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Thursday, February 17, 2005

Everything is Ponte’ing to Trouble

Ok, I’m pretty sure that Charles Manson could get confirmed by this Congress. Just when I thought my blood pressure was coming down from the Alberto Gonzales and Condoleezza Rice confirmations guess which boogeyman comes crawling back? I’m not going to rehash John Negroponte’s long and despicable career (it looks like a ‘distinguished’ career if you’re in Congress). Instead, just take a look at some comments from people regarding his nomination (taken from these CNN and Fox News articles):

At a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing Wednesday, Rockefeller had criticized Bush for taking so long to name a director.

But Thursday he praised the president's choice. "I think that Ambassador Negroponte is a very sound choice," Rockefeller said. "Ambassador Negroponte has served bravely and with distinction in Iraq and at the United Nations during a time of turmoil and uncertainty. He brings a record of proven leadership and strong management."


"I'm enthusiastic …he stands sort of midpoint between the military and the intelligence world … and he has as his deputy someone who knows more about the collection of intelligence than anybody else on Earth ... they have very good chemistry, I think they'll make a very good team," Sen. Jay Rockefeller, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, told FOX News. "He'll get confirmed, I think, easily and quickly."


House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., however, said she is thankful Negroponte will be in the business of collection, analysis and dissemination of information, and not a policy maker or Cabinet officer.

"As one who has disagreed with Ambassador Negroponte for over 20 years, I am pleased that he is in a position now that doesn't have anything to do with policy."


Both skeptics and hopefuls say the new director has more than a few challenges ahead — from turf battles at the major intelligence and national security agencies to bureaucratic resistance and the ultimate test of wielding the authority needed to transform the nation’s intelligence capabilities.

"He’s going to have to be a skull-cracker, that’ll make the difference," said Amy Zegart, a professor of public policy at UCLA, former student of now-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice…

WTF?!? Ok, we’ll start with you Mr. Rockefeller. I understand that you’re a Senator from West Virginia. Yeah, I know that’s a dreaded ‘red state’. But for fuck’s sake, Robert Byrd is from West Virginia and the Bloogeyman doesn’t see him bending over backwards to sycophantically slaver over everything Bush does! Maybe you don’t have enough votes to stop the confirmation, or even attempt a filibuster, but you don’t need to jockey for the best doggy award.

Nancy Pelosi – you’re a fucking disaster. You’ve never agreed with him on anything but you’re pleased that he’s not in a position that has anything to do with "policy" like, say, head of manipulating intelligence to support policy, or anything?!? Whew, that was a close one, for a moment there I thought he might continue to be an ambassador. Good lord, there are like a million ambassadors – if I had like $20,000 dollars I could be an ambassador. But gee, from what I’ve heard this Director of All Fucking Intelligence thing doesn’t sound like a big deal. Does the name J. Edgar Fucking Hoover mean anything to you?!? And don’t give me that look. The Bloogeyman knows you - you’re a congresswoman from San Francisco for crying out loud. Your probability of losing your seat is like negative 500%! You could vote against all Bush legislation all day long – and you probably should, given where we know all Bush legislation leads us - and your poll numbers would actually go up. And you’re the Minority Leader in the House? Please, act like one – you can even use WWTDD if you have to. Just think, every time, “What Would Tom Delay Do?”

And that last quote – boy, it seems like there is going to be a lot of work to be done. Gee, it seems like there is always a lot of work to be done in the Bush administration and it all seems to be hard work. Man, there are going to be “turf battles”, and “bureaucratic resistance” (read: judicial resistance), and “the ultimate test of wielding the authority” – talk about some serious heavy lifting. Well, good thing we’ve got John Negroponte, you see, “he’s going to have to be a skull-cracker”. Wait…what?!? Now I’m really creeped out. I mean, I kind of gandered a guess at where this might lead, but you don’t just come out and say it. Think of the children! I’m pretty sure little Timmy will have a hard time sleeping knowing that some boogeyman just crawled out of the sewer and now is going to have to be a “skull-cracker”. I know I’m going to have a hard time sleeping.

Well, that’s the story – he’s been nominated and his confirmation seems like a “slam dunk”. I’m not going to rehash history or go into a tirade of often used accusations and evidence pointing to his many ‘shortcomings’ (to really, really understate the situation). The Bloogeyman will just get into a line of a little deductive hypothesis (some might call it rumor-mongering). That is, I’m just going to sit back a little bit and look at the whole situation and try to see if I can glean anything that has not been explicitly said or reported in the “media”.

We were all a little shocked when (*surprise!*) the Bush administration announced that John Negroponte would be the ambassador to Iraq. Hell, a lot of people thought that ghoul had long since passed. But, “What the hell”, we said, “he’s far over his days of mischief in Honduras and Nicaragua, right?” Right? Then came the news that the Pentagon was considering (read: already using) the ‘Salvador Option’ – the tactic of putting special-forces-led assassination or kidnapping teams in Iraq to battle the growing insurgency. Now, I may be a little slow on the uptake, but when I hear “John Negroponte” + “Ambassador to Iraq” + “Salvador Option” I think “uh, oh…” Now, I’m pretty sure that the Shiites in Iraq are smarter than me and think “UH, OH…”. So, here’s how I think a conversation between Ali al-Sistani (de facto leader of the Shiites in Iraq) and one of his aides might have went (paraphrased, I’m sure they weren’t this eloquent):

Ali al-Sistani: So, what’s going on?

Lackey: Well, there’s news: the Occupation Forces just appointed John Negroponte as the Ambassador to Iraq.

AaS: WTF?!? Is that the John Fucking Negroponte I’m thinking of?

L: Yep, that’s the motherfucker.

AaS: Really? Hell, I thought that ghoul had long since passed.

L: Nope, he was actually the U.N. Ambassador before this.

AaS: Oh, that’s why I hadn’t heard of him – does anyone even pay attention to the U.N. anymore?

L: Well, not Saddam and definitely not the United States.

……seven months later……

L: Uh, you gotta see this article in Newsweek. It talks about how the Occupation Forces might use the “Salvador Option”.

AaS: Yup, knew that. Next.

L: WTF?!? How the hell could you know about this? It just came out!

AaS: Didn’t you get the memo? I sent it out a couple months ago.

L: What memo?

AaS: Don’t you ever check your inbox? Anyway, they’ve been using the Salvador Option for a while now. I mean, come on, the Sunnis have their hands full getting beat down by the Occupation Forces – they’re not dumb enough to start car-bombing Shiite mosques so we also come in and regulate on their asses. That’s why I’ve told everyone to play it cool and not get a civil war started with the Sunnis.

L: Wow, and to think I was about to open a can of Shiite on my Sunni barber…

AaS: Look, anything else?

L: Well, what do we do about this whole Negroponte situation?

AaS: I may look like Santa Clause, but I’m not dumb. I’ve already handled it.

L: What did you do?

AaS: Well, I sent an intermediary to talk to the Occupation Forces and basically said: “We’ve got your number so don’t try any tricky shit – get this John Fuckingponte guy out of my country or you’re in for a world of hurt. You can get him out after the election so it doesn’t look all weird and stuff, but I want him out!”

L: Wow, I never would have imagined…

AaS: God, you’re dumb – how much do I pay you?

L: You pay me with the promise of eternal paradise.

AaS: Really? Damn, I need to re-evaluate my health-care plan, sounds expensive.

So there you go. Of course it’s a complete, unsubstantiated rumor, but that’s how the Bloogeyman logically thinks things could have gone down. The Bush Administration had to get Johnnie boy out of Iraq, but wanted to put him in somewhere else so that things don’t look all weird and stuff. Am I right? You Tell Me.

But Director of National Intelligence? This guy has never been involved in anything remotely resembling intelligence (unless you count shredding classified documents as work experience). I mean, look at Bush’s explanation for why he would make a good Director of National Intelligence (excerpted from a Fox News article):

But Negroponte may appear to be somewhat of an unusual choice, some observers said.

"He has stature ... what he doesn't have is expertise in intelligence," said Walter Pincus, senior writer with The Washington Post. "He's been an ambassador, he's dealt with intelligence but he's never served in any of the intelligence agencies."

Bush responded to questions about the appropriateness of the choice by saying that Negroponte can maneuver through bureaucratic Washington because of a strong familiarity with using prior intelligence reports.

"He's a diplomat ... he understands the power centers of Washington, he's been a consumer of intelligence ... he's got a good feel for how to move this process forward to address the different interests," Bush said.

WTF?!? I mean, I consume a lot of donuts, but I’m pretty sure I’m not qualified to be the CEO of Krispy Kreme Donuts. “Ok, Bloogeyman”, you’re probably thinking, “who cares if he’s qualified or not, he’s just a Bush lackey. I mean, Bush isn’t qualified to run a lemonade stand and look at him.” Granted, just because an administration appoints an incompetent to a position (Janet Reno, anyone?) doesn’t mean that something sinister is happening.

But the Bloogeyman wants to take another deductive look at the situation. Let’s look at Negroponte’s history. He’s been involved in some pretty nasty, under the table-type stuff over the years. He’s practically the boogeyman of nasty plumbing – he gets into the stuff that really stinks. And why would you hire a plumber if you don’t got some plumb’n that needs a fix’n? Chew on that for a while and see if your skin doesn’t start to crawl.