Friday, June 24, 2005

The Cheney Spin - It depends on what the meaning of the word "throes" is

On Thursday, Vice President Dick Cheney appeared on CNN to revise and extend his remark that the Iraqi Insurgency was in its "last throes."

Here is what he told Wolf Blitzer, as reported on the CNN website:

"If you look at what the dictionary says about throes, it can still be a violent period, the throes of a revolution," he said. "The point would be that the conflict will be intense, but it's intense because the terrorists understand that if we're successful at accomplishing our objective -- standing up a democracy in Iraq -- that that's a huge defeat for them.
Let us, however, revisit the original statement, also as reported by on the CNN website:

"The level of activity that we see today from a military standpoint, I think, will clearly decline. I think they're in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency."
Now, please.

Perhaps Das Wolf was willing to buy this nonsense, but I'm not. I don't mind being so rude as to point out that there is a distinct difference between a conflict that will "clearly decline" and one that "will be intense."

There is, however, something encouraging about Cheney's having to go on the air to "clarify" his remark. It is reminiscent of the administration's attempt to explain what Donald Rumsfeld really meant when he wrote in a subsequently leaked e-mail that the Iraq war would be a long, hard slog.