Damage Control

EYES ONLY -- and NO, that DOESN'T include those weasels Richard Clarke, Paul O'Neill and Bob Woodward.

MEMO: from the desk of the Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to President George W Bush
CC: Dick Cheney


Hey buddy. Thought I better give you a heads up on this whole Abu Ghraib prison deal. I'm telling you we had it nailed down. It's Rather and those damn CBS punks again, and of course, ordinary grunts looking for souvenirs. Dammit, if we only had stemmed some of that looting up front, our boys and girls would have had some classic art to take home and wouldn't have to resort to snapshots. But hindsight is always 20/20, isn't it? This is just a case of bad timing, especially so soon after the Dover casket photos. I compiled a list of possible damage control measures I intend on using in the hearings that I hope will be useful in extricating ourselves from this tar baby. With a skillful blend of message and media we could turn this into a win-win situation. And I'm just the guy to get it rolling.

  • Create an independent panel to investigate the abuses. Don't worry, we'll be in charge of who gets on the panel, if you know what I mean.

  • Blame the prison. See if we can get that Stephen King guy to agree it might be haunted.

  • Trot out that whole "we'll have our good days, and less good days" thing again.

  • Doctored. The photos were altered. Not all of them -- planting seeds of doubt is all.

  • You got to apologize to the Arab peoples. But just to the Arabs.

  • Emphasize the difference between what happens when democracy tortures prisoners and when dictators do. Nobody ever heard Saddam apologize for his torturing, right?

  • Talk to Ashcroft, re: outlawing American ownership of cameras. Commission a study group to see if we can spin it as a safeguard against terrorism for citizens. Use whatever leverage we got left to get Kodak on board.

  • Explain how in a free market, everything is subject to fringe elements including moral authority.

  • Continue to portray anybody who criticizes me as giving comfort to the enemy. Remember, we're in this together.

  • Keep calling it just an example of high spirits, that's all. Battle weary soldiers blowing off steam. Nothing you can't see in a Madonna video. A college fraternity prank. Call Rush.

  • Kick me. Hard and loud. No, I mean it. Kick me. In public. Use really sharp toed shoes.

  • What do you think, any chance we can cover Clinton with the blame blanket again? Just thinking out loud.

  • The old stand by: I don't remember. Can't recall.

  • Money. Can't recall a sticky situation that money didn't grease at least a little bit. There's got to be somebody we can bribe. Maybe the prisoners themselves?

Political Comic Will Durst didn't belong to a fraternity, and pranks like this are probably a major reason why.

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