Cheney Wants an Apology

Former Vice President Dick Cheney thinks that the drone attack that killed Anwar al-Awlaki vindicates Bush-era war-on-terror policies. He said the Obama administration accused the Bush team of abandoning their ideals when they used “enhanced interrogation techniques,” and that the current White House has done something strikingly similar with the strike that killed the U.S.-born Awlaki. Cheney said he’d like an apology from the Obama administration. White House spokesman Jay Carney said, “We certainly don't owe an apology for the fact that, under this administration's policy, this president's policy, the United States of America does not torture, does not engage in torture.”

An American-Israeli man has been detained in Egypt since June, accused of being a Mossad agent. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta is in Egypt trying to get the man released. Panetta will also press Egyptian leaders to hold elections soon and set up a civilian government. And in an interview that aired yesterday, Panetta again warned against too-deep budget cuts. “If the Congress is irresponsible enough,” the SecDef commented, to fail to come to some sort of debt-reduction agreement, which would force $1.2 trillion worth of widespread cuts, “that would clearly damage our national defense.” He said partisan bickering could “hollow out” the U.S. military.

In an attempt to stop the Palestinians from making a bid for statehood at the UN, Congress froze $200 million worth of aid going to the PA. And the Palestinians are feeling the effects, with West Bank development projects coming to a halt. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said yesterday that the administration is talking to Congress to try to get the aid flow restarted. She noted, “if we don't get this going with the Congress in short order there could be an effect on the ground.”

In other news, Robert Ford was finally confirmed as ambassador to Syria late last night. He was nominated eighteen months ago. And the Quartet is expected to meet by the end of the week to try again to figure out how to get the Israelis and Palestinians back to the negotiating table, according to Nuland.