Last night, I was invited to appear on MSNBC's Ed Show to discuss, amongst other things, former Vice President Dick Cheney's dishonest, unpatriotic, hypocritical and highly personal continuing attacks on President Obama. I also discussed South Carolina Republican Senator Jim DeMint's record of putting his personal hatred of Labor Unions and his devotion to ideology above making sure we have all of the tools possible to protect the security of our Nation.
I, for one, am sick and tired of these Bush-era chicken hawk politicians that never served in uniform attacking Democrats on national security when in fact, they are largely to blame for our nation's current national security problems. Apparently, former Vice President Cheney and the likes of Senator Jim DeMint actually believe that they can score political points by forcing America to remember the incredible failures of the previous administration and to that I say: "Bring it on." I have no problem running against their record of global economic failure, avarice, corporate greed run amok, no-bid insider contracts, and disastrous foreign policy decisions that left us isolated on the international stage at the very moment when we needed to count our allies. I welcome the opportunity for the Vice President to relive his glory days. And I welcome the opportunity to call him out and debate him one on one. Personally, I think it's time for Vice President Cheney to either put up or shut up.
I am a military veteran who gladly wore the uniform of the United States Navy for the majority of my adult life. I, and thousands of others, graduated from Annapolis and I witnessed, firsthand, the results of failed political decisions that were thrust upon the military while serving in the Beirut theater of operations in 1983. I survived a diagnosis of terminal cancer, which is largely believed by many to have been caused by the depleted heavy metal uranium shells we were firing during the first Gulf War. I had the honor to serve as the Special Assistant to the Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, General Wesley Clark, when he, along with thousands of uniformed personnel and a core team of professional civilian personnel, planned and executed a successful strategy to defeat the genocidal regime of Slobodan Milosevic.
I, and millions of other veterans, can't even count the number of Christmases, New Year's Eve's, Birthdays, 4th of July's and Thanksgivings that we spent overseas and at home protecting our nation.
We were Americans, not Republican or Democrats. For the likes of the former Vice President to politicize national security in an attempt to score cheap political points is beyond unacceptable and his behavior will no longer be met with polite silence. It's time to hit back, harder, with better aim and with purpose of forethought.
Now, as I complete my first year in the United States Congress, my days continue to be focused on protecting our Nation. As a member of the House Armed Services Committee and the House Homeland Security Committee, I have sat through hundreds of hours of testimony and worked around the clock to try to fix the mess George Bush and Dick Cheney left us. Make no bones about it, we are fixing what they broke. We are working everyday to support the troops, both in the field and when they come home.
We should declare 2010 the year that we stop listening to the empty rhetoric of arm chair chicken hawk quarterbacks like Dick Cheney and Jim DeMint when they try to shift blame for their failure and their incompetence on Democrats. We need to fight back.
Personally, I am glad that President Obama took three days to study the details of the attempted attack on Flight 253. President Bush took six days before weighing in on the case of shoe bomber Richard Reid, and I was glad when he took his time to get the facts straight before addressing the Nation.
Where was Dick Cheney when the two alleged masterminds of the Christmas attack were freed from Guantanamo Bay on November 9th, 2007? I hope Senator Jim DeMint had a lovely Christmas while the permanent office of the TSA Administrator remained vacant because of his deep, personal vendetta against organized labor (heaven forbid we should allow those that work on the front lines to protect us from terrorists from earning a decent living and fair benefits).
Vice President Cheney, Senator DeMint, it's time for both of you to be held accountable for your failures and your poor decisions.
I challenge both of you to stand in the light of day and debate your record with me. Your partisan attacks are nothing but empty rhetoric and it's time to declare that we can no longer stand by while you attack our President for working to protect our Nation and for having an honest dialog about what went wrong.
Let's make a New Year's Resolution to call out hypocrisy in 2010. Stand against it and any time that former Vice President Dick Cheney opens his hypocritical mouth to continue uttering blather, he needs to be challenged in a straight forward factual manner that will demonstrate the emptiness of his rhetoric.
Congressman Eric Massa represents New York's 29th Congressional District.
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