Just Above Sunset
June 13, 2004 - Things that just couldn't be so ...

Home | Question Time | Something Is Up | Connecting Dots | Stay Away | Overload | Our Man in Paris | WLJ Weekly | Book Wrangler | Cobras | The Edge of the Pacific | The Surreal Beach | On Location | Botanicals | Quotes

Things that just couldn’t be so…


  • Bush reaming himself as the PEACE PRESIDENT!
  • Rice gets daily reports of successful torture to cheer her up?
  • Silvio Berlusconi rings every cell phone in Italy, and no one appreciates it.
  • Rush Limbaugh continues to challenge is six million fans. 

Just to keep the pot properly stirred. 

In Monday’s Time Magazine John Dickerson offered this: A Peace President?

To cut to the chase:


Indeed, the President is privately telling aides that after leading the nation to war in his first term, he wants to spend his next four years being "a peace President." Officials in the Administration contend he has more credibility as a diplomat now that he has shown a willingness to use force to back his principles.  "The reason diplomacy will be effective in a second term is because of the use of the military," says a senior Administration official.  Doubters suspect the shift is aimed at coaxing other nations to help rescue his failing Iraq policy — and to present a less warlike face to voters.  Bush campaign advisers concede as much.  "It may help overseas, yes," says a top Bush campaign adviser, "but if nothing else, it gives us ammunition to push back against Kerry."


Oh yeah, that’ll fly. 

One commentator calls this lunacy.  But qualified lunacy. 


I don't mean lunacy in a "mental illness" way, I mean in a completely detached from reality kind of way.  The reality is unimportant, only the label and perception that matters.  Standard fare in politics, until the candidate and his people are unable to distinguish between the two. 


Maybe so.  Will people buy the sizzle and not the steak?  If the most powerful man in the world says something is so, is it so? 

We’ll see about that. 

Second Item

The ongoing prisoner abuse scandal – none dare call it torture? – is just a problem with a few bad apples (a silly metaphor)?  Yeah, right. 

This from the Washington Post:

Soldier Described White House Interest
Staff Requested Data From Abu Ghraib, Probers Told
R.  Jeffrey Smith, Washington Post Staff Writer, Wednesday, June 9, 2004; Page A03

Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rice had no idea such awful things were afoot? 

The head of the interrogation center at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq told an Army investigator in February that he understood some of the information being collected from prisoners there had been requested by "White House staff," according to an account of his statement obtained by The Washington Post. 

Lt. Col. Steven L. Jordan, an Army reservist who took control of the Joint Interrogation and Debriefing Center on Sept.  17, 2003, said a superior military intelligence officer told him the requested information concerned "any anti-coalition issues, foreign fighters, and terrorist issues."

The Army investigator, Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba, asked Jordan whether it concerned "sensitive issues," and Jordan said, "Very sensitive.  Yes, sir," according to the account, which was provided by a government official. 

The reference by Jordan to a White House link with the military's scandal-plagued intelligence-gathering effort at the prison was not explored further by Taguba, whose primary goal at that time was to assess the scope of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib.  The White House was unable to provide an immediate explanation. 

All the memos advising how to avoid being charged with ware crimes like torture being revealed in the press, all the photos, and all the recently opened investigations of homicide (of these damned wimp prisoners who had the nerve to die on us – starting at thirty-two open investigations and now in the low eighties) – and now this. 

It is hard to fight a war on terror when everyone is on your case about your methods. 

Hey, if all this went to the very top, including daily reports to Condoleezza on how firm we were being with those we detained, wouldn’t we all agree what our government actually does, even at the highest levels, doesn’t matter as long as we’re safe.  And the Rice woman needs something to make her smile each day. 

Third Item

When you control the media, you get what you want. 

As Kevin Drum points out - “Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi thinks a big turnout in Sunday's election will help his party.  So, since ownership of half the media in the country apparently wasn't enough to get the word out, he decided to send text messages to all 56 million cell phones in the country.”

Yeah, well, you can read all about it in The Guardian (UK) here.  The idea didn’t work out so well in practice:


Many of the messages arrived in the night, activating the alarms of hundreds of thousands of mobiles and waking their owners. 

....Italian law authorises the government to carry out mass texting "in cases of disaster or natural calamities" and "for reasons of public order or public health and hygiene". 

Mr Berlusconi's supporters argued that a decree authorising the move, signed by the interior minister, Giuseppe Pisanu, on Thursday, complied with the law because the messages would ensure a steadier flow of voters and thus avert any threat to public order.


Silvio Berlusconi must have the same lawyers as Rumsfeld. 

The law can be a flexible thing, open to interpretation. 

One hopes Colin Powell’s son Michael, the fellow who heads the FCC, isn’t getting ideas. 

Fourth Item

From the Associated Press: Conservative radio commentator Rush Limbaugh announced Friday that he and his wife, Marta, were divorcing.  That’s here.  Add your own sarcastic comments if you wish about how this sort of thing is bound to happen when gay couples are allowed to marry – which is what Limbaugh likes to claim on the air.  Gay marriage will destroy convention marriage. 

Perhaps.  If you read the AP item you will see this was Limbaugh’s third marriage.  Rush hammers the “drug culture” and it turns out he has a serious addiction problem himself.  He rants about family values and that sort of thing, as his third marriage falls apart.  And his six million fans love him anyway.  No one is perfect and his opinions are still correct. 

Oh well. 


Copyright 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik
The inclusion of any text from others is quotation
for the purpose of illustration and commentary,
as permitted by the fair use doctrine of U.S. copyright law. 
See the Details page for the relevant citation.

This issue updated and published on...

Paris readers add nine hours....