The Top 10 Conservative Idiots
The Top 10 Conservative Idiots, No. 329
March 17, 2008
Wars And All Edition
This week marks the fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, and over the weekend Iraq war veterans from all over the country gathered in Washington DC to take part in new Winter Soldier hearings. You can learn more by visiting the Iraq Veterans Against The War website at ivaw.org, where they have audio and video of the hearings.
It's probably no coincidence that most of the entries on today's list are related to war, national security and foreign policy. Don't forget the key...
George W. Bush
War is hell. Unless you're George W. Bush, in which case it's a fantastic, romantic experience that we should all be envious of.
I'm not kidding. Here he is taking part in a teleconference with military personnel in Afghanistan last week:
"I must say, I'm a little envious," Bush said. "If I were slightly younger and not employed here, I think it would be a fantastic experience to be on the front lines of helping this young democracy succeed."
"It must be exciting for you ... in some ways romantic, in some ways, you know, confronting danger. You're really making history, and thanks," Bush said.
Of course, when George was slightly younger and not employed as President of the United States, he did have an opportunity to confront danger and have a fantastic romantic experience on the front lines in Vietnam. Yet, for some reason, he chose not to go. Funny how that works.
This isn't the first time Our Great Leader has succumbed to his little macho fantasy - back in Idiots 307, I noted how disappointed he was that he couldn't go fight in Iraq. According to the Washington Post:
"Responding to one of the bloggers in Iraq he expressed envy that they could be there, and said he'd like to be there but 'One, I'm too old to be out there, and two, they would notice me.'"
Well, yeah, they probably would notice a chimp in wet pants running away from the fighting at top speed, waving his arms and screaming, "Daddy! Daddy! Get me out of here!"
Halliburton and Geoff Morrell
Hey, you know what's really romantic? "Skin abscesses, cellulitis, skin infections," and "diarrhea."
Yes, those are just a few of the delightful illnesses that U.S. troops have contracted "after using discolored, smelly water for personal hygiene and laundry at five U.S. military sites in Iraq" according to the Associated Press.
The Defense Department's inspector general's report, which could be released as early as Monday, found water quality problems between March 2004 and February 2006 at three sites run by contractor KBR Inc., and between January 2004 and December 2006 at two military-operated locations.
Halliburton Co., then KBR's parent company, disputed the allegations even though they were made by its own employees and documented in company e-mails. In March 2006, the AP obtained an internal Halliburton report that, in one instance, the company missed contamination that could have caused "mass sickness or death" at Ar Ramadi.
Don't worry though - according to Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell, this is all just a big joke. Last week he told reporters:
You know, we've all been to Iraq several times. Everywhere you go they make it perfectly clear that you don't want to drink the water, so I'm a little surprised myself that this is an issue. ... I think our encouragement is always - for journalists and warfighters alike is read the signs and just drink the bottled water.
So there you have it. Suck it up, troops! Er, I mean, don't suck it up. It's dangerous.
And while "don't drink the water" may be salient advice, the problem with Mr. Morell's flippant stance is that the troops aren't drinking this special brown Halliburton sludge. According to the AP:
The problems did not extend to troops' drinking water, but rather to water used for washing, bathing, shaving and cleaning. Water used for hygiene and laundry must meet minimum safety standards under military regulations because of the potential for harmful exposure through the eyes, nose, mouth, cuts and wounds.
So I dunno, maybe they should get some new signs or something.
With the Democratic primaries still rolling on, John McCain is clearly getting desperate for attention. Last week he told supporters at a town hall meeting that "al Qaeda or another extremist group might attempt spectacular attacks in Iraq to try to tilt the U.S. election against him."
Really John? They might try to tilt the U.S. election against you? You being the person who wants to keep our troops in the Iraqi meatgrinder for 100 years, oh, and perhaps invade Iran while you're at it? Yes, I can see why al Qaeda wouldn't want you to be president. After all, generations of bloody turmoil and religious warfare across the entire Middle East is surely the last thing they're after!
McCain, soon to depart on a Middle East and Europe trip with two Senate colleagues, said recent deadly attacks in Iraq show that al Qaeda in Iraq is not defeated.
He said is concerned "they might be able to carry out some spectacular suicide attacks but we do have them on the run."
"We have achieved enormous success but they are still a very viable and tough enemy. There is no doubt in my mind that the surge is succeeding. Thank God for Gen. (David) Petraeus, one of the greatest generals in American history."
Yes, thank god for Gen. David Nothing Compares 2 U Petraeus. His brilliant leadership is making sure that the Bush/McCain surge is a smashing success. Remember when George W. Bush first announced that risky escalation back in January 2007?
BUSH: I've made it clear to the Prime Minister and Iraq's other leaders that America's commitment is not open-ended. If the Iraqi government does not follow through on its promises, it will lose the support of the American people -- and it will lose the support of the Iraqi people.
This new strategy will not yield an immediate end to suicide bombings, assassinations, or IED attacks. Our enemies in Iraq will make every effort to ensure that our television screens are filled with images of death and suffering. Yet over time, we can expect to see Iraqi troops chasing down murderers, fewer brazen acts of terror, and growing trust and cooperation from Baghdad's residents. When this happens, daily life will improve, Iraqis will gain confidence in their leaders, and the government will have the breathing space it needs to make progress in other critical areas. Most of Iraq's Sunni and Shia want to live together in peace -- and reducing the violence in Baghdad will help make reconciliation possible.
Well it could have gone either way, but thanks to John McCain's steadfast support for this seemingly insane policy, the... surge... is... working!
Now let's check in with Gen. Petraeus and find out just how well the plan is succeeding.
Iraqi leaders have failed to take advantage of a reduction in violence to make adequate progress toward resolving their political differences, Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, said Thursday.
Petraeus, who is preparing to testify to Congress next month on the Iraq war, said in an interview that "no one" in the U.S. and Iraqi governments "feels that there has been sufficient progress by any means in the area of national reconciliation," or in the provision of basic public services.
Meanwhile, as the economy heads south, jobs are becoming increasingly harder to come by. So what better time for John McCain to interfere in a bidding contest for new Air Force tankers?
Boeing was favorite to receive the $35 billion contract - which, by their estimate, would have produced 44,000 jobs right here in the U.S. - until Sen. McCain stepped in and "pushed the Pentagon to open the bidding process to EADS (European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co.)" according to ABC News. EADS subsequently won the contract, and the tankers will be constructed mostly in Europe.
McCain had pushed the Pentagon to open the bidding process to EADS, and some question whether the three former EADS lobbyists who are on his campaign staff had anything to do with that.
Of course they didn't! John McCain hates lobbyists! Why, the only reason he allows them on the Straight Talk Express at all is so that he can constantly reprimand them!
George W. Bush
You may not have heard of Adm. William Fallon, but Sec. Def. Robert Gates once called him "one of the best strategic thinkers in uniform today." According to Think Progress:
Fallon opposed the "surge" in Iraq and has consistently battled the Bush administration to avoid a confrontation with Iran, calling officials' war-mongering "not helpful." Privately, he has vowed that an attack on Iran "will not happen on my watch."
Tough stuff. But Iran war enthusiasts need not worry - according to an article in the the latest edition of Esquire magazine:
Well-placed observers now say that it will come as no surprise if Fallon is relieved of his command before his time is up next spring, maybe as early as this summer, in favor of a commander the White House considers to be more pliable. If that were to happen, it may well mean that the president and vice-president intend to take military action against Iran before the end of this year and don't want a commander standing in their way.
And wouldn't you know it? Less than a week after news of the article broke:
Defense Secretary Robert Gates says that Admiral William Fallon, the top U.S. military commander for the Middle East, is resigning. Gates said Fallon had asked Gates for permission to retire and that Gates agreed.
Yes, if you liked the invasion of Iraq, you're going to love the invasion of Iran.
After last week's White House gropefest between George W. Bush and John McCain, McCain immediately began to untangle himself from Our Great Leader's Long Stinky Coattails. According to Think Progress:
During the "All-Star Panel" segment on Fox News's Special Report last night, Roll Call Executive Editor Mort Kondracke said that Sen. John McCain's (R-AZ) campaign is worried about appearing too aligned with President Bush and they're seeking "ways to separate themselves in some way from Bush." They need "some issue that he can be distinctive from Bush," said Kondracke.
So McCain needs to distance himself from Bush. But how?
According to Bloomberg News, here's how...
John McCain is at least as determined as George W. Bush to stay the course in Iraq and more confrontational than the president on foreign policy issues ranging from Russia and China to North Korea.
The perception that McCain is less bellicose than the administration is belied by his own positions. He's skeptical about Bush's plan to provide nuclear fuel to North Korea. He has signaled he would be tougher on China. And he called Russia's elections "rigged" even as Bush said he wanted a "close" relationship with the president-elect.
"On Russia and China, he is clearly more hawkish than Bush," said Ken Weinstein, chief executive officer of the Hudson Institute, a research group in Washington.
Rest assured that a McCain presidency will not be the same as the Bush presidency - it will be much, much worse.
This just in:
"War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength." -- George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four
"The purpose of war is peace." -- Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), March 13, 2008
Thanks for that Mitch.
George W. Bush
Last week at the Gridiron Club dinner - the annual event where politicians and journalists drunkenly fondle one another far from the eyes of the unwashed masses - George W. Bush entertained the audience by singing a spoof of "The Green Green Grass of Home." I'm serious. Clandestinely-shot footage soon showed up on YouTube. Here are the lyrics:
I spend my days clearing brush
I clear my head of all the fuss
Oh, like the fuss you made over Harriet and Brownie
Down the lane, I look out
Here comes Scooter
Finally free of the prosecutor
It's good to touch the brown, brown grass of home.
I awake and look around me
At the oval walls that surround me
And I realize I was only dreaming
There's Condi and Dick, my old compadre
Talking to me about some oil-rich Saudi
But soon, I'll touch the brown, brown grass of home
Yes you're all gonna miss me
The way you used to quiz me
But soon I'll touch the brown, brown grass of home
(inaudible) Dick Cheney strolling
With documents he's been withholding
It's good to touch the brown, brown grass of home
Yes you're all gonna miss me
The way you used to diss me
But soon I'll touch the brown, brown grass of home.
I know what you're thinking - this is almost as hilarious as the time George made that video in which he pretended to look for weapons of mass destruction under the couch in the Oval Office.
Even Chris "Sunny Nobility" Matthews was offended. "Nothing funny about a war fought for bad intelligence and a top aide, Scooter Libby, who committed perjury and obstruction of justice to cover it up," he said. "Nothing funny about a president who commuted that sentence to keep the cover-up protected."
Yes, apparently it's not enough that George W. Bush has spent more time on vacation than any other president; that he ordered his aides to ignore a Congressional subpoena; that he fiddled while New Orleans drowned; that he commuted the sentence of his former assistant Scooter Libby; that he's in bed with the Saudis; and that his vice-president conducts his operations in total secrecy.
He also has to rub it in.
The Bush Administration
Look out MidEast - the Veepinator is heading your way! Last week the White House announced that Dick Cheney would be heading to Oman, Saudi Arabia, Israel, the West Bank and Turkey to discuss something he knows a lot about - oil - and something he knows nothing at all about - peace.
Yes, I said peace. If you think that sounds silly, then check out what may be the three most ridiculous paragraphs in the history of news reporting, brought to us by the Associated Press last week:
President Bush, dispatching Vice President Dick Cheney to the Middle East, said the goal is to get Israelis and Palestinians to hold firm to the promises they've made toward peace.
Bush said Monday in the Oval Office that Cheney would "reassure people that the United States is committed to a vision of peace in the Middle East."
As Cheney tries to help hold together fragile negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, Bush says he's still optimistic that a peace deal can happen before he leaves office.
Well shit, if Dick Cheney is on the case.... what can possibly go wrong?
The Bush Administration
We know that Iraq and al Qaeda have had high-level contacts that go back a decade. Some al Qaeda leaders who fled Afghanistan went to Iraq. These include one very senior al Qaeda leader who received medical treatment in Baghdad this year, and who has been associated with planning for chemical and biological attacks. We've learned that Iraq has trained al Qaeda members in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases. And we know that after September the 11th, Saddam Hussein's regime gleefully celebrated the terrorist attacks on America." -- George W. Bush, October 7, 2002
"There's no question that Saddam Hussein had al-Qaeda ties." -- George W. Bush, September 17, 2003
Vice President Dick Cheney said Thursday the evidence is "overwhelming" that al Qaeda had a relationship with Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq, and he said media reports suggesting that the 9/11 commission has reached a contradictory conclusion were "irresponsible." "There clearly was a relationship. It's been testified to. The evidence is overwhelming," Cheney said in an interview with CNBC's "Capitol Report." -- CNN, June 19, 2004
See, this is what happens when you get your "evidence" and "testimony" from people you've tied to a table and half-drowned. Because in the real world:
An exhaustive review of more than 600,000 Iraqi documents that were captured after the 2003 U.S. invasion has found no evidence that Saddam Hussein's regime had any operational links with Osama bin Laden's al Qaida terrorist network.
The Pentagon-sponsored study, scheduled for release later this week, did confirm that Saddam's regime provided some support to other terrorist groups, particularly in the Middle East, U.S. officials told McClatchy. However, his security services were directed primarily against Iraqi exiles, Shiite Muslims, Kurds and others he considered enemies of his regime.
And now for a plug. After you've finished reading the Top 10, and after you've checked out ivaw.org, go directly to leadingtowar.com where you can watch - for free - a new movie about the lies and propaganda which took us to war in Iraq. I know, I know - you've heard it all before. But "Leading To War" is different. The movie contains no editorial commentary, it's simply chronologically-ordered news footage of members of the Bush administration giving their famous speeches about smoking guns and mushroom clouds, remote-controlled drones, aluminum tubes, and all of the now-completely-disproven ties between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda.
You may think you remember how bad it was leading up to the invasion, but trust me, watch it again fresh, with five years of hindsight, and it will blow your mind. It'll also make you mad as hell, but this is George W. Bush's real legacy - and it must not be forgotten. Spread the word, and send it to a friend today.
See you next week.
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