There was a time when Bush Administration officials could tell a lie with the best of them. Sure, they fell short of fooling all of the people all of the time, but you have to admit, their WMD/alQaeda-Saddam link whoppers had most Americans, and 99 percent of the press, going for a while.
And that's what has me puzzled about Cheney's latest prevarication. He's telling anyone who will listen (aka Sean Hannity) that if the US leaves The Land Between the Rivers, then al Qaeda will get rich on Iraq's vast oil reserves, and use its new found wealth to destabilize the world.
Listening to the interview, I can imagine Bush and his co-conspirators huddled around a radio in the Oval Office, one of them going "Here it is! Wait for it! It's coming!", and then breaking into Katrinas of laughter when the line comes. "I can't believe he really said it. I bet him a thousand dollars he couldn't pull it off without laughing," says Bush, wiping away a tear.
It's beyond improbable that al Qaeda, a Sunni terrorist group, could wrest control of Iraq's oil fields from 20 million or so Shiites, then develop and maintain the complicated infrastructure, let alone possess the technical expertise necessary to extract one barrel of oil. It's like fearing that the Detroit Crips will seize General Motors, execute a successful corporate restructuring, then use the profits to import more cocaine.
Cheney's fairy tale reminds me of those scenes in TV cop shows where the bad guy is chased down the street, and he keeps knocking things over so they fall in the path of his pursuer to slow him down - a baby carriage, a newspaper rack, a fruit vendor stall. Rebranding al Qaeda as a rogue union of petroleum engineers is intended to slow down the anti-war hounds, to give the toothless media lap dogs one more excuse to back off on pushing calls for troop withdrawal. It also provides Hannity and other barking loons with more talking points to use against the 72 percent of Americans who disapprove of President George W. Bush.