Gibbs: Cheney Was The One Who Lost Focus On Afghanistan

03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Sam Stein Senior Politics Editor, The Huffington Post

The White House is hitting back once again at Dick Cheney, this time for remarks the former vice president made on Wednesday night in which he accused the president of "dithering" in his decision about whether to send more troops to Afghanistan.

"I think it is a curious comment," said spokesman Robert Gibbs, "given, I think it is pretty safe to say that the vice president was for seven years not focused on Afghanistan. Even more curious given the fact that an increase in troops sat on desks in this White House including the vice president's for more than eight months -- a resource request filled by President Obama in March."

"What Vice President Cheney calls dithering, President Obama calls his solemn responsibility to the men and women in uniform and the American public. I think we've all seen what happens when somebody doesn't take that responsibility serious."

The reply, which was anticipated, caps another partisan back and forth between the current administration and its predecessor's loudest voice. During a speech before the conservative national security group, the Center for Security Policy on Wednesday, Cheney insisted that "signals of indecision out of Washington" in terms of policy towards Afghanistan, "hurt our allies and embolden our adversaries."

"I find it interesting that he is blaming us for something he didn't see fit to do over, best I can tell, seven years of war in Afghanistan," Gibbs said.

Also on Thursday, retired General Paul Eaton, senior adviser to the National Security Network, issued a statement in which he declared: "The record is clear: Dick Cheney and the Bush administration were incompetent war fighters."