The Top Ten Conservative
Idiots (No. 149)
March 29, 2004
Those Weapons Of Mass Destruction Have Got To Be Somewhere Edition
Boy oh boy, last week was a bad week for the Bush administration (1,4). After Richard Clarke testified that Bush and Co. had their heads up their arses prior to 9/11, it was up to Condoleezza Rice (2,3) to stem the tide of bad publicity. And to be fair, she was about as good at that as she was at protecting the nation against terrorist attacks. Meanwhile George W. Bush (5) didn't help matters much by making jokes about not finding any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Good one, Dubya. But of course, there were also conservative idiots to be found outside the Bush administration last week. Take Zell Miller (6), for example, who appears to have started having wet dreams about Our Great Leader. Or Tom DeLay (7), who could be on the brink of a wonderful comeuppance. And then there's the Pentagon (8), who just realized that awarding no-bid contracts to companies without an oversight process isn't working as well as they thought it would. Enjoy, and as usual, don't forget the key!
Shit, meet fan. Richard Clarke's recent interview on 60 Minutes and subsequent bombshell testimony before the 9/11 Commission had Bush administration officials scrambling to play defense last week. Basically it all came down to this - if you can't refute the charges, shoot the messenger. Dick Cheney appeared on Rush Limbaugh's radio show to make the absurd suggestion that Richard Clarke "wasn't in the loop" and allowed Rush to infer that Clarke was disgruntled because he had been "demoted" (actually Clarke testified that he requested a transfer to cyber-security because he was frustrated with the Bush team's inaction on al Qaeda). Meanwhile White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice made some extraordinarily coordinated statements in an unsuccessful attempt to destroy Clarke's credibility. It was a little strange to watch senior administration officials falling over each other to personally attack a man with thirty years of government service under his belt, a man who worked for Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and who was retained by George W. Bush. But I guess "the truth" is not a pleasant concept for the Bush administration, and when putting your hands over your ears and singing "la-la-la!" doesn't work any more, you'd better take those damn truth-tellers down.
Condoleezza Rice led the charge to discredit former counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke last week, and only ended up making things worse for herself. Rice appeared on countless TV shows to give interviews about Clarke's lack of credibility and consistency, but continued to resist pressure to appear under oath before the 9/11 commission - I guess her opinions are good enough for Fox News but not good enough for the bipartisan panel investigating the world's worst terrorist attack. But as Rice attempted to undermine Clarke's credibility, it became clear that it is her own credibility which is in serious jeopardy. There are so many contradictions in Condi's media interviews that it's no surprise the White House doesn't want her to testify. For example, just days after September 11, she said, "I don't think anybody could have predicted that those people could have taken an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center... that they would try to use an airplane as a missile." But Rice recently told the 9/11 Commission in private that she "misspoke" (ah, that old standby) - apparently there were plenty of warnings about al Qaeda crashing planes into buildings. And in the Washington Post last week, Rice wrote, "through the spring and summer of 2001, the national security team developed a strategy to eliminate al Qaeda" that included "sufficient military options to remove the Taliban regime" - except Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage contradicted that statement during his testimony to the 9/11 Commission last week. Rice also said last week that "Bush told her on Sept. 16, 2001, that 'Iraq is to the side'" - except Bush ordered the Pentagon to start drawing up plans for an invasion of Iraq on September 17. In fact, it seems that almost everything Condoleezza Rice says is either a contradiction, or is subsequently contradicted. You could even say that our National Security Advisor is a compulsive liar. Come on, put her under oath! She'll perjure herself five seconds after opening her mouth.
Rice, Tom Ridge, Et Al
Just to rub it in... Condoleezza Rice, October 9, 2001: "Dick Clarke will be the President's Special Advisor for Cyber security, and General Wayne Downing will serve as the National Director and Deputy National Security Advisor for Combating Terrorism. Both these individuals will report to both Tom Ridge and to me. And we are pleased and gratified that both have agreed to serve." Tom Ridge, October 9, 2001: "Dick Clarke is the right man for the job. He is one of our nation's leading experts on cyber security, appointed as the first national coordinator for security, infrastructure protection and counter-terrorism in May of 1998. In his long career of government service, he has served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence under President Reagan, and as Assistant Secretary of State for Political Military Affairs under President George Herbert Walker Bush.... You know Dr. Rice and I are anxious to be working with him in our capacities as well..."
Various members of the Bush administration were banging on last week about how as soon as they arrived in the White House they were super-committed to stopping al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. Funny then that an old CNN report reveals the State Department actually downgraded the importance of Osama bin Laden soon after Bush came to power. The first terrorism report to come out of the Bush administration does mention that the Taliban "continued to provide safe haven for intentional terrorists, particularly Saudi exile Osama bin Laden and his network." But according to the CNN article, "Unlike last year's report, bin Laden's al Qaeda organization is mentioned, but the 2000 report does not contain a photograph of bin Laden or a lengthy description of him and the group. A senior State Department official told CNN that the U.S. government made a mistake last year by focusing too tightly on bin Laden and 'personalizing terrorism.'" Look, ever since entering the White House, the Bush administration has clearly been far more concerned about Iraq - it's no wonder Richard Clarke felt like he was banging his head against a wall. In fact, the Bush administration were only really interested in bin Laden for about five months immediately following 9/11. Not long after 9/11 USA Today reported that "President Bush pledged anew Friday that Osama bin Laden will be taken 'dead or alive,' no matter how long it takes." A few months later, on March 13, 2002, Bush was telling reporters that "I don't know where he is. I - I'll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him." So to recap - that's not concerned about bin Laden right up until 9/11, then get bin Laden dead or alive for a few months, then not concerned about bin Laden again. Good job, guys.
Fortunately Our Great Leader didn't seem particularly worried as the main pillar of his (re?)election campaign started to slowly disintegrate - he was far too busy making jokes at the expense of the hundreds of American soldiers and thousands of Iraqi civilians who have died in the past year. During a speech at a press dinner last week, Dubya presented a slideshow of photographs, over which he provided commentary. When a picture of Bush on all fours in his office flashed up, he remarked "Those weapons of mass destruction have got to be somewhere!" How amusing. I guess it is pretty funny to joke about sending hundreds of young men and women to their deaths, creating a quagmire in Iraq from which there is no escape, and wasting hundreds of billions of dollars of taxpayer money, after lying to the nation about Saddam Hussein using his vast stockpiles of WMDs against America at a moment's notice. Actually, no it isn't. It's a fucking disgrace.
Zell Miller called John Kerry "an authentic hero" two years ago, but now he's changed his tune. Last week Miller attacked Kerry at "Democrats for Bush" rally, saying that, "John Kerry’s spending and tax plan would stifle our economy and stall our recovery at the worst possible time," (recovery, Zell?) and that Kerry must have been "spending too much time around Howard Dean." Zell, kiss my ass. There are no "Democrats for Bush." Why don't you tell the truth and call your organization "Phony Right-Wing Idiots Who Call Themselves Democrats for Bush"?
Ha ha - looks like "The Hammer" has finally been nailed. House Majority Leader Tom Delay has apparently begun talking quietly about stepping down from his leadership position. Why? Because, according to the Houston Chronicle, "a Travis County grand jury may indict him on charges of violating state campaign finance laws." What? Surely some mistake! Tom Delay is one of the most honest, trustworthy politicians I've ever seen! According to the Chronicle, "Delay and a committee he founded, Texans for a Republican Majority, are the subject of a grand jury investigation being led by Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle, a Democrat. The investigation focuses on whether TRM spent corporate money to influence the 2002 state House races in violation of Texas law." DeLay's response is certainly in line with the rest of the Republican machine this week - he's blaming Ronnie Earle for creating a partisan "political witch hunt." Blah blah blah - never mind the truth of the charges, let's just blame it all on partisan politics. Christ, if Tom Delay murdered someone he'd probably blame it on the Democrats. Oh, by the way, this is a separate story to the one about Tom Delay being linked to a fraudulent children's charity which has apparently been raising "huge sums from interest groups and supporters to host lavish parties at this summer's Republican National Convention." I just want to make sure you don't get this week's criminal allegations against Tom Delay mixed up.
Surprise, surprise, surprise. It was revealed last week that the Pentagon has discovered "major problems" with most of the early contracts awarded to companies profiting from the invasion of Iraq, "including poor planning, pricing and a lack of oversight." According to Reuters, "procurement rules were not followed in 22 of 24 deals awarded by the military" and, " Many of these contracts, the biggest of which was to create an Iraqi media network, were not competitively bid." Whoa, really? You mean that the Pentagon just, like, handed a bunch of contracts to companies and then looked the other way while the companies screwed the pooch? Actually, it's worse than that - it appears that the Pentagon held the pooch down while the companies screwed it. According to Reuters, "In one example, a contractor was paid even though he was on vacation. In another, vehicles were airlifted into Iraq at a cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars without proper approval. And in a third, a media contractor was used to organize garbage removal." Sheer genius.
Now that the terror of Janet's Breast has started to fade into history, the self-appointed protectors of public morality have again returned their attention to their favorite pastime: Banning books. At a recent meeting of the Bartow County, Georgia, Board of Education, Rev. Dwight Holcomb of the group Crusaders for Christ requested that a number of books be removed from the local schools' reading list. Among the books that the group wants banned are Of Mice And Men, the story of a retarded man and his caretaker friend during the Great Depression, and To Kill a Mockingbird, about a small-town girl and her father, a white lawyer defending a falsely accused black man in the Jim Crow South. Clearly, these books represent a serious threat to the very fabric of American society. Holcomb told the board of ed, "You're going to answer to God Almighty for your decision." Hey, that goes for you, too, pal. Next time you feel like ramming your values down someone else's throat, consider this: If you don't like a book, don't read it!
And finally: You'd think that Colin Powell would know better by now, but apparently not. While describing efforts to bring Pakistan's leader Gen. Musharraf on board the anti-terror bandwagon, Powell said, "We need your answer now. We need you as part of this campaign, this crusade." Doh! George W. Bush learned the hard way that tossing around the word "crusade" isn't considered particularly diplomatic when discussing the war on terror. It has this unpleasant way of making people think about Christian invaders hell-bent on conquering the Muslim hordes, see. Powell didn't tell reporters what Gen. Musharraf said in response to his demand, but one can imagine that it wasn't something along the lines of "Hang on a minute, I'll just get my helmet." See you next week!