Thursday, November 17, 2005

Cheney falls way down the rabbit hole

See also:
  • Lies My Fodder Told Me: Cheney Explodes at Critics, in Ward Harkavy's Bush Beat
  • Dick Cheney's 'Dark Arts', by Nat Hentoff
  • WASHINGTON, D.C.--Cheney’s temper tantrum against the Democrats at a Republican dinner Wednesday night reflects the growing pressure both he and Bush are coming under for the war in Iraq. The latest developments--allegations that Shiites tortured Sunni prisoners in a secret jail as Americans stood by--is sure to raise charges that far from trying to quell hints of civil war and hold Iraq together, Bush-Cheney are now embarked on another devilish twist, this one aimed at breaking the country apart, by sparking a civil war that can only end in a partition.

    The BBC captured Cheney’s fit this way:

    The vice-president called the Democrats "opportunists" who were peddling "cynical and pernicious falsehoods" to gain political advantage while US soldiers died in Iraq.
    "The president and I cannot prevent certain politicians from losing their memory or their backbone--but we're not going to sit by and let them rewrite history," he said.

    Instead of marshalling support for the Bush administration, Cheney’s remarks resulted in a stinging demand by a conservative-minded Democrat to get the troops out of Iraq.

    “The U.S. cannot accomplish anything further in Iraq militarily. It is time to bring them home," said Representative John Murtha of Pennsylvania, a senior Democrat on the subcommittee that oversees military spending, ABC reported this morning.

    Meanwhile, Cheney’s world is continuing to crack. Not only is he widely viewed as the administration official who launched the campaign to out Valerie Plame and almost certainly will be the focus of a struggle in court with Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald seeking his sworn testimony, but there are suspicions Washington Post star Bob Woodward’s source was Cheney. (On the other hand, Raw Story says the source may well have been National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley.)

    Woodard has dismissed the Plame affair as a trivial matter. He has acknowledged learning of the outing early on from some unnamed official, but kept it to himself. Meanwhile, his paper’s reporters struggled to find out who was leaking and to whom--little knowing their celebrity byline knew all along.

    The Senate is demanding that executives from Big Oil return to testify about a secret meeting with Cheney on energy policy that took place soon after Bush came to office. The Big Oil men denied knowledge of the gathering in earlier testimony. But that testimony was not under oath so they cannot be charged with perjury. Cheney has been vigorously trying to keep secret what happened at this meeting. It is suspected the vice president and the oil companies hammered out an aggressive energy policy, and possibly discussed the administration’s plans to go to war in Iraq, well before 9-11. Cutting up Iraqi oil and the future of OPEC would certainly have been on the table. The new administration would certainly have needed the acquiescence of the oil industry in waging war in an area where the companies are so deeply involved. Oil has always been the bottom-line issue in the Iraq war—although in public Bush eschewed any interest in the subject, arguing instead he was just pushing the spread of democracy.

    Now Democratic senator Frank Lautenberg demanded a full investigation. According to the Las Vegas Sun:

    "I want to be certain that this gets an appropriate review, so I've written to the attorney general asking him to investigate whether any of these oil company CEOs broke the law by making false statements to the Congress," Lautenberg said. "Gas prices, everyone knows, are more than double what were at the end of 2001, and in September we all saw the average price of gas go above three dollars," he said.
    "Whatever was discussed at that White House energy task force meeting, it seems to turn out very well for the big oil companies, but it's been disastrous, daily disastrous for the American public."



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