Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Cheney afraid to own his words

One of the hallmarks of the Bush administration is that nobody talks on record. It's always the unnamed "highly placed official" speaking on background, but this is ridiculous. In off the record remarks he made during the eighteen minutes he gave the press on his whirlwind world tour of the terrorist zones, Cheney wouldn't put his name to comments that were obviously his own.

The Chicago Tribune only hints that it was Cheney in this piece but it's worth linking to for the photos. And I might mention in passing, with all the brouhaha over Gore's energy use this week, it would be interesting to see how many carbon credits Cheney's little sojourn to Kabul inside a luxury Airstream lounge that had been loaded into the cargo bay of a C-17 cost. But that aside, one can rather see why he wouldn't want to own up to making these comments.
"Let me just make one editorial comment here. I've seen some press reporting says, 'Cheney went in to beat up on them, threaten them.' That's not the way I work. I don't know who writes that, or maybe somebody gets it from some source who doesn't know what I'm doing, or isn't involved in it. But the idea that I'd go in and threaten someone is an invalid misreading of the way I do business.''

"The reason the president wanted me to come, obviously, is because of the continuing threat that exists in this part of the world on both sides of the Afghan-Pakistan border -- a threat to Afghanistan, clearly, in our efforts there, the Taliban, cross-border operations; a threat to Musharraf and his government. There were something like seven or eight suicide bombings in the last week or two in Pakistan. And obviously also, the threat to the homeland from the standpoint of operations and activities of al Qaeda in this part of the world -- for example, you go back to the airliner plot last fall, second generation Pakistani militants living in the U.K., but with ties back in al Qaeda areas along the Pakistan-Afghan border. So we've all got an interest, obviously, in trying to address those issues.''

"I would describe my sessions both in Pakistan and Afghanistan as very productive. We've had notable successes in both places. I've often said before and I believe it's still true that we've captured and killed more al Qaeda in Pakistan than anyplace else. And I think we're making progress in Afghanistan.''
You have to ask yourself why Cheney wouldn't go on record. As a related editorial at MSNBC points out, it couldn't be more obvious that Cheney made them and it certainly doesn't inspire much confidence in his rosy assessment when he won't even own his words. One can only surmise he's afraid of being caught on tape making such atrociously false assurances.
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