Thursday, February 16, 2006

Cheney's confession

Cheney handled himself quite well in the explanation he should have given days ago. The terrible way in which the spin was handled prior to his staged interview - with no less than the American version of Soviet-era Pravda - puts the lie to the assumption that the Bush Administration has a genius with PR. Fact is, the Bush Administration gets away with incompetence with spin, as it does with incompetence in all matters, simply because it receives the full assistance of the disgusting American media on every issue. This story was different because, well, the VP nailing a guy with a shotgun is always good copy, and the symbolism was so obvious. Dick Cheney making a terrible mistake due to his arrogance and intoxication leading to a lot of unnecessary and foolish violence inflicted against the innocent, with the accompanying heartache in those around him. I think every American has a feel for the analogy.


Despite the fact that Cheney got the tone right in his explanation, there is still something odd about his story:

"He was dressed in orange, he was dressed properly, but he was also - 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."


I thought you hunted quail by flushing them up into the air. The 'sport', if you can call it that, is to treat the quail like living skeet and fire in the air at them as they are flushed. Cheney later said:

"And you hunt them - basically, you have people out on horseback, what we call outriders, who are looking for the quail. And when they spot them, they've got radios, you'll go over, and say, get down and flush the quail."


and (my emphasis):

". . . in that part of the country, you always are on vehicles, until you get up to where the covey is. Then you get off - there will be dogs down, put down; the dogs will point to covey. And then you walk up on the covey. And as the covey flushes, that's when you shoot."


What possible quail did Cheney think he was firing at on the ground, or even below ground level? Whittington was dressed in orange, but Cheney is claiming that he was so obscured by being in the gully that Cheney couldn't see the orange clothes. Later Cheney is asked "And you - and I take it, you missed the bird" and responds:

"I have no idea. I mean, you focused on the bird, but as soon as I fired and saw Harry there, everything else went out of my mind. I don't know whether the bird went down, or didn't."


He's clearly saying he was firing on a quail and not some other animal that might have been on the ground. Does this make any sense?


Cheney also talks about time. He says the sun was so low that it was directly behind Whittington when Cheney fired (odd if the victim was at or below ground level when he was hit, and at least an admission of recklessness on Cheney's part if he fired, knowing that there were people around, without being able to see what he was firing at). Later he says it took about 30 minutes to get Whittington to the hospital from the time of the shooting, and that he was there around 7:00. Therefore, the shooting would be around 6:30. Is that the time the sun would be setting?


Cheney also says that Katharine Armstrong was an eyewitness to the shooting, something which appears to be doubtful. I'm not left with a comfortable feeling about Cheney's belated attempt to talk his way out of a big political, and perhaps legal, problem.

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