Iraq is “worth it.”
President Bush has repeatedly assured us that our national and personal sacrifices in Iraq are – in his words -- “worth it.” He says it has been worth American lives lost – though apparently not those of his own two service-age daughters. And worth our national treasure, now surely to top $300 billion.
The “worth it” claim is still a matter of debate for most Americans. But at least one small group of Americans could not agree more. That would be the folks over at Dick Cheney’s old company, Halliburton where war is their business, their only business.
Halliburton hauled in $6.3 billion so far on its no-bid Iraq contracts during just the first two years of the occupation. Not bad for 24 months of work, huh? But wait. There’s more on the way. Under a new deal the Bush administration has just signed Halliburton will receive another $4.97 billion to support U.S. troops in Iraq until May 2006.
This despite the fact that every few months Halliburton gets caught red-handed cheating, lying and stealing taxpayer money on its Iraq contracts.
The Pentagon last week confirmed a report by congressional Democrats saying that the Defense Contract Audit Agency has questioned more than $1 billion of Halliburton's bills for work in Iraq under (contract) and an energy contract called Restore Iraqi Oil. Among the costs that Pentagon auditors questioned were $152,000 for movie rentals, $1.5 million for tailoring and two multimillion-dollar transportation bills that appeared to overlap. (Full Story)
So, the “worth it for whom” mystery is solved. Now we know – the rest of the story.
Fire Up The Smoke Machine
The White House has a message for their fundamentalist Christian rabble: “shhhhhhhhhhh…”
White House spinsters have asked the holy rollers to tone it down and try to pretend they are reasonable folk. All the noise they have been making about Bush’s pending Supreme Court appointment(s) is causing the White House trouble. The truth has always posed problems for this administration and this is no exception. So, as in all past cases when truth posed a problem for them, they are asking for a truth timeout.
The White House and the Senate Republican leadership are pushing back against pressure from some of their conservative allies about the coming Supreme Court nomination, urging them to stop attacking Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales as a potential nominee and to tone down their talk of a culture war…Instead, these participants, who insisted on anonymity to avoid exclusion from future calls, said the aides - including Barbara Ledeen of the Senate Republican Conference and Eric Ueland, chief of staff to Senator Bill Frist, the majority leader - emphasized themes that had been tested in polls, including a need for a fair and dignified confirmation process. (Full Story)
(This from an administration that likes to boast they never pay attention to the polls. Another lie – but who’s counting.)
The White House game plan, which the born-again knuckle-draggers were screwing up, is to try to frame the Supreme Court confirmation process as a dignified event, like a wedding or a funeral.
You see, a trap is in the making. When the Democrats kick a fuss of over a controversial nominee, they will accuse them of sullying this dignified process for purely partisan reasons. Got it?
It’s more of the kind of Orwellian crapola we have come to expect from this pack. But watch out, because they are good at being bad -- very good.
So, expect in the weeks ahead to see the religious right get into goose-step with the administration. Gone will be the TV footage of fetus-poster waving, praying, psalm-citing, heaven-bounders demanding one of their own be ordained a Supreme Court justice. In their place will be ever-so reasonable-sounding conservative spokesfolk who will hide their 12th century social agenda behind a facade of suit and tie wearing moderation. (“Can’t we all just get along… until we win?” Then it will be the rest of us who will have to “get along”-- as in, “get along little doges.”)
It’s not easy being a sleaze. Oh sure, at first it’s fun, snubbing your nose at rules other must follow, cutting in line, running with scissors. But eventually it catches up. Sleaze sticks. Eventually it achieves critical mass and drags you down.
And so it has (finally) come to pass for House Majority Leader, Tom DeLay (R.Tx.) Once the a Darth Vader-like GOP hit man, DeLay’s days on the Dark Side appear numbered.
"Suddenly, the old Texas brio that carried him through years of smaller controversies is on the wane. The leader recognizes -- belatedly, some GOP colleagues say -- that the latest questions about his relationships with lobbyists are a problem threatening his career and the GOP majority he helped to build and sustain since coming to the House 20 years ago. Everywhere there are signs of a politician in retreat….. DeLay, likewise, usually no longer attends joint news conferences of the GOP leadership. His presence, Republicans say, would distract from the party's message about gas prices or other topics of the day." (Washington Post)
The exploits of major league Congressional sleaze bags of the recent past, Jim Wright and Dan Rostenkowski, have been rendered quaint by the sleaze-feats of Tom DeLay. He established a new standard for corruption and abuse of power in office.
As his star declines, it must be painful for Tom. Especially when he tries to sneak into a photo op with fellow Republicans, only to have one ask, “Hey, what’s that smell? Did someone cut the cheese?” (Snicker, snicker.) Oh, sharper than a serpent’s tooth!
So Tom sulks off, branded into a new phase of life, for all time with his hard-earned scarlet “S.”)
Joining Tom on his new life’s journey will (appropriately) be his financial God Father, Washington lobbyist, Jack Abramoff. For the last ten years of so Tom and Jack have been Washington’s very own Bevis and Butthead. Now they may both be heading for cells at Camp Beefcake – Tom for breaking Texas campaign finance laws and Jack for screwing American Indians out of millions.
Karma..it may sometimes take the long and winding scenic route, but it always eventually comes back home to roost.