Taliban Attack Against Cheney Says It All
It is a telling statement about the mess we find ourselves in six years into the Bush/Cheney foreign policy that the VP cannot travel overseas without an attempt on his life by an enemy that was supposed to be vanquished five years ago. Today, the Taliban sent a message to Dick Cheney when a suicide bomber struck the American base at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan where Cheney was visiting in supposed secrecy.
Since Cheney stayed the night unexpectedly at the main Bagram military base outside Kabul, how in hell did the Taliban know he was even there? Then again, why are the Taliban even still around?
Read the account of Cheney’s trip by Newsweek.com’s Holly Bailey, and you will find that Cheney sees a need to travel overseas in secret when he talks with foreign leaders, as if the subject of his discussions merit such secrecy. The real reason for this secrecy is for Cheney’s own safety, which didn’t matter to the Taliban this morning. Yet Cheney felt a need to hide the Pakistan and Afghanistan parts of his visit from the world by traveling not on Air Force Two, but instead in a military transport with a Gulfstream trailer inside. What exactly is the reason for all this juvenile secrecy? Why did he want to hide his briefing with (and subsequent smackdown from) Musharraf and the follow up with Hamid Karzai? What exactly merits such secrecy, or in fact a need for such face-to-face meetings when technology from an undisclosed location allows you to have those discussions now?
(T)ensions at the base were palpable. Cheney was supposed to have had a three-hour visit with Afghan President Hamid Karzai; the visit was cut to just an hour. Arriving in Kabul for the visit, the veep and the press were ushered into a heavily fortified motorcade. All passengers were instructed to buckle the seat belts, and were warned of a bumpy ride. The road was closed, but there was no apparent effort made to control people on the street, who wandered the throughway as the motorcade rolled by. The motorcade's path took the vice president past bombed out buildings—a grim reminder of the turmoil the area had undergone in recent, violence-racked years.
According to news reports, the bomber struck outside a security gate at Bagram, which is located north of the capital city of Kabul. The bomber was reportedly on foot. The Taliban claimed credit for the attack, and declared that Cheney had in fact been the target. But U.S. military officials denied the veep was the target. Whatever its goal, the incident underscored American officials' rising concern about the return of the Taliban, a key reason for Cheney's side visit to the troubled country.
It is also telling that our military didn’t have enough food at the Bagram base for seven reporters who were traveling with Cheney unannounced.
Not enough food for seven reporters? By the way, the first time Cheney even talked with those seven reporters was Day Eight of the trip.
This is really Romper Room. The Taliban are supported by Pakistan’s ISI, where Cheney visited the day before. Why is no one asking how the Taliban knew where Cheney was? Sure, the Taliban would not be here to attack him if Cheney and Rumsfeld had finished Bin Laden off five years ago at Tora Bora. Nor would the Taliban be in this position had Bush and Cheney not encouraged Musharraf to give Bin Laden and the Taliban a free pass out of North Waziristan back in September. But the fact that this trip has turned into a joke of sophomoric secrecy and an attack against the Veep is a perfect illustration of the administration’s failed foreign policy and war on terror.