The Beltway Bandit

An online journal of politics, culture, and sports

Friday, November 19, 2004

THE INCONVENIENT TRUTH -- about the Fallujah offensive has been revealed by intelligence officers in the First Marine Expeditionary Force:
Marine intelligence officials have issued a report warning that any significant withdrawal of troops from the Iraqi city of Fallujah would strengthen the insurgency, it was reported.

The New York Times said the assessment, distributed to senior Marine and Army officers in Iraq, also said that despite the heavy fighting with coalition forces, the insurgents would continue to increase in number, carrying out attacks and fomenting unrest in the area.

One officer said the seven-page classified report, parts of which were provided to the daily, was "brutally honest."

It also appears to contradict the US government's victorious account of the US-led fight against insurgents in Fallujah and other parts of northern Iraq.

Although the resistance crumbled in the face of the offensive, the report warned, "the enemy will be able to effectively defeat IMEF's ability to accomplish its primary objectives of developing an effective Iraqi security force and setting the conditions for successful Iraqi elections."

The pessimistic analysis was prepared by intelligence officers in the First Marine Expeditionary Force, or IMEF, last weekend as the offensive in Falluja was winding down, the daily said.
We're not supposed to know this stuff. We're not supposed to know the emperor has no clothes. But we do know.

BELTWAY BANDIT NFL POWER POLL -- It's the most prestigious power poll in the world and it is back. Read, learn, enjoy.

01. Pittsburgh Steelers [8-1]: All future victories to be preceded by pre-game fistfights and spitting contests. [No change]

02. New England Patriots [8-1]: Insiders credit team’s success to Tom Brady’s new “Friends” haircut. [No change]

03. Philadelphia Eagles [8-1]: The good news: Currently enjoying a 14-game lead over nearest division rival. The bad news: The woman who plays Donovan McNabb’s mother on those Chunky Soup commercials out 4-6 weeks after arthroscopic surgery found ligament damage in her left knee. [No change]

04. Atlanta Falcons [7-2]: Michael Vick had more rushing attempts than completed passes and he still won by ten points. [No change]

05. Jacksonville Jaguars [6-3]: I touted David Garrard in this space last week and he made me look good, so I’m happy to reward the Jags with a top five spot in the world’s most prestigious power poll. [+2]

06. Denver Broncos [6-2]: New starting tailback rushes for 170 yards during bye week. [+2]

07. Indianapolis Colts [6-3]: Peyton Manning has more TD passes than Mark Brunell has completed passes. [+2]

08. Baltimore Ravens [6-3]: We now know Kordell Stewart can play punter. Still awaiting evidence he can play quarterback. [+2]

09. Green Bay Packers [5-4]: Four wins in a row. It not the Patriots, but it’s a start. [+3]

10. New York Jets [6-3]: Consecutive losses to Buffalo and Baltimore has Herman Edwards looking forward to next Dolphins game. [-4]

11. San Diego Chargers [6-3]: Why didn't Marty do this in Washington? [No change]

12. Minnesota Vikings [5-4]: Need Randy Moss back soon to avoid another second half swoon. [-7]

13. St. Louis Rams [5-4]: Appear on track to win the NFC West by default. [+6]

14. Seattle Seahawks [5-4]: Doesn’t this have to be Mike Holmgren’s last change? How many years is this guy going to get? [-1]

15. Cincinnati Bengals [4-5]: Would probably be winning a division if they played in the NFC. [+3]

16. Kansas City Chiefs [3-6]: Possibly the most disappointing team in the NFL. [-2]

17. Houston Texans [4-5]: Year Three starting to resemble Year One & Year Two. [-1]

18. New York Giants [5-4]: Coughlin knows he’s starting Eli, not Peyton, right? [-3]

19. Tennessee Titans [3-6]: They need Steve McNair back. [-2]

20. Chicago Bears [4-5]: If you want to know just how bad the NFC is, consider that the Chicago Bears are in contention for a playoff spot. [+5]

21. Arizona Cardinals [4-5]: If you want to know just how bad the NFC is, consider that the Arizona Cardinals are in contention for a playoff spot. [+7]

22. Cleveland Browns [3-6]: Can we all agree that Head Coach Butch Davis should be fired after this season? [-2]

23. Washington Redskins [3-6]: Redskins offense and opposing defenses both expecting to make more big plays with Patrick Ramsey at quarterback. [-2]

24. Detroit Lions [4-5]: If you want to know just how bad the NFC is, consider that the Detroit Lions are in contention for a playoff spot. [-1]

25. Dallas Cowboys [3-6]: While everyone is talking about the QB situation, has anyone else noticed how bad their defense is? [-3]

26. New Orleans Saints [4-5]: If you want to know just how bad the NFC is, consider that the New Orleans Saints are in contention for a playoff spot. [+3]

27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers [3-6]: Is Chucky still a genius? Just wondering. [-3]

28. Oakland Raiders [3-6]: Owner Al Davis is very unhappy and is certain to make big changes after this season. Boy, I’ve never heard that before. [-1]

29. Buffalo Bills [3-6]: I can’t believe I watched most of their game against the Patriots. Man, is this team ugly. [-3]

30. Carolina Panthers [2-7]: How much of it is due to injuries and how much of it is due to the talent finding its level after one great year? [No change]

31. San Francisco 49ers [1-8]: I’d love to drop these guys lower on the most prestigious power poll in the world, but I can’t put anyone below the…[No change]

32. Miami Dolphins [1-8]: Debating the relative merits of A.J. Feely and Jay Fiedler is rather like arguing about whether to have the lobster or the steak in the dining room of the S.S. Titanic. [No change]

WHERE THE HELL HAVE YOU BEEN? -- I've been ill with the flu. Rapid change in temperatures gets me twice a year. I'm back even if I'm not at 100 percent. You can't keep a good man--or me--down.

CONFIRMED -- Senator Arlen Specter had to surrender his testicles, but he will get the Judiciary Committee Chair in return. Whether or not that's a fair deal depends on your point of view, I suppose. I suppose Senator Specter might say "Le Comité vaut une Masse."

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

ARMITAGE GONE -- Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage resigned today, following his boss and friend Colin Powell out of the Bush admin. Look for Armitage to be succeeded by an aggressive hardliner such as John Bolton.

E.J. DIONNE ASKS THE QUESTION -- Will the Republican moderates speak up? The Beltway Bandit provides the answer: No.

Next question, please.

Monday, November 15, 2004

HOUSECLEANING -- The Bush purge moved from the CIA to his own cabinet today, as Secretary of State Colin Powell resigned, along with Rod Paige at Education, Spencer Abraham at Energy, and Ann Veneman at Agriculture.

Good riddance to Colin Powell. He enjoyed a reputation for moderation and honesty he did not deserve. He did little but provide political cover for Mr Bush's preposterous war policy and then tried to protect his pitiful legacy by leaking to the likes of Bob Woodward that he was against the Iraq misandventure all along. I can only hope that Mr Powell's most lasting legacy--the thing he is most remembered for--is the February 2003 Iraq war speech at the United Nations, which even Mr Powell now acknowledges was riddled with inaccuracies and untruths.

Rod Paige is the man who used to run the Houston school system and was hired by Bush amid claims that Paige and Bush had proven how to revolutionize and improve public schools. Then it emerged that test scores in Houston had been falsified by public officials while Paige was running the school system and Bush was governor. They don't talk about it much anymore and I think me bringing it up is now considered unpatriotic by the Justice Department.

Ann Veneman is gone at Agriculture. [What, are they blaming her for all the pork in that shameless farm bill? Who signed it into law, her or Bush?]

Spencer Abraham is gone from Energy. Anyone please let me know if you're aware that we have an energy policy in this country, aside from drilling for oil in the Alaskan National Wildlife Reserve.

A PURGE -- of librulcommie pinkos is underway at CIA.
The White House has ordered the new CIA director, Porter Goss, to purge the agency of officers believed to have been disloyal to President George W. Bush or of leaking damaging information to the media about the conduct of the Iraq war and the hunt for Osama bin Laden, according to knowledgeable sources.

"The agency is being purged on instructions from the White House," said a former senior CIA official who maintains close ties to both the agency and to the White House. "Goss was given instructions ... to get rid of those soft leakers and liberal Democrats. The CIA is looked on by the White House as a hotbed of liberals and people who have been obstructing the president's agenda."

One of the first casualties appears to be Stephen R. Kappes, deputy director of clandestine services, the CIA's most powerful division. The Washington Post reported yesterday that Kappes had tendered his resignation after a confrontation with Goss' chief of staff, Patrick Murray, but at the behest of the White House had agreed to delay his decision till tomorrow.

But the former senior CIA official said that the White House "doesn't want Steve Kappes to reconsider his resignation. That might be the spin they put on it, but they want him out." He said the job had already been offered to the former chief of the European Division who retired after a spat with then-CIA Director George Tenet.
Tensions between the White House and the CIA have been the talk of the town for at least a year, especially as leaks about the mishandling of the Iraq war have dominated front pages.

Some of the most damaging leaks came from Michael Scheuer, former head of the CIA's Bin Laden unit, who wrote a book anonymously called "Imperial Hubris" that criticized what he said was the administration's lack of resolve in tracking down the al-Qaida chieftain and the reallocation of intelligence and military manpower from the war on terrorism to the war in Iraq. Scheuer announced Thursday that he was resigning from the agency.
Two questions: 1] Who isn't too liberal for the Bush admin; 2] Do you feel safer now?