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October 25, 2004



This old chestnut sums up politics perfectly:

A little boy goes to his dad and asks, "What is Politics?"
Dad says, "Well son, let me try to explain it this way: I am the head of the family, so call me The President.
Your mother is the administrator of the money, so we call her The Government.
We are here to take care of your needs, so we will call you The People.
The nanny, we will consider her The Working Class.
And your baby brother, we will call him The Future.
Now think about that and see if it makes sense.
So the little boy goes off to bed thinking about what Dad has said. Later that night, he hears his baby brother crying, so he gets up to check on him. He finds that the baby has severely soiled his diaper. So the little boy goes to his parent's room and finds his mother sound asleep.
Not wanting to wake her, he goes to the nanny's room. Finding the door locked, he peeks in the keyhole and sees his father in bed with the nanny. He gives up and goes back to bed.
The next morning, the little boy say's to his father, "Dad, I think I understand the concept of politics now,"
The father says, "Great son! Tell me in your own words what you think politics is all about."
The little boy replies, "The President is screwing The Working Class while The Government is sound asleep. The People are being ignored and The Future is in deep shit."

kinda says it all, don't ya think?

Red Ghost

Dreadful, frightening and repulsive.


Actually, according to NBC, the weapons were gone before April 2003, before US troops even arrived.

So basically, in a four page "bombshell" article the New York Times can't find the space to present a decently balanced account.

It is not clear why the NYT failed to report the cache had been missing for 18 months -- and was reportedly missing before troops even arrived.


So if the weapons had been missing for 18 months, as the Administration is saying, why is the Administration also saying that they only knew about it for two weeks?

Especially when the Iraqis told Paul Bremer about the missing explosives back in May 2003.

Oh, and NBC is saying that the Administration is mischaracterizing their reporting:

"Last night on this broadcast we reported that the 101st Airborne never found the nearly 380 tons of HMX and RDX explosives,'' Tom Brokaw, the NBC anchor, said. "We did not conclude the explosives were missing or had vanished, nor did we say they missed the explosives. We simply reported that the 101st did not find them.''

"For its part, the Bush campaign immediately pointed to our report as conclusive proof that the weapons had been removed before the Americans arrived,'' Mr. Brokaw added. "That is possible, but that is not what we reported.''

And a member of the NBC crew that accompanied the 101st to Al Qa Qaa has said that "there wasn't a search...as far as we could tell, there was no move to secure the weapons, nothing to keep looters away."

Furthermore, US troops actually first got to Al Qaa Qa on April 4, according to this article, and there were signs of explosives. This is a week before NBC (and the 101st) got there.

Incidentally, this whole mess would have been avoided if the Bush Administration hadn't kicked the IAEA out of Iraq prematurely.

To quote Josh Marshall:

Given all that's happened in Iraq, the potency of the al Qaqaa story was never that it was the worst thing that has happened in Iraq. It's that it brings together in one package almost everything that's gone wrong: incompetence, abetted by denial, covered up by dishonesty, and all in one fatal brew.

And what do we have over the last forty-eight hours? The White House faces a press storm over a new revelation and their reaction is to go to battle with the news organizations involved with an argument they pretty clearly hadn't thought over for more than a few minutes.

Now the White House has first, denied they knew anything about the problem before October 15th; second, said they've known about it all along and that it wasn't their fault because it happened before we got there; and third, well ... I guess we'll find that out tomorrow.

Incomplete, sloppy planning, terrible consequences, lies and backpedaling to cover it up...isn't this the hallmark of the Bush Administration?


Of course, it's not really 380 tons, it's three, and it's a story jointly pushed by CBS (still stinging from Rathergate) and NYT--

On Sunday night, New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller told Jeff Fager, executive producer of CBS’s “60 Minutes,” that the story they had been jointly pursuing on missing Iraqi ammunition was starting to leak on the Internet.

“You know what? We’re going to have to run it Monday,” Keller said.

CBS’s Jeff Fager had asked the paper to delay publication one week.

The paper’s front-page story, charging that 377 tons of powerful bomb-making material “vanished sometime after the American-led invasion last year,” hit the presidential campaign with explosive force, as Sen. John F. Kerry seized on it for three straight days and President Bush accused Kerry yesterday of making “wild charges.”

The article has also sparked criticism of the two news organizations from some conservatives, who accuse the Times and CBS of orchestrating a late hit against Bush.

Keller said in an interview yesterday that campaigns “attack the messenger” when they do not like the message. “Beating up on the so-called elite media has a nice populist ring to it, and some of it is calculated,” he said. Bush campaign officials thought that “if they barked at us, we would back off. . . . We’ve vetted this every way we can, and we continue to do that.”

Keller said “60 Minutes” executives asked the newspaper to hold the story until this Sunday so they could report it the same day, and “we said we weren’t comfortable doing that because it wouldn’t give the White House a fair opportunity to respond.”

Fager dismissed criticism of the timing as “absurd,” saying “it was a breaking news story and a significant one. It’s impossible to manage these things.” He said “60 Minutes” and correspondent Ed Bradley had planned to break the story this Sunday — two days before the election — only because “the story came to us on relatively short notice” and that was the next available show. The program has a separate staff from “60 Minutes Wednesday.”

Fager said it was “incredibly unfair” to link the ammunition story to the earlier “60 Minutes Wednesday” report on documents about Bush’s National Guard service, which CBS has admitted it cannot authenticate.


Three questions and few comments:

--From whom are you quoting above?

--Why does it matter that CBS and the NYT were reporting on it together? It seems to me that the Bush Administration is the one scrambling for after-the-fact corroboration this time.

--How does this change the fact that the Bush Administration has claimed contradictory things about this? They are lying to us.

--The figure of 380 tons is taken, I believe, from the Iraqis' letter to the IAEA. If there were only three tons, then that's still a Lockerbie a day fo the next sixteen years...or a Madrid a day for the next four months.

At least you're not blaming the troops, like Rudy Giuliani did.

Another interesting wrinkle...a Minnesota TV station's videotape.


Also, the IAEA warned the Bush Administration -- and the UN -- about the explosives in April 2003.

And the administration says it's only known about this for two weeks.

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