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Cheney isn’t stupid, he just sounds that way

October 26, 2006

For those non-readers of Salon.com, here is a snippet of what you are missing. They exerpted a series of interviews given by Cheney to talk-radio hosts over the last little bit. They then sorted the comments by topic. While I skipped over Scott Hennen and Sean Hannity quotes, I was struck by the Juan Williams (not the conservative talking head of the other two). Cheney, a smart man, if dangerous hunting partner, conjures images of mass armed conflicts (army on army) trying to define current Iraq against it. True on parsible part (no mass armies clashing in the night), he isn’t honest on intent (“But there’s no question there’s a lot of sectarian violence, a lot of Shia on Sunni violence … “).

How many more years?

War Room – Salon.com: “NPR’s Juan Williams: So what do you do in terms of benchmarks or timetables? What is the consequence, what’s the stake at the end in terms of the U.S. putting pressure on … [Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s] government?

Cheney: It’s got to be conditions-based, in terms of what we do with respect to how long we have to stay … With respect to the Maliki government, it’s very important we make the point to them repeatedly that both politically and from a security standpoint, they’ve got major responsibilities here. They’ve got to deal with the political situation themselves. We can’t really do that for them. We can help, and we can try to facilitate. They’ve only been in business six months. That’s as long as Maliki’s been prime minister. And so I think we have to be a little bit understanding here that these are extraordinary circumstances they’re trying to operate under, and they do have a very difficult assignment. But it also — we have to make it clear to them, just like we do everybody else out there, to the Afghans, as well, too, ultimately you’re responsible for your own country …

Williams: … In terms of civil war, would you call it that?

Cheney: No, I don’t think it’s a civil war. You’ve got a united government, a unity government in place. You’ve got united military forces in terms of the army, and to some extent the security force. When I think civil war, I think Antietam, Gettysburg. I don’t think we’re there yet. But there’s no question there’s a lot of sectarian violence, a lot of Shia on Sunni violence … We still have a long way to go. Nobody should underestimate how difficult it is, but just because it’s difficult doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it. We need to do it. We have to do it.”

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