qaida after 9/11.

"When you look at these people as enemy combatants, and they declare that they have an intent to attack us, [and] they demonstrate that they have the means to take action — I don't think that it's really necessary in times of war to wait for them to actually execute," said Yates.

In order to deter "these kinds of groups that have spread across a wider geography under President Obama than [under] President Bush," said Yates, "we have to have a demonstrated impact on them before they can mobilize."

Yates and Blakeman both lit into congressional critics, including Sen. Tim Kaine, a Virginia Democrat who said this administration's embrace of a Cheney-esque military doctrine is "brutally wrong."

"I have a message for Sen. Kaine: Put up or shut up," said Blakeman. "You're a Democratic senator. If you feel the president has exceeded his authority, then try and do something about it. But don't merely sit on the sidelines and snipe."

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Two Washington hands who worked for Vice President Dick Cheney after 9/11 say that President Barack Obama is embracing war powers that he spurned when they were wielded by his predecessor.
war, powers, advisers
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2014-02-25
Thursday, 25 Sep 2014 07:02 PM
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