"My Fox guys, I love every single one of them."—Condoleeza Rice
Apparently the vice president loves them, too. Following his wife's appearance a few weeks ago on "Fox News Sunday," Dick Cheney appeared with Chris Wallace. Presumably, he figured that Wallace, although seeming like an I'm-going-to-put-my teeth-in-your-leg-and-not-let-go-type interviewer, really is one of the team. And while Wallace's performance was seemingly ferocious at times, he let Mr. Cheney go with some whoppers that begged for some follow-up.
For example, after pointing out the many times that President Bush declared how well the U.S. was doing in Iraq prior to last week's speech, Wallace asked, "Mr. Vice President, why should we believe that, this time, you've got it right?"
To which Cheney responded, in part: "Well, I think if you look at what's transpired in Iraq, Chris, we have, in fact, made enormous progress. Remember where we were four years ago: Saddam Hussein was in power, a guy who'd started two wars, who had produced and used weapons of mass destruction, violated 16 U.N. Security Council resolutions, prime sponsor of terror, paying the families of suicide bombers. Saddam has been brought to justice. He's dead. He was executed, as we all know, here a few weeks ago. His government is gone."
Note how the WMD made it into the comment, and how cleverly they were in the past tense. Yes, he'd produced the gas, yes he'd used gas, but wasn't one of the reasons the U.S. went to war in Iraq was because they had WMD? And enormous progress? What is that all about?
Wallace asked: "Throughout this war, the president has said that he listens to the generals on the ground and he gives them what they want. But in November, General Abizaid, the commander of all U.S. forces in the Middle East, spoke before the Senate committee and said that, after meeting with every divisional commander, that sending more troops into Iraq would prevent the Iraqis from taking on the responsibility they should take. . . . Mr. Vice President, why did you and the president decide to overrule the commanders?"
To which Cheney responded, "Well, I don't think we've overruled the commanders. The fact is the plan we've got here now has been embraced by Abizaid, by General Casey, by..." Wallace jumps in at this point, seeing a giant discrepancy: "But how do you explain what he said right then, less than two months ago?"
Cheney: "Well, it was two months ago. We've, in fact, looked very carefully at the situation, and we have a plan now that has, in fact, been endorsed by the generals, including Fox Fallon, who's the new CENTCOM commander who's about to replace General Abizaid, and Bob Gates, who's the new secretary of defense."
That's good. Two months is apparently a long, long time, and besides that, the general who once didn't like the plan now ostensibly does, but that doesn't matter all that much because he is being replaced, anyway.
This would be funny if it wasn't so sad.