Thursday, August 2, 2007

My Cheney-NTY Reference Rant

Note: The following contains long quotes. This is because the information is important.

Does this ring bells for anybody else? (From Larry King --July 31, 2007)
CHENEY: The real test is whether or not the strategy that was put in place for this year will, in fact, produce the desired results.

KING: Will those results be in place on that day in '09 when you leave?

CHENEY: I believe so. I think we're seeing already, from others -- don't take it from me. Look at the piece that appeared yesterday in "The New York Times," not exactly a friendly publication -- but a piece by Mr. O'Hanlon and Mr. Pollack on the situation in Iraq.
Mr. Cheney on Meet The Press in the 2002 run up to the war.

BILL MOYERS: [V.O.] Quoting anonymous administration officials, the Times reported that Saddam Hussein had launched a worldwide hunt for materials to make an atomic bomb using specially designed aluminum tubes. And there on Meet the Press that same morning was Vice President Cheney.

VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY: [Meet the Press, 9/8/02] There’s a story in the New York Times this morning. This is -- and I want to attribute the Times. I don't want to talk about, obviously, specific intelligence sources, but --

JONATHAN LANDAY: Now, ordinarily information like the aluminum tubes wouldn't appear in the news. It was top intelligence. And the Vice President and the National Security Advisor would not be allowed to talk about this on the Sunday talk shows. But it appeared that morning in the New York Times, and therefore, they were able to talk about it.

VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY: [Meet the Press, 9/8/02] It’s now public that, in fact, he has been seeking to acquire, and we have been able to intercept and prevent him from acquiring, through this particular channel, the kinds of tubes that are necessary to build a centrifuge. And the centrifuge is required to take low-grade uranium and enhance it into highly enriched uranium, which is what you have to have in order to build a bomb.

So, veep Cheney is saying, once again, it must be true; it is in the New York Times. Of course later the executive branch was credibly accused of planting the story in the Time so that Cheney could make his assertion the next day.

Was the Larry King Show assertion as wired as the MTP one was in 2002? I think so. Tough to say otherwise. Though I suspect the press manipulation was more Machiavellian this time. O'Hanlon/Pollack wrote their piece after a quick, 8 day visit to Iraq where the twosome saw a carefully orchestrated view of Iraq: visiting a "cleansed" neighborhood and interviewing from a pool of hand picked and well placed soldiers and civilians.

There was no mention of deals. Well, they mentioned them on CNN. I loved that Anderson Cooper followed LK with an interview with Michael Ware, an Australian reporter who has lived in Iraq since the beginning of the war. Now, many will disagree with Ware's politics but no credible person would disagree with his knowledge. Few civilians know more about what is going on over there.

And note the lack of opinion in the exchange with Anderson. The facts are:
COOPER: On the other hand, we have got Michael Ware, who has been there in Baghdad and all across Iraq almost nonstop since the fighting began. Right now, he's embedded with American forces in Diyala Province, coming to us through a nightscope camera. Because of the danger there, they're not allowed to turn on any camera lights. Michael, you just heard the vice president saying he expects General Petraeus to report significant progress when he gives his assessment come September.

What do you think of the vice president's evaluation?

MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, there is progress. And that's indisputable. Sectarian violence is down in certain pockets. There are areas of great instability in this country. They're at last finding some stability.

The point, though, is, at what price? What we're seeing is -- is, to a degree, some sleight of hand. What America needs to come clean about is that it's achieving these successes by cutting deals primarily with its enemies. We have all heard the administration praise the work of the tribal sheiks in turning against al Qaeda. Well, this is just a euphemism for the Sunni insurgency. That's who has turned against al Qaeda.

And why? Because they offered America terms in 2003 to do this. And it's taken America four years of war to come round to the Sunnis' terms. And, principally, that means cutting the Iraqi government out of the loop. By achieving these successes, America is building Sunni militias.

Yes, they're targeting al Qaeda, but these are also anti- government forces opposed to the very government that America created. And another thing to remember, Anderson, yes, sectarian violence is down, but let's have a look at that. More than two million people have fled this country. Fifty thousand are still fleeing every month, according to the United Nations. So, there's less people to be killed.

And those who stay increasingly are in ethnically cleansed neighborhoods. They have been segregated.


Anderson directly asked about the O'Hanlon/Pollack op-ed piece.
COOPER: Well, the vice president also referred to this "New York Times" op-ed written by -- by Ken Pollack and Michael O'Hanlon, who returned from Iraq. They were applauding the military progress and the Iraqi security forces' ability to hold areas and keep insurgents out.

How much have the Iraqi troops themselves actually improved?

WARE: Well, there has been improvement in the Iraqi troops. They are standing up, to a greater degree, in certain pockets.

But, honestly, Anderson, it is a myth to believe that the Iraqi forces have been rid of their sectarian or militia ties. No matter how much any commander wants to tell you, the minute the American forces turn their backs, these guys revert to form, be that Sunni or Shia lines, Kurdish ethnic lines, or be it militia lines.

So, there is still no sense of unity. And, without America to act as the big baby-sitter, this thing is not going to last. So, all these successes that O'Hanlon and Pollack point to exist. They're real. But the report is very one-dimensional. It doesn't look at what's being done to achieve this and what long-term sustainability there is.

I mean, these guys, unfortunately, were only in the country for eight days. And they point to a success story of a neighborhood in Baghdad called Ghazaliya. They say it's peaceful. We could walk around in a Sunni area.

Yes, that's because it's divided. And the Iraqi army troops won't let the Shia in. And the Shia army troops, just last week, there was an incident where the Iraqi commander of those troops went to remove all the furniture from a Sunni's house. And, when a fellow Shia protested, he arrested that Shia.

To summarize, despite the backward steps that are building a foundation for continued and better armed conflicts between the Sunnis and the Shias there is great progress being made because Dick Cheney and the NYT says there is.

My point? History will show that Vice President Dick Cheney was as truthful Tuesday night on Larry King as he was on MTP in 2002. The big difference is that this time few actually believe his words.

To quote his superior, "Fool me once. Shame on... shame on you... fool me. Ya can't get fooled again." (punctuation mine --if you can suggest a better way to punctuate this, let me know)

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