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30 September 2005


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Michael Murry


Your reference to the concept of "falling on one's sword" put me in mind of something I posted on an obscure bulletin board back in July of 2003, about four months into the Iraq debacle. At that time, I found myself outraged yet again by the cavalier disregard for language and meaning -- if not for human life -- so manifestly on display in American government. Some horrible lying had come to light and many fine people, both Iraqi and American had started dying unnecessarily because of the recklessness and mendacity. The blame-shifting and accountability-dodging started right away, of course. In the typical buck-passing, Maximum Leader tried his best to pin the unfolding disaster on a loyal subordinate only too willing to fulfill the role of scapegoat. Yet in the Bush administration, even the punished somehow come out looking promoted, so I called my piece:

"Falling on a rubber sword"

From: Michael Murry
Date: 7/18/2003
Time: 12:28:22 AM

[note: please forgive the outdated numbers and estimates as things have turned out even worse than I feared]

In Roman times, as we know, loyal soldiers would fall on their own swords (i.e., commit suicide) so that their superiors would not have to take responsibility for bad decision-making. In the Bush Administration, though, the practice has assumed tragic/comical dimensions requiring a new definition. We can now speak of falling on a rubber sword, which now means that the erstwhile "good soldier" only pretends to take the ultimate responsibility yet somehow manages to come out of the experience alive and still employed. Talk about having your death and your life, too! What a sweet concept.

CIA (Can't Identify Anything) director George Tenet pretended to take the fall for George W. Bush and his ludicrous State-of-the-Union lies about Iraq's oft-alleged-but-never-demonstrated nuclear weapons "program." Instead of dying, though, as would have happened to most people pierced by a sharp steel blade, Tenet still goes to his job (I almost said "work") every day and George W. Bush continues to "stand by" the bogus statements he made in front of the whole world, even after admitting that the statements had no basis in fact.

In effect, Bush now claims (grammar supplied by me): "I lied because someone else made me do it; and even though I let that person take my responsibility from me, I still have faith in the liar who made a liar out of me. He can keep his job and go on lying to me because, as everyone must know by now, I (or at least Vice President Dick Cheney) insist that he do so. I (we) don't want to know the truth. I (we) want to hear what we want to hear, and he (Mr. Tenet) will tell it to us."

Meanwhile, the human cost of those lies continues to mount while both Bush and Tenet draw paychecks for getting our troops drilled on a daily basis. If only those damned Iraqis would start using rubber swords, like our Washington warriors do, then American troops could get up off the blood-stained sand and go home, safe and sound, having lived through their experience of war instead of dying from it.

The dreary totals keep on drifting in: 212 Americans now dead and 1,014 wounded. A new report even suggests that 5 of those deaths quite probably came as a result of suicide. Now THAT should tell us something about troop morale. Secretary of War and Vengeance, Donald Rumsfeld, promised the Third Infantry Division that they could start coming home and then almost immediately said that that those weary troops will have to remain in Iraq, perhaps not coming home for up to a year, the typical Vietnam tour that guys like me -- at least the enlisted types -- served.

In 365 days, these totals will amount to something like 500 dead and 1,500 wounded. Coupled with a moribund economy, soaring budget deficits, and finger-pointing rats like Tenet deserting Bush's boat, political prospects look better every day for the "Democrats," assuming that America can locate a specimen.

I personally hope that our president gets a backbone, admits his lies, takes responsibility for what he has wrought, and gets our troops the hell out of Iraq. Then, he could stage another phony photo-op airplane landing somewhere, declare victory (again) and leave Iraq to the Iraqis, just like he said he wanted to do. If he did that, more American troops could go on living and these awful numbers would not escalate any further. If he did that, perhaps he could survive in office to plunder more of the treasury for his friends. We can always give more money to our government. We cannot give a life back once it ends.

Take the money and run, Mr. Bush, but leave our uniformed servants their lives. Fall on your rubber sword. It won't hurt you a bit.


Thanks Pat, a very good piece.


Hey, has anybody ever compiled a good article about Rumsfeld OSP?

It seems like a good project to have considering that office is at the center of Iraq WMD propaganda. I bet a lot of reporters can use it too.

I can't find good entry in several wikis I visited.

Pat Lang


Let me know if you find a good one. pl


Hi Colonel,

This piece written in 2004 by Robert Dreyfuss and Jason Vest is still the best summary I've seen on OSP:


Re-reading your Drinking the Kool Aid piece was as enlightening as when I first ran across it. However don't you think that Laurie Mylroie's recently released co-author, Judy "I was f-ing right" Miller deserved at least a cameo appearance somewhere in Chalabi-World? Otherwise think you nailed ALL the appropriate parties - great job, as always....!

Pat Lang


"Judy, Judy" called me once just as confidence in the existence of "planet killing" Iraqi weapons was starting to fade.

She was upset by my refusal to accept her premises, but ladylike, nonetheless.

She had the usual Jacobin neocon delusion that Saddam=Hitler rather than that Saddam=Peron with better tanks.


Keith Harbaugh

My experience, both in person and via all my sources of information, is that
many Jews think that
any sexist, racist, homophobic, nativist, etc. person
is a proto-Hitler.

"Political Correctness" in reality is a Jewish construct to ensure (they hope)
"Never Again".

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