President Obama and former Vice President Cheney both gave speeches today on the same topic: America’s response to terrorism. The two speeches—whose back-to-back timing was apparently coincidental—constitute a rare and important thing: a thoughtful, lengthy, and well-articulated statement of two contrasting policy approaches to one of the major issues of our time. Others have focused on the political aspect; I think it’s much more productive to read the speeches with an eye not towards the political party the speaker represents but towards the assumptions and ideas—political, philosophical, practical, and moral—that underlie each approach.
Here are President Obama’s remarks, delivered at the National Archives.
Here are Vice President Cheney’s remarks, delivered at the American Enterprise Institute.
Both speeches are long, but I think both are more than worth the time to read and digest. I think the two speeches illustrate an important, perhaps a fundamental philosophical difference between the current administration and its predecessor. I can’t say much more than that right now, but I’ll revisit the issue in due time.
BONUS: If you’re not speeched-out, I also heartily recommend President Obama’s commencement address at Notre Dame University. The President’s words about the presumption of good faith may sound familiar to longtime readers. His words about doubt should sound familiar to fans of John Milton.