The Cheney Administration

Shorter George Bush- “I have no clue what the fuck is going on.”

And that doesn’t appear to be an accident:

Yesterday, National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley said, “when the President was told that we had some additional information, he was basically told: stand down; needs to be evaluated; we’ll come to you and tell you what we think it means.” Later in the briefing, Hadley reversed course and said, “In terms of stand down, they did not tell the President to stand down and stop talking about Iran’s nuclear program.”

White House officials are obfuscating on what they knew and when they knew it because the answer has the potential of further damaging the credibility of what they have asserted about Iran in the past few months. As ThinkProgress has noted, while the intelligence community was processing new information that Iran was “less determined to develop nuclear weapons,” President Bush was specifically warning that Iran was trying to “build a nuclear weapon.”

To recap: At the same time Bush was ratcheting up the rhetoric on Iran, he was told by his National Intelligence Director that that have “some new information.” Yet Bush wants the public to believe he never learned what the information was, nor was he interested.

UPDATE: The Washington Post reports this morning that “intelligence officials began briefing senior members of the Bush administration” about the new information “beginning in July.” But apparently, Bush was left completely in the dark until last Tuesday.

I guess my only question at this point is why President Cheney is allowing Vice President Bush in front of a microphone.

66 replies
  1. 1
    just sayin' says:

    Reminds me of the old SNL “headline” from the Reagan years: Soviets Attack, President to be Woken, Told.”

  2. 2
    Jen says:

    They told him to stand down before they told him not to stand down.

  3. 3
    Dreggas says:

    I guess my only question at this point is why President Cheney is allowing Vice President Bush in front of a microphone.

    Because there would be reverb from Cheney’s voice synthesizer (ala vader) and the mic.

  4. 4
    The Pirate says:

    Nice to see that our government is essentially at war with itself.

  5. 5
    Jen says:

    It’s one of those chicken and egg imponderables, to me: Are they more incompetent, or more malicious?

  6. 6
  7. 7
    Zifnab says:

    I guess my only question at this point is why President Cheney is allowing Vice President Bush in front of a microphone.

    This implies that Cheney is actually running the government. And if Cheney is actually running the government, I question why we haven’t turned Tehran into a giant glow-in-the-dark hole in the ground.
    Apparently, there are factions within the Administration that think this is a bad idea – namely Rice and a few other stalwarts.

    But if Cheney isn’t running the government (we haven’t nuked anyone yet, so I can only assume he is not) and Rice isn’t running the government and we sure as hell know Bush can’t get his pants on without help, then I have only one hypothesis for the person actually in charge of the country: No one.

  8. 8
    r€nato says:

    it’s a co-presidency

    …but FSM forbid that Hitlery gets elected, because then Bill would be co-president!!!!

  9. 9
    r€nato says:

    White House officials are obfuscating on what they knew and when they knew it because the answer has the potential of further damaging the credibility of what they have asserted about Iran in the past few months.

    in other words, just another day at the office.

    Oh, how I long for the days when all we had to worry about was the President’s parsing of the meaning of the word, ‘is’.

  10. 10
    grumpy realist says:

    And this is the man who labels himself “The Deciderer.”

    So either Bush was given the info and ignored it (shades of 9-11), or he was not given the info (um, hello–who’s running the country?), or he was given the info and forgot completely about it, (brain-damaged) or he was given the info and is now deliberately lying about it.

    There’s also the possibility that something was sort of mentioned, but no one from the intelligence side wanted to push it because they knew Cheney would go ballistic and Bush would do what he standardly does, which is totally ignore any data which goes contrary to the wishful thinking cesspool he calls a mind.

    No wonder this country is screwed. We have a population who honestly thinks if they pray enough, they can jump off the Empire State building and God will just float them down.

    (And I can’t think of any better example than this whole NIE fiasco to show that Bush is nothing more than puppet with Cheney’s hand up his ass. )

  11. 11
    grumpy realist says:

    Sorry about that–John, can you delete my first post?

  12. 12
    r€nato says:

    No wonder this country is screwed. We have a population who honestly thinks if they pray enough, they can jump off the Empire State building and God will just float them down.

    I would encourage them to test that proposition.

  13. 13
    Tony J says:

    So when El Residente was telling everyone that Iran was on course to build the Bomb that would start a Third World War, one of the following was the case. He was either;

    a) Being deliberately kept in the dark about the NIE by the trusted officials whose job it was to make sure he knew what he was talking about , or

    b) Keeping himself in the dark about the NIE, by not asking anyone about it, and then making statements about the Iranian nuclear program and the intentions of it’s leadership that just happened to contradict it, or

    c) Knew full well what the NIE said, and lied about it.

    That’s it, right? Have I missed out an option that doesn’t kick every wingnut talking-point right square in the junk?

  14. 14
    Tony J says:

    Or, to be more consice, what Grumpy said.

  15. 15
    r€nato says:

    That’s it, right? Have I missed out an option that doesn’t kick every wingnut talking-point right square in the junk?

    that would require wingnuts to acknowledge things like logic and facts. You do realize they live in a reality distortion sphere, right?

  16. 16
    Tony J says:

    Or “concise”, even.

    Damn home-schooling!

  17. 17
    r€nato says:

    Apparently there are people in the government who aren’t going to let BushCo get away with another let’s-go-to-war-no-matter-what bamboozlement.

    The media seems to have wised up somewhat too… somewhat.

  18. 18
    Tony J says:

    You do realize they live in a reality distortion sphere, right?

    Well, yeah. But a kick in the junk is a kick in the junk, for all that they roll around on the floor moaning “It didn’t hurt, I’m still right… urhgh

    Small pleasures, but constant.

  19. 19
    Sirkowski says:

    Norman Podhoretz thinks it’s a CIA conspiracy against Bush.

  20. 20
    4tehlulz says:

    Everytime something like this happens, liberals like Podhoretz break out the CIA Conspiracy meme. So predictable.

  21. 21
    LITBMueller says:

    OK, let me get this straight: McConnell has been telling “officials,” likely Cheney and Hadley, since July about this shit, but McConnell doesn’t say anything to Bush until August. And, even then, there is no detail, just a “we’re looking at something.”

    So, here’s the frightening scenario (unless Bush is lying): McConnell is not permitted to brief the President directly on anything he wants. He goes to other “administration officials” first, i.e., Cheney and Hadley, and they either pass along info, or direct McConnell as to what he can brief the President about.

    This kind of arrangement squares with all the accounts we’ve read about the Bush Bubble. And, this sort of “bury the intelligence that doesn’t go with the program” kind of tactic is exactly what was done when it came to Niger yellowcake and the infamous aluminum tubes.

    This whole scenario would also explain why the NIE was released after McConnell said it would not be – because he literally couldn’t get the President to hear about it unless he went to the press.

    Fucking scary. The question here should be: “What else does the President NOT know, and how long has NOT known it?”

  22. 22
    Seanly says:

    Are we giving out kicks in the junk now? I have a nice pair of steel toed workboots!

  23. 23
    Zifnab says:

    Norman Podhoretz thinks it’s a CIA conspiracy against Bush.

    Norman Podhoretz always thinks its a CIA conspiracy against someone. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if he’s got 9/11 Truther wallpaper across his bedroom, and spends his weekends trying to prove how LBJ had Kennedy assassinated.

  24. 24
    Sirkowski says:

    Oops, I’m a slowpoke, it’s already been posted…

  25. 25
    Bubblegum Tate says:

    Norman Podhoretz thinks it’s a CIA conspiracy against Bush

    So does Mark Noonan, who reaches this conclusion without having actually, you know, looked at the NIE. But at least he admits in his last two sentences that evidence doesn’t matter to Bush.

  26. 26
    Hedley Lamarr says:

    aWol’s Iran response was bad enough, but what about the Saudi rape thing?! He paused, shook his head a little, paused more, and then said he would be upset. And we threw poor Dukakis under the bus for less!

  27. 27
    Tony J says:

    Are we giving out kicks in the junk now? I have a nice pair of steel toed workboots!

    Deserving causes, and all that.

  28. 28
    Punchy says:

    Tony and The Grump nails it…hard.

    Bush either speechified about shit he knew nothing about, even with the info at the ready, which shows he’s either completely disinterested or completely unable to read, OR

    Bush lied about what he knew was false statements.

    But I’m sure Hewitt will find a way to show how this is “great leadership”.

  29. 29
    heywood jablomy says:

    John — they are parsing to hide the lie.

    Bush today: “It wasn’t until last week that I was briefed on the NIE that is now public.

    “The NIE that is now public” of course is a way of saying he wasn’t briefed when in fact he was. He may not have been briefed till last week on the final complete spellchecked NIE that has now been made public with a nice plastic binder and glossy cover but of course he was fully briefed on its contents, findings and data many times before that.

    Analogy: Clinton saying there is no affair we what he means is there was an affair but it ended.

    This is called the modified limited hangout.

    Of course its not about a blowjob but about blowing up towelheads so it’s not an impeachable offense, just a psycho move by the most dangerous and irresponsible administration ever.

    I’m telling you John, Americans will need to hit the streets with pitchforks and torches on 1-20-09 if we truly hope to get these fucking assholes out of our White House.

  30. 30
    Gus says:

    The presidency isn’t worth a warm bucket of piss.

  31. 31
    jrg says:

    At least we now know why Bush was laughing when he spoke of WW III a couple of months ago.

    It must be the BDS… I don’t see the humor in lying to start another war in the Middle East.

    George W Bush is a complete psychopath. It is truly pathetic that 1/3 of Americans cannot see through his transparent, self-serving, fear mongering B.S.

  32. 32
    Stephen says:

    It’s not often that the first sentence of a blog post actually does make me laugh out loud.

    That one did.

  33. 33
    SpotWeld says:

    You don’t think that the CIA leak might be some old co-workers of poppy-Bush doing the ex-prez a favor by keeping junior in line?

  34. 34

    […] John Cole sums up the Cheney administration: Shorter George Bush- “I have no clue what the F* is going on.” […]

  35. 35
    David Hunt says:

    I guess my only question at this point is why President Cheney is allowing Vice President Bush in front of a microphone

    That’s simple. Sometimes the guy behind the mic gets shot at. Besides Cheney would never let reporters into his Undisclosed Location in the Hall of Doom, situated somewhere in Slaughter Swamp.

  36. 36
    Tsulagi says:

    I like that “stand down” exchange in the whitehouse.gov link. Answering one question, Hadley started with…

    One, when the President was told that we had some additional information, he was basically told: stand down; needs to be evaluated; we’ll come to you and tell you what we think it means.

    The very next question and his exchange…

    Q The President — you said the President was told to stand down on that —

    MR. HADLEY: No, I said just the opposite. I said the President was told, we have some information, we have some new information not to stand down

    LOL! Shorter Hadley: Your lying ears and tape recorder (and WH transcriber) did not hear what I said. These guys crack me up. Special Olympians would kick these tards off the bus.

    Hadley has always been one of Cheney’s buttboys. One of the group Powell referred to as “Cheney’s Gestapo.” He was the one who kept pressing his counterpart in CIA to let the Niger yellowcake bullshit into Bush’s SOTU address.

    Yeah, I think Cheney and his choir boys would generally prefer The Retard not have a microphone in front of him. Bad things can happen.

    Probably why you once saw a photo of Cheney standing off to the side glowering at Bush while he was speaking ready for the fuckup. Also made sure dipshit didn’t talk to the 9/11 Commission in public, or even in private without Cheney holding his hand ready to correct him. They’re quite content to let Airhead practice trying to stay upright on his bicycle and avoiding evil horses when he’s playing cowboy on his ranch.

    He’s The Decider like that. Real smart, real strong. The fountainhead of today’s Republican party.

  37. 37
    jcricket says:

    that would require wingnuts to acknowledge things like logic and facts. You do realize they live in a reality distortion sphere, right?

    It’s not a sphere. It’s a field. Sphere’s are round, and the earth is flat, so spheres are satan’s geometric figure of choice ™. GW wouldn’t be caught dead near Satan, hence, the field, which eminates in cross-shape directly forward and behind the Deciderer.

  38. 38
    Bubblegum Tate says:

    It’s not often that the first sentence of a blog post actually does make me laugh out loud.

    That one did.

    It made me think of this, which made me laugh as well.

  39. 39
    Jake says:

    Stand down!
    Sit up!
    Speak!
    Roll over!

    It’s the Dick Cheney Prezidential Work Out Plan.

  40. 40
    r€nato says:

    The question here should be: “What else does the President NOT know, and how long has NOT known it?”

    um, how many weeks do you have?

  41. 41
    Dreggas says:

    Fucking scary. The question here should be: “What else does the President NOT know, and how long has NOT known it?”

    No the question is when is the country going to really say enough is enough and stop these fuckers? Election is a year away, that’s a long time to give this asshole to go down in flames by starting another war.

  42. 42

    I think there is a significant aspect to this timing: the Bush administration has actually ratcheted down their “nuclear Iran” rhetoric since the Summer. The last few months have been more about “Iran helping out insurgents in Iraq”. Perhaps this change in rhetoric was partly instigated by the results of the NIE?

  43. 43
    Bubblegum Tate says:

    Good point, Chris.

  44. 44
    STEVEinSC says:

    Election is a year away, that’s a long time to give this asshole to go down in flames by starting another war.

    There was an intersting discussion on NPR yesterday. On the show was a right wing “family values” from some christo-fascist organization and a lady who polls for the Des Moines Register. When the pollster got a chance to speak, she said that there has been very significant flow from the independents declaring for the democrats. More ominous for the bitter-enders in Congress, the lady said there has been a pronounced flow out of the repukes with people formerly repuke declaring as independents. The 31% assholes in Congress don’t know what’s waiting for them back home.

  45. 45
    Tsulagi says:

    Bush administration has actually ratcheted down their “nuclear Iran” rhetoric since the Summer.

    Maybe, but as with most Republicans, the ratchet can swing both ways at any time. In a late October speech, Cheney was talking about another possible smoking gun mushroom cloud…

    He said Iran’s efforts to pursue technology that would allow them to build a nuclear weapon are obvious and that “the regime continues to practice delay and deceit in an obvious effort to buy time.”

    If Iran continues on its current course, Cheney said the U.S. and other nations are “prepared to impose serious consequences.” The vice president made no specific reference to military action.

    Gee, wasn’t that said weeks, maybe months after intel in the current NIE had been circulated within the admin? I do like that line “the regime continues to practice delay and deceit in an obvious effort to buy time.” For some reason Iraq came to mind. Anyway, Cheney continued…

    While he was critical of that government and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad , he offered praise and words of solidarity to the Iranian people. Iran “is a place of unlimited potential … and it has the right to be free of tyranny,” Cheney said.

    Sounds like he has someone in mind for freedomizing! Of course, our very own Commander Guy dittoed the VP’s comments that week. America’s First Couple.

  46. 46
    Punchy says:

    Special Olympians would kick these tards off the bus.

    Comedic genius.

  47. 47
    chopper says:

    man, this whole situation just got funnier to watch. i’m a make some popcorn.

    many millions of americans who just saw the president shown blatantly wrong about yet another ME country’s WMD programs are thinking it’s about time to take the keys to the bus back, and then the WH can’t even get its lines straight. you can’t make this shit up.

  48. 48
    jcricket says:

    man, this whole situation just got funnier to watch. i’m a make some popcorn.

    It is painful to watch Bush attempt to stick to his talking points when he’s so clearly been contradicted by reality. He’s not a natural public speaker, and he’s not good with the press, even when he has something easy to stay on message about.

    Now that 16 (count ’em) intelligence reports (groups? agencies?) have confirmed that he’s full of shit about Iran (and has been for months) his squirming is almost (but not really) painful to watch.

  49. 49
    Redhand says:

    It is painful to watch Bush attempt to stick to his talking points when he’s so clearly been contradicted by reality. He’s not a natural public speaker, and he’s not good with the press, even when he has something easy to stay on message about.

    No kidding. The crap about how he was “reassured” by the NIE report because it showed that Iran ‘could” still make a bomb was effing unbelievable. What an idiot! I wonder if he still thinks we’re on the brink of WWIII?

  50. 50
    Chris Johnson says:

    Seems plain enough to me. Cheney is not running the government but he is totally controlling what Bush hears and thinks. The reason we’re not bombing Iran is largely because State Department and military people are refusing to take ‘march forward to death and glory’ orders. One day we’ll hear the whole story…

  51. 51
    Psycheout says:

    John, I know you’re on full moonbat dribbling patrol, but actually Richard Cheney is the VICE PRESIDENT, not the President. You might want to look that up.

    Moonbat commenters, stop being codependent. John Cole clearly needs help. Your validating his slobbering insanity isn’t helping him. As if you care.

  52. 52
    myiq2xu says:

    Maybe Bush was waiting for the Iraqis to stand up so he could stand down?

    Last I checked, they wasn’t standing up, they was just standing around.

  53. 53
    Work-Ethic says:

    It’s not what else is there that bush doesn’t know- its what else is there that he doesn’t he CARE about. Every single thing he has been “in-charge” of has failed because he learns soon into the get go it’s actual WORK. News to you numbnuts, (bush) being the president is actual WORK. You’re not some glorified “head of state” where you sit around in your crocs and socks and wait to go on vacation. It’s actual WORK. So- you’re the rich son of a rich son of a rich man. That means (to me) you have never earned an honest days pay for an honest days work. Everything is handed to you because that how it has been your whole life. Even if it’s something as catastrophically important like intelligence on Iran, or Iraq. If the intelligence is right or wrong it doesn’t matter to bush because in the end he just Does Not Care. He has made history, he is the president, blah blah blah. Here is another news flash to you numbnuts- you’re NOT royalty.

    But that’s something else for you to not care about.

  54. 54
    Peter Johnson says:

    What a difference a day makes me. I cannot believe that one simple report has convinced so many that we should now embrace Iran as an ally. This is just one report among many.

  55. 55

    […] When a President thinks that it’s better to look clueless and stupid than to admit that he lied and he just didn’t like the results of the NIE, it says a lot about him, IMAO.   And us for letting him in the door. […]

  56. 56
    Bruce Moomaw says:

    Further proof that this administration was obviously patterned after Gov. LePetomaine and Hedley Lamarr in “Blazing Saddles”.

  57. 57
    Voice of Reason says:

    John, I know you’re on full moonbat dribbling patrol, but actually Richard Cheney is the VICE PRESIDENT, not the President. You might want to look that up.

    Is this guy real? I find it hard to believe it’s not parody. Maybe I haven’t lowered my standards to the category of “short bus”. Please advise.

  58. 58
    Brachiator says:

    Peter Johnson Says:

    What a difference a day makes me. I cannot believe that one simple report has convinced so many that we should now embrace Iran as an ally. This is just one report among many.

    Uh, no.

    The National Intelligence Estimate representes the coordinated judgments of the US Intelligence Community made up of 16 intelligence agencies, and thus represent the most authoritative assessment of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) with respect to a particular national security issue (Wikipedia and direct sources).

    And by the way, the report does not in any way suggest that “we should now embrace Iran as an ally,” an interesting attempt at misdirection. However, the report undermines Bush’s assertions that Iran’s nuclear dreams represent a present danger to the U.S. and our allies.

    Bush may be approaching a “Caine Mutiny” moment. His most recent statements are clearly unhinged, particularly his continued assertion that “”Look, Iran was dangerous, Iran is dangerous and Iran will be dangerous if they have the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon.” He is supposedly in charge of the executive branch, and yet he is disavowing the considered judgment of his own intelligence staff and agencies without offering anything — anything at all — which supports his own assertions about Iran. He has gone from being the Decider to the Fabulator.

    Worse, his statement that Iran is dangerous if it even has the KNOWLEDGE to make a nuclear weapon is absurd, possibly even irrational. What is he proposing, that we not only bomb all of Iran’s nuclear facilities, but also demand that Iran expel any person who has a degree in physics, chemistry or mathematics?

    George Bush is spouting indefensible nonsense. How can anyone possibly defend this gibberish?

  59. 59
    Redhand says:

    Is this guy real? I find it hard to believe it’s not parody. Maybe I haven’t lowered my standards to the category of “short bus”. Please advise.

    I too was mystified by some of his comments in other posts. He’s insanely droll, but if you check the link that’s his name it will take you to his website, which is more of the same. Clearly parody.

  60. 60
    Redhand says:

    Bush may be approaching a “Caine Mutiny” moment. His most recent statements are clearly unhinged, particularly his continued assertion that “”Look, Iran was dangerous, Iran is dangerous and Iran will be dangerous if they have the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon.” He is supposedly in charge of the executive branch, and yet he is disavowing the considered judgment of his own intelligence staff and agencies without offering anything—- anything at all—- which supports his own assertions about Iran. He has gone from being the Decider to the Fabulator.

    Nicely put. What is amazing about this is the man’s disconnect from information (and reality). Think of it: the stupid bastard has let Cheney rattle the sabres, and done some sabre rattling himself, for months now knowing this information was in the works. What is incredible is his “defense” that he wasn’t fully briefed on the contents of the report. I mean, the son-of-a-bitch is the President of the United States. Think of the information resources the President has at the snap of a finger, yet he couldn’t be bothered before shooting his mouth off about another war?!

    Bush as President is as hapless and totally out of his depth a buffoon as Gonzo was as AG. This Presidency can’t end fast enough for me.

  61. 61
    ATS says:

    The best “standing down” Bush ever did was from thet Segway scooter. Which raises the question: did he turn the Intelligence PDBs “on” and read them before he began talking about attacking Iran?

  62. 62
    Tony J says:

    Think of the information resources the President has at the snap of a finger

    Whose finger?

  63. 63
    jcricket says:

    Think of the information resources the President has at the snap of a finger

    This would only worry me if GW was actually capable of snapping his fingers.

    Or, put another way, Think of the information resources the VP has at the snap of a neck!

  64. 64
    Darkness says:

    Or, put another way, Think of the information resources the VP has at the snap of a neck!

    You mean at the pull of a trigger.

    It is a measure of how long this has been going on that I can’t generate anything more than vague dis-ease about this story. Too much more of the same. For me Bush still hit bottom when he claimed we invaded Iraq because they wouldn’t let the inspectors in. There was no good interpretation for this statement either, but he got a pass on it in the press–multiple times. ‘Course, what kind of headline would that have made in July of 2003? I can just see the newspaper editor’s hands shaking as he/she tried to type it in: “Wartime President Horribly Confused”

  65. 65
    jcricket says:

    I can just see the newspaper editor’s hands shaking as he/she tried to type it in: “Wartime President Horribly Confused”

    I would give my right nut (not the left one though, I like that one) for an honest press corps. I’m not saying the decline of the media’s circulation would be staved off, but if the press got rid of he-said/she-said reporting; passing along smear, spin and innuendo as fact; and dishonestly giving politicians a “pass” because they’re likeable, or afraid of losing access – I think America would be much better off

    If nothing else, it would make it a lot more obvious which outlets are truly Republican mouthpieces (like the Moony Times, Fox News, etc.) if the other media outlets started working right. Sure, the wingers would claim “media bias”, but if the rest of the media stood up and said “fuck you wingnuts, we’re just doing our job here, bring me some facts and I’ll report on them” it would be nice.

  66. 66

    […] Juan Cole has the evidence that President Bush is a “stand-up” guy (please note the president is lying). […]

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] Juan Cole has the evidence that President Bush is a “stand-up” guy (please note the president is lying). […]

  2. […] When a President thinks that it’s better to look clueless and stupid than to admit that he lied and he just didn’t like the results of the NIE, it says a lot about him, IMAO.   And us for letting him in the door. […]

  3. […] John Cole sums up the Cheney administration: Shorter George Bush- “I have no clue what the F* is going on.” […]

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