July 30, 2003
Terrorist Futures Market Scrapped By Wimpy White House; OpYoShHa Opens Trading Market Anyway
It was an idea too good for its time: predicting terrorist behavior by running a futures market for investors. The Policy Analysis Project, part of the Pentagon FutureMap Plan, was canned by Bush Administration officials who were smart enough to endorse the project initially but too cowardly to proceed with its grand vision once a few whiners complained that it was "gruesome" and "a national embarrassment."
We at Opinions You Should Have applaud the White House's continued employment of wunderkind Admiral John Poindexter, a man whose brilliance is only matched by his unchallenged integrity. After all, his perjury conviction for lying to Congress was eventually reversed.
We're not going to let a good thing pass us by. If the White House won't run it, we will.
(Hit the "But Seriously" Button To See Today's Stock Offerings)
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Movers and Losers in Today's Market
|Bin Laden Is Toast||BLT||$00.01||-95%|
|Bin Laden Will Buy Huge Gold Medallion Studded With 100 Small Perfect Diamonds That Spell Out DEF BIN L.D.N||BOLD||$365.01||+95%|
|Eiffel Tower Fire||ETCF||$32.01||+15%|
|Bush Sets French Restaurant On Fire||FLMR||$245.01||+45%|
|Iraq Democracy Created||SNSF||$1.32||-15%|
|Iraq Becomes Fundamentalist Moslem State||ONOAFMS||$745.32||+95%|
|Denny's Opens Store In Downtown Baghdad||DBGD||$325.46||+75%|
|Denny's Looted, Burned||DLB||$562.31||+75%|
|Jessie Ventura Heads New American-run Iraqi Administration, Brings Stone Cold Steve Austin, Mankind; Iraqis Worship Them As Gods||WWW||$2000.01||+205%|
|Admiral Poindexter Becomes Secretary of State; Immediately Bets Heavily On Self ||DITZ||$362.02||-95%|
|Bush Trades Lockbox For Sentimental Favorite: the Slushfund||NXN||$5525||+346%|
|Homeland Security Department Spends 500 million to Fully Secure All Ports||APS||$22.50||-15%|
|Homeland Security Department Spends $1000 To Put Signs At All Ports Saying "SECURED"||APSF||$922||+45%|
|Bush Spends Nuclear Winter in Florida||JEB||$657||+95%|
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July 29, 2003
Centrist Democrats Suggest Dem Candidate Wear Rubber Clinton Mask
Clinton Formula, Mask Only Winning Option, Says DLC
The moderate Democratic Leadership Council warned the Democratic Party today that it was in danger of leaning to the far left and "not even resembling the Republican Party one little bit."
"If they don't co-opt some of the Republican positions, they lose," said DLC stalwart Darren Schmaggeggi, who claims to have scripted Clinton's wins in 1992 and 1996. "All this talk about antiwar, pro-gay is very dangerous. People are gonna think Democrats are a bunch of pansy homos. Pansy homos cannot get elected in this country."
Of the current crop of Democratic hopefuls, Schmaggeggi praised Joe Lieberman the most. "He knows what he's doing. He's the Jewish Clinton. Except that, if he were to fool around with cigars, they'd be circumsized, I guess."
Schmaggeggi suggested that one of the key issues on the Democratic platform should be welfare reform. He shrugged off criticism that Clinton had taken welfare reform off the table by pushing through the most sweeping welfare reform of the past century. "Welfare reform is always popular. Gives you a chance to paint the poor as lazy folks just hoping for handouts. You get the racist vote, you immediately appeal to wealthy corporate types who think they've worked for a living," he said. "The swing Republicans."
The internal debate amongst party members caused by Clinton's past successes highlighted again the fact that Democrats are simply at a loss as to precisely what formula they should adopt to lose the coming 2004 election.
Later that day, Carley Tisk, a campaign consultant to Joe Lieberman mused, "The rubber mask may be a damn good idea. . . ."
July 28, 2003
Wolfowitz Fan Of "Murky" Intelligence
Also Likes Poor Judgment, Lack of Foresight, and Fractured Reasoning
Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz Sunday defended the invasion of as an example of how the United States had to be prepared to act on "murky intelligence" in its war on terrorism. . . .
"The nature of terrorism is that intelligence about terrorism is murky," Wolfowitz, one of the architects of the war, said on the "Fox News Sunday" program.
During the course of the interview, Wolfowitz also championed vague notions, questionable judgment, little knowledge and fuzzy logic. "If we waited around for something better, who know's what could happen," he said. "You have to be reckless and just blindly flail around as a world superpower; take the time to be informed and BAM, you're toast."
Wolfowitz later said, "I might have regrets -- if only I could be well informed enough to understand the consequences of my actions. . . ."
In other news, Wolfowitz recently fired one of his doctors who he discovered was planning to operate on Wolfowitz on the basis of fogged out, virtually unreadable x-rays.
July 26, 2003
Old But Gold
U.S. Marines Discover Hidden Trove of Extra Hussein Sons
U.S. Marines securing an atomic energy facility discovered a hidden room containing seven "backup" sons of Saddam Hussein who were prepared to take over the throne if Hussein's known sons, Uday and Qusay, were killled or otherwise unable to exercise power.
July 25, 2003
Homeland Security Department Almost Ready To Provide Security
Sense of Excitement Is Palpable, Whatever That Means
A line stretched around the building in Washington, D.C., today, as citizens from all the over the country waited to receive rations of domestic security when the Department of Homeland Security starts doling it out sometime in the near future.
Tom Ridge was optimistic that they could open their doors for business "incredibly soon."
"We're off to a fantastic start," Ridge said. "We have a fancy logo and a big building to put it on. We've got a lot of colorful labels and a storehouse full of empty cans. It's only a matter of time before we start producing enough quality, nourishing domestic security to sustain every household in America."
So far the Department of Homeland Security's cannery has produced enough security to fill about 1000 cans, enough to protect the West Wing of the White House.
Skeptics have pointed out that, at current funding levels, Ridge's Department will only be able to produce 100,000 cans a year -- hardly the amount needed to feed the entire country -- and that those cans are currently scheduled to be distributed evenly, without regard to specific need.
For instance, John and Grace Mariano of New York City, who both weigh over 700 pounds, have been waiting on line since before the Department was created. "We're starving," they said. "We need, like, 1000 vats of security." Some say the Department will never be able to fill their needs.
"That's nonsense," said Ridge, smiling. "We're working on genetically altering plants to produce security."
"That's right," he said, beaming. "One day security will grow on trees."
July 24, 2003
White House Institution To Be Renamed: National Insecurity Council
Earlier this month CIA Director George Tenet accepted responsibility for the assertion in George Bush's State of the Union address that Iraq had tried to secure uranium in Africa. . . .
A Memo From Stephen Hadley to Condoleezza Rice
. . . [I]t now turns out that yet another administration official -- Stephen Hadley of the National Security Council -- has stepped forward to take a piece of the blame himself. . . .- Washington Post, July 23
From: Stephen Hadley
To: NSC Director Rice
Thank you so much for pointing out that I had forgotten to wear a tie today. Luckily I keep a spare one in my office -- if I could only remember where I put it.
I wanted to again apologize for my failure to remember the two memos and the phone call from George Tenet last October. Perhaps I've been overwhelmed by our efforts to find WMD in Iraq -- I know, I forgot that we're no longer looking for them. I have instituted a big change in the way I keep track of things -- you saw the big white-board on my office wall? So that I have crossed out Iraq and written SYRIA and IRAN over "Iraq" with indelible blue markers.
I'm sorry about recommending we release those nine pages of the National Intelligence Estimate. I forgot to check whether it had those warnings from the State and Energy Departments in there. I had forgotten about those. I'm sorry I forgot about North Korea, but that really wasn't my fault.
I know I have caused you and the President endless embarrassment because of these mistakes, but I will endeavor to fulfill his recently expressed confidence in me nonetheless.
I wanted to tell you -- I have the feeling that we've all forgotten something very important in all of the excitement about Iraq, but I can't remember what it is.
Something about New York and some building there. And maybe some bearded guy? If this rings a bell with you, please let me know and we can re-brief the President on it.
July 23, 2003
53 Days After End of War, Bush Proclaims End of Hussein Regime; Saddam Hussein Rumored to Secretly Attend Announcement
Today President Bush announced that the apparent killing of two of Saddam Hussein's sons constituted an end to the Hussein regime. Bush shrugged off suggestions that i opposition might still be strong because the head of the regime, Saddam Hussein, was still at large.
"We may have failed to decapitate the regime, but we got the left and right arm," said Bush. "So now the regime won't be able to pick up anything."
A swarthy man with a beret and a bushy mustache, who was wearing a trenchcoat and standing at the back of the rose garden, snorted derisively during the announcement, but managed to slip away from the festivities before Secret Service agents could apprehend him. Several napkins and an ashtray bearing the White House insignia were later found missing.
July 22, 2003
Democrat's Ad Calling Bush Misleading Misleading, Says GOP; Populace Confused By Endlessly Recursive Allegations
The GOP told television stations across the country not to air an ad calling President Bush a liar, "because that's a lie."
The GOP also said that any ad calling the President disgusting would be disgusting, and any ad calling the President effective would be effective. "It is what it says the President is," said Tom Bradowitch, a GOP spokesperson.
"Bush is not a misleader," he added, "He is our leader."
The GOP pointed out that the ad, which shows video of Bush telling Congress that "Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa" was misleading, because Bush was only saying that the British government had said that.
Television broadcasters made immediate plans to pull the ad upon learning of the enormous breadth of the ad's mischaracterization.
Al Tablehead, of KTTV in Peoria noted, "President Bush clearly was telling Congress that the British government is populated by morons. We knew -- the State Department knew, the White House knew, the CIA knew -- that the British Government had it wrong. I think when he said that, President Bush was urging us to attack Britain."
July 21, 2003
Bremer A Beacon Of Astonishing Revelations; Says Sky Is Blue, Other Shockers
Yesterday, Paul Bremer stunned the world with surprisingly detailed knowledge about the situation in Iraq that no one else could ever have guessed. For one thing, Fox News analysts actually fell over when Bremer said that Saddam Hussein was likely to be hiding in Iraq.
He also said that the United States was going to "take the battle to the enemy," which was a great relief to friendly forces who feared that the U.S. was going to take the fighting to them.
Bremer also said that he had concluded that, in order to be succesful in Iraq, the U.S. would have to "overpower" the opposition.
"That's so crazy, it just might work," said former lawnmower salesman-turned-Fox "Senior News Analyst" Suzy Tang.
She continued, "It's leaders like you, Mr. Bremer, that have helped make America what it is today."
July 20, 2003
Professor Claims Bush Reading Skills Okay; Nation Is Relieved
President Bush and his national security adviser did not entirely read the most authoritative prewar assessment of U.S. intelligence on , including a State Department claim that an allegation Bush would later use in his State of the Union address was "highly dubious," White House officials said yesterday. . . .
- Washington Post, July 18, 2003
Concerned about the President's poor reading comprehension and the impact it may be having on major U.S. policy decisions, Opinions You Should Have contacted Yale English Department Professor Heidi Stump, who taught the President in all of his undergraduate English classes. Stump said there was nothing wrong with the President's reading and analytical skills.
"He was outstanding. He was always able to single out the key essence of the work that he read." For instance, Bush definitively concluded that War and Peace involved a "conflict in Russia."
Acccording to Stump, Bush was excellent at topic sentences and titles. Of Shakespeare's Hamlet, Bush wrote a paper entitled "You Can't Poison Somebody By Putting Something In Their Ear."
"I was absolutely pleased and surprised at how good it was. In class, he seemed not to have grasped that Hamlet's mother had remarried. He was always asking, what does this dude have against his father? And then he writes this gem."
Of Tale of Two Cities, Bush wrote:
Many folks say that there are runners capable of the worst times, and on other days, the best times. It just depends how their days are going.
Stump noted that it was a wholly original take on the book's famous first sentence
"For some people, it's fine to see the forest for the trees," Stump said enthusiastically. "Other people," she said triumphantly, "can see that the forest is green."
July 18, 2003
New Email Form At WhiteHouse.Gov Permits Only Fan Mail
Complainers Have Computers Confiscated, Crushed, Returned
A new email system at the White House prohibits emails to President@Whitehouse.gov and requires ordinary folks to go to www.whitehouse.gov/webmail and fill out a series of forms, including one indicating whether the writer "supports" the President's policies or "dissents." (Note: This applies only to ordinary people. Corporate CEOs have the President's direct line programmed directly into their cell phones.)
Dissenting emails are routinely tossed in the virtual garbage can, never to be seen again, while agreeing emailers receive autographed photos of George W. Bush giving a thumbs up over the caption "Bring it on!"
A random number of dissenting emailers are selected to have their computers seized, crushed, and returned to them with the note, "How'd you like to be detained indefinitely as a military combatant, buddy?"
Asked what the public reaction has been to the new email system, new White House press secretary Scott McClellan said, "We've gotten one hundred per cent positive feedback."
July 17, 2003
Bush Sets New Standard For Personal Responsibility
Ayn Rand Posthumously Shrugs
Asked if he would take personal responsibility for the words in his own speech, Bush said, "I take responsibility for putting our troops into action. And I made that decision because Saddam Hussein was a threat to our security and a threat to the security of other nations."
- Bush's remarks during visit of Tony Blair, July 17, 2003
Or, in other words, "No."
Economists Announce Recession Was Over in 2001; Record Numbers Of Unemployed Celebrate
As economists announced that the recession ended almost two years ago, vast numbers of unemployed people all over America celebrated.
"I'm going to open up that can of tuna I've been hording the past two months and really treat myself," said Anastasia Weaver of Michigan.
More unemployed workers celebrated the news than any group of unpaid revelers since World War II. "I'm gonna treat all of my friends to a tic tac" said John Vowel, who was jubilant. "I'm so glad the worst was over way back before I lost my job and had to sell my home and move into a biscuit tin. I had no idea things were so good."
Later that day, John added, "Well, I woulda bought tic tacs. But all the stores around here went out of business."
July 16, 2003
White House Financing Government Operations With Credit Card Cash Advances
Over 49,000 Cards Found In Karl Rove's Desk
It was recently discovered that the White House has been financing government operations from cash advances on thousands of credit cards that it has applied for under the names of dead presidents. Millard Fillmore alone has over 360 credit cards issued in his name.
Abraham Lincoln is now known in the credit industry as a "heavy borrower."
"It is not yet known how the White House has established credit lines for so many dead people," said Isadora Mallomud of the Heightened Curiosity in Economic Affairs Institute.
Cards were discovered when a White House temp was sent into Karl Rove's office to look for a a list of wealthy G.O.P. donors. When she opened a vertical file drawer, thousands of cards poured onto the floor in a heap.
With the new national debt prediction sailing up to a conservatively estimated $455 billion dollars just this year, and $1.9 trillion over the next five, the White House needs to find about 910,000,000 more cards in order to keep the government running in the immediate future.
The White House has not yet formulated a plan for repaying the advances. Senior administration officials are considering soliciting voluntary contributions from citizens. "We'd simply be encouraging citizens to obtain cash advances on their credit cards and send them to us," said an unnamed official, Blubnik Mensch of the Office of Budget and Misdirection.
July 15, 2003
Orwell's Estate To Sue Bush Administration For Copyright Infringement
Fear White House Adoption of "War is Peace" Slogan, Among Other Steps
The estate of George Orwell, the author of "1984," sued the Bush Administration today for copyright infringement. "They've totally co-opted virtually every idea in Mr. Orwell's book," said lawyer Nathanial Hawkins. "They can call it `purging cognitive dissonance' all they want, but we know it's just doublethink® dressed up in a fancy new wrapper."
Orwell's estate was most recently threatened by George Bush's statement that White House statements made the week before, admitting the wrongfulness of including a statement about Niger uranium in the State of the Union address, were wrong. "That's doublethink® if ever I saw it," said Hawkins. "What's next? Thought police?"
"Don't get me wrong," added Hawkins. "I love Big Brother."
"I'm just not that fond of George W. Bush."
Karen Hughes To Head New U.S. Ministry of Truth
Former White House Staffer Karen Hughes has agreed to return from Texas to head up the new Ministry of Truth, a new branch of the Federal Government designed by Karl Rove and Dick .
"I've spent enough time with my damn family," said Hughes, explaining a return to public service which was just as sudden and unexpected as her recent departure from the White House last year.
The new Ministry of Truth's job will be to rewrite history, especially the speeches, statements and positions of the Adminstration, and of Bush himself, both since taking office and during then-Governor Bush's campaign before Bush took office.
The Ministry will also track down print, TV, and internet journalism and redraft past stories so that they "more accurately convey what we're saying the President has been saying the whole time."
"This is not a dramatic reorganization of government," said departing White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer. "We're just trying to formalize something we've been been doing all along."
In a press conference today, a reporter asked Hughes about the adminstration's utter failure to successfully pursue Osama bin Laden.
Hughes answered, "We're at war with Saddam Hussein. We've always been at war with Saddam Hussein."
July 13, 2003
Opinions You Should Have Responsible For White House Misstatements
Sincerely Regret Misleading Our Great Leader
While CIA Director George Tenet has bravely stepped forward to protect us, the staff at Opinions You Should Have must finally reveal that we encouraged the President to tell the American people that Saddam Hussein had sought to purchase uranium from Africa.
We regret our misguided judgment. Our enthuiasm for the word "yellowcake" completely blinded us to the wrongfulness of making a false statement to the American people.
Our excitement and delight at discovering that there was such a thing as "yellowcake" uranium was so great that we decided to ignore the fact that the Niger documents we were examining were forged. It is with great sadness that we admit we were too busy saying "yellowcake uranium -- that is too cool" to properly advise the President of the blatant inaccuracy of his statement in the State of the Union address.
We also are greatly saddened by our decision to preface the false statement with "the British government has learned" in order to shield the President from any blame for its untruthfulness. We were wrong.
While we appreciate Mr. Tenet's fine, friendly and courageous act, we are happy to clear him from any wrongdoing. We are greatly sorry that our judgment was flawed, although we must remind the public that our error has introduced the phrase "yellowcake uranium" into the public lexicon, a fact for which we must all be grateful.
Moreover, while the purchase of our new H2 Hummer stretch limo with full wet bar, hot tub, and plasma screen television coincides with the release of this statement, the British government has learned that it is entirely untrue that the staff of Opinions You Should Have received a large monetary benefit, among other things, in exchange for our story here today.
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The sentence Mr. Tenet took the blame for is
The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.
The crucial paragraph from the 2003 State of the Union address
The International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed in the 1990s that Saddam Hussein had an advanced nuclear weapons development program, had a design for a nuclear weapon and was working on five different methods of enriching uranium for a bomb. The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa. Our intelligence sources tell us that he has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production. Saddam Hussein has not credibly explained these activities. He clearly has much to hide.George W. Bush
clearly has much to hide.
The International Atomic Energy Agency and, reportedly, the CIA thoroughly discounted the idea that the aluminum tubes were purchased for, or could be used for, uranium refinement. (Links here, here, and here, to start. The Washington Post noted (in that last link, there) that:
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the U.N.-chartered nuclear watchdog, reported in a Jan. 8 preliminary assessment that the tubes were "not directly suitable" for uranium enrichment but were "consistent" with making ordinary artillery rockets -- a finding that meshed with Iraq's official explanation for the tubes.
So even the statement regarding the aluminum tubes -- forget the Niger claim -- was demonstrably false. The conclusion set forth by Bush in his State of the Union speech was, at the very least, so unsettled that it was reckless and irresponsible to set it forth as fact in the Address. (And that is a kind reading of the situation -- for certainly, once the IAEA has come out with a preliminary assessment indicating that what you want to say is probably false -- it would be lying to state the contrary unless new evidence controverted the IAEA's conclusion.)
The Washington Post story -- reporting the unreliability of repeated White House claims concerning use of the aluminum tubes to develop nuclear fuel -- is dated January 24, four days before the State of the Union address where the false claim was again advanced.
UPDATE: The Washington Post seems to have actually caught on, unlike the rest of the media, to this. The story here
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July 10, 2003
Fleischer Taunts Reporters With Verbal Prestidigitation; Tries to Make Issue Disappear
"I think the burden is on those people who think [Hussein] didn't have weapons of mass destruction to tell the world where they are."
- Ari Fleischer, July 9, 2003
"And while they're at it," added Fleischer, "It would nice if they could come up with some oil."
Fleischer also suggested that from now on, in a criminal trial, any defendant claiming his innocence should show this by proving his or her own guilt.
Fleischer also insisted that "these people" explain how magician David Copperfield made the Statue of Liberty disappear.
"And another thing," said Fleischer, building up steam, "those people -- those people -- should tell us where Jimmy Hoffa is buried, they're so smart."
Fleischer then asked a reporter to give him a watch -- "any watch." He then placed Helen Thomas's watch in a handkerchief, hit the handkerchief repeatedly with a hammer, and then opened up the handkerchief to reveal -- Condoleeza Rice, who jumped out of Fleischer's palm and declared, "See? You can't turn back the clock. To say otherwise is revisionist history."
Ms. Thomas's watch was never recovered.
The next day, Senator Robert Byrd questioned Donald Rumsfeld during his testimony before the Armed Services Committee.
"What I'd really like to know, said the Senator," is why "those people" had better intelligence than we did."
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld ducks, weaves, and prepares to throw a hard left during his recent appearance before Congress.
July 08, 2003
Majority of Americans Believe Bush "Stretched The Truth"
Smaller Group Says Truth Was Put On The Rack And Made To Sing "Danny Boy"
Yesterday, PollingReport.com reported that a majority of Americans believed Bush "stretched the truth" but did not tell a lie in making the case for the Iraq war.
Ten percent of Americans stated that the White House had stretched the truth so much that it looked like Gumby after he had been pulled in opposite directions by two teams of Budweiser Clydesdales.
According to the poll, most Americans also believe that:
- seven to twelve half-truths equal a whole truth;
- a white lie is fibbing but not really lying; and
- reckless exagerration constitutes massaging the facts but not maiming them.
Significant numbers of people polled also believed that Saddam Hussein was the direct cause of the World Trade Center attack, that the war uncovered links between Saddam Hussein and al Queda, and that Arnold Schwarzenegger has been the governor of California for the past three years.
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Which would you say is the best way to complete the following sentence?
A "white lie" can reasonably justify the loss of:
(a) 100 lives;
(b) 500 lives;
(c) 1000 lives;
(d) Not even a single life.
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July 07, 2003
Bush Defends Blair Against Claim That British "Sexed Up" Intelligence Dossier
Bush Plays Golf, Too; Uses Nine-Iron
President Bush, commenting on the BBC's claim that Tony Blair had "sexed up" British intelligence reports about 's WMD development, said, "These were not sexy dossiers, and rumors that these dossiers were provided to high level ministers during visits to sperm banks are absolutely untrue."
Bush said, "I know the British are kinky, but they're not that kinky."
BBC's Michael Tottingham-Smythe-Fitzhugh-Byrne stated otherwise: "These were the sexiest dossiers I'd ever seen. They were dripping with black lace. I didn't see all of them but these were the kind of dossiers where what you weren't able to see was covered up in a way which just made you want to see more."
Ari Fleischer stated: "I saw the dossiers and frankly, they didn't do a thing for me."
Fitzhugh-Byrne later remarked, "If they didn't affect him, then he's not a man."
July 04, 2003
White House Decides War Safer than Peace
Bush Seeks New War To Save U.S. Soldiers' Lives
On May 1, 2003, President George W. Bush stood on the deck of the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln and announced the end of the war. However, the ensuing peace has not been kind.
At least one American soldier has died for each day passed since the war's end -- more than 60 deaths so far -- and scores more have been injured. Accordingly, the White House today announced it was searching for a war to start "in order to immediately ameliorate the growing danger to our young servicemen and women overseas."
Iran is a possibility, and Syria could also be a target. White House officials said that where the next war takes place is irrelevant. "The important thing is not to spend a lot of time deliberating about who to attack, but to attack as soon as possible, so we can get this deadly peace behind us," said Donald Rumsfeld.
"It's not a guerilla war that's killing us," Rumsfeld explained. "It's guerilla peace."
"The fact that the majority of these deaths -- almost 40 so far -- come from non-combat related instances, simply shows how dangerous peace can be," Rumsfeld added.
Karl Rove dismissed suggestions that war was safer for President Bush's relelection campaign than peace. "That's simply absurd,' he said, as he watched President Bush happily playing a round of golf.
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The New York Times notes:
Since major combat for the 150,000 troops in was declared over on May 1, more than 60 Americans, including 25 killed in hostile encounters, have died in Iraq, about half the number of deaths in the two months of the initial campaign.The Washington Post reports that the latest attack -- a retaliatory strike by U.S. soldiers on Iraqis -- was at 10:30 this morning, the 4th of July:
U.S. troops today killed 11 is who ambushed a convoy outside Baghdad in one of the heaviest clashes since major hostilities in the war ended two months ago.
The ambush came hours after mortars hit a nearby base, wounding 18 U.S. soldiers. In a third incident, a sniper shot and killed an American soldier guarding the Baghdad museum, the military said.
The incidents cast a shadow over the July 4 holiday for U.S. troops stationed in but many said they planned to continue celebrations despite the renewed violence.
Update: Billmon of Whiskey Bar says it perfectly here.
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July 03, 2003
An Open Letter To President Bush From An Employee
Where are the weapons of mass destruction? Turning to his Baghdad proconsul, Paul Bremer, Bush asked, "Are you in charge of finding Iraq WMD?" Bremer said no, he was not. Bush then put the same question to his Iraq military commander, General Tommy Franks. But Franks said it wasn't his job either. A little exasperated, Bush asked, So who is in charge of finding WMD? After aides conferred for a moment, someone volunteered the name of Stephen Cambone, a little-known deputy to Donald Rumsfeld, back in Washington. Pause. "Who?" Bush asked.
- Time Magazine, July 7, 2003
Dear Mr. President,
I was deeply saddened and disappointed to learn from -- not from a fellow staffer, Mr. President, but from the media -- that you had forgotten who I was and what I was doing in your service. Remember your nickname for me -- "Honker" -- not because I have a big nose (though I do), but because, you said, I am "sniffing out those WMD like one of those big-nosed hound dogs for the U.S. of A.?" And then you laughed a lot. Overlong, really, but I am proud to work for you.
Remember when you asked me to come to the Oval Office recently? Remember how you said you had faith in me but maybe I had better look around the Oval Office and see if I could find "any fricking WMD there because I certainly hadn't found any in Iraq?" In front of Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz and everybody. I didn't appreciate being forced to crawl around the Oval, looking under the chairs and stuff, or under the sofa cushions, especially with Dick still sitting on them, but I did it, because I understood that you were making a point, I guess.
Perhaps you forgot I was in charge of the hunt for WMD because I had suggested, in what I believed to be a moment of clarity, that someone over in Iraq should be supervising the search for weapons there, as opposed to somebody sitting behind a desk reviewing paperwork about it in D.C. many miles away. Does any of this ring a bell, Mr. President?
Anyway, I wanted to let you know that we haven't found any WMD yet. I didn't mean to sound bitter.
Dr. Stephen Cambone,
Under Secretary of Defense For Intelligence
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It's absolutely shocking to me that Bush might not know who Dr. Stephen Cambone is. Although Time described him as a "little-known deputy," he appears to have been linked to Iraq and Rumsfeld for years. I haven't dug up his entire background as yet, but a Pentagon spokesman told me that he had recently been Director of the DoD Office of Programs Analysis and Evaluation before being promoted to his current position -- a position created by Donald Rumsfeld specifically for the war against terrorism. Cambone was sworn in on March 11, 2003.
There are only five Under Secretaries in the Pentagon. Cambone is the first Under Secretary for Intelligence ever.
It appears from a quick search of the web and of documents at the DoD web site that he has long been an advocate and architect of Rumsfeld's plan for transforming the military; a paper he authored in 1996 as a Senior Fellow for the Center for Strategic and International Studies suggested that the ABM treaty with Russia was having a strongly negative effect on U.S. abilities to develop effective Ballistic Missile Defense systems, names Dick Cheney and advocates arguments he set forth as Secretary of Defense under Bush I and thereafter, supporting ways that the U.S. could violate the spirit of the ABM treaty without violating the letter of the law.
It seems fair to conclude that this position led to Bush II's repudiation of the ABM treaty.
Cambone also may have been at the forefront of efforts to redesign military weapons platforms to increase both their standoff ability (the ability to strike targets from afar) and to conduct special operations. One of the developments Cambone has trumpeted involves the emergence of the SSGN class of submarines, which could carry a payload of 154 cruise missiles, as well as having the capability to deliver SEAL special operations teams to combat or covert operation sites using small submersilbiles -- minisubs and other devices -- launched from the submarine itself.
I found it interesting that the official magazine of the the U.S. Submariner force envisioned serious U.S. military engagement in active combat in 2007 and 2008 in its article on SSGN's:
November 15, 2007 – “Reporting live from the Submarine Base in Bangor, Washington, this is Rich Levins of the U.S. News Network. We are here to witness the first deployment of USS Michigan (SSGN-727) as she joins U.S. forces currently engaged in combat operations overseas. Completing conversion last year, Michigan is a TRIDENT submarine modified to carry up to 154 cruise missiles and as many as 66 Special Forces personnel for months at a time.
- "SSGN: A Transformational Force for the U.S. Navy"
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Posted by Tom at 09:38 AM
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July 02, 2003
Republicans Make Early Gains In Securing Naked Florida Vote; Placing Nudism On GOP Platform
Time Magazine reports that nudism -- that pasttime which challenges Americans to play ping pong and jump around without jiggling or swinging certain body parts -- has resurged in popularity. The force behind the rebirth? Republicans.
Their key issues are tax reform and terrorism; they like Golf Magazine and GMC Safari vans. And most have kids at home.
Republicans have discovered that nudism promotes key family values, said Ray Blipman, a native of Lake Como, Florida, where skin reigns and clothing stains. "When you see your parents naked, it tends to dampen the sexual appetite a bit," Ray said. "Keeps the youngsters chaste."
It's an abrupt turnaround for Republicans, where bad dressing and a lack of transparency in government have long been the norm.
Democrats are at a loss as to how to combat the Republican liplock on nude bodies. Terry McAuliffe, chairman of the DNC, now claims that Democrats' more casual dress style has always been more closely aligned with the goals of naked people. "Look at James Carville," he said. "Hardly ever wore a suit in his life. Sleeps naked."
Needless to say, the image of a naked James Carville hasn't done much for the Democratic party.
July 01, 2003
Bush's Talks With God Involve TV, Baseball
Bush Forgets To Ask Key Questions About Assigned Missions
George W. Bush, who recently said that God had told him to fight al Queda, invade , make peace in the Middle East, and "stop smirking so much," revealed that he had forgotten to ask key questions of the Lord and that their discussions usually revolved around old television shows and the state of baseball in America.
"God said I was an idiot to trade Sammy Sosa," said Bush, referring to a poor decision made during his ownership of the Texas Rangers.
Further probing of the nature of Bush's discussions with God puzzled Americans today, particularly God's concern with the stumbling Detroit Tigers franchise. According to Bush, God frequently said, "I gave them some great hitters, but they still can't break .250. What's up with that?"
Particularly disturbing was the revelation that, during his discussions with God, Bush forgot to ask key questions such as, "Where's Osama bin Laden?," "Is Saddam Hussein still alive?," and "What's the deal with Saddam's Weapons of Mass Destruction?" Instead, he said, "we often discussed Gilligan's Island."
"God was angry about the Mary Anne/Ginger debate," said Bush. "He said people who were focused on which girl they liked best were missing the point."