(From the diaries -- kos
The Bush Administration's effort to silence Iraq critics by rewriting the history of 9/11 has reached new levels of desparation.
On national television, Republican Vice President Dick Cheney resorted to slander -- yes, outright slander -- when responding to Republican Senator Chuck Hagel, who recently criticized the Administration's handling of Iraq.
Here's what Cheney said this week on CNN in response to Hagel's Iraq comments:
Since 9/11, we've had people like Chuck Hagel and other politicians and we've had people in the press corps and commentators who've said we can't do Afghanistan.
(For video, go here
and click on link to Part I of the Cheney interview. When the video box comes up, click on "More Politics Video" and open Part II of the interview. The quote comes slighly less than halfway through Part II).
Cheney then proceeded to go through various things that were accomplished in Afghanistan, and said that the doubters "were all wrong." In the course of his discussion of Afghanistan, the only two people named by Cheney were Hagel and New York Times writer R.W. Apple.
Cheney then turned to Iraq, and went through a similar argument about how the Administration's successes have repeatedly proven the doubters wrong.
Cheney finished his discussion with this quote:
[Washington has] got a lot of people in it who were armchair quarterbacks or who like to comment on the passing scene. But those who have predicted the demise of our efforts since 9/11 -- as we have fought the war on terror, as we have liberated 50 million people in Iraq and Afghanistan -- did not know what they were talking about.
In its write-up of the Cheney interview, CNN.com focuses on this last statement when discussing Cheney's response to Hagel. And it is indeed noteworthy that Dick "Five Deferments" Cheney would deride the highly decorated Hagel as an "armchair quarterback" who does not know what he is talking about.
But it is infinitely more noteworthy -- and legally significant -- that Cheney would begin his response to Hagel's comments by falsely accusing him of saying "we can't do Afghanistan."
Here's what Hagel actually said after the war in Afghanistan began:
I think the objectives
that the President laid out a few days ago are being completed and fulfilled.
You noted the briefing that the House and Senate had today. Part of those briefings consisted of the results and the status of where we are.
So based on what I know, I think at least this initial phase of our military action has been successful, 100 per cent. I don't know if anything is ever 100 per cent in this business, but certainly they've done very well.
Cheney's characterization of Hagel's response to 9/11 and the war in Afghanistan is slander, pure and simple.
Update [2005-6-27 0:0:19 by QWQ]: Mark Williams of Dem Blogger has a direct link to the Cheney clip as replayed on Late Edition today.