Friday, April 11, 2008

Mutual assured destruction with Ahmadinejad is an incentive

South Africa’s deputy security minister Susan Shabangu at a police conference, on how to deal with criminals: “You must kill the bastards if they threaten you or the community. ... You must not worry about the regulations. That is my responsibility. Your responsibility is to serve and protect. I won’t tolerate any pathetic excuses for you not being able to deal with crime. You have been given guns, now use them. I want no warning shots. You have one shot and it must be a kill shot.”

That was a couple of days ago. She has not been fired.

Cheney, interviewed by Sean Hannity on Fox News [correction: on his radio show], called Ahmadinejad: “a very dangerous man. On the one hand, he has repeatedly stated that he wants to destroy Israel.” No he hasn’t. “He also has -- is a man who believes in the return of the 12th Imam; and that the highest honor that can befall a man is that he should die a martyr in facilitating the return of the 12th Imam. It’s a radical, radical point of view. Bernard Lewis once said, mutual assured destruction in the Soviet-U.S. relationship in the Cold War meant deterrence, but mutual assured destruction with Ahmadinejad is an incentive. You have to be concerned about that.”

He also peddled this Ahmadinejad-as-suicide-bomber nonsense in another interview, so it’s evidently the new scare line.

Yesterday I commented on Bush’s Iraq speech in which he said that 15 months ago we were on the defensive in Iraq that he hadn’t said that at the time. In an interview with ABC today, he said that he lied in order to keep up troop morale: “That’s as much to try and bolster the spirits of the people in the field as well -- you can’t have the commander in chief say to a bunch of kids who are sacrificing that either it’s not worth it or you’re losing. What does that do for morale?” I haven’t seen the interview and the transcript isn’t up yet, so I don’t know if Martha Raddatz followed up, “So how do we know you’re telling the truth now?”

He also said of waterboarding Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, “We had legal opinions that enabled us to do it.” So that’s okay then.

As for then-Attorney General Ashcroft’s much-quoted remark about the torture meetings, “Why are we talking about this in the White House? History will not judge this kindly,” I trust we’re all clear that he wasn’t morally opposed to the torture, he was opposed to the talking, to leaving a paper trail.

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