Perhaps its better to laugh at the ineptness and contradictions plaguing the Bush administration. Crying might be more appropriate, but its messier, and who wants to cry for three more years?
The latest insanity is the administrations self-righteous indignation over the recent revelation that the Pentagon has been secretly paying Iraqi newspapers to publish pro-U.S. propaganda stories in the Iraqi media.
Through an administration-friendly public relations firm, The Lincoln Group, the Pentagon has been secretly paying Iraqi newspapers to publish pro-American propaganda articles. This of course, is against U.S. law, but what isnt that the Bushies have done lately?
They even bought an Iraqi newspaper, and took over a radio station. Radio Free Rumsfeld. Can you imagine?
Senate Armed Services Committee chair John Warner (R. VA) ordered top Pentagon officials into a closed door session to explain whatever they are up to. General George Casey, one of the top three military men in Iraq, initially tried the time-honored approach of calling this a classified situation, which could then not be discussed, for security reasons. Well, Bushs star has fallen so low that the Republican majority in the senate no longer fears him, or any of his people. Casey was basically told that the Committee wasnt interested in playing his little game.
White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan, himself badly battered by the endless flow of bad news washing over the gunwales on a daily basis, bravely, if somewhat lamely, said, We are very concerned about the reports. We have asked the Department of Defense for more information.
The President himself mentioned this was a serious matter. As a matter of fact, it was serious enough for them to strategically release the information on a Friday, hoping the American people would see little of it over the weekend.
What makes this so absurd, so hypocritical, even for this administration, is the fact that they have regularly, and in direct disobedience to a directive from the General Accounting Office, participated in the very same unethical use of both the written word and video news releases (VNRs) right here in America.
Anybody recall conservative journalist Armstrong Williams, who was paid $240,000 in taxpayers money to pimp for Bushs No Child Left behind Act? Mr. Bush also spent an estimated $254 million of your tax dollars in his first term to produce literally thousands of VNRs for at least 20 US agencies, utilizing professional actors to pretend they were citizens on the street.
How can Bush feel it is acceptable for his phony journalists like Williams, Maggie Gallagher ($21,500) or Michael McManus ($10,000) to use the media to lie to the American people at home, and yet get upset when Rumsfelds Pentagon does the same thing in Iraq?
As New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd put it most succinctly, You have to admire Scott McLellan, the presidents spokesman. He kept a straight face when he called the U.S. a leader when it comes to promoting and advocating a free and independent media around the world weve made our views very clear when it comes to freedom of the press.
Dowd adds, Exceedingly clear. The Bushies dont believe in it. They disdain the whole democratic system of checks and balances.
This is all occurring at the same time that Bush released his silly little Victory in Iraq booklet, little more than a PowerPoint presentation, which includes verbiage supporting a free, independent and responsible Iraqi media.