But only because one of them is the vise president's
daughter, and the other is Wolfie's gal pal
It should be clear by now that even the
fight game is clean compared with the White House's game.
President Dick Cheney's lightweight
title-holder, George W. Bush, shadow-boxed with celebs at the
of Freedom ceremonies Wednesday, Cheney's secretary, Condi Rice,
was working on other feints.
As the New York Times more or less reports this
morning, the Bush regime is pumping $50 million into an agitprop scheme
run by Cheney's non-gay daughter, who works
in the State Department. Once again, the Times is being duped and is
duping its readers. For one thing, Steven R. Weisman's story
says this with a straight face:
"In many ways we're seeing that veil of fear is lifting," said
Elizabeth Cheney, the State Department's official in charge
of promoting democracy in the Middle East and the vice president's daughter.
"We're seeing something very real happening across the region in terms
of progress toward opening up societies, opening up political systems and
What the paper doesn't say is that this is the project that World
Bank chieftain Paul Wolfowitz sent his girlfriend, Shaha
Ali Riza, over to the State Department to work on. I broke the news
22 of that creepy pairing of Cheney's daughter and Wolfie's gal pal. The
least the Times could have done was mention that Riza is involved.
Insiders at the World Bank now tell me that Riza, a World Bank employee, is
not only still getting paid by the bank but that she got a "non-competitive
promotion" the day she left the bank in mid-September on "external
assignment" to State.
And now she gets to play around with $50 million on some half-assed scheme
to slop some cheery pastels on our tortured Middle East policies.
At least the Times's Weisman pointed this out about the Cheney cabal's
scheme, which is called the Foundation for the Future:
Other officials, speaking anonymously to avoid being seen as undermining
the effort to promote democracy, say the record has been disappointing, particularly
in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, two of the United States' most important Middle
East allies. What can often sound like preaching from American officials has
not helped the cause, they say.
You can tell the Times's editors are particularly gun-shy these days,
what with Judy Miller having just gotten the bum's
rush — the paper says she "resigned." I mean, the story's
explanation for why Weisman used anonymous sources is hilariously stilted: so
his sources could "avoid being seen as undermining the effort to promote
In the first place, it's highly debatable whether this public-relations scheme
run by Cheney's daughter and Wolfowitz's girlfriend is really an "effort
to promote democracy." In the second place, the Times's headline
U.S. Starts Semi-Independent Forum for Mideast Democracy
A "semi-independent forum" for "democracy"? That makes a
lot of sense.
It's bad enough that Liz Cheney's pop wants to torture people. But now a formerly
great newspaper is torturing syntax? That's going too far.
As for Wolfowitz himself, he's bound to be ensnared in the Plamegate probe.
As I pointed
out yesterday, his gunsel Doug Feith provided specious
"intelligence" back in November 2003 to help the vise president bolster
the Bush regime's claim that the unjustified invasion of Iraq was justified.
To keep an eye on Wolfie, check out Wolfowitz
Watch, from the estimable watchdog with the bland name, the Bank
And for humor, keep an eye on our secretary of the state, Condi Rice. Defending
U.S. treatment of "detainees," Rice told
a group of American Bar Association international-law types on November 9:
For the United States, an essential element of the rule of law has always
been and still remains law among nations. We have always respected our international
legal obligations and we have led the world in developing new international
Please. We're not that punch-drunk.
But we're not staggering as much as the Iraqis. Thursday morning's suicide
bombing in Baghdead was bad enough, killing more than a score — but
who's counting? — and the future is even more bleak after the deadly
bombing on Wednesday in Jordan.
Another vote in Iraq is coming up soon — national elections are scheduled
for December 15 — and keep in mind, as I noted
on the last Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, that Jordan
was the safest spot for international observers for the previous Iraqi elections.
Jordan is also where Iraqi troops are trained and where much of the business
of Iraq is being conducted, because Iraq itself is too unsafe.
Jordan is no paradise. In fact, with the violence now spreading in earnest
across its turbulent border with Iraq, Jordan is hardly likely to be peaceful.
As if it ever was. The Hashemite Kingdom is No.
2 in the world in the per-capita export of conventional arms, right behind
Sweden. (Don't worry. We're still No. 1 in overall dollars made from selling
More danger in the Jordan situation: We're not exactly greeted with flowers
there either. A majority of Jordanians resent our occupation of Iraq. Even our
friggin' admirals have admitted
that grim fact to Congress. And that was months ago.
A dark landscape. Good thing we have Cheney's daughter and Wolfie's girlfriend
spending $50 million on whitewash.