Art Pottery, Politics and Food
Thursday, June 05, 2003
Of course many have commented upon the infighting between Colin Powell’s harried State Department and Snowflake crazy Don Rumsfeld’s Pentagon.
A careful read of this morning’s papers and a few blogs further points to serious infighting at the DOD as WMD fingers go pointing.

CNN's allegedly glamorous Paula Zahn with Rummy
at White House Correspondent's Dinner

With the Bush Hawks so obviously fracturing as NoWMD balloons into a large political issue, one might imagine an enterprising newshound stalking last night’s B list White House Correspondent’s Dinner would want to engage his knowledgeable companion, however briefly, in a serious discussion about a very current and growing story. According to this morning’s Washington Post CNN Pentagon correspondent Jamie McIntyre didn’t feel so inclined:

"Every night's a friendly night," said Rumsfeld, who attended as the guest of CNN Pentagon correspondent Jamie McIntyre. McIntyre hovered nearby at the pre-dinner reception, carefully balancing his roles as gracious host and tough reporter. "It is a dangerous thing because you want the secretary to respect you, but you don't want to look like you're currying favor or pulling your punches," he said. "So I'm planning to give him a lot of grief tonight." This sounded like fun. A spirited exchange on WMD? "Weapons of mass destruction will not come up," said McIntyre, glancing sideways at Rumsfeld. "We'll probably talk about other things."

Without Jamie’s corporate constraints, Josh Marshall has an interesting post about Douglas Feith, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy “and generally considered one of the uberest of uber-hawks in the administration.”
Mr. Feith held a press conference yesterday to rebut the growing political issue that civilian political appointees “shaped” intelligence to justify the Iraq II conflict.
Seven paragraphs into Eric Schmitt’s New York Times report on the Wednesday press conference we get hints of trouble in paradise:

After Mr. Feith's nearly hour long briefing, some defense officials familiar with classified intelligence assessments on Iraq, its ties to terrorists and what the government charged were its weapons of mass destruction programs, said they were baffled or angered by his remarks. One senior official, who said he was skeptical of Mr. Feith's account, was too angry to answer immediately. Another official said simply, "There was a lot of doublespeak out there."

Meanwhile, the Washington Post front page trumpets Dick Cheney’s unusual “multiple” visits from the bunker to Langley in a story headlined, Some Iraq Analysts Felt Pressure From Cheney Visits:

Vice President Cheney and his most senior aide made multiple trips to the CIA over the past year to question analysts studying Iraq's weapons programs and alleged links to al Qaeda, creating an environment in which some analysts felt they were being pressured to make their assessments fit with the Bush administration's policy objectives, according to senior intelligence officials…the visits by the vice president and his chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, "sent signals, intended or otherwise, that a certain output was desired from here," one senior agency official said yesterday.

In a further possible sign of chaos, moments ago CNN reported that the Pentagon now says that the highly publicized reports about the death of Saddam’s cousin Chemical Ali, to paraphrase Twain, were greatly exaggerated.

Future GM advertisement?

Lloyd Grove through Knight-Ridder has an interesting example of growing American influence among the common people of Iraq:

Iraqi [have a] penchant for nicknaming pickup trucks: "Locals call the vehicles 'Monicas,' as in Lewinsky, after the former White House intern whose appearance meets Iraqi standards for both feminine and automotive beauty. 'She's a beautiful girl, and it's a beautiful car,' said Ghazi Abdullah Dormari, whose auto-trading lot in the Kurdish city of Irbil features several late-model Monicas.

Photo: Susan Biddle, Washington Post

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