Thursday, February 16, 2006

Blaming the messenger

The United States has criticized an Australian television network's release of grisly images that show apparent detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq....

American officials have said the pictures should not have been released, with Defense Department spokesman Bryan Whitman telling The Associated Press their airing "could only further inflame and possibly incite unnecessary violence in the world."

Seems to me they/we ought to maybe be more concerned that detainee abuse "could only further inflame and possibly incite unnecessary violence in the world."

Monday, February 13, 2006

Too busy?

So, Cheney's handlers say that they didn't immediately notify the press that the Vice-President had shot a man while hunting because they were too busy seeing to his care:

The White House is defending its delay in disclosing Vice President Dick Cheney's weekend hunting accident, telling reporters Monday the focus was on making sure the man Cheney shot got medical attention.

Cheney was hunting quail at a friend's South Texas ranch when he shot and wounded Harry Whittington, a 78-year-old attorney from Austin and Bush-Cheney campaign contributor, about 5:30 p.m. Saturday. Whittington, who was hit with birdshot in the face, neck and upper torso, was being moved out of intensive care Monday at a hospital in Corpus Christi, officials at the facility said.

President Bush was told Saturday night that Cheney had been involved in a hunting accident, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said. But Cheney's office did not acknowledge the shooting to the public until Sunday afternoon, after the family that owns the ranch told a Corpus Christi newspaper about it.

"It's important, always, to work to make sure you get information out like this as quickly as possible," McClellan said. "But it's also important to make sure that the first priority is focused where it should be, and that is making sure that Mr. Whittington has the care that he needs."

So, Scotty, are you saying that seeing to one man's medical needs is all your administration can handle? Why should we trust you with a drug plan then, much less something like the War on Terror/Iraq?

Remember when Bush was so stridently insistent that his administration could "do more than one thing at a time"?

Saying the war in Iraq was "taking up all the energy" of President Bush's foreign policy team, [Madeleine Albright] asked Mr. Bush whether he had let nuclear programs in Iran and North Korea spin out of control, and Latin America and China policy suffer by benign neglect.

"I can't let this comment stand," Mr. Bush shot back, telling Ms. Albright and the rare assembly of her colleagues, who reached back to the Kennedy White House, that his administration "can do more than one thing at a time."

And similarly on the Lehrer NewsHour?

JIM LEHRER: No, I was just going to say in that respect directly, do you have any second thoughts now about not having first eliminated Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida before taking on Saddam Hussein and Iraq?

PRESIDENT BUSH: No, I really don't because-- and I know we can do more than one thing at a time. We have got special operators and capable intelligence folks on the hunt all the time, and we've done a very good job of dismantling al-Qaida's operating structure, at least the operating structure that was in tact before September 11th, like Sheikh Mohammed, Ramzi bin al-Shaibah, and mainly Osama bin Laden himself has not yet been brought to justice. But we dismantled al-Qaida, and they're constantly trying to reconstitute themselves and we're constantly on the hunt which is what America is going to have to do for quite a period of time.

("On the hunt," great choice of words.) So the administration can absolutely be trusted to handle these many facets of foreign policy at once, to the point that Bush "can't let this comment stand," and has to interrupt himself to say that "we can do more than one thing at a time" about intelligence operations. But expecting them to keep an eye on one man's medical condition and communicate with the press about it — what, do they look like some kind of miracle workers?