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22 November 2005

Thanksgiving turkeys

By calling for an immediate six-month withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, Murtha the Head-Injury Jarhead has everyone in Washington scrambling around like decapitated Thanksgiving turkeys.

Vice-President Dick Cheney, who ducked military service during Vietnam with student deferments, first tried letting the White House compare Murtha the career Marine to Michael ("Fahrenheit 911") Moore. That, apparently, has not gone down well with your standard-issue military veterans, the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars joiners.

Now Cheney is trying to kiss a little Vet Butt with more toned-down remarks about Murtha, whom he now calls "a good man" and "a patriot."

Hillary Clinton is busy on two fronts: Saving our precious children from the scourge of Pixel Toon Teen Hidden Video Game Porn, and telling America that withdrawing our soldiers and Marines from Iraq now would be "a big mistake."

Her husband Bill also managed to duck military service during Vietnam. No one will ever know the name of the Arkansas guy who had to serve in his place, or what became of him. Hillary, who is widely rumored to be a woman, did not face a military obligation during the Vietnam War.

My mother-in-law didn't face a military obligation, either, but she signed up and served in the Navy during World War II. Remember: When America faces a military crisis, women MAY serve if they wish.

Of course Hillary's much too old, but perhaps Chelsea might consider a few years in the military. When Bush declared war on Iraq, only one child of a serving member of Congress was on active military duty. I doubt if that number has gone up very much.

(Al Gore did his drafted service, including a year in Vietnam. That was why Bill Clinton wanted him on the ticket -- they needed a Vietnam veteran to wave around, and Bill sure wasn't one.)

Well, what the fuck -- the military's an All-Volunteer Thing now. None of that nasty Draft anymore. This is a better system, letting the poor and minorities risk their lives to protect America, so well-to-do white people can enjoy the blessings and bounty of America. If they manage to get back alive, we'll throw some of them a big parade.

Bush, who got free dental care and protected America from a possible air attack by Mexicans during the Vietnam War, is out of the country, kissing ass in the Peoples Republic of China, giving its leaders American lessons about Human Rights and Freedom of Religion. Maybe after dinner, his hosts can teach him the ancient Chinese Water Torture.

* * *

Los Angeles Times (California USA)
Tuesday 22 November 2005

Cheney tries to soften
rhetoric on war critics

Praises congressman while
lashing out at Senate Democrats

By Edwin Chen, Los Angeles Times

WASHINGTON -- Vice President Dick Cheney yesterday sought to tone down what has become a bitter and personal fight in Washington over the Iraq war, offering praise for a senior House Democrat who has called for the full withdrawal of troops and saying that an "energetic debate" over the war was part of a healthy society.

But at the same time, Cheney offered fresh attacks on Democratic senators who have accused the Bush administration of exaggerating the threat of Iraq's weapons programs to build support for the invasion. He called those accusations "dishonest and reprehensible."

"American soldiers and Marines serving in Iraq go out every day into some of the most dangerous and unpredictable conditions. Meanwhile, back in the United States, a few politicians are suggesting these brave Americans were sent into battle for a deliberate falsehood," Cheney said in an address to a conservative think tank. "This is revisionism of the most corrupt and shameless variety. It has no place anywhere in American politics, much less in the United States Senate."

[VLEEPTRON likes it, though.]

Still, even while calling those accusations "not legitimate," Cheney's speech signaled a softer tone from the White House.

It came as members of both parties sought to step back from the name-calling that erupted last week after Representative John Murtha, Democrat of Pennsylvania, a former Marine who is respected in both parties for his leadership on military affairs, on Thursday dropped his support for the war and called for an immediate, phased withdrawal of US troops.

The White House had initially attacked Murtha, issuing a statement that associated him with liberal filmmaker Michael Moore and "the extreme liberal wing of the Democratic party."

But in his speech yesterday before the American Enterprise Institute, Cheney called Murtha "a good man, a Marine, a patriot."

And Murtha, who last week had noted pointedly that Cheney used deferments to avoid service in Vietnam, amended his own comments, saying on CNN: "I said that heated, and I feel bad about that actually, because, you know, Dick Cheney -- he was in Congress for 10 years. He really has served this country. And he's been a public servant when he would have been making a lot more money outside."

[VLEEPTRON HISTORICAL NOTE: While President, Herbert Hoover accepted a salary of one dollar per year. Not sure how much Cheney takes to be VP. I'm sure it's a big sacrifice.]

Cheney, in arguing that "disagreement, argument, and debate" over the war were welcome but that assertions Bush misled the nation were "not legitimate," appeared to be signaling that the White House wanted to quell some of the bitterness of Iraq debate while aggressively responding to attacks on Bush's truthfulness. Public opinion surveys indicate the president's credibility has come under new skepticism.

"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," Cheney said.

Quoting Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, he continued: "It is a lie to say that the president lied to the American people."

The Democratic emphasis on prewar intelligence has returned some of the spotlight to Cheney, because it was the vice president who often led the way in making the case that Iraq's then-president, Saddam Hussein, presented a threat to the United States. Shortly before the war began, for example, he said on NBC's "Meet the Press" that the administration believed that Hussein "has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons."

US troops have found no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

The recent debate over Iraq has also shown that few Democrats support Murtha's call for a withdrawal.

For instance, even as Murtha stated his case again yesterday, declaring on CNN that the war "cannot be won militarily," Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton said in Rye Brook, New York, that it would be "a big mistake" to pull troops out of Iraq.

"I think that would cause more problems for us in America," she said, according to The Associated Press.

In one of many Democratic reactions to Cheney's speech, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, repeated the allegation that the Bush administration had "misused intelligence in its rush to war" and said Cheney had missed an opportunity with his speech to "come clean with the American people."

Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., Democrat of Delaware, in remarks at the Council on Foreign Relations, said yesterday, "By misrepresenting the facts, misunderstanding Iraq, and misleading on the war, this administration has brought us to the verge of a national security debacle."

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