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September 12, 2006

AJC rips Bush administration a new one
Posted by Teresa at 06:44 AM * 56 comments

Anyone feeling queasy this morning in the wake of Bush’s latest speech should try today’s lead editorial in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Revelations of no WMDs in Iraq show deception, incompetence at work

History will show that the U.S. government terrified its own citizens into supporting the invasion of Iraq.

Time and again, Americans already shaky in the wake of Sept. 11 were warned by their leaders that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, and that unless we intervened, the Iraqi leader might provide those weapons to his allies in al-Qaida.

If we waited to take action, President Bush warned, the smoking gun might come in the form of a mushroom cloud.

We now know, of course, that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction and no programs to create them. Last fall, the CIA apparently concluded that there had also been no pre-war ties between Saddam and al-Qaida terrorists, a finding seconded by a report from the Senate Intelligence Committee made public just last week. The committee found that the Bush administration had good reason to know that no such ties existed, but persisted in those claims anyway. …

It matters, for instance, that Vice President Dick Cheney now says that the Bush administration would have invaded Iraq even if it had known that Saddam had no WMD and no ties to al-Qaida. Intrigued by the admission on “Meet the Press” Sunday, host Tim Russert pressed the point with Cheney:

“So if the CIA said to you [in 2003] ‘Saddam does not have weapons of mass destruction, his chemical and biological have been degraded, he has no nuclear program under way,’ you’d still have invaded Iraq?”

Yes, Cheney said.

In other words, Iraqi WMD weren’t the reason we went to war, they were merely the excuse that Cheney and his colleagues needed to scare up public support. That’s a relevant piece of information as Americans try to decide how much faith they can put in this administration.

Last week, Army Brig. Gen. Mark Scheid gave his fellow Americans another relevent piece of data concerning the basic competence of the Bush administration.

Scheid, who is about to retire, was a colonel with U.S. Central Command in 2002, helping to plan the invasion of Iraq. According to Scheid, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld banned Pentagon officials from planning for a post-war military occupation, to the point that he warned officers that “he would fire the next person” who talked about the need to prepare for an occupation.

The incompetence that reveals is mind-numbing, and is no doubt responsible for the unnecessary deaths of hundreds, if not thousands, of U.S. soldiers, in addition to tens of thousands of Iraqis. And it matters—it matters very much—that the people responsible for such blunders are still in power, still making decisions and still setting policy.

There’ve already been plenty of arguments, with more to come, over whether Bush & Co. can be compared to the Nazis. I’d say there’s at least one way in which they unquestionably can: they’re personally incompetent.
Comments on AJC rips Bush administration a new one:
#1 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2006, 07:08 AM:

Morning, Paula. That help any?

#2 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2006, 08:18 AM:

This is only incompetence if you accept that Rumsfeld was trying to do what he said he was. I think he achieved exactly what he really wanted: he made Bush a war-time president, boosted his poll ratings several times, and ultimately got him re-elected. Mission accomplished.

#3 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2006, 08:48 AM:

This is only incompetence if you accept that Rumsfeld was trying to do what he said he was.

In democratic government, you can't use "accomplishing personal political goals" units when performing the competence calculation. You have to use "best thing for the nation" units.

Calling the Bush Administration "competent" in the sense you mean it is the same units mistake those engineers made on the Mars Climate Orbiter when they mixed up English and metric units.

#4 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2006, 09:19 AM:

Let's not forget that the Bushies could get the West (or at least the US) into some more tar pits before it goes. Iran, for one.

George said 'Saddam will erase
Our cities and set them ablaze,
Unless we invade
And thus cause to fade
In our minds this Iraqian craze.'

'Saddam's got the WMDs
To spread destruction on every breeze.
To give him what for
Is our reason for war,
Which will cause all our foemen to freeze.'

So George got the people's okay
To achieve his victorious day
With great shock and awe
He launched his great war
And then landed in triumphant array.

But what did his warriors find
As the looters robbed Iraq blind?
In the Iraqi leas,
But to call George a liar would be unkind.

So now after more than three years
Victory has achieved all our fears,
Our soldiers still die
For George's big lie
And their kinsfolk just cry and shed tears.

For George, and Rummy, and Dick
Continue to lay it on thick,
Proclaiming that they
Did it the right way,
Even though each of them is a prick.

#5 ::: Kinsley Castle ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2006, 09:37 AM:

Frankly, I don't think the current US administration can be compared to the Nazis. After all, Hitler had a workable strategy going into WWII, and at least one competent associate in Rommel.

#6 ::: John ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2006, 11:11 AM:

Well, Hitler had a strategy. It wasn't very workable though, and no, Rommel wasn't all that competent (unless you want to count ignoring logistics competent).

#7 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2006, 11:29 AM:

“he would fire the next person” who talked about the need to prepare for an occupation.

This eludes me completely. Did he threaten this because he didn't think Iraq needed to be occupied? That they'd welcome us with flowers and cheers, and switch to a fully functional pro-american democracy (puppet government) overnight?

Or did he simply want to squash the reality of the numbers required to occupy a nation? In the "Valerie Plame" thread, I listed 4 people from the timeline who were fired by the administration for disagreeing with them. One was a general who said the forces needed to occupy Iraq was several times more than what the administration estimated. Wolfowitz said the force needed to occupy should be the same size as the force needed to invade.

Either they were trying to cover up the real numbers to get the war started, meaning they hid the real numbers from the public so it wouldn't look so bad and people wouldn't object.

Or these neocons are morons who got all their military training from watching the A-Team.

#8 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2006, 11:36 AM:

From Kevin Drum's excerpts from the interview:

"I remember the secretary of defense saying that he would fire the next person that said that," Scheid said. "We would not do planning for Phase 4 operations, which would require all those additional troops that people talk about today.

"He said we will not do that because the American public will not back us if they think we are going over there for a long war."

It looks to me as if Rumsfeld knew he couldn't start the war if the war plan called for a half a million troops, so he wouldn't let anyone write such a plan.

Not incompetence, reckless disregard for any consequences other than short-term political gain.

And it worked.

#9 ::: Dena Shunra ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2006, 11:42 AM:

Michael @#3
In democratic government,

Ah. There's the problem with your theory.

CALLING something a democratic government does not make it so. Nothing about the Bush presidency seems to fit that bill: not the way he was (s)elected, not the way he handled the press, not the way he handled free speech (zones?) and separation of powers, separation of church and state, not his goals nor the way he enacted them.

I'm not quite sure what this sort of regime is called, and it may yet have enough of its vestigial democratic capacities to allow for being voted out. But is it a manifestation of democracy? Not in any definition of the term that I am familiar with.

#10 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2006, 11:46 AM:

The moist spot on the dike turned into droplets. Now we have a trickle of dissent. Please, lord, let it turn into a torrent and bring this dam administration down.

#11 ::: JC ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2006, 11:56 AM:

#10: "Please, lord, let it turn into a torrent and bring this dam administration down."

A friend of mine was disappointed that since the United States does not have a parliamentary form of government, we have to wait until January, 2009 before this administration is truly gone. (She was discounting the notion of successful impeachment, IIRC, as highly unlikely.)

#12 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2006, 11:57 AM:

By the way, I'm just now relishing a tape of Keith Olbermann tearing Bush a new Cheney.

"How dare you, Mr. President?"

(Which, in turn, reminds me of this.)

#13 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2006, 12:04 PM:

Greg London @ 7
Or these neocons are morons who got all their military training from watching the A-Team.

Something like that.

#14 ::: Madison Guy ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2006, 12:08 PM:

Bush used his 9/11 speech to fire the opening salvo in the Republican congressional campaign, which will heavily rely on painting Democrats as quitters, if not outright traitors. Once again exploiting the tragedy was contemptible. What he actually said was frightening. These guys really aren't going to stop till they get to Iran, are they?

We need a president who speaks to our best hopes and ideals, instead of making cynical pitches to our reptile brains. Until we get one, we as a country are the losers and the terrorists are the winners. They've succeeded in making us morph into a reflection of their image.

And that image looks a lot like the hedgehog on hallucinogens. who gave his recruiting speech for the Forever War Monday night and came out strongly against radical dictators with nuclear weapons unless their name is Musharraf and they recently cut a deal with the Taliban which he approved. (Thanks to Billmon and apologies to Isaiah Berlin.)

#15 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2006, 12:49 PM:

#9 Dena: Ah. There's the problem with your theory.... CALLING something a democratic government does not make it so.

I am in the camp that believes that even though the current administration has engaged in activities that are blatantly anti-democratic, that does not make us a non-democracy. If this was a non-democracy, I could skip having to vote in today's primary which, at the moment, I would dearly love to do.

#16 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2006, 01:24 PM:

Greg London @ 7: Or these neocons are morons who got all their military training from watching the A-Team.

I pity the fool don't learn from the A-Team.

Dena Shunra @ 9: I'm not quite sure what this sort of regime is called

I vote for Christo-fascist.

- Forcing intolerant religiosity into public policy, CHECK
- Using the force of goverment to better corporations and hurt working people, CHECK
- Creation of a ruling class that's above the law, CHECK
- Creating a climate of fear and demonization of the other, CHECK

Seems like a fit to me.

#17 ::: Lenny Bailes ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2006, 01:45 PM:

The San Francisco Chronicle did some ripping of its own in its 9/8 editorial: An Alternative Universe. Their whole Op Ed section seems to have been in a conscious state for several months now.

It's a relief to see editorials in major newspapers, now, that resemble the daily entries we've been reading for five years in blogs. We might even believe that a large segment of the voting population in Blue State cities is awake to the fact that Bush and Cheney hold the law in contempt; and that everything they do is directed to their own self-aggrandizement (at the expense of the general welfare of the United States).

But my worry is that the "awakened" press and public still underestimate the tenacity of those crooks. We have less than two months to focus media attention on the vulnerability of voting machines--with the same zeal some newspapers are now showing in telling us what inconsistent liars George Bush and Dick Cheney are.

I'm afraid the media and general public won't be ready to consider the fact that voting tallies are riggable until after they're rigged again -- and we have a mysterious Republican "upset" in the midterm results.

#18 ::: Zander ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2006, 03:02 PM:

Surely it's only a democracy if voting makes a difference?

Anyway, thanks for this. I can now look forward to the day when I can say "The world is safer now George Bush is no longer in power."

(Whether it will be, of course, is another matter. I'm not counting any chickens...)


#19 ::: Dena Shunra ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2006, 03:18 PM:

Zander @18, it seems to me that voting that makes a difference does not, in its own right, make a democracy.

What has happened in the U.S. is that all the other activites of the citizenry ALSO make no difference - including legislation (there are LAWS against a lot of what the administration does), protest ("free speech zones". Need I say more?), education (stacking the educational system with "intelligent design" keeps the populace dumbed down).

There is so much more to a democracy than the occasional visit to the ballot-box (or mail in, in such counties as my own). Voting fraud would seem to be necessary but not sufficient tactic for someone who wants to undermine a democracy.

Such as the Republican party in its current incarnation.

By which I mean to say that the Republican leadership or significant sectors thereof have committed a campaign of treason against the Constitution of the United States. That is a crime, and it should be prosecuted.

#20 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2006, 03:41 PM:

While my representatives here (in NYC) do not do exactly as I would wish them to do all of the time, they generally represent my general beliefs and generally press my general issues.

I am free to speak out here in this blog and elsewhere online without fear of government censorship. I am free (in spite of the NYPD's recently failed efforts) to assemble in Union Square and petition the government and any other clown that wants to pay attention to me. If I, personally, had a legitimate cause of action against the government I could take it to court... just as the absolutely heroic attorney, Neal Katyal, did when he successfully argued Salim Ahmed Hamdan's case before the Supreme Court. (Those of us who think it's funny to say we ought to "kill all the lawyers", give a thought to Neal Katyal).

I don't know where everybody else lives, but I live in a frustrating, imperfect, frequently infuriating, often internally assaulted democracy, but a democracy nevertheless.

#21 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2006, 03:41 PM:

Dena: Have you seen this wondrous piece of legal reasoning (bold is mine)?

John Yoo summarizes the last 5 years in two short sentences

Bob Egelko has an interesting article in The San Francisco Chronicle today examining how U.S. law has changed over the last five years as a result of the 9/11 attack. He includes this truly revealing quote from John Yoo:

UC Berkeley law Professor John Yoo, who as a Justice Department lawyer was one of the Bush administration's chief legal theorists, summarized its view in his forthcoming book, "War by Other Means":

"We are used to a peacetime system in which Congress enacts the laws, the president enforces them, and the courts interpret them. In wartime, the gravity shifts to the executive branch."

Actually, I'm pretty sure that it's always the case in America (or at least it used to be) that "Congress enacts the laws, the president enforces them, and the courts interpret them." That's pretty fundamental to how our country works. In fact, the whole structure of the Constitution is based on that system -- not just the "Peacetime Constitution" we have, but the actual Constitution itself.

It's at Glenn Greenwald's blog. How Yoo gets that 'peacetime constitution' and 'wartime constitution' is a mystery to me. He sure didn't get it from the Constitution I met in school.

#22 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2006, 06:39 PM:

Oh, you're simply going to love this...

The Washington Post has hired the guy who wrote the smoking gun speech (and coined the phrase "axis of evil," whatever Danielle Crittendon may think)

as seen in the Post

Like many evangelical Christians, President Bush believes that God is at work in his life. But he has avoided claiming that God is behind his presidency or U.S. foreign policy, his chief speechwriter said.

"The important theological principle here, I believe, is to avoid identifying the purposes of an individual or a nation with the purposes of God," Michael Gerson said. "That seems a presumption to me, and we've done our best to avoid the temptation."

At a meeting with reporters in Key West, Fla., on Monday and Tuesday, Gerson, who has crafted almost all of Bush's major speeches since 2000 but has rarely spoken to the media, defended the president's religious rhetoric. Although the session was off the record, Gerson subsequently agreed to allow some of his main points to appear in print.

Bush's references to God have drawn criticism both at home and abroad, particularly in the context of the war in Iraq. Boston Globe columnist James Carroll, for example, has argued on the basis of Bush's statements that "the war on which America has embarked is essentially religious," a contention often echoed by commentators in the Middle East.

Gerson acknowledged some rhetorical missteps, such as Bush's remark five days after Sept. 11, 2001, that the United States had begun a "crusade" against terrorism. Gerson said it was an unscripted comment that White House officials quickly realized would reverberate badly in the Arab world.

But on the whole, the speechwriter argued, Bush's references to the role of providence in human affairs have been carefully calibrated and fully within the tradition of American civic religion. He said that Bush, like other presidents from George Washington to Bill Clinton, has expressed trust in God without claiming to understand all of God's ways.

and as less-guardedly seen in the New Yorker
At a Welliver dinner, the remarks of ex-speechwriters tend toward carefully calibrated irreverence; current speechwriters aren’t expected to gripe or to disclose confidences. But at the 2002 event, Gerson spoke with immoderate earnestness. According to several people who attended, Safire asked Gerson to tell the group something it didn’t know about Bush. Gerson, in a quavering voice, responded with a story that left some of his audience nonplussed. He described a call that he got moments after Bush finished addressing a joint session of Congress on September 20, 2001. Bush thanked Gerson for his work on the speech, to which Gerson replied, “Mr. President, this is why God wants you here.” Gerson then related Bush’s response, as evidence of his thoughtfulness. “The President said, ‘No, this is why God wants us here.’ ”

...Gerson says that he is flummoxed by the debate over religiosity in the White House. “There’s an idea that we are constantly trying to sneak into the President’s speeches religious language, code words, that only our supporters understand,” he said. “But they are code words only if you don’t know them, and most people know them.”

To illustrate his point, Gerson reminded me about the Times’ coverage of Bush’s first campaign. In April of 2000, after one Bush appearance, Frank Bruni wrote, “Mr. Bush also offered an interesting variation on the saying about the pot and the kettle. ‘Don’t be takin’ a speck out of your neighbor’s eye,’ he told the audience, ‘when you got a log in your own.’ ” Bush, in his inimitable way, was actually making reference to a saying of Jesus, quoted in Matthew: “Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye?” Gerson, smiling, said, “No one at the Times seemed to know that these were the words of the Sermon on the Mount.”

to write a column for their OpEd page.

#23 ::: Suela ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2006, 07:15 PM:

The San Francisco Chronicle did some ripping of its own in its 9/8 editorial: An Alternative Universe. Their whole Op Ed section seems to have been in a conscious state for several months now.

As a daily reader for the past 9 years, I can say honestly that nobody outside the Bay Area (and only some within: we do have Republicans here, you know) actually takes the SF Chronicle seriously. Certainly no policy-maker in the Administration has ever paid any attention to any of the Chronicle's editorials.

Pity, that: Jon Carroll has been writing some smart and insightful political commentary for a long time now.

#24 ::: Dena Shunra ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2006, 07:24 PM:

Thanks, PJ@21! Yes, I had seen the Greenwald piece, and found it distrubing.

I realize that every president has to bring to the table something of their own, to interpret the constitution as befits the political, social, economical, religious etc. climate of their times.

Bush the Second is, however, coloring waaaaaay outside the lines.

#25 ::: Lenny Bailes ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2006, 10:03 PM:

About the S.F. Chronicle: It's had a reputation for years as a silly S.F.-centric paper--putting city news on the front page and burying national/international news in a back section. This dates back to the time when the Chronicle was the morning paper, complementing the afternoon S.F. Examiner.

Notwithstanding that, these days the SF Chron editorial pages sure beat the Washington Post. I think the quality of their reporting has gradually been improving, too. They picked up a Pulitzer Prize in 2005 (although it went to a photographer, not a journalist).

My point, though, was that newspapers in some large Blue State cities seem to be reflecting the shifted paradigm: "We know that Bush and Cheney are self-serving liars." News stories now enumerate the contradictions in Bush/Cheney statements and the failures in their policies. That's a big improvement from two years ago.

The same newspapers *are not yet* ready to reflect the fact that the Republicans own all the riggable Diebold voting machines -- so, if we actually expect to see Republican leave office, we better watch the election process a lot more carefully than we've done the last few times.

#26 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2006, 10:22 PM:

What I find interesting is that after not uttering bin Laden's name for two or three years, beginning last week Bush has been saying "bin Laden" two or three times per speech.

I wonder what's up with that?

#27 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2006, 10:59 PM:

James @ 26

Some people are speculating that it's because he knows that Osama Bin Forgotten is really and truly dead (and can therefore be mentioned safely because no one can call Shrub on what he's saying). I don't know whether there's any truth to that theory; maybe Shrub thinks that 'Bin Laden' is still scaring people when he says it. (Maybe people at his speeches should start laughing at him when he tries it? Assuming that he isn't so nuts as to order shots fired into the crowd?)

#28 ::: Anaea ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2006, 11:33 PM:

I'm not so concerned about why Bin Laden hasn't been mentioned - that makes perfect sense. If your objective is to invade Iraq then you don't want to mention Bin Laden, that leads to a split focus. Why invade Iraq when we're worried about Bin Laden and nobody is claiming that he's hiding there?

What worries me is that Bin Laden is showing up again. There's a reason, and it's part of something they are planning, something they are preparing the public for. These guys have a plan set far, far in advance and the rhetoric is worked out to accomodate that. So the question really isn't "Where's Bin Laden been?" but "Where is the adminsitration going to claim he is?"

#29 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2006, 11:44 PM:

Or, Bush has to mention some bogeyman, and Saddam won't do: mentioning Saddam will turn people's minds to the debacle in Iraq.

If Osama is still alive, he'll do anything in his power to keep the Republicans in control of congress. Bush will do anything in his power to keep the Republicans in control of congress. Their goals make them allies.

I fear an October Surprise is in the offing.

#30 ::: Edward Oleander ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2006, 12:46 AM:

One thing I haven't seen lately in the media is the fact that none of this rhetoric is new. In fact, most of it is 40 to 50 years old. Think back...

In the 1950's, in order to justify a huge peace-time military buildup, our parents were fed a steady diet of fear about the threat of Communism. McCarthy and Company made it a crime to criticize the government's search for traitors, and the fever pitched up so high that even otherwise reasonable legislators joined in the circus (mostly perhaps to avoid political lynching). Then, in the '60's, they wanted to justify a war in Asia, which was in reality a proxy war between us and, at varying times, Russia and China. The threat of plain old Communism was stale though, so they came up with a new threat to ratchet up the fear: Monolithic Communism. Viet Nam was no threat in and of itself, so they became part of the larger world-wide threat, and that scared the bejeezus out of us enough to get us deeper into a war that should never have been.

Now, fast forward to the late 1980's and early 1990's. A new spate of terrorism lays a foundation for the first Gulf War. Bush Sr. uses a fear of Islam to bomb and embargo Iraq almost back into the Stone Age. Clinton inherits the mess and at least manages not to make the situation all that much worse.

September, 2001. An event much more dramatic than a trumped up Gulf of Tonkin (which was conveniently timed just a few months before the '64 elections) gives Shrub the excuse he needs to start a war of his own. But Afghanistan is too easy, and not his real target, so he lies his way into the Iraq war. As in the '50s, an attempt is made to equate criticism for the war (and it's founder) with cowardism and traitoristic leanings.

2002 - 2006. The threat of extreme Islam isn't keeping up support for the war, so Shrub ups the ante. As Communism became Monolithic Communism, we now see the slow (and unlabeled but no less deliberate) morphing of little ol' Al-Queda into a form of Monolithic Islamic Extremism that threatens the whole world. By presenting this confusing and mostly imaginary view of the Islamic world, almost half the country (and over 90% of the military) STILL believes Saddam is/was linked to Bin Laden and the 9/11 attacks. And so, our proxy war with Iran goes on in the sands of Iraq.

The other amazing similarities between the two wars are for a future thread, but they are indeed amazing. Couldn't President Cheney and Vice President Rumsfeld at least have dreamed up an original war?

#31 ::: Meg Thornton ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2006, 03:44 AM:

Some warning signs to watch out for:

1) There's a proposal to put the word "Democratic" into the name of your country. Most countries which label themselves as "Democratic" whatever usually aren't.

2) Intelligence "proves" that Osama bin Laden is being hidden somewhere in Iran. It's highly unlikely that he would be, since he's Sunni Muslim and Iran is mostly Shi'ite, but that didn't stop the US government back when they were making the link to Iraq.

3) The nutbar level in the speechifying continues to rise, with no sign of having to actually consider about public opinion. If they stop having to worry about counting the votes, they stop having to worry about dealing with the public altogether.

4) Restrictions on commercial travel inside and outside the US get much tighter (even for those who aren't brown-skinned). All in the name of cutting off the US from other world views; after all, if you raise people so that the nutbar view is all they've known, they're not going to question it.

#32 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2006, 05:30 AM:

Meg, of all the worrying things they could do, putting "Democratic" into the name of the country is about the least likely. "Republican", yes.

And impeachment is only one way to get rid of an administration before an election. There's also resignation, incapacitation followed by removal under the 25th Amendment, death, foreign invasion or violent insurrection.

Just being complete.

#33 ::: odaiwai (formerly dave) ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2006, 11:24 AM:

Ajay@32, unfortunately resignation/incapacitation or death means President Dick 'Dick' Cheney. Unless his swearing in involves unexpected 21 Gun salutes, random and unpredictable loud noises, large rubber dinosaurs or other such incidents as might be contraindicated in a man with a barely functioning heart, I doubt that many here would find that acceptable.

Still, it would be interesting to see him actually put his hand on a bible...

As for foreign invasion or violent insurrection, an American public fighting off the evil invaders from, umm, Belgium ("People of America, you *will* learn to appreciate mayonnaise on your frîtes de liberté"), would probably experience no cognitive dissonance in blowing up the invaders with homemade bombs while decrying the obviously completely reprehensible activities of the 'insurgents' in Iraq.

#34 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2006, 11:54 AM:

Speaking of that guy Our Fearless Leader doesn't care about/cancelled the search for, this is an evocative little story

#35 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2006, 12:21 PM:

odaiwai (formerly dave) @ 33

Can we arrange for unexpected 21-gun salutes with the guns pointing sort of in his direction, and, like, not very far up? (Just sayin'.)

#36 ::: odaiwai (formerly dave) ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2006, 12:35 PM:

PJ@35: But that would be cruel and he'd be unable to escape. You'd think a hunter like him would appreciate a chance for the prey to escape...

I'm not a gun-loving type, but I'd sure be willing to play the national anthem in power chords on a 3 Megawatt Marshall Amp within a few feet of Mr. Cheney's heart. (Which may or may not be kept in jar somewhere, not necessarily anywhere near Mr. Cheney.)

#37 ::: Avery ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2006, 12:41 PM:

odaiwai (formerly dave) @ 33

Why would you expect cognitive dissonance there? Once, after hearing someone argue that anyone who would support a suicide bomber is clearly subhuman blah blah blah... I asked them what they thought of the movie Independence Day.

You'd think I couldn't have been any more transparent if I would have taken a moment to wave a big flag that said, "Danger - Rhetorical Trap - Proceed with Caution". But you clearly have a bigger input register than they did.

#38 ::: Joe J ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2006, 01:31 PM:

Of course, evil describes what our enemies do, not what we do.

#39 ::: Malthus ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2006, 01:31 PM:

Well, I doubt large rubber dinosaurs alone would do him in. But of course, where you have dinosaurs, what else do you have?

#40 ::: Chryss ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2006, 01:41 PM:

Malthus, #39:


#41 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2006, 01:42 PM:

Malthus @ 39

Gardner Dozois?

#42 ::: Lisa Goldstein ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2006, 02:01 PM:

I keep waiting for someone to come out with a Where's Osama? book, along the lines of Where's Waldo? Or has someone already done this and I'm behind the times as usual?

#43 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2006, 02:29 PM:

Malthus #39:

Large rubber, um, turds?

Steven Spielberg?

A parade?

Unnatural acts of various sorts...?

All of the above?

#44 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2006, 02:57 PM:

Malthus: But of course, where you have dinosaurs, what else do you have?

Sodomy! You have sodomy! That'll make his shriveled little heart stop...

#45 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2006, 03:04 PM:

Oh where oh where can Osama be?
George Bush sent troops across the sea,
They went to Iraq left Osama free,
And Bush has made the whole world a much worse place to be.

There was a day, a horrible day,
When the terrorists came out to play,
Hijacked four planes, and crashed them all,
Sent the whole world in a awful fall,
Two thousand dead the econonmy crashed,
Bush the jackass wanted it to last,
He sent some troops to Afghanistan,
But he was aiming for a diff'rent land.

Oh where oh where can Osama be?
George Bush sent troops across the sea,
They went to Iraq left Osama free,
And Bush has made the whole world a much worse place to be.

George Bush he said Osama he would get,
But Osama's not been captured yet,
No takers for the bounty high,
Millions of dollars but not one to buy,
Saddam was who Bush was aiming for,
A hundred billion spent and so much more,
The troops went out from Afghanistan,
And into Baghdad failed to take a stand,
The troops stood by while museums burned,
The books in libraries to ashes turned,
Its streets replete with atrocities,
But still George Bush persists in his hypocrisies.

Oh where oh where can Osama be?
George Bush sent troops across the sea,
They went to Iraq left Osama free,
And Bush has made the whole world a much worse place to be.

#46 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2006, 03:12 PM:

Texanne: I didn't want to go there. (At least not directly.)

#47 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2006, 03:50 PM:

Courtesy of National Catholic Reporter, a wonderful quote from Ambrose Bierce:

"War is God's way of teaching Americans geography."

#48 ::: Dena Shunra ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2006, 08:01 PM:

Lisa@42, that would be *such* a fabulous weekly cartoon... say, from now until January 2009...

#49 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2006, 08:14 PM:


Thank you for the link to the Olberman speech. I don't have functional sound on my computer, so I just read it. It was ... it was... Olberman was beyond angry.

Then I listened to it with Jim when he got home. Dear ghods, was Olberman beyond angry.

#50 ::: Lisa Goldstein ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2006, 08:15 PM:

Dena@48 -- Anyone who wants the idea is welcome to it, free and clear.

#51 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2006, 08:30 PM:

#42: Lisa, if you google-image for "Where's Osama?" you'll get a couple of pics in that style (as well as a bunch of Osama dressed as Waldo).

#52 ::: Lisa Goldstein ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2006, 12:11 AM:

NelC @ 51 -- Oh, good -- I'm glad someone's doing it. People need to be reminded that it's been five years and this guy still hasn't been caught. And according to Michael Moore, there's a possibility he's on dialysis, so how hard can it be?

#53 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2006, 04:27 AM:

Ajay@32, unfortunately resignation/incapacitation or death means President Dick 'Dick' Cheney.

True. In that case, como se dice, rinse and repeat.

#54 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2006, 05:19 AM:

A quirk of the US Constitution means that Bush being deposed with more than half a term left to serve means that Cheney can't serve past 2012.

So there's going to be a lot of pressure to delay anything affecting Bush until after that point.

Now, would they go for a caretaker Veep if Cheney was forced to retire by ill-health, or would they try to pre-select the 2008 candidate? Could Jeb Bush even be chosen as his brother's Vice-President?

Here in the UK we have our own speculations about just when Tony Blair will go. And who will replace him. But what effect would Toney Blair quitting have in the USA? Is the New Labour lap-dog significant enough for people in the US to care, or does he just think he is?

#55 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2006, 07:16 AM:

Could Jeb Bush even be chosen as his brother's Vice-President?

There's no Constitutional bar to it. The rivers of vomit choking the streets might slow traffic a bit.

#56 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2006, 07:55 AM:

Could Jeb Bush even be chosen as his brother's Vice-President?

No, he has too many chins. No multi-chinned man has served as US president since William Howard Taft. Although, arguably, a man can serve as VP despite being ineligible (through previous presidential terms or superfluous chins) to serve as president.

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