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Only More Questions

Thursday, Feb. 16, 2006 12:01 AM

Vice President Dick Cheney's admission of responsibility isn't worth a tin penny.

In his interview with FOX News Channel's Brit Hume, Cheney relates Whittington's good fortune in having a physician's assistant on site and an ambulance nearby.

"Within about 30 minutes," Cheney says, "we had him on his way to the hospital."

In other words, the excuse offered up by White House spokesman Scott McClellan - that the delay in notification was due to concerns about Whittington getting proper medical attention - is complete hogwash. He was under capable care inside of an hour.

We also learn that the thirty yard distance is Cheney's guess, not a hard measurement. Whittington is described as being dressed in high-visibility orange, but Cheney fumbles for the exact relationship of Whittington, the terrain, and his shotgun. "There was a little bit of a gully there, so he was down a little ways before land level, although I could see the upper part of his body when -- I didn't see it at the time I shot, until after I'd fired. And the sun was directly behind him -- that affected the vision, too, I'm sure."

And yet, Cheney describes the scene as, ".... wide-open spaces with a lot of brush cover, fairly shallow."

Shallow brush cover, plus a bit of a gully ... where, exactly, was the bird? Flying nap of the earth?

Ultimately, as a Washington Post columnist remarks, Cheney's admission of responsibility is about as meaningful as Bush's admission of responsibility about the Iraq War.

It accepts responsibility without admitting any errors of judgment.

Nor does it explain the fumbled attempts at humor which ended when a piece of shot affected Whittington's heart and required his return to intensive care.

It reminds me of an ill-behaved child being required to apologize for his misdeeds, not because he understands he is wrong, but because he's being told to do so.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice went before Congress to present the administration's request for $75 million to undermine Iran's government by way of expanding Voice of America broadcasts and funding opposition groups within the country.

With the costs of our adventure in Iraq still ballooning at a breakneck pace, I believe a strong dose of fiscal skepticism is called for.

Rice also describes Iran as the, "biggest single strategic challenge," in the region. Does that mean Iraq is no longer ground zero in the War on Terror?

The key lesson is that we can't buy democracy abroad. Our attempts at propaganda in Iraq were ill-advised; even Rice acknowledges that a Shiite-majority government in Iraq will have much in common with Iran. In Palestine, we backed the Fatah, only to have Hamas win, but we're apparently talking about messing with their economy in order to bring about their downfall.

Now, we're looking to pour more money into a venture that basically closes the door on diplomacy with Iran � though, with the news of Iran restarting its uranium production, it's a race to see who can slam the door first and hardest.

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