On Damadola, we are now being told by Pakistani officials that there really were terrorist leaders at the house, but that their bodies were dragged off before authorities arrived. This is The War Against Terror’s equivalent of “I do have a girlfriend, but she goes to another school, you wouldn’t know her.”
According to the Pentagon website, “The American people must remind themselves every day that the United States is at war, a top Army general said today.” It’s not exactly the serenity prayer, is it? Some people, and I’m thinking Gen. Ray Odierno might be one of them, are just not cut out to write self-help books.
George Bush, meanwhile, invited some “victims of Saddam Hussein” to the White House, on the very day a Human Rights Watch report says that the US uses torture as a deliberate policy, and said some ironic things about a tyrant who considered himself above the law and denied people basic human rights. But mostly, he was there to listen: “The stories here are compelling stories. They’re stories of sadness and stories of bravery.” He added, “I like stories. ‘Specially animal stories. Uncle Dick reads me a story every night before beddie byes.” The event, Bush’s portion anyway, will be broadcast on C-SPAN later, so I can see whether it’s just a transcription error that has him referring to Saddam as “the butcherer,” but it’s kind of too good to check. If the message is how the US invasion and occupation have transformed Iraq, why did they put right next to Bush a guy who (very sensibly) ran away from Saddam’s Iraq, but who doesn’t seem to have any plans to move back to what Bush calls “a society that is beginning to understand the fruits of democracy and freedom.” Understanding fruit. Whatever.
Speaking of people who are often outwitted by produce, Scottie McClellan at today’s Gaggle:
Q There are allegations that we send people to Syria to be tortured.I take it then that I do not have the honor to number Mr. McClellan among my readers. Nor has he read the Human Rights Watch report, but he condemns it as “based more on a political agenda than on facts.”
MR. McCLELLAN: To Syria?
Q Yes. You’ve never heard of any allegation like that?
MR. McCLELLAN: No, I’ve never heard that one. That’s a new one.
Q To Syria? You haven’t heard that?
MR. McCLELLAN: That’s a new one.
Q Well, I can assure you it’s been well-publicized.
MR. McCLELLAN: By bloggers?
McClellan was asked again today about Abramoff meetings with White House staffers, and said “we’re not going to engage in a fishing expedition.” Then he accused people of making insinuations without evidence – the very evidence he is refusing to provide.
He also denied that he had said – in the statement he’d made a few minutes earlier – that the chief of Syrian military intelligence was personally involved in the Iraqi insurgency.
Princess Sparkle Pony points out that Trent Lott is confused by the “outrageous” provision in the Republicans’ compromise(d) ethics rule lowering the spending limit on meals congresscritters could accept to $20. “Where are you going to – to McDonald’s?” The concepts of either a) eating a meal that costs less than $20, or b) paying for his own food, are so alien to him that they literally didn’t enter into that head-like object he keeps under his toupee.