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October 26, 2004
Cheney Nails Kerry's Armchair Generalship

All day long, I wondered when the Bush campaign would come out swinging, if not to defend themselves against the spurious charges that the IAEA threw at them with an assist from the New York Times, then to speak out on behalf of the 101st Airborne, whose reputation got trashed in John Kerry's zeal to attack George Bush. Tonight Dick Cheney reminded us yet again why Bush picked him for the Vice Presidency in his pointed response to Kerry's hysterical rantings:

Vice President Dick Cheney on Tuesday rejected John Kerry's criticism of the loss of hundreds of tons of explosives in Iraq, saying the toppling Saddam Hussein took thousands of times of that amount of potentially dangerous material out of the former dictator's hands.

"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.

So far, though, the campaign and the media still have not addressed the underlying issue of the explosives themselves. If Mohammed ElBaradei thought that 380 tons of HMX and RDX were so dangerous, why did they leave it in Saddam's control? Why, if the material has nuclear-technology implications, did UNSCOM leave it in place without destroying it? The only explanation we've heard to this point is that Saddam promised to use it for civilian construction ... all 380 tons of it. Riiiiiight.

The Bush administration up to now has played this one very cautiously, preferring to defer to the Pentagon. While I understand their reluctance to get nasty in the final seven days, it's time to fight fire with a little fire. No one needs to apologize for passion, and the President could use a little more in his own defense.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at October 26, 2004 9:31 PM

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