Two Items From Colleen:
Who the Hell Said That?
By Will Durst, AlterNet
December 11, 2003
And now it's time to play "Who the Hell Said That?"
1. "With a healthy dose of fear and violence, and a lot of money for projects, I think we can convince these people that we are here to help them."
A) Tom Delay, revealing his secret strategy to keep Republican Members of Congress in line when they express concerns about the Bush administration's rampant deficit spending.
B) Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, on his feud with Colin Powell and the State Department.
C) Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger spokesman, H. D. Palmer, on cutting K-12 funding.
D) Lt. Colonel Nathan Sassaman, battalion commander of the forces occupying Abu Hishma, Iraq, explaining a plan to keep the village safe by encircling it in a wall of barbed wire.
2. "The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence."
A) Donald Rumsfeld, articulating his frustration at the Coalition's inability to find Hussein's fabled Weapons of Mass Destruction.
B) Spokesperson for the legal team of Michael Jackson's accuser speaking either on behalf of his client's case or the King of Pop's missing nose cartilage.
C) California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's wife, Maria Shriver making a Freudian slip in defense of her husband's groping accusations.
D) Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, disputing whether the West Bank wall Israeli soldiers are erecting exists because he's banned all photographs of it.
3. "Wal-Mart is the greatest thing that ever happened to low-income Americans."
A) W. Michael Cox, chief economist of the Federal Reserve Bank in Dallas.
B) W. Michael Cox, a man who obviously never tried to run a household paid minimum wage with little or no benefits.
C) W. Michael Cox, a man whose portfolio apparently includes absolutely no Kroger, Safeway, Jewel or Albertson's stock.
D) All of the above.
4. "I think gay marriage is something that should be between a man and a woman."
A) Former Vice President J. Danforth Quayle.
B) President George W. Bush.
C) California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
D) Reality Show Star Paris Hilton.
5. "We know there are known knowns: there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns: that is to say we know there are things we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns- the ones we don't know we don't know."
A) Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld during a briefing on Iraq.
B) My Uncle Bud after eight hours on a bar stool at Tony's Tavern watching an entire Sunday slate of NFL football.
C) AARP directors defending their decision to endorse Medicare reform even though it may end up costing seniors more money.
D) Iowa State Elections Chairman, Bob Roberts, explaining the state's arcane caucuses regulations.
6. "Death has a tendency to encourage a depressing view of war."
A) Actor Tom Cruise on the decision to portray little or no blood in the battle scenes of his new movie "The Last Samurai."
B) Condoleeza Rice, referring to the official White House policy of preventing journalists from documenting returning body bags.
C) Russell Crowe's character, Jack Aubrey, in the film adaptation of Patrick O'Brian's "Master and Commander."
D) Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, when questioned as to why the Pentagon refuses to provide kill figures for enemy combatants.
Answers are 1. D) 2. A) 3. D) 4. C) 5. A) 6. D)
Will Durst's 2003 Totally Full of Crap Award goes to Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld.
I especially love (NOT) the military attitude of "With a heavy dose of fear and violence . . . we can convince these people . . . that we are here to help them." I don't know if sentences can be considered oxymorons, but this particular bit of military intelligence -- itself an oxymoron -- seems to fall into that category. Should we laugh or cry? And does it really make any difference if we do either? Colleen
[This regardless of Sunday's reported discovery of Saddam. -v]
Bush's Iraq Policy: A Quagmire of Confusion
By Jim Lobe, AlterNet
December 12, 2003
As the Bush administration searches with increasing desperation for a viable "exit strategy," its so-called Iraq policy grows more muddled with each passing day.
The latest example – and an especially spectacular one – was when George Bush personally asked key European and other leaders on Wednesday to forgive tens of billions of dollars of Iraq's crushing debt. The very same day, the Pentagon announced on its website that companies from these countries will not be permitted to bid on 18.6 billion dollars in reconstruction contracts in Iraq.
Needless to say, the Pentagon's directive and its timing were unlikely to put the leaders of Russia, France and Germany – the most important of the excluded countries – in the mood to entertain the president's request
Read 'em and weep . . . or laugh--whatever