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13th March 07, 12:57 AM
WASHINGTON, March 12 — Vice President Dick Cheney (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/c/dick_cheney/index.html?inline=nyt-per) offered an aggressive defense of the Bush administration’s Iraq strategy today, asserting that those in Congress who pursue a gradual drawdown of American forces are “undermining” the troops and that a withdrawal would represent “a full validation of the Al Qaeda (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/a/al_qaeda/index.html?inline=nyt-org) strategy.”


http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2007/03/12/us/12cnd_cheney.190.2.jpg (javascript:pop_me_up2('http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2007/03/12/us/12cnd_cheney.html', '12cnd_cheney', 'width=720,height=600,scrollbars=yes,toolbars=no,r esizable=yes'))Vice President Dick Cheney speaking before the America Israel Public Affairs Committee today.

Reach of War

Mr. Cheney’s comments, delivered before the America Israel Public Affairs Committee, came days after Democratic leaders said they would seek to place new conditions on military operations in Iraq and would call for the withdrawal of most American troops by August 2008.

But Mr. Cheney, speaking before a clearly supportive audience, did not temper in the slightest the often-tough language he has used in describing the stakes in Iraq or in the fight against terrorism.

Indeed, the vice president’s remarks were the strongest warning yet from an administration official that Democrats should not seek to tie the president’s hands on troop deployments.

President Bush called on Congress on Sunday, during a visit to Colombia, to finance the Iraq war “with no strings attached.” Mr. Cheney, however, appeared to go a step beyond the president, who has offered repeated assurances that he does not question the patriotism of war critics.

The Democratic-led efforts to place conditions on military operations, Mr. Cheney said, were “counterproductive and send exactly the wrong message.”

“When members of Congress pursue an antiwar strategy that’s been called ‘slow-bleed,’ they’re not supporting the troops, they are undermining them,” the vice president said.

And when those lawmakers seek to impose time limits on the American presence in Iraq, Mr. Cheney added, “they’re telling the enemy simply to watch the clock and wait us out.”

He conceded that Congress plays “a critical role in the defense of the nation and the conduct of a war,” but said that role had its limits. “After all, the military answers to one commander in chief in the White House, not 535 commanders in chief on Capitol Hill,” he said.

Mr. Cheney has angered Democrats before with language they took as questioning their patriotism or doubting their support for American troops. He and the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/p/nancy_pelosi/index.html?inline=nyt-per) of California, engaged in heated verbal jousting late last month.
Mr. Cheney had harshly criticized a plan by Ms. Pelosi and Representative John P. Murtha (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/m/john_p_murtha/index.html?inline=nyt-per) of Pennsylvania to make it difficult for Bush to send an additional 21,500 troops to Iraq.

"I think if we were to do what Speaker Pelosi and Congressman Murtha are suggesting,” Mr. Cheney told ABC News, “all we will do is validate the Al Qaeda strategy.”

When Ms. Pelosi complained, the vice president denied that he had impugned her patriotism. Instead, he said, “I questioned her judgment.”

But today, Mr. Cheney echoed his earlier language, saying that it was dangerous to suggest that “getting out of Iraq before the job is done will actually strengthen America’s hand in the fight against terrorists.”

This, he said, “represents a full validation of the Al Qaeda strategy.”

Mr. Cheney continued: “The terrorists don’t expect to beat us in a stand-up fight. They never have. They’re not likely to try. The only way they can win is if we lose our nerve and abandon our mission.”

Ms. Pelosi’s office later issued a statement defending the Democrats’ strategy. "Success in Iraq requires more than military force," Ms. Pelosi said. A "shift in mission will allow the number of U.S. troops in Iraq to be reduced, diminishing their presence in the daily lives of Iraqis, and minimizing the chances of these troops being caught in the cross-fire.”

Mr. Cheney again painted a grim view of what he said would follow a premature American departure from Iraq: All-out war could ensue, eventually leaving either a safe haven for Al Qaeda and its allies, bolstered by new oil wealth, or an Iranian-influenced government in Tehran’s image that would magnify “the threat to our friends in the region.”

Speaking to an audience that included Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni of Israel, Mr. Cheney said Mr. Bush remained determined to achieve his “vision of two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace.”

He also said that “peace requires a Palestinian government that recognizes Israel’s right to exist, accepts the validity of past agreements and renounces violence and terrorism totally and completely.”

The Bush administration was unsettled by the recent Palestinian power-sharing agreement among the Fatah and Hamas factions. Hamas has not agreed to recognize Israel’s right to exist, to forswear violence or to accept previous agreements with the Israelis, although the unity government asserts that it comes closer to doing so.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/article (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/12/world/middleeast/12cnd-cheney.html?_r=2&hp&oref=slogin&oref=slogin)

Time to bring some politics back into Sociocide.

Discussion (http://www.sociocide.com/forums/showthread.php?t=46452)

ICY
13th March 07, 01:29 AM
Lame duck shenanigans.