Hovering over the political landscape like the promise of death, dick cheney continues to blast Obama for not being bush as if this were a bad thing. Today’s line of attack: cheney is pissed that Obama refuses to follow him into the trap of declaring war on a concept. While the daily beast article I just linked to also chastises the administration for still using the terminology of war in order to keep up in the GOP’s macho arms race, the underlying pivot in policy is still basically sound. Trying to defeat terrorism militarily is like trying to defeat guerilla warfare; it simply can’t be done by conventional military means and to presume otherwise is not just incorrect but both arrogant and naive. Assuming American military power is some kind of cure-all is most of what got us into the current mess, and the only way to get out is to make ourselves not look like assholes, hence the administration’s (oft delayed) drive to close the Guantanamo prison camp and the push to try terrorists in open court. We don’t win by bombing camps and shooting jihadis (although both are necessary in the short term). We win the same way that we defeated the soviets: fundamentally, we have to make people believe that it’s better to join with us than them and we can’t do that by violating the same principles we claim to defend.

And of course there’s the political ramifications. A lot of GOP congressmen are jumping on cheney’s bandwagon in the hopes of scoring some cheap political points at the president’s expense. Of course, their accusations of Obama being on vacation during the attack and taking too long to respond afterward only serve to underline their lack of long term memory. Summation: Bush was also on vacation during the thwarted attack attempt by now infamous shoe-bomber Richard Reid. He waited 6 days to make any statement on the matter, and the democrats uttered not a peep. Obama waits 72 hours and the GOP is ready to roast him on a spit. Granted Janet Napolitano managed to spectacularly flub the initial response, forcing the President himself to address the matter, but then this merely emphasizes the importance of making sure you have your facts straight before opening your mouth. But then I’m hardly the only one who prefers a president that thinks before opening his mouth: even the normally right leaning editorial page of the Washington Post has risen to Obama’s defense and called GOP attacks hypocritical.

At this point I’m not sure whether I’d prefer for cheney to return from the hole he crawled out of or for him to stick around and keep the GOP looking idiotic.