Tidbits for Political Junkies with Short Attention Spans & Hearty Appetites


Monday, June 28, 2004


Joe Klein

This piece from Time is well worth reading:

The Vulcans—a campaign 2000 nickname for George W. Bush's hawkish national security team—went Krakatoa last week. Dick Cheney erupted on the Senate floor, deploying the F word against Vermont Democrat Patrick Leahy, who had been belaboring the Vice President over the no-bid deals that Cheney's old company, Halliburton, had scored in Iraq. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz suffered a meltdown in a House Armed Services Committee hearing, blasting the press for "sitting in Baghdad" and "printing rumors." (He later apologized.) And the White House was forced to acknowledge that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld had approved, at least for a while, the use of dogs, nudity, stress positions—that is, torture—against enemy combatants. Indeed, Rumsfeld, who works at a stand-up desk, indicated a desire for at least one more strenuous stress position: "I stand 8-10 hours a day," he scrawled on a memo. "Why is standing limited to 4 hours?"

Presumably the Secretary of Defense doesn't do his standing naked, continuously, in the middle of the night, surrounded by hostile guards and attack dogs. But then, Rumsfeld's blustery testosteronics are at the heart of what has gone wrong with the Bush foreign policy—and last week the assorted temper tantrums appeared to be a leading indicator of a gathering summer storm confronting this presidency.

Honorable mention: best use of bracketed euphemisms to identify an elided expletive, for this sentence:
Bob Woodward reported that Franks once called Under Secretary of Defense Douglas Feith, who was charged with postwar planning, "the [Cheney expletive] stupidest guy on the face of the earth," and some defense experts are wondering if Franks, who has a reputation for candor, will elaborate on that.



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