June 29, 2005

Bush and Rummy's Tired Acts

[By Arianna Huffington]

If you could distill this administration down to one a single thing it would be this: a complete inability--indeed a pathological aversion--to changing course, even when the current course is taking us over the cliff.

Combine that with rank incompetence and you’ve got quite a potent--and deadly--combo. It was in full display last night during the president’s speech on Iraq and last week during Donald Rumsfeld’s multiple public appearances.

First the president’s speech.

The president’s “new direction in Iraq” speech was actually a rehashing of the same tired material he’s been using on Iraq for years. Indeed, it was a veritable Greatest Hits collection. He even invoked the terrorist formerly known as Osama Been Forgotten two times. Even more shockingly--though not unexpectedly--he played the conflate-9/11-and-Iraq card again and again and again and again and again. Five mentions in all for the terrorist attack that had absolutely nothing to do with the war in Iraq--supposedly the topic of the speech. Here’s a sample: “The only way our enemies can succeed is if we forget the lesson of Sept. 11.”

And now onto the secretary of defense.

It’s time to cancel the Rummy show. Remember when it was fun to watch Don Rumsfeld come out and do his preening Master of the Universe act? Actually, I never thought it was that much fun--and I was always surprised by how much the self-loathing press loved Rummy’s cocky, cutesy little putdowns and the jabberwocky nonsense answers he’d use to duck a question without uttering a single word of substance.

But he intimidated them, humiliated them, and so they subserviently accepted their role in the kabuki theater performances his appearances became.But with two to three soldiers and dozens of Iraqis dying each and every day, his smug verbal pirouettes are no longer so endearing. As time goes on, it's become clear that he sees his role less as making sure our soldiers vanquish the enemy than making sure he vanquishes the press and the straw men he puts so much rhetorical energy into creating.

There he was at the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, spinning and spinning. But no one's laughing anymore. “Timing in war is never predictable,” he said. “There are no guarantees,” he said. That wasn't what Rumsfeld was saying back at the beginning, when he said he “doubted” it would last as long as six months.

Rumsfeld then propped up this latest made-of-straw beauty: “ Success in this effort cannot be defined by domestic tranquility.” Who on earth is saying “domestic tranquility” is the goal? How about: “An end to dozens of deaths a day, with the carnage continuing as far as the eye can see.”

It’s now beyond dispute that the enemy Rumsfeld is most suited to fight is the latest straw enemy he has created in his mind. It’s then that he’s at his most effective--like a 9-year-old at the arcade, delighting in mowing down his imaginary foes with his BB gun. Then he wants a little prize for his efforts. Tragically, we’ve got a real enemy to fight, and Rumsfeld is clueless about how to do it. One person who has clearly had his fill of Rummy is Ted Kennedy, who pointedly asked: “Isn’t it time for you to resign?” After a pregnant pause, Rumsfeld answered: “I’ve offered my resignation to the president twice.”

He should keep trying. Bush has already gotten a four-year pickup, but it's time to pull the plug on the Rummy dog and pony show. Or, better yet, move his all-too-real reality show from the Pentagon to Fox--where the body count will be significantly lower. And they can use a laugh track to sweeten the deadly silence his tired routine now provokes.

Group proposes to build hotel on Justice Souter's house property

Call me cynical, but I think this idea is TERRIFIC. It is worth pointing out that it was the CONSERVATIVES on the court who supported and wrote this ruling. Within this decision lay the seeds for the next Ruby Ridge, Waco, or Oklahoma City. Maybe Southerners will now realize that the conservative agenda goes hand in hand with a more authoritative, intrusive government. This decision shows how far they are willing to go. I think this group of citizens are preparing the appropriate response. Check this out:

Following the Supreme Court ruling allowing private companies to seize people's houses and develop the land for business purposes, a private developer has asked the code enforcement officer of the Towne of Weare, New Hampshire "to start the application process to build a hotel on 34 Cilley Hill Road." That's the address of Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter's home.

The proposed development, called "The Lost Liberty Hotel" will feature the "Just Desserts Café" and include a museum, open to the public, featuring a permanent exhibit on the loss of freedom in America. Instead of a Gideon's Bible each guest will receive a free copy of Ayn Rand's novel "Atlas Shrugged."

Clements indicated that the hotel must be built on this particular piece of land because it is a unique site being the home of someone largely responsible for destroying property rights for all Americans.

"This is not a prank" said Clements, "The Towne of Weare has five people on the Board of Selectmen. If three of them vote to use the power of eminent domain to take this land from Mr. Souter we can begin our hotel development."

June 28, 2005

In 1999, Bush Demanded A Timetable

In 1999, George W. Bush criticized President Clinton for not setting a timetable for exiting Kosovo, and yet he refuses to apply the same standard to his war.

George W. Bush, 4/9/99:

“Victory means exit strategy, and it’s important for the president to explain to us what the exit strategy is.”

And on the specific need for a timetable, here’s what Bush said then and what he says now:
George W. Bush, 6/5/99

“I think it’s also important for the president to lay out a timetable as to how long they will be involved and when they will be withdrawn.” [ed. note: article originally ran in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer on 6/5/99]

VERSUS

George W. Bush, 6/24/05:

“It doesn’t make any sense to have a timetable. You know, if you give a timetable, you’re — you’re conceding too much to the enemy.”