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Thursday, September 30, 2004

Democrats Argue Back 

Democrats Grow Balls

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Deputy Secretary of State Richard L. Armitage told the House International Relations Committee that he expected the Taliban to try to disrupt the elections in Afghanistan "perhaps even by attempting a large-scale attack on election day itself," Oct. 9.


Mr. Armitage did not suggest that he thought the elections might fail, or that the new Afghanistan might stumble on the road to democracy. In fact, Mr. Armitage had several friendly exchanges with lawmakers of both parties.

The mood seemed to change when Representative Robert Menendez, Democrat of New Jersey, seized on President Bush's declaration in Ohio last week that "as a result of the United States military, the Taliban is no longer in existence."

So, Mr. Menendez asked Mr. Armitage, "did you fail to give the president a briefing that the Taliban is still in existence?"

Mr. Armitage said the president meant that the Taliban "is not shackling 28 million people anymore," not that it had literally vanished.

The reply did not entirely satisfy Mr. Menendez, who said, "I think we have to stop sugar-coating the realities of what is happening in Afghanistan and in our other conflicts and be honest with the American people."



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