Monday, March 20, 2006

President Bush Saves The Day

It will probably come as no surprise to you that Monday isn't the favorite day of the week in the venerable halls of IM Central. Usually we struggle blearily out of the sack, check to see that we didn't do any lasting damage to ourselves in the previous 48 hours (some of which we may even recall) and get on about the business of brightening your day with razor wit and off beat takes on the events of the day.

This becomes a particular challenge on the first day of the work week. Not because we have to, like, work or anything, but because our normally finely honed ear for the absurd statement and our sharp eye for the cockamamie behavior seem lost in the fetid, brooding swamp that makes up our Monday mental landscape.

Occasionally though, the gods of sophomoronic humor leave a steaming pile of opportunity on our doorstep. Today is one of those days. As we stumbled to the table with our bowl of sodden rice krispies sloshing milk all over the dogs who, having lived through previous Mondays, know the potential for food on the floor is quite high, what should greet our rheumy vision but the following headline:

"Bush Says He's Encouraged by Progress in Iraq ."

We could probably stop right here, call it a day and return to the land of Nod comfortable in the knowledge that we have, once again, succeeded in pointing out, in our own inimitable fashion, why we should all move to Belize. But we won't because, to paraphrase the poet, one never knows how much is enough until one knows how much is too much. Words we live by.

"I encourage the Iraqi leaders to continue to work hard to get to meetings without being shot," Bush said from the South Lawn of the White House after returning from yet another vacation. "I'm encouraged by the progress. Why, just the other day we went over an hour without a car bomb killing somebody."

Bush said he spoke by phone earlier in the day with the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, and had received a positive report. "Sure, it was just about the weather over there," Bush said. "But you have to start someplace."

Bush noted thousands of Americans volunteered to serve in the military, especially after the attacks of September 11, 2001, even though they would be placed in harm's way. "It's unfortunate that they wised up as soon as they did though, because now they're un-volunteering in droves."

"We are clueless as to a strategy that will lead to victory in Iraq. Sure it took three years to just figure out we even needed one, but trust us just a little longer. OK, a lot longer." Bush said.

Administration officials marked the anniversary by arguing that, despite the deaths of more than 2,300 U.S. troops and unchecked violence that has killed tens of thousands of Iraqis, progress continues toward wrecking the whole region. "Look, Iraq is going to be a model for the rest of the mideast if there are any people left when we get done," said White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan.

Vice President Dick Cheney said Iraq is not in the midst of a civil war, despite what former Prime minister Iyad Allawi said. "What does he know?" Cheney told reporters. "Just because he lives there doesn't make him an expert. I get reports." When pressed by reporters about how he could know more about conditions in Iraq than someone who lived there, Cheney canceled the news conference and invited reporters to go hunting with him.

The vice president said he did not think loony statements that he has made about the war have contributed to Americans' skepticism. For instance, he predicted that invading U.S. troops would be greeted as liberators and then said 10 months ago that the insurgency is in its last throes, even though violence still rages. Cheney said the hopelessly out of touch statements "were basically the result of changes in his medication that didn't quite work out."

He said most Americans have a negative perception of Iraq because they keep seeing daily violence in the news instead of the progress being made toward democracy. "As soon as it's safe enough to go out in the streets without an armored vehicle, we'll be showing the American people all the street signs we've replaced," Cheney told reporters. "At least what's left after the insurgents get done blowing them up. Again."

General George W. Casey, the top commander of U.S. forces in Iraq said that U.S. troops likely will remain there for the next few years though the numbers will be scaled back as Iraqi forces gain strength. Then he burst out laughing. "I'm sorry," he said. "I've been saying that for three years now and it just gets funnier and funnier each time I say it. Iraqis gaining strength. What a hoot."

Casey said he did not think at the time the war began that the insurgency in Iraq would have been as robust as it has been. "We invade the country, blow up the infrastructure, wipe out any semblance of government, torture and kill civilians, three years later haven't even got the electricity back on in Baghdad, and the Iraqis are ticked off at us. Who would have thought?"

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