White House Defends Use of F-word on Security Grounds
By Eric Mader
A Disassociated Press Report, Washington, June 27, 2004
The White House today defended Vice President Dick Cheney's widely reported use of the f-word on the Senate floor last Tuesday, stating that Cheney's use of foul language was justified for security reasons and did not reflect a vulgar departure from American political norms.
"The vice president's use of the f-word against Senator Patrick Leahy was an example of the pre-emptive war doctrine in action," said Kevin Killem, a spokesman for Cheney. "There was a perceived verbal threat coming from Leahy, and the vice president rightly neutralized the threat before it could hit."
The controversy began when Cheney broke Senate etiquette rules last Tuesday by telling Sen. Leahy to "Go f--- yourself." Leahy had approached the vice president to discuss various issues, but Cheney was apparently in no mood to talk with the Democratic senator from Vermont.
It is widely speculated that Cheney was rankled by Leahy's recent criticism of alleged war profiteering in Iraq by Halliburton, the oil services company that Cheney once ran. Leahy and other Democrats have called for congressional hearings into whether the vice president helped the firm win lucrative contracts in Iraq after the U.S.-led war that toppled Saddam Hussein.
Responding to remarks in various quarters that Cheney had tarnished the dignity of his office by using such language, Killem pointed out the need to keep Bush Administration officials safe from attacks of what he called "terrorist criticism."
"Recently there has been an upsurge of critical remarks against Administration figures," Killem said. "Our nation cannot afford such criticism during the difficult times we are in, especially now before the upcoming election. Criticism of the Administration risks leading to a defeat in November. Thus neutralizing these critics by the use of foul language or tantrums is justified; it is a legitimate way of keeping this Administration safe from terrorist attack."
Killem pointed out that Cheney had a duty to use such pre-emptive strikes when they were deemed necessary for security: "The vice president of the United States cannot be expected to stand by idly while Democratic enemies of Halliburton. . . of America, that is, prepare their evil vitriol. By telling Leahy to f--- himself, the vice president was fulfilling his sacred duty as a guardian of peace and prosperity in this country."
Others noted that the use of the f-word is not all that uncommon among people connected to the Bush Administration. The following recent instances have been cited:
* "If Al Qaeda doesn't come up with another good attack and come up with one soon, we might well be f---ed this November." --President Bush quoted during a staff meeting, May 19th, 2004
* Bush: "Sometimes I even think we should have listened a little to the State Department."
Cheney: "Oh, f--- the State Department. What does the f---ing State Department know about it anyway? Bunch of f---ing intellectuals!" --quoted from conversation during a lunch meeting between the president and vice president, May 23rd
* "Why did the party ever nominate this little f---head?" --Colin Powell, overheard talking with an assistant after leaving the Oval Office, June 12th
* Unnamed aide: "God, he's crabby!"
P. Wolfowitz: "You'd be crabby too."
Unnamed aide: "What do you mean?"
P. Wolfowitz: "Well, with his heart condition he can't f--- any more."
Unnamed aide: "Really? How long's that been?"
P. Wolfowitz: "Oh, years now, I think."
Unnamed aide: "Poor guy." --quoted from conversation between Paul Wolfowitz and an unnamed aide, June 15th; Dick Cheney had just left the room
"You're all little fucking fuckers! Fuckheaded little fuckers! You can all fuck yourselves is what!" Vice President Dick Cheney lambasting the press earlier this year in Milwaukee.
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