The Teflon Goose

After gliding through the clouds of popular acclaim like a Teflon goose, President Bush has seen his poll numbers drop faster than a beer keg falling out of the loading bay of an airborne C-130. And it's all due to those 16 little words. "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." Tucked right in the middle of the State of the Union Address in an attempt to gild the lily of his case for war to the American public and the rest of the world.

Only a few small problems: The British government hadn't learned anything, the quantities of uranium spoken about were neither significant, recently sought, nor in existence and Hussein was probably busy digging a bunker near hell at the time. The statement's sole point of accuracy is Africa does indeed mine uranium, which as the focus bass beat in a drumbeat to war, needed a little sexing up. The only difference between Iraq's Minister of Misinformation's daily briefing and Bush's State of the Union Address was a beret.

This allegation comes straight from one of the many mouths the C.I.A. Hydra is displaying these days. They also claim having informed British Intelligence of the "dubious" nature of the charge. Then, fearing they'd be left holding the hot uranium potato, the State Department chimed in to say, oh yeah, they too had severe misgivings about the report. As a matter of fact you'd have an easier time finding a teenager enjoying a Kenny Rogers concert than anyone willing to go on record having believed or ever seen the report. "Report, what report? Oh, that report. Nope, never heard of it."

Nobody knows nothing. Which is odd for an administration that spent the last two and a half years cock-sure of every steel rivet in every seam of every smart bomb built by every defense contractor who also happened to hold the top spots of every major campaign contributor list. After this extended "Father Knows Best" routine, it seems kinda weird to have them suddenly go all mum and sulky on us.

Wait, wait. Breaking News Flash! What's that, Ms. Rice? You have semi- positive proof somebody somewhere tried to buy something sometime, but you don't know who or what or where or when? Well, why didn't you say so in the first place; close only counts in horseshoes and nuclear warfare but this definitely almost qualifies as the latter. Sure, we were going to war anyhow, but the nuclear threat was the point that pushed support at home over the top. A threat that turned out to be as vacant as Dick Cheney's conscience.

Now the Bushies are complaining about "this compulsive picking at a singular tiny blemish in a long litany of charges detailing our reasons for attacking Iraq." Well, let's see. Was it a singular tiny blemish? No weapons of mass destruction. No Iraq-Al Qaeda link. No attempt to purchase uranium from Niger. No mobile chemical weapon labs able to strike America in 45 minutes. Little if any empirical evidence of soy based Whopper with Cheese substitute tasting as good as the real thing no matter what the experts say. So what are we left with? Oil, a mid term election and the guy tried to kill Bush's dad. Yeah, Saddam is a bad guy. So's George Steinbrenner. So when we going to liberate the Yankees?

Personally the whole thing has been worth it to me just to see Bush going public with the admission that perhaps he mispoke, but if he did, it was simply because he lacked the proper intelligence. Finally. Admitting what we've been going on about for years. The Teflon goose ain't quite cooked yet, but he definitely needs to divert our attention while he gets one of our intelligence agencies to turn down the thermostat. And soon.

Political comedian Will Durst is a big fan of cooked goose. He likes the skin crisp and the meat well done.


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