Friday, January 30, 2004
::: Cheney = NeoCon, Hawk OR :::
:::::: Just Plain Hardheaded? ::::::
Well ... it's just that Cheney continues, in the face of overwhelming evidence, to
assert claims supporting Saddam's Weapons of Mass Destruction. His pigheadedness is
so unshakable, some are wondering if Cheney could be a robotic clone. Think so?
Cheney Ignores Kay
Cheney seem especially enamored of the flatbed trailers suspected of being mobile
Mr. Cheney has long been the administration's most alarmist proponent of the view that Saddam Hussein had chemical and biological weapons ready for use at any time and an active nuclear program. He gave little ground in an interview on National Public Radio on Thursday. He described two flatbed trailers found in Iraq months ago as mobile biological weapons labs and claimed they were "conclusive evidence" of Iraqi programs to make weapons of mass destruction. The very next day, David Kay, who had just stepped down as the top weapons inspector, told Reuters that he now thought the much-feared stockpiles of biological and chemical weapons had not existed on the eve of the war. They were eliminated in the mid-1990's by United Nations inspectors and by Iraq's own decisions, he said, and no significant efforts to make new ones followed.
As for those trailers cited by Mr. Cheney, the consensus view, Mr. Kay told The Times, is that they were intended to produce hydrogen or perhaps rocket fuel, not biological weapons. Mr. Kay had earlier called the trailer assertions an embarrassing fiasco. So, too, with Iraq's nuclear weapons program. Mr. Cheney once famously declared that it had been reconstituted, but Mr. Kay called it rudimentary -- hardly capable of producing a bomb in a year or two, as the administration had implied.
Dowd says: Dump Cheney Now
[...] Dr. Kay spoke these words on W.M.D. -- "It turns out we were all wrong. [...]
Thanks to David Kay, we now have an amazing image of the president and the dictator, both divorced from reality over weapons, glaring at each other from opposite sides of bizarro, paranoid universes where fiction trumped fact.
It would be like a wacky Peter Sellers satire if so many Iraqis and Americans hadn't died in Iraq.
These two would-be world-class tough guys were willing to go to extraordinary lengths to show that they couldn't be pushed around. Their trusted underlings misled them with fanciful information on advanced Iraqi weapons programs that they credulously believed because it fit what they wanted to hear.
Saddam was swept away writing his romance novels, while President Bush was swept away with the romance of rewriting the end of the 1991 Persian Gulf war to finish off the thug who tried to kill his dad.
The two men both had copies of "Crime and Punishment" -- Condi Rice gave Mr. Bush the novel on his trip to Russia in 2002, and Saddam had Dostoyevsky down in the spider hole -- but neither absorbed its lesson: that you can't put yourself above rules just because you think you're superior.
And then .... we discover Cheney was not content embarrassing America on ONE continent ... oh no. Mr. Vice President felt compelled to travel to Europe and expound on
his WMD convictions there as well. His comments were heard with rapt attention in Rome,
Davos and then, I hear, a quick visit with the Pope.
Sending Dick Cheney to Europe on a charm offensive entails certain risks. The American Vice President is glacial, secretive, miserly with his words, a fervent nationalist and known to be one of the most uncompromising of the Bush administration "hawks" on Iraq. Capable of humor, he uses it only with parsimony and cocks his famous carnivore smile for big occasions only.
Beyond a few conventional formulas about the "shared interest in going forward" declared in the course of his trip, Mr. Cheney did not care to go more deeply into the subject and, without any explanation, chose to cut the interview short, having dedicated the greater part of it to a polemic on weapons of mass destruction (wmd) in Iraq.
The Vice President's shadowy image, along with criticisms of his past association with the Halliburton corporation and former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill's revelations of his preponderant influence in the conduct of the country's affairs, do not have the best effect in the polls. By having eight American journalists come along for this trip to Europe, Mr. Cheney wanted to clean up his image, an effort rewarded by positive coverage in the American press.
Mr. Cheney remains very firm in his defense of American intervention in Iraq. "There's no doubt in my mind that the President's decision was absolutely the right one. Given the circumstances we faced, Saddam Hussein's history, the information and intelligence that were available to the President, it was a solid decision. Nothing that has happened since has changed my opinion in any way." However, the formulation is more prudent. To the question "Did Saddam Hussein constitute a direct threat?", he answers: "Saddam Hussein constituted a serious threat." Now the accent is more on Iraq's role as a "sanctuary for terrorists" and the links between Al-Qaeda and those terrorists to justify the war.
So, there we have it ... Cheney 'round the bend. Even though it is
not readily evident on the surface, it looks like the interior castle
walls are beginning to crack.
That is a refreshing change and will make Granny sleep better tonight.
P.S. In a later episode of the new reality show ...
"See Dick Run The White House," Dick and his
pal George try to drop their dogs simultaneously
on the the airport tarmac. (Includes a lively spat over
theories of gravity, and George says, "I don't see
anything grave about it.") Stay tuned.