August 13, 2004

speech -- in which he called for a "more effective, more thoughtful, more strategic, more proactive, more sensitive war on terror that reaches out to other nations and brings them to our side" -- conservative pundits echoed Cheney's taunts on radio and television.
An August 13 account of Cheney's remarks in The Washington Times made clear what lay behind the taunts: "The escalation of rhetoric began when the Bush camp belatedly realized that Mr. Kerry's week-old call for 'sensitive war' had the potential to be as politically damaging as his March acknowledgment that he had voted for $87 billion in funding for troops in Iraq before voting against it."

In addition to Bush's comments August 6, the American Progress Action Fund has gathered numerous examples of Bush and other administration officials describing the need to be "sensitive" in conducting foreign policy and military operations, including the following:

BUSH: Precisely because America is powerful, we must be sensitive about expressing our power and influence (3/4/01).

CHENEY: We recognize that the presence of U.S. forces can in some cases present a burden on the local community. We're not insensitive to that (4/13/04).

DEFENSE SECRETARY DONALD RUMSFELD: [W]e have to be sensitive [to the threat of terrorist attacks outside of Iraq]. To the point the world thinks the United States is focused on the problems in Iraq, it is conceivable that someone could make a mistake and believe that that is an opportunity for them to make-- to take an action which they otherwise would have avoided, and we have to see that we are arranged, and it is clear to the world that that is-it will not be an opportune time (2/5/03).

ATTORNEY GENERAL JOHN ASHCROFT: The United States is very sensitive about interfering in the internal politics of other countries (Federal News Service, 4/28/03).

American Progress Action Fund's website lists more examples, including several by Cheney: "In conducting the first war in Iraq, then-Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney repeatedly stressed the need for America to fight a 'sensitive' war" and "On 2/7/90, Cheney told Congress that the Pentagon must be 'sensitive' in developing weapons."

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