Earlier today, we took the bullet that is reading Dick Cheney’s Godzilla-balled op-ed about Iraq for you, and at Wednesday afternoon’s White House daily briefing, Press Secretary Jay Carney offered the White House’s reaction to Cheney’s assessment of the situation in Iraq. Specifically, ABC News’ Jon Karl asked Carney to respond to Cheney’s assertion that “rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much, at the expense of so many.”
It’s fitting that in his final press conference, Carney would be asked the easiest question of his tenure. With perfect deadpan, he gave the best possible response:
“Which president was he talking about?”
Boom goes the dynamite.
“I believe he was talking about President Obama,” Karl replied.
“Look, it’s obviously always good to hear from former Vice President Cheney,” Carney said, adding “You and I both know him reasonably well. Many others have said it’s clear that President Obama and our team here have distinctly different views on Iraq from the team that led the U.S. to Iraq in 2003. He’s entitled to his opinions.”
Karl then asked Carney for his “reaction to the Vice President saying that the President is out golfing when he should be paying attention, and seems unaware?”
“It’s clear the President has been paying attention and has been engaging with his security team,” Carney said. “He’s been deliberate surrounding the use of American military force. His belief is we should always be deliberate in that kind of decision-making process, and we should very carefully weigh the consequences, both desired and undesired, that can come from the use of U.S. military force.”
“We should have a clear focus in mind about what our national security objectives are, and what we, the United States, can achieve,” Carney continued, “as opposed to what, in this case, the sovereign nation of Iraq and its security forces can and must achieve. Unless the proposition is, as some in the past have suggested, the United States should have occupied Iraq in perpetuity. That’s not President Obama’s view.”