Wednesday, February 15, 2006

"We are all Harry Whittington"

Dick Cheney in his own words

The other hunter and I then turned and walked about a hundred yards in another direction --

Q Away from him?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Away from him -- where another covey had been spotted by an outrider. I was on the far right --

Q There was just two of you then?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Just two of us at that point. The guide or outrider between us, and of course, there's this entourage behind us, all the cars and so forth that follow me around when I'm out there -- but bird flushed and went to my right, off to the west. I turned and shot at the bird, and at that second, saw Harry standing there. Didn't know he was there --

Q You had pulled the trigger and you saw him?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, I saw him fall, basically. It had happened so fast.

Q What was he wearing?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: 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.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: I had no idea how serious it was going to be. I mean, it could have been extraordinarily serious. You just don't know at that moment. You know he's been struck, that there's a lot of shot that had hit him. But you don't know -- you think about his eyes. Fortunately, he was wearing hunting glasses, and that protected his eyes. You -- you just don't know.
Lots of buzz tonight about Cheney drinking (or not). I won't go there. Just want to point out a few things, because this is not good for Cheney (except that he's owning up to it).

1) 30 feet, 30 yards, 100 yards? Which is it? And there's the simple evidence of the wounds that seems to contradict the idea that Harrington was any distance away.

2) Harrington was in a low spot, which means Cheney was aiming very low indeed, to catch Harrington in the chest and on up to his face. Why was he firing so low, and not paying attention to where Harrington was, especially since he'd just walked away from Harrington?

And then there's the whole "responsibility thing":

Q Right, and so you know all the procedures and how to maintain the proper line and distance between you and other hunters, and all that. So how, in your judgment, did this happen? Who -- what caused this? What was the responsibility here?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, ultimately, I'm the guy who pulled the trigger that fired the round that hit Harry. And you can talk about all of the other conditions that existed at the time, but that's the bottom line. And there's no -- it was not Harry's fault. You can't blame anybody else. I'm the guy who pulled the trigger and shot my friend. And I say that is something I'll never forget
Well, his "acquaintance," he said earlier in the interview.

I have no doubt he feels badly about this. But it takes him a bit to accept that, which is perhaps natural, but perhaps not. Awful lot of spin around this story (such as the new question: did Katherine Armstrong actually see anything?). It would seem that by now, several days later, he'd have a readier answer to that obvious question. I give credit to Mr. Cheney for finally, however painfully, stating the obvious. But it still obviously cost him a lot.

Funny, that.

And, as I said earlier and elsewhere, if he can manage to multiply that image of Mr. Whittington falling by about 2500 for the American dead in Iraq, and a few hundred thousand for the Iraqis dead since we invaded, and never forget those images, I might be able to work up more human sympathy for him.

But I can't go that far, just yet. Or far from the fact that there's been a whole lotta lyin' goin' on.

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