The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Monday, January 26, 2004  

Setting Up the Fall Guy
And Keeping Silent

Can you see what's happening? Do you see what they're doing? Can you discern the strategy of deception the Bush administration plans to ride into four more years of havoc and destruction at home and abroad?

The outlines are becoming more clear. What is shaping up before our eyes is the following: President George W. Bush, of all people, will take the "high road," standing as the man of principle, the lonely warrior, the protector of all that is good and true, the divinely chosen one leading the heathen east and west (coasts) to the promised land.

I know, the thought is, in and of itself, nauseating. Remember this, though: People buy this stuff. They buy it by the proverbial crockful.

Meanwhile, another role has been assigned to Vice President Dick Cheney, one for which he is uniquely suited.

When assessing Vice President Cheney's public statements about the war and about terrorism, don't think for a moment that he's become delusional or that he's a loose cannon, running around spouting discredited theories, unbelievable fables, and easily refutable "facts" about Saddam Hussein, weapons of mass destruction, and links between Iraq and Al-Qaeda.

Yes, he's doing that, but no, Cheney is very much on script with all of this. He's the administration's public liar, the point man of prevarication, trotted out now and again to repeat untruths that fire up the ignorant and the conspiracy-minded alike, keeping the stupid and the crazy in line and behind their natural candidate: President Bush.

Meanwhile, how convenient will it be for the Bush administration to have replaced David Kay with Charles Duelfer as the CIA's chief weapons inspector in Iraq? The appointment was made despite the fact Duelfer publicly has raised personal doubts about the likelihood that any evidence of WMDs will be found in Iraq.

Is this the Bush administration being open-minded, tolerant of dissent? I don't think so.

Fast forward, what, four, six months? Duelfer hands in his report demonstrating -- proving, even -- that Saddam Hussein's regime didn't have the capacity to produce, let alone deliver, let alone deliver to the U.S. (or London), biological, chemical, or nuclear weapons, and what will we hear from the White House, the Pentagon, and their parrots in the media?

I'll tell you: "Well, we all know Duelfer went into this job operating under the assumption that WMDs (and WMD programs and WMD program-related activities, whatever they are) couldn't be found. He wasn't credible from the start, why should we believe him now? The appointment was a terrible mistake by CIA Director George Tenet and White House sources now say they regret they didn't block the appointment. We've also learned Duelfer's wife once . . . "

Mark my words.

Finally, why has National Security Adviser Condoleezza "Mushroom Cloud" Rice suddenly been muzzled? She used to be everywhere, all the time -- sometimes it seemed she was demonstrating what the Catholic Church, in reference to certain saints, calls "bilocation" -- all the while telling lies, feeding misperceptions, fueling misconceptions, and, most important, covering her ass. Now, she's disappeared.

Not that I miss her or anything.

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