April 03, 2004

car 1600, where are you?

It would take a full-time job, working overtime, to keep straight all the Administration’s lines of argument they’re using to defend themselves against charges of dropping the Al-Qaeda ball. The charge and countercharge to date has gone something like this:

Q: How could 9/11 have happened?
A: We could never have imagined terrorists flying planes into buildings.
Q: Well, there were intelligence reports warning of exactly that, no?
A: Yes but they were useless because they didn’t give the date or time of the attack.
Q: But they still mentioned using planes as missiles.
A: No, I meant that I could never have imagined terrorists flying planes into buildings.
Q: Why didn’t you implement the plan left to you by the Clinton Administration?
A(1): We were developing a better plan.
A(2): We did! We were totally serious about terrorism.
Q: What about Richard Clarke’s claims?
A: Richard who? He wasn’t in the loop. He wasn’t at those meetings.
Q: Your chief counterterrorism official wasn’t in the loop?
A: Of course he was. We were all making an effective and coordinated response to the terrorists.
Q: He says Bush told him on 9/12 in the Situation Room to look into Iraq as the culprit.
A: Ridiculous! Bush wasn’t in the Situation Room that day, so Clarke is obviously lying.
Q: President Bush wasn’t in the Situation Room on 9/12? Shouldn’t he have been?
A: He was in the Situation Room. But Clarke is still a liar.
Q: So his claims that you ignored the threat prior to 9/11 is also false?
A: Certainly. Who could ever have imagined that terrorists would fly planes into buildings?

Compare with this excerpt from an episode of that late, great sitcom Car 54, Where Are You? Gunther Toody, that loveable dope, has many of the same qualities as this administration. Toody was the guy who convinced Officer Schnauzer (and the entire squad in the process) that it was Friday when it was really Thursday. He convinces them to invest their relief fund in the stock market, with zany consequences. In this exchange, Toody is clumsily trying to deceive Muldoon in decidedly Bushista fashion:

Muldoon: What are you going to be doing in New Jersey?
Toody: Well I promised Lucille that I'm going to take her to see her sister.
Muldoon: I thought her sister lived in Westchester.
Toody: She does, but I'm going to take her to see her sister in New Jersey.
Muldoon: But I thought Lucille only had one sister.
Toody: She has.
Muldoon: Than how can she have one in New Jersey and another one in Westchester?
Toody: Can't you figure it out?