Thursday, April 08, 2004

“What fly did the President swat? Name me one swatted fly?”

Rumsfeld downplays the Iraqi intifada, saying it consists only of “thugs, gangs and terrorists.” Uh, Rummy, that’s two-thirds of the Iraqi population.

I’ve seen some of the Rice testimony and I think all Americans are asking the same question: what’s up with her hair?

But also, is she the laziest person alive or what? In the process of trying to shift blames to the intelligence bureaucracies, she portrayed herself as a passive recipient of reports that just weren’t good enough for her to actually do anything with. If she didn’t get “specific threat information,” there was nothing she could do, so she did nothing. And her hilarious dismissal of Richard Clarke’s report: “We were not presented with a plan. … What we were presented on Jan. 25 was a set of ideas.” God forbid she should have to do any work herself.

But before she’d do any work, she would have to deal with “structural problems,” like one of those people who says they’ve doing homework but really spend the first half-hour sharpening a dozen pencils, laying out index cards precisely so, getting out highlighters in seven colors.... On 9/11/01, 15% of the way through the Bush admin, she was still working out which colors to put on which file folders.

Favorite moments: Bob Kerrey asking what flies Bush ever swatted, since he was so tired from swatting flies; Kerrey referring to Rice’s refusal to use “the m-word” (mistakes); Richard Ben-Veniste asking why she was still talking when all he’d asked was the title of a report. Which was “Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside United States,” and although Rice claimed it had “no new threat information, and it did not, in fact, warn of any coming attacks inside the United States,” it actually reported (8/6/01) "patterns of suspicious activity in the United States consistent with preparations for hijacking."

Some of the “frustratingly vague” “chatter” Rice oh-so-selectively quoted to bolster her case that she couldn’t possibly have stopped 9/11: "Unbelievable news in coming weeks" "Big event ... there will be a very, very, very, very big uproar" "There will be attacks in the near future". Non-specific, but the only response the Bush admin seems to have made was that Ashcroft stopped flying commercial planes.

No “silver bullets” indeed. They’re Muslims, not werewolves. Both hairy, but there is a difference. I think werewolves are allowed to eat pork.

SYMBOLISM ALERT: Remember--of course you do--the toppling of the statue of Saddam? Fardous Square, where the statue was, was the site of a pro-Sadr, anti-occupation demonstration this week. American soldiers are now sealing off the square.

AP story: Twenty young people at a national service camp near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, were treated in hospital after an apparent outbreak of hysteria in which they claimed to have seen ghosts. Exorcists were called to remove the evil spirits. They later said they had caught them and thrown them into the sea.

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