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The Top Ten Conservative Idiots (No. 112)
June 2, 2003
OMG WMD SNAFU Edition

Hey everybody, we've found the weapons of mass destruction! Well, actually we haven't yet. But that doesn't really matter, does it? Top of the list this week is the Bush Administration for the startling revelation that weapons of mass destruction were not the reason that we invaded Iraq! At least, they're not right now because we haven't found any. Or have we? According to George W. Bush (2) we have, but then I'd trust George W. Bush about as far as I could throw Rush Limbaugh. Meanwhile Congressional Republicans (3) thought you weren't watching and decided to screw the poor, Halliburton (5) is raking in the cash, the Florida Legislature's (7) new definition of "catastrophic injury" will cost you an arm and a leg, and Chuck Dunnick (10) chucks his wife. Enjoy, and don't forget the key!

1The Bush Administration lying lying lying warmongering warmongering warmongering
So they finally admitted it - the invasion of Iraq was not about weapons of mass destruction at all. Despite months of scaremongering, bullying, and cajoling the American people into believing that Saddam Hussein was just minutes away from launching a massive chemical attack on the United States; despite sending Colin Powell to stand before the UN with graphs and maps and satellite photographs showing huge stockpiles of supposedly lethal materials, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz admitted last week that it was all just a bunch of baloney. In a recent Vanity Fair interview, Wolfowitz said, "For bureaucratic reasons we settled on one issue, weapons of mass destruction, because it was the one reason everyone could agree on." Bureaucratic reasons? And there I was thinking that if we didn't take out Saddam I'd be eating anthrax for breakfast. According to Wolfowitz there was another "almost unnoticed but huge" reason for invading Iraq, which was "the prospect of the United States being able to withdraw all of its forces from Saudi Arabia once the threat of Saddam had been removed," according to the UK Independent. Hmm, I don't remember Our Great Leader mentioning that while he was spouting off about mustard gas-spraying unmanned drones and tons of buried Sarin. And now Lt. Gen. James Conway, top commander of the Marines in Iraq, is "surprised" that his troops haven't found any weapons of mass destruction. He said, "Believe me, it's not for lack of trying...We've been to virtually every ammunition supply point between the Kuwaiti border and Baghdad, but they're simply not there." Perhaps if people stopped believing without question every ounce of bullcrap that this administration feeds them, there'd be a lot less surprise and a lot more outrage.

2George W. Bush lying lying warmongering warmongering
Remember: it's not about the sex - it's about the lying. So what's a president to do when he gets caught lying to the American people? Usually the first step is a little wordplay - remember the fits of rage conservatives had about Bill Clinton's redefinitions of the words "sex" and "is?" Now Our Great Leader is trying the same trick by changing the definition of the words "weapons of mass destruction." According to the Washington Post, last week George W. Bush announced in an interview that, "we found the weapons of mass destruction." We did? Wow! But wait a second - it turns out that the "weapons of mass destruction" Dubya is referring to are a couple of trailers with lab equipment on board - but no actual evidence of pathogens. So... before the war in Iraq, weapons of mass destruction meant tons of nerve gas, anthrax, remote-controlled crop-sprayers, chemical warheads, etc. After the war in Iraq, weapons of mass destruction means a couple of empty trucks. Talk about lowering the bar. And what's this? It seems that while Bush was convincing the American people that an attack by Iraq was imminent, Colin Powell was "under pressure to use shaky intelligence," according to the Associated Press. Apparently a report handed to Powell during the administration's rush to war contained "such questionable material that Powell lost his temper, throwing several pages in the air and declaring, 'I'm not reading this. This is bullshit.'" Bullshit indeed. But of course, Bill Clinton telling lies to cover up a private sexual encounter is still ten million times worse than George W. Bush telling lies to cover up the illegal invasion of a foreign country involving the deaths of hundreds of U.S. soldiers and thousands of Iraqi civilians. So, uh, just leave Our Great Leader alone. He's restoring honor and integrity to the White House don'tcha know.

3Congressional Republicans screwing the poor screwing the poor excessive spin
Have Republicans finally given up all pretense that they actually give a damn about the American people? First they admit that they misled everyone about Iraq for political purposes, now they're just coming straight out and saying "screw the poor." Last week it was revealed that a last-minute revision to Our Great Leader's latest tax cut means that while families making more than $26,625 will receive a $400 per child refund, families with incomes from $10,500 to $26,625 will not benefit. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities the revision will affect one child in every six under the age of 17 - so much for "leaving no child behind." So why did Republicans make this last-minute-under-the-radar-screw-the-poor amendment? House Republicans claimed that it was the Senate's fault for lowering the tax cut to $350 billion - apparently if there had been more money to throw around, they could have been more "flexible." As it stands, they simply can't afford to give refunds to the poor. Wealthy investors will, however, make a killing from the latest tax cuts. So the poor shouldn't complain - under the Republicans' trickle-down tax plan, those investors will soon have enough money to provide work for people who need a third job to make ends meet.

4The Bush Administration fiscal irresponsibility fiscal irresponsibility fiscal irresponsibility
And here's some more rotting baloney from the Bush adminstration: it was revealed last week that before ex-Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill was fired, he commissioned a report on the future of America's budget deficit. The report showed that - well, basically we're in the crapper. It's looking increasingly likely that the retirement and healthcare plans of baby boomers - and future generations - are in serious jeopardy. And yet strangely, the report was shelved and not included in the 2004 Annual Budget Report, published a mere two months after O'Neill was fired. Of course this had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that George W. Bush was shopping yet more tax cuts for the rich. No, it was just a mere oversight. There's nothing to see here. Um, pay no attention to the truth. Here, take this $400 and shut up.

5Halliburton quid pro quo greed
Why are we not surprised to discover that Halliburton's contracts in Iraq are apparently much larger than earlier reported? In a recent letter to US Army Secretary Les Brownlee, Rep. Henry Waxman wrote, "When the contracts are combined, the total amount that Halliburton has receieved to date for work related to Iraq is now nearly 500 million dollars," according to the AFP. Not only that, but one contract with the Army Corps of Engineers has "a two year duration and a ceiling of seven billion dollars," and a second contract "has no ceiling at all." Not bad, considering they didn't even have to bid for contracts in Iraq (see Idiots 104). And there's more: according to Waxman, the contracts "allowed Halliburton to profit from virtually every phase of the conflict with Iraq, including the military buildup prior to the war, the conduct of the war and the restoration of Iraq after the war." And while the previous CEO of Halliburton was current vice president Dick Cheney, there is absolutely no conflict of interest involved here. So get that straight.

6The Pentagon lying
A couple of weeks ago, columnist Robert Scheer reported that the BBC had some serious doubts about the official version of the Jessica Lynch story. The BBC reported that "the U.S. military and media of inaccurately and manipulatively hyping the story of U.S. Pvt. Jessica Lynch and her rescue from an Iraq hospital," according to Scheer. The right-wing response was, of course, predictable. The Pentagon called the report "a tirade," "outrageous," "patently false," "an insult," and "unsupported by the facts." Wow, that's quite a bunch the Pentagon have got their panties in, and they didn't even bother to actually present any facts to back up their side of the story. In fact, they even refused to let the BBC see the footage of Lynch's "rescue." So they obviously have nothing to hide. Interestingly though, the right-wing media - led by FOX News - parroted the Pentagon's line. But of course this has nothing to do with the fact that Rupert Murdoch has "already committed a huge book advance" to the telling of the Jessica Lynch story. Well, their version of it anyway.

7The Florida Legislature screwing the poor dumb quid pro quo
What's that cloud of dust on the horizon? Why, it's the Florida Legislature chasing fat piles of cash - and they're running so fast they seem to have time-traveled back to the 19th Century! The Legislature passed a reform bill last week with the aim of cutting down on workers' compensation cases - and how are they going to do that, you ask? Well, in Florida it's no longer good enough to lose an arm, or a leg, or an eye in a workplace accident for your injury to be considered "catastrophic". You now have to lose both arms, legs, eyes, etc. According to the St. Petersburg Times it's okay to "mix and match" - you can lose an arm and a leg, or a foot and an eye, for example. But anything less and there's no compensation for you, bucko. How about brain or spinal cord injuries? Pah! Get off your sick bed and back to work, you malingering swine! And who is behind this latest example of compassionate conservatism? Let's just say it's probably about time they put up a sign at the Florida State Capitol Building which says "The Florida Legislature - brought to you by big business and insurance companies."

8Lionel Chetwynd dumb dumb dumb
Talk about historical revisionism. Lionel Chetwynd is the creator of a new made-for-TV movie based on the events of 9/11, which give us an interesting perspective on the behavior of Our Great Leader during the terrorist attacks. Chetwynd's script is - get this - "based on lengthy interviews with Mr. Bush, Mr. Rove, top aide Andy Card, retiring White House press aide Ari Fleischer, Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other Republican officials in the White House and the Pentagon," according to the Toronto Globe and Mail. So it must be a true account of what actually happened. For example, the script contains such gems as this: BUSH - "If some tinhorn terrorist wants me, tell him to come and get me! I'll be at home! Waiting for the bastard!" SECRET SERVICE CHIEF - "But Mr. President..." BUSH - "Try Commander-in-Chief. Whose present command is: Take the President home!" Excuse me while I laugh myself senseless for a moment. If I recall correctly, while New York and Washington were under attack Bush was flying around the country from secure location to secure location like the yellow-bellied chicken-hawk he is. But then, if the TV tells me otherwise, I suppose I'll have to believe it...

9 Tim Pawlenty unconstitutional
Despite Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty's best efforts to give his behavior a patriotic spin, he appears to be slowly backsliding into fascism. Gov. Pawlenty - who previously suggested that anti-war protesters should pay extra fees (see Idiots 104) - last week signed a bill "requiring schools to lead most students in the Pledge of Allegiance at least once a week," according to the Star Tribune. "You can't legislate patriotism, but you sure can educate children on what makes our country great," he said. So having the government force people to recite patriotic mantras is what makes our country great, is it Tim? I wonder what the Founding Fathers would have to say about that.

10Chuck Dunnick arrest booze accident/medical dumb cowardice
And finally: more exciting news from Florida. Osceola County Commissioner Chuck Dunnick was arrested and charged with battering his wife last week after the pair had an argument. Here's what happened. The Honorable Chuck Dunnick returned home late and his wife was so mad she started throwing baseballs and glassware at him. She then climbed onto the back of his Ford pickup truck and dumped out the cooler of beer he was keeping there. So Chuck climbed up, grabbed his wife by the shirt and neck, hoisted her over the side and dumped her on the ground. Chuck was subsequently arrested and sent to jail before being given a pre-trial release, and in a burst of false optimism later announced "I'm convinced something good for my family is going to come out of this." Um, okay. And the moral of the story? Simple - never get between a Republican County Commissioner and the beer stash on the back of his pickup. See you next week!

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