December 4, 2003

Chickenhawk Serves Fake Turkey to Sitting Ducks. The turkey platter Bush hoisted in Baghdad was fake. The Washington Post (buried on page A33): "The bird is so perfect it looks as if it came from a food magazine ... [but] administration officials said Wednesday that Bush picked up a decoration, not a serving plate. ... Officials said they did not know the turkey would be there or that Bush would pick it up. A contractor [Does Halliburton make plastic turkeys too?] had roasted and primped the turkey to adorn the buffet line ... White House officials ... maintain that these events are designed to accurately dramatize [Bush's] policies and to convey qualities about him that are real. 'This was effective, because it captured something about the president that people know is true, that he really cares about the soldiers and gets emotional when he sees them,' Mary Matalin, a former administration official, said about the trip to Baghdad. 'You have to figure out how to capture the Bush we know, even if it doesn't come through in a speech situation or a press conference. He regularly rejects anything that is not him.'"

This is both hilarious and sad. Why does the White House reguarly have to go out of its way to dramatize qualities about Bush that they claim are real? Since he's supposedly a down-home good ol' boy, why don't they simply tell him to act naturally? Meanwhile, Bush uses US troops (the ones he hasn't sent to their deaths, that is) as props for his play-acting and dress-up games.

The White House has also changed its story about the British Airways pilot that saw Air Force One during the secret flight to Baghdad. Today's version is that the BA pilot radioed London and reported the apparent sighting and the tower radioed back phony flight-plan information that had been filed to protect AF1's identity. (If that's true, then how did AF1 know of a conversation it wasn't involved in?) But British Airways isn't buying this tall tale either. Josh Marshall writes: "Can't we just cut to the chase and agree that it was on board the plane, as it streaked through the darkness over the misty depths of the Atlantic, that Bartlett decided that it would be a cool story to have appear in Woodward's next book?"

US forces insist they killed 54 Iraqi attackers in Samarra on Sunday, but evidence is slim and skeptism reigns. A hospital reported only eight dead, including a child and at least one elderly Iranian woman. "The US military acknowledged that the death toll was estimated ... and no bodies had been collected." ... US forces are accused of conducting "a savage massacre." ... Bush has a brand new theory about why there aren't any WMDs in Iraq. His administration eliminated them.

"In an abrupt reversal, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York City announced on Wednesday that he had agreed to release records of emergency 911 calls and other materials sought by the federal commission investigating the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks." The White House is now the only entity refusing to work fully with the Commission. ... Ellen Mariani, wife of Louis Neil Mariani, who died on board UA 175, has filed an Amended Complaint under the RICO Act against Bush and his cabinet members.

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