Vice President Dick Cheney, who got what, five special deferments to dodge military service during the Vietnam War, backed off from his disagreeing-with-me-is-unpatriotic rhetoric to actually admit that Representative Jack Murtha is a "patriot":
Vice President Dick Cheney on Monday said that the quick withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq suggested by a senior Democratic lawmaker would undermine the fight against terrorism.
But Cheney also softened Republican criticism of Rep. Jack Murtha, the top-ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations subcommittee for defense, calling the decorated Vietnam veteran "a good man, a Marine, a patriot" who was "taking a clear stand in an entirely legitimate discussion."
Meanwhile, Halliburton issued long underwear to demons in the underworld.
As to the call for withdrawal, Cheney added that such a move would embolden al Qaida and other terrorist organizations. "It is a dangerous illusion to suppose that another retreat by the civilized world would satisfy the appetite of the terrorists and get them to leave us alone."
More important to Cheney and Bush and their fan base is the illusion that our soldiers are fighting and dying for an achievable and definable purpose.
More important are simplistic notions that throwing wild haymakers at Islamic extremists is the only way to fight them.
Cheney's mindset is the kind that was mocked by boxers like Mohammed Ali (how ironic his name seems now). He made a career of mocking opponents and getting them to react emotionally to his feints and flurries. Cheney would have been the perfect goat.
(And for the kids at home, back in the 1970s, showcase "sporting events" featuring grown men beating each other to a pulp were considered ideal prime-time family entertainment -- while American casualties in major national events like war were considered, um, news. Now boxing is relegated to the pay-per-view ghetto, and news coverage of casualties is cause for loss of While House and combat zone access. More civilized? Doesn't seem like a fair trade to me.)
Meanwhile, Cheney continues to deny that any intelligence presented to Congress and the public was skewed.
"What is not legitimate and what I will again say is dishonest and reprehensible is the suggestion by some U.S. senators that the president of the United States or any member of his administration purposely misled the American people on prewar intelligence. Some of the most irresponsible comments have come from politicians who actually voted in favor of authorizing the use of force against Saddam Hussein. These are elected officials who had access to the intelligence materials. They are known to have a high opinion of their own analytical capabilities. And they were free to reach their own judgments based upon the evidence."
Although the United States has not found any stockpiles of banned weapons in Iraq, Cheney said, "I repeat that we never had the burden of proof; Saddam Hussein did."
Cheney added: "The flaws in the intelligence are plain enough in hindsight. But any suggestion that prewar information was distorted, hyped or fabricated by the leader of the nation is utterly false."
He called this "revisionism of the most corrupt and shameless variety" and said it "has no place anywhere in American politics, much less in the United States Senate."
Apparently only the White House is entitled to revisionism.
"The terrorists . . . have contempt for our values, they doubt our strength and they believe that America will lose its nerve and let down our guard," he said. "But this nation's made a decision: We will not retreat in the face of brutality, and we will never live at the mercy of tyrants or terrorists."
And apparently, to Bush and Cheney and fans, the only way to fight is to have contempt for our values -- like opposing torture and chemical warfare while protecting privacy and free speech -- doubt our own strength -- like expressing gloom and doom pronouncements that we will be unable to defend ourselves unless we're firebombing entire Iraqi neighborhoods -- and fear that we'll lose our nerve -- as if ending the continuous slaughter of American service men and women will lead Americans to lose interest in national security.
How did this draft-dodging, tassled-loafer, boardroom plutocrat ever get dubbed an expert in military operations, anyway?