Since the conquest of Iraq we've gotten used to "surprise" visits by White House big wigs, surprise being clearly intended to minimize the threat of someone downing their aircraft or laying in wait for them with a roadside bomb.
Today's visit to Pakistan by vice president Cheney, however, took things one giant step further. The news media were sworn not to mention anything about it until Cheney had safely left the country. That degree of ultra-secrecy was apparently necessary for Cheney to show his face in Islamabad and he only stopped by for a grand total of three hours.
For a guy who wrangled an astonishing five, that's FIVE draft deferments while the Vietnam War was underway, it's pretty obvious that Cheney is crazy about war as long as he's not the one he's sending to the places where the bullets are flying. The man is a damned Chickenhawk, always has been.
But Cheney's distaste for actually having to defend his country - in person - doesn't stop him from talking tough. He's a true warrior when it comes to talking tough, especially from a Fox News studio.
He was talking tough over lunch with Musharraf today. Cheney made it plain that if Mushy didn't start getting serious about all those al-Qaeda running around Pakistan, why he might have to unleash the Democrats on him. Hmmm, let me see. bin Laden attacked New York and Washington in September, 2001, right? US forces had bin Laden run into the hills of Tora Bora by November, 2001, right? Since then his al-Qaeda operation has set up shop in Pakistan, right? So, now, in February, 2007, Cheney decides to lower the boom on Musharraf, right?
Cheney has waited for five and a half years, until his administration has made a complete mess of two Middle East wars and is weakened and despised at home and around the world - he's waited until now to twist Musharraf's arm - right? And then he has to threaten Musharraf with the Democrats?
Cheney's chair was still warm when Pakistan issued its public response, “Pakistan does not accept dictation from any side or any source.” I think that's a diplomatic way of saying "..and don't let the door hit you on the ass on your way out - Dick."