Thursday, December 14, 2006

December 4 - December 12, 2006

December 12, 2006

An Important Story
You Didn't See

I have no idea why this story was not on the front page of every newspaper and at the top of every newscast yesterday, but it wasn't. The story ran on only one front page, that I'm aware of. And that was on the paper that broke the story, the Wall Street Journal.

Whether you are among the growing majority of Americans that think Bush is doing an awful job, or a member of the shrinking minority of those that believe he's doing a the right thing, you have to be bowled by this story. Just when I think I can close the book on the breathtaking incompetence of this administration, hard facts like this cross my bow and I have to reconsider.

Yesterday the WSJ's defense correspondent, Gregg Jaffe, reported that US Army officials have told the White House they are broke. Worse than broke actually. The Army, despite its $168 billion budget, is out of money and being forced to cannibalize operations, here and in the war zone, just to keep the lights on.

Here are just a few of the grim facts from Jaffe's exclusive:
  • According to Maj. Gen Stephen Speakes, the Army was sent to war in Iraq $56 billion short of essential equipment.
  • Army officials told the White House that it needs at least an additional $24 billion, not in the 2007 budget, just to pay its current bills.
  • Cash shortfalls have forced the Army to lay off janitorial staff, close base swimming pools, and even stop mowing lawns on Army bases.
  • But cuts have also hit soldiers fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Army officials had to cut $3 billion for replacement of weapons in heavy use in Iraq, such as armored Humvees, two-way radios, remote control surveillance aircraft and trucks.
  • National Guard units now lack 40% of their critical readiness gear because it's been sent to Iraq, and the Army lacks the funds to replace it.
This budget crunch comes at a time when running the US Army never cost more, Jaffe reported.
  • To stem the flow of soldiers leaving the Army because of repeated deployments to Iraq the Army was forced to spend $773 million on “retention bonus' this year compared with just $85 million three years ago.
  • The Army had to spend an additional $300 million on recruiting this year than in 2003.
  • The quality of the Army's oft touted all volunteer force has slid with the Army's decision to accept more enlistees that scored in the lower third of aptitude tests.
  • As a result the Army had to issue 8500 “moral waivers” this year compared with just 2260 ten years ago. (Moral waivers are issued for past criminal convictions, drug use and other proven legal/moral violations.)
How much of the Army's budget problems are due to poor budgeting and how much from private sector gouging? You decide.

Here are few more facts from Jaffe's report.
  • The cost of equipping an infantry soldier tripled, from $7000 in 1999 to $24,000 today.
  • The cost of Humvee's went from $32,000 in 2001 to a breathtaking $225,000 each today.
  • The cost of training, feeding and housing Army recruits went from $75,000 per soldier in 2001 to $120,000 today. (The Army uses private contractors, largely Halliburton's Kellogg, Root & Brown, to provide most non-training services, such as food service and base maintenance. )
So, while we await President Bush to unveil his “new way forward,” plan for Iraq, consider the implications of Jaffe's report. The Iraq Study Group undoubtedly heard all about the Army's budget crunch during their closed-door hearings. Which explains why it's recommendations did not include large additional US troop deployments.

“The (Army's) equipment shortages explain why Gen. John Abizaid, the top commander in the middle East, recently told lawmakers that the US couldn't maintain even a relatively small increase of 20,000 soldiers in Iraq. “The ability to sustain that commitment is simply not something we have right now,” he testified in November.” (Jaffe, WSJ)

If you are looking for someone to blame for the wartime Army budget emergency look no further than Ike's “military industrial complex.” Even in peacetime that bunch roots through taxpayer's wallets with reckless abandon. But an actual war sparks a feeding frenzy. Multi-billion dollar weapon systems get approved faster than a Las Vegas hooker can turn a trick, often entirely independent of its relevance to the war at hand.

That fa That fact is reflected in other figure Gregg Jaffe unearthed.

“Of the $1.9 trillion the US spent on weaponry....the Air Force received 36% and the Navy got 33%. The Army got

There you have it. Equipping infantry soldiers at $24,000 a crack ain't bad work, if you can get it. But slamming taxpayers $32 million a copy for a fleet of F-18 fighter jets, now that's a spicy meat-a-ball! Or how about this mouthfull -- $320.5 billion for a ballistic-missile submarine program -- and that's the base price. You want options? They got options. Add $97 billion for the missiles; $46 billion for submarine propulsion research, development, testing, production, and operations; and $220 billion for attack submarine construction, weapons, and related systems. Now you're talkin'!

Ships, subs, planes and all the high-end, high-tech gizmos that go with them, are SO much more profitable for defense contractors than the care and feeding of Army grunts that's it's no contest. And these high-dollar honey pots are also much more "boast-worthy" for politicians in districts where those contractors maintain plants -- and defense contracts make damn sure their facilities are strategically located around the country.

Which explains why the poor grunt on the ground is getting the short end of defense spending. Lockheed can't build and sell infantrymen. And profit margins on rifles, bullets and bulletproof vests is small change compared to the other stuff that can be sold to Uncle Sam. So, why waste a perfectly good war on nickel and dime infantry stuff when they can go for the real gold?

Just keep Jaffe's story in mind the next time you hear the President or your member of Congress heaping praise on our “fighting men and women on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan.” When they're done, ask them what Jaffe's report is all about, and how it translates into “supporting our troops.” Ask them just who they are really supporting -- our troops or their favorite defense contributor(s)? Then ask them how many of the nearly 3000 dead US soldiers they figure died ecause they lacked proper gear? Oh, and ask them to let you know right away when one of those $250 billion nuclear subs nails Osama bin Laden or pacifies Fallugia.

Oh my. I'm weary. It's all so tiresome. I am so, so, so, so, SO tired of being jerked around by the folks we send to Washington. I'm tired of watching the good ones go bad, tired of watching the bad ones get worse, then get reelected anyway. I'm tired of feeling insulted by the lame-ass lies -- like Hillary's "I really haven't given running for president any serious thougth." I am tired of the phony patriotism, the cynical, manipulative, moralistic hypocrisy and the revolving-door-financial/political-mutual-back-scratching. And I'm tired of the kind of bullshit bookkeeping that, if you or I tried it, we'd be sharing a prison cell with Jeffery Skilling. Finally I'm tired of being told it's all going to change for the better now, and then watching it just get worse and worse.

The Iraq Study Group says the "situation is grave, and deteriorating." True, but not just in Iraq, but right here in the USA. We were a great nation, once. Not just a great military power, but, thanks to a rule-of-law, we were a great financial force. And thanks to deeply held, genuine convictions we actually lived by, we were once a great moral force on the world stage.

Today we are still a great military force. But the other two treasures have been squandered. Corporate officers loot shareholder equity with abandon, shrug off American workers in favor of cheap overseas serf-labor and share their windfall profits and tax-cuts with the beast of corruption that granted them, guaranteeing more to come.

And then there's America's once glimmering moral authority -- washed away on the water-boards of Gitmo, secret prisons and ruled out of order in military tribunals that only a banana republic could love.

Sorry to be such a downer today. But the drip, drip, drip of the past six years just gets to be too much some days.

Oh, one last thing. You might want to ask your local newspaper editor why he/she didn't pick up Jaffe's story. His disclosures are as important as the Iraq Study Group's report, maybe more so.

Site of the Day
This blogger captured the 111 unscreened comments posted on Tom DeLay's new blog site before DeLay removed them.


December 8, 2006

Call Me Crazy
But Think I've Been Here Before

Remember Watergate? I sure do. I lived through the entire sorted mess. But yesterday a particularly chilling image from those days returned to haunt my imagination. It was at the height of the crisis. Nixon, hunkered down in the Oval Office, buzzed his secretary and asked for his chief of staff, Al Haig.

When Haig walked in Nixon thrust a pill bottle at him. It was Valium. A frustrated Nixon asked Haig to open it for him. The bottle had a child-proof cap Nixon could not dislodge. As Haig went to open the bottle he noticed the cap had been nearly chewed off.

I always considered that moment -- an American president, the most powerful person on earth, in emotional free fall and desperately chewing the cap of tranquiler bottle -- the most frightening image of my life. That is, until this week.

This week I saw that look again. It was the look Richard Nixon had just weeks before the Valium bottle incident. It's hard to describe, but unmistakable -- an unsettling combination of nonsensical defiance, confusion, Captain Queeg-like paranoia with a dash of self-pity.

I saw that look in George W. Bush's face twice this week. The first time was during his Wednesday morning photo-op with the members of the Baker/Hamilton Commission. The best way to describe Bush's manner is that he seemed untethered from what everyone else in the nation considered a momentous moment. He lacked even appropriate voice inflection, delivering disjointed and rambling comments in a monotone. His comments were so bland and generic he might as well have been responding to a report from a local Rotary Club on the importance of good street lighting fighting street crime.

It was at that moment the thought first popped into my mind, “Whoa! This guy – or someone else – must have gotten the Valium bottle open this morning!”

It was just a guess, but the next day I was certain of it. It was during Bush's press conference with Tony Blair. At least Tony Blair looked appropriately concerned. Bush, on the other hand, looked lost. His performance reminded me of a stand-up comedian that suddenly discovers no one is laughing at the only jokes he knows any more. So he desperately tries them all, one after the other. When no one laughs at one joke he moves quickly to the next, then the next.... He tries all his golden oldies, but the audience just sits there. Some snicker, not at the jokes, but at the clueless guy on stage. Some get up and leave. A few actually heckle.

No one was buying Bush's old saws at Thursday's press conference. And he tried them all --- The, “Fight them there so we don't have to fight them here,” .... The , “if we leave before defeating them in Iraq they will follow us home.” .... The, “it's hard. I know it's hard.” ...


Worse than nothing. A British reporter asked him why he seemed to be the only person left not ready to admit things in Iraq are really bad. Bush got a glazed, far away look in his eyes -- the kind of look my dog gets on his fury face when ask if he had anything to do with dog dodo on the living room carpet. The answer was one not part of his usual act. He had to adlib. So it took awhile.

Finally he spoke:
“Okay, It's bad.” Bush responded... followed by another long pause.

There was no laughter – except his own head-bobbing,“heh, heh, heh,” hint to the audience that he had just made a new joke. Only silence.

When no one reacted, he fished, “Is that better?” he pleaded. More silence.
"I know it's hard. I understand that..." (It was an echo of Nixon's “Your president is not a crook,” declaration. Hell, I assumed most politicians are crooks. I wasn't worried that Dick Nixon was a crook. I was worried he was nuts.)

At a Senate hearing yesterday James Baker warned that the commission's report “should not be treated like a fruit salad, picking this, rejecting that.” That missed the point. We are not worried that the commission's report is a fruit salad, but that the guy they wrote it for is.

During Watergate the nation was spared the sad, and potentially dangerous, specter of a sitting president going stark raving mad in office. Adults in Nixon's own party conducted an intervention, leading their emotionally – and increasingly mentally – crippled leader safely off the world stage. It was an act of both statesmanship and patriotism by that handful of sage-like Republicans. It was also an act of kindness and compassion for a mortally wounded leader -- albeit the wounds were self-inflected.

So, is George W. Bush cracked or cracking? Or is what I witnessed this week just more of the uninformed, spoiled, arrogant little putz that 71% of us have come to dislike. Only time will tell -- but time is short.

President Bush hinted he would give a major speech before Christmas during which he plans to show Americans -- and the world – that he really is in touch with reality. But everything I know about George W. Bush argues against any sudden redemption. Because, as Oscar Wilde correctly pointed out, “Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.” And no president in America's history has been less imaginative than George W. Bush.

But if GWB is anything he's stubborn. Consistently so. Trouble is facts are even more stubborn. And it's facts now --- not Democrats, not surrender monkeys, not cut-and-runners, not the French, not the UN, not Michael Moore, not Cindy Sheehan – but the facts confronting George W. Bush. And facts can't be silenced by calling them names or insinuating they are "unpatriotic" facts. Facts are just what they are, nothing more, nothing less. And the facts on the ground in Iraq are ugly and will get even uglier in the weeks and months ahead.

The next few months will be very hard on Bush 43. Maybe too hard. We may see the weight of it all too much for a guy accustomed to getting his own way and never having to acknowledge, much less clean up, his own messes.

While we have not yet seen George the Younger crack in public, his father has. At a recent award ceremony for his other son, Jeb, George-the-Elder broke down sobbing. He said it was out of pride for Jeb. But I suspect it had a lot more to do with his concern for what he knows is in store for his other son, the one in the White House. He tried to warn young George against whacking Saddam, that doing so could spark a full scale mob war in that rough neighborhood. Now it's too late. War – civil war – will consume Iraq, and possibly ignite a full scale Sunni v. Shiite war in the Middle East. And Bush Sr. knows that the resulting mess will go down in history with the Bush family name stamped all over it.

The Baker/Hamilton commission has tried to show Bush Jr. a graceful -- if unavoidably ignoble -- path out of Iraq. But what may really be needed in the weeks ahead is someone ready to, not just crack open the Valium bottle for George W. Bush, but the door leading out of the Oval Office.

"Yes Mr.President. The way forward. It's right through here sir."

December 7, 2006

Heavy Weapons:
Oh Yeah, Just What Iraq Needs

I know everyone is abuzz today about how the Baker/Hamilton commission's bleak report on Iraq represents the beginning of the end for Bush's disastrous blunder. True, there is now light at the end of that bloody gauntlet. But more US kids will have to die before it's over, not for strategic, but for entirely face-saving reasons.

And, if you listened carefully to statements from both administration and Iraqi officials over the the last couple of weeks, you heard the lid on the KY jelly jar being loosened for one last reaming – of you, your kids and your grandkids.

It's a “new plan,” a plan to “beef up Iraqi military” so it can take over from US forces. You heard Iraqi Prime Minister Al-Maliki last week claim that the only reason his forces have not stood up to the insurgents so far is because they don't have any “heavy weapons.” He wants heavy weapons -- tanks, Humvees, artillery, that kind of stuff.

Maliki's request fell on eager – no, desperate -- ears. George W. Bush, now painted into a corner by his own incompetence, is now looking for any way to hold off Iraq's inevitably collapse until after he leaves office. And Maliki's request for more military gear was just the ticket, especially now that the Baker/Hamilton has sanctified the notion of encouraging and enabling the Iraqis to fight for themselves.

Of course, Iraq can't even pay it's own utility bills, so guess who's going to have to borrow a few billion dollars more to pay for those heavy weapons Maliki wants?

Bush's new strategy, which has already begun to emerge, will be a two-pronged ruse: 1) Increase training of Iraqi troops, and 2) Provide them “the means” to function after US forces leave. (“Means” = heavy weapons.)

Bear with me here as I free associate on this “new course forward:”

Let's see -- first let's talk about “heavy weapons.”

Over the past three years the harsh Iraq environment has worn down our own military's stock of heavy weapons to the breaking point. Nearly $8 billion in US heavy weapons, tanks, trucks, Humvees and trucks, are now up on blocks awaiting repairs at US headquarter and supply depots around the world. Our soldiers in Iraq are now so short heavy equipment that the Pentagon has been looting National Guard and Reserve units to make up the shortfall. Gutted reserve units now need their own $7 billion infusion of heavy weapons to replace theirs which are now being degraded in Iraq.

So, just what can we give Mr. Maliki? The heavy weapons and gear now on the ground in Iraq, of course. We could just leave it behind when our own troops split. Forget for moment that we will have to then replace it all for our own armed forces. Let's instead consider what the Iraqis will do with those heavy weapons.

Well let's see. Maliki is a Shiite. So is that little two-legged tumor, al-Sadar. Shiites are to Iraq what racist segregationists were to the US south a century ago – only meaner. Sunnis are Iraq's minority. What does common sense suggest the Shiite-government of Iraq has in mind for those heavy weapons. (You only get one guess.)

Which is precisely why, at such as critical tipping-point moment, al-Maliki is not begging for more US troops. And he's not begging US troops to stay in Iraq either. All Maliki is asking for now are “heavy weapons” for his 350,000 US-trained and supplied Iraqi soldiers.

On top of that al-Sadar has his own 60,000-man Shia militia. These are the folks who have been kidnapping Sunnis off the street. Most are later found shot in the head, but only after militia soldiers amused themselves by making holes in them with electric drills. (Imagine the creative uses those dudes will come up with once they have heavy weapons!)

Meanwhile up north the Kurds, who have been stabbed in the back by the US more than once, will go berserk at the very notion that the US is providing the Shiites the heavy military gear. That's all the Shiites need to reclaim the Kurd's newly acquired oil fields – which of course is another reason al-Maliki wants heavy equipment.

I guess my point here is Bush is about to make things worse in Iraq – again. We should not give Maliki “heavy” anything. We've already armed and trained his new army with the kinds of weapons necessary to bring law and order to Iraq. I suggest he be told to get on with that task because that's all he's getting from Uncle Sap. (Thank goodness it takes too long to train helicopter pilots or we'd be giving them choppers too.)

New York Times – and one-time supporter of the war -- Tom Friedman, said today that the trouble real problem we face in Iraq is that Iraqis living together as a unified nation is our first choice. But for Iraqis that is their second choice. Most Iraqis first choice is that their particular tribe, Sunni, Shia or Kurd, get everything they want. (Which for Sunnis and Shiites is, pretty much, everything.) The Shiites want full control of Iraq. The Sunnis want to return to the good old days when they ran roughshod over Iraq. The Kurds want nothing to do with either of them, just their own country and every drop of oil under it.

“We lost,” Friedman, said today. “It's over. We should no longer sacrifice our first-choice soldiers to further the second choices of the Iraqis.”

Amen. Get out. Sooner rather than later. And take our heavy weapons with us.

A couple of other free-associative observations on all this:

- We all know now that the Bush administration lied to us about WMD in Iraq. Now, thanks to the Baker/Hamilton report we learn they've been lying to us about the true level of violence in Iraq. They looked at one particularly violent day in Iraq during which the administration reported 93 violent incidents. The real number was over 1100 violent attacks. (Not exactly a rounding error.)

- Ever wonder why, from the very start of this mess, the Bush administration made one breathtaking mistake after another? There was a clue in the Baker/Hamilton report. We have 1000 Americans working at the US embassy in Iraq out of which only six of them speak Arabic. There's 4 million Arab-Americans, but the Bush administration could only round up 6 (s-i-x) to work at our embassy in Baghdad.

- On 9/11 3030 Americans were killed, resulting in the Bush administration's “war on terror.” The same year the leading causes of death for Americans was tobacco – which killed 435,000 deaths or 18.1% of total US deaths that year. Rather than declare war on tobacco Bush administration lawyers argued the court should reduce the $135 billion fine against Big Tobacco to $10 billion.

- The same year as terrorist killed 3030 Americans, 17,000 Americans – more than 5 times as died on 9/11 -- died from illicit drug use. Yet just this week I read this dispatch from our war front in Afghanistan:

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon, engaged in a difficult fight to defeat a resurgent Taliban in Afghanistan, has resisted entreaties from U.S. anti-narcotics officials to play an aggressive role in the faltering campaign to curb the country's opium trade...Military units in Afghanistan largely overlook drug bazaars, rebuff some requests to take U.S. drug agents on raids and do little to counter the organized crime syndicates shipping the drug to Europe, Asia and, increasingly, the United States, according to officials and documents. (Afghanistan now provides upwards of 90% of the heroin coming into the US, and this years crop has been a record. ) (Full Story)

So, let me get this straight. We will go to war against anyone that kills 3030 Americans in one year by flying planes into office buildings, but have no interest in going to war against those that kill 17,000 Americans every year by providing them deadly drugs.

Meanwhile, now self-financed by this booming drug trade, the Taliban is making a strong comeback in Afghanistan.

Maybe it's time for the Baker/Hamilton commission to get to work on an Afghanistan report.

Yes Virginia, George W. Bush is a moron. No need for special commission to verify that. The evidence – and bodies – mount by the hour.

Bush's Secret Plan
For Iraq

As everyone in the Bush Administration seems to be writing and leaking their own CYA memos, one has to wonder what George W. Bush and Karl Rove are thinking. Well, News For Real has gotten our fictional hands on a memo George wrote to Karl just last week. In it Bush voices some disappointment with his long-time partner, indicates that frin here on he's calling the shoots, and reveals his secret plan for dealing with the meltdown in Iraq.


From: POTUS-Minor
To: Turd-Blossom

Re: Getting out of Dodge

Well Karl, fine mess we gotten ourselves into this time! You said this was going to be the easiest gig we ever pulled off. That you'd spend your days doing what you like best -- scaring Democrats -- and that I'd be able to play golf and ride my bike half the year and lay around the ranch the other half.

Now look where we are. I have to stand in front of cameras pretending we're winning that war we started -- which, may I remind you, was your bright idea. After 9/11 you got all worked up and assured me that Americans like nothing better than a president who bombs the holy bagebbers out people they don't like. I agree, it sounded reasonable. I loved sitting home in Texas watching news clips of napalm barbequing those little Viet Cong critters during the Vietnam war. (Reminded me of when I cook ants with a magnifying glass at the ranch. Heh, heh. They go “pop” and then the cutest little whiff of smoke comes out of them. Heh, heh, I love that.)

Anyway, I took your advice. I bombed, I sent troops, I approved roughing up POWs. And what? Now 2/3rds of the America public hate me. And in November we lost the boot-licking Congress that we've led around by the nose for six years. Karl!!! You said we'd win. What happened with the Diebold deal? I thought the election was in the cyber-bag. Hell, Karl, you even blew Florida AND Ohio. If you weren't the last person around this place who still comes when I call, I'd drop an anvil on your head. (And steer clear of Laura -- she is menopausal AND she's piiiiiissssed... at you. I finally had to throw Rummy off a cliff just to get some peace around the house. So don't do anything to remind her that you're still here, or all hell will break loose again.)

And where's that scheming little dwarf Cheney? He sure is making himself scarce around here lately. Is he in his secret place again? Damn him and that screaming witch he's married to -- nurse Ratchet, Eva Braun, Lynn or whatever. (Did know about that lesbian book she wrote? I had a dream one afternoon where Lynn Cheney, Hillary Clinton and Mary Matalin were marooned on a desert island.... heh, heh... pretty good dream. If I still drank I'd tell you about it.)

Oh and how about Don? Remember when the war started, the newsies were gushing about how he was such a smartypants stud? He always had something cutesy to say when asked a serious question about how the war was going. Hey! Why didn't I get his writers? But oh no, I get stuck with reject writers from America's Funniest Home Videos and the old Gong show. (They make me luk sew stewpid!! Can I have his writers when he leaves?)

So Turd, it's just you and me again, like old times. And, as you know, my mind starts really ticking when I'm taking a licking. (Heh, heh.) Once again I gotta a plan to get you and me outta Dodge before someone organizes a pose.

Our biggest problem -- as I see it -- is Iraq. But relax old bean, I have an ironclad plan that will get the entire Iraq mess off our resumes.

In a word: S-T-A-L-L.

That's right. We can't use that “stay the course” thing you came up with last year. Beat that horse to death during the campaign. Anyway, folks are onto it. Except for the retard-right everyone else has figured out that staying the course simply means “keep losing.” Instead we need to say things that make it appear we're changing course, while not doing much of anything at all.

Bottom Line: We have just 24 months left before we can make a clean getaway. All we have to do now is run out that clock. How simple is that?

Don't worry, we'll have plenty of plays to call between now and 2008. In fact our enemies are about to provide us with all kinds of time consuming fodder. We have Daddy's little Mr. Fix-it, Jim Baker and his Commission. And I started my own internal “study” group that will report around the same time. (Well, actually I've got that report right here in my pocket. Wrote it myself over the weekend. Heh, heh. Pop and his preppy pals all think they're so smart. Well Pops,watch MY lips... " No you're not." Heh, heh. Bite me Baker! Heh, heh... Always wanted to say that!)

Of course the Democrats will help us too by throwing even more suggestions on Iraq into the mix. Turd, let me tell ya, if we can't leverage all that blather into two years of stalling, then we don't deserve to call ourselves Texas politicians.

What we gotta do, Turd, is start moving the players around the board over in Iraq – look like we're making changes -- keep the critics off balance -- don't allow ourselves to get into a check, or Gawd-forbid – checkmate -- situation.

Sure that means losing more pawns, but there's plenty more more where they came from. (Anyway, if I'm not mistaken, none of them are related to either of us, right? -- Oh hey, BTW, did you see how well my two girls handled themselves when some jerk stole their purses during their vacation in Argentina? Chips off the old block those two. SOOOO proud of them!)

Anyway, that's my plan... just run the clock out, leave town in January 2009 and drop the whole mess into the laps of our replacements. With any luck at all a Democrat will win the White House next time. And that's the bonus part of my plan. When Iraq -- and probably the rest of that armpit part of the world -- come apart at the seams, we get to blame the "cut-and-run Democrats." We accuse them of giving up before they finished the job. (Heh, heh, heh. Beautiful, huh? Heh, heh, heh. Brings a smile to my face every time I think about sitting there in my Presidential library telling visitors how we were just "this close" to winning in Iraq when the Democrats raised the white flag of surrender. Heh, heh. As my girls would say, "Sweeeeeeeeet.")

They all think I'm a lame duck now. And more and more I hear that "I've lost it." HA! Oh-contrary Turdo. I'm actually at the very top of my game. Admit it -- I create a mess as big as Iraq, then engineer a clean get away, AND finally shift the blame for it all on my enemies!!! Losing it? HA!

One more thing Turdo -- don't go leaking this memo. You're the only person I sent it to and, since I'm not about to leak it, I'll know who done it if it shows up in my morning news briefing.

You, Laura and Barney are the last folks I can trust aroud here, and I'm not entirely sure about Barney. (He humped Cheney's knee on election night and Cheney just sat there with a smirk on his face. I mean, my lesbian-desert-island dream is one thing, but that's just sick! Don't ya think?)

Your pal
George W. Bush
President of the USofA

P.S. Hey, do you still have my copy of Sonic Hedge Hog? If so send it over PDQ. I'll swap it for Madden NFL.