Tuesday, October 26, 2004
Cheney on Bombgate
This is more like it. From the AP:
"If our troops had not gone into Iraq as John Kerry apparently thinks they should not have, that is 400,000 tons of weapons and explosives that would be in the hands of Saddam Hussein, who would still be sitting in his palace instead of jail," the vice president told supporters in his first comment on the controversy that erupted Monday.
Cheney, the most senior administration official to comment on the latest development in Iraq, complained that Kerry does not mention the "400,000 tons of weapons and explosives that our troops have captured."
Nearly 400 tons of explosives have disappeared from a former Iraqi military installation. The International Atomic Energy Agency had warned the U.S.-led coalition that invaded Iraq to secure the explosives, fearing they could fall into the wrong hands. The materials are key components of plastic explosives like those insurgents have used in car bomb attacks.
Speaking to a crowd in an area of Florida with several military bases, Cheney also said, "It is not at all clear that those explosives" that were lost "were even at the weapons facility when our troops arrived in the area of Baghdad." ...
Cheney also invoked the name of retired Gen. Tommy Franks, who led the U.S. invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, to rebut another of Kerry's criticisms — that the Bush administration wasted a chance to catch terrorist leader Osama bin Laden when the United States had al-Qaida fighters surrounded in Tora Bora in Afghanistan.
Franks "stated repeatedly it was not at all certain that bin Laden was in Tora Bora," said Cheney. "He might have been there or in Pakistan or even Kashmir."
"Now John Kerry sitting 6,000 miles away, he is trying to cast doubt on these amazing performances" by U.S. forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, Cheney said.
Kerry frequently asserts that the administration "outsourced" the job of hunting down bin Laden to Afghan warlords.
"U.S. Special Forces were on the ground, and in charge of the operation around Tora Bora," Cheney said. "They relied on Afghan fighters to help them kill and capture Taliban and al-Qaida fighters in Tora Bora. They knew the landscape."
If the Bush campaign, in the next couple days, ends up effectively refuting the joint attack by John Kerry, Mohamed El Baradei, and the New York Times, then I'll readily concede that my earlier comment that this demanded a tougher response was premature.
Interestingly, that comment generated more profanity-laden hate mail from the uncivil lefties than anything else I've ever written.