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Friday, July 18, 2003
never a dull moment
Well, in politics, anyway. Today has been the day from hell, so in lieu of my usual posts, I thought I'd condense the unusually numerous things that have made my jaw hang open in one, easy-to-get-pissed-off-at list.

- After an ABC reporter named Jeffrey Kofman did a (fairly devastating--Donald Rumsfed gets called on to resign) story on low troop morale in Iraq, a "White House source" told Matt Drudge that Jeff is gay, and Canadian. Drudge decided to just print that he was Canadian. Gay smears? In this day and age? Seriously? (And don't forget that "White House sources" also blew the cover of a US spy in an attempt to discredit a critic.)

- Speaking of low troop morale, the director of CENTCOM reminds the troops that they can't criticize their commanders, which, while sucky, is true, and has its purpose in combat; it's also worth noting that he's not actually proposing to enforce this rule, so I think it's lame but OK.

This, though, is evil: the wife of the commander of the "you're coming home, oops you're not" 3rd ID wrote a letter to troop spouses saying that, basically, if you criticize the administration it's your own fault if the troops get shot. Yoinks.

- The British whistle-blower on hyping pre-war WMD claims, David Kelly, was found dead after he was subject to a campaign by the government to discredit him or paint him as a "fall guy." Not much else to say about that one.

- At the end of an LA Times story about the problems with planning for post-war Iraq comes this bit, which did, literally, cause my jaw to drop:

Still, he and other Pentagon officials said, they are studying the lessons of Iraq closely — to ensure that the next U.S. takeover of a foreign country goes more smoothly.

"We're going to get better over time," promised Lawrence Di Rita, a special assistant to Rumsfeld. "We've always thought of post-hostilities as a phase" distinct from combat, he said. "The future of war is that these things are going to be much more of a continuum

"This is the future for the world we're in at the moment," he said. "We'll get better as we do it more often."

Well, that's good to...hey wait a minute! I can't believe they said that. I really just can't. Man.

- Last but best: House Republicans called the cops on the Democrats. You gotta read this one, kids. After passing legislation partially privatizing pensions while "Ways and Means Committee Democrats were huddled in an adjacent room,"

Committee Chairman Bill Thomas, R-Calif., summoned police because he thought the lone Democrat to remain in the room, Rep. Pete Stark of California, was speaking out of line, other Republicans on the panel said. He asked police to remove Democrats from the adjacent room, but later rescinded that request, the Republicans said.

Assistant to the Sergeant of Arms Donald Kellaher, called in to mediate, said that "clearly the police in this circumstance have no role or authority to intervene."

Democrats were upset because they said the final version of the 90-page bill was circulated around midnight Thursday and they weren't given sufficient opportunity to study it before Friday's meeting.

Yeah--for "speaking out of line." Yeah. Atrios actually has two (this one's better) good posts about it. Leah's points out that the Dems have reason to be mad:

On the complicated Medicare bill, for instance, the actual bill and amendments were held in a locked room; Democrats were not provided with copies; they were only allowed to read the bill in the locked room, and only after it being ascertained that they had neither pencil or paper upon which to make notes.

Responsible governance? What? Guys, you don't get to call the cops after that shit. And the excuse that "the Democrats did it, too!"--that ain't gonna fly.