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(May 8, 2004)

THIS: Donald Rumsfeld says the torture of Iraqi men and women in Saddam's own former torture chambers by U.S. soldiers---under apparent control of U.S. "private security" firms functioning free of U.S. law---is "un-American."

THAT: Not any more.

THIS: Rumsfeld, in a long-delayed and profuse apology for the torture, told the world to "judge us by our actions."

THAT: Er, probably not such a good idea, Mr. Secretary.

THIS: Former U.S. Army sergeant and former "interrogation instructor" Tony Robinson told Fox interviewers that the torture of Iraqis---which included being urinated upon, hooked up to wires and threatened with electrocution, being stripped naked and raped with objects---is just "frat-hazing."

THAT: What the hell frat did he belong to?

THE OTHER: Sigma Delta Fry. Kappa Strippa Weewee.

THIS: Rush Limbaugh, which I think is some sort of sandwich spread, said that the torture was nothing more than good ol' American boys and girls trying to "blow some steam off."

THAT: Wonder what Rush does for fun. . .

THIS: Yes, torture is old hat. Yes, torture occurs in every war. Yes, the United States, under the cover of the CIA, has engaged in torture for decades, along with most other countries on the planet. Yes, the Baathist soldiers would have done the same---certainly much worse---to westerners, given the chance.

THAT: The problem is, you see, that uh, we uh, went to Iraq for the specific purpose of um, stopping Saddam from---what was that word that President Bush used incessantly--- torturing? Didn't Bush depict Saddam as the worst tyrant since Hitler because he "gassed his own people" (using weapons purchased from Uncle Sam and Great Britain) and kidnapped and tortured his own citizens, and built "rape rooms?"

THE OTHER: Suppose the torture scandal just might undercut U.S. credibility a bit?

THIS: Many newspaper editorials and many members of Congress are calling for Rumsfeld's dismissal.

THAT: I'm baffled. Doesn't the responsibility lie in the Oval Office?

THE OTHER: And the vice-Oval Office?

THIS: There have only been a few mentions to date that women at Abu Ghraib Prison were stripped and abused. Some press accounts include allegations of rape.

THAT: If any of this turns out to be the case, I wonder if Rush and former Army Sgt. Tony Robinson will dismiss this as "hazing" and "blowing off steam."

THIS: President Bush is now referring to the perpetrators of abuse in Abu Ghraib Prison as "the wrongdoers."

THAT: So now he is fighting both the "evildoers" and the "wrongdoers."

THE OTHER: At least he no longer has to fight the Dewar's.

: Items: Oil prices highest since 1990. . .Record income at Chevron-Texaco.

THAT: My olfactory sensors detect the presence of a creature with long snout, tail, and whiskers.

THIS: Item: Saddam's former generals are being put in charge of Iraq militias to keep the peace.

THAT: Why stop there? Attention, President Bush: there's a hairy, crazy guy recently extracted from a "spider hole" who could whip that country into shape in a quick hurry. Probably work for nothing, too.

THIS: Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, who I think is in that new "Van Helsing" movie, testified before Congress last week about U.S. deaths in Iraq: "It's approximately 500, of which---I can get the exact numbers---approximately 350 are combat deaths."

THAT: Well, gee whiz, Wolfie, it was actually 726, with 524 combat deaths (not including U.S. civilian deaths.) But who's counting? Death is just the cost of war, right? What's a couple hundred more American kids, eh?

THE OTHER: Sure is a relief to know that the Deputy Defense Secretary "can get the exact numbers" if he wants to. Phew!

THIS: As Rumsfeld testified before Congress, tendering his "deepest" apologies for the Iraq mess, a group of protestors in the gallery began to shout things like "Fire Rumsfeld!" and "Tell Us The Truth." The Defense Secretary paused for a minute while police escorted the protestors out.

THAT: The NPR "reporter" on hand did not report what the protestors shouted, how many they were---nothing. Just a brief mention of "protesters in the gallery," and then the "reporter" remained mute while the police escorted them out---as if the whole disruption was too rude to report!

THE OTHER: Fire that idiot.

THIS: Paul Bremer, the U.S. "administrator" of Iraq, said this about the Bush Administration's terrorism policy on Feb. 26, 2001: "What they will do is stagger along until there's a major incident and then suddenly say, 'Oh my God, shouldn't we be organized to deal with this?'"

THAT: After this comment was picked up by the press last week, Bremer apologized for having said it.

THE OTHER: Now there's a man with the courage of his convictions!

THIS: Speaking of courage, how 'bout that Michael "Mickey" Eisner stopping Miramax from distributing Michael Moore's Bush expose, "Farenheit 911," out of fear that he would lose millions of bucks in tax breaks in Florida if he made Jebbie Bush angry.

THAT: Maybe if Moore stuck a couple of manic animated characters in his movie, making vile jokes about defecation and gas and sex (with celebrity voices, of course), Eisner might have gone for it.

THE OTHER: Nothing scary about that Bush family, is there. . .

THIS: The new pink or green pastel neckties (usually worn with yellow or blue pastel shirts.)

THAT: My idea of torture.

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