At the request of the house committee investigating the government's response to Hurricane Katrina, the Department of Homeland Security has provided about 1000 pages of the e-mail correspondence of Michael Brown, who recently resigned as director of FEMA. The contents of the e-mail messages are jaw-dropping — including lines such as "Are you proud of me? Can I quit now? Can I go home?" and "If you'll look at my lovely FEMA attire you'll really vomit. I ama [sic] fashion god." on the Monday that the levees broke. (President Bush, Secretary Cherthoff, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Richard Meyers all stated that the levees broke on Tuesday, even though Michael Brown received three e-mail messages on Monday reporting that the levees broke.) Rep. Charlie Melancon has posted some of the messages at his website together with a short summary and analysis (this is the one to read).
President Bush's numbers are plummeting. He's now down to only a 35% approval rating, and Cheney's approval rating languishes at an abysmal 19%.
Moreover, his support from the military is falling as well. According to a recent poll of military members in North Carolina, a majority now disapprove of Bush's job as president (53%) and a majority disapprove of Bush's handling of the invasion of Iraq (57%). Over half of those surveyed even said that the United States should no longer be in Iraq.
Donald Rumsfeld has yet again either lied on camera or demonstrated astonishing incompetence (your pick). In a news briefing on Tuesday, a reporter asked him:
Mr. Secretary, recently Larry Wilkerson, the former State Department official, has described what he said was a cabal between you and Vice President Cheney in forming public policy leading up to the war. And he described what he said was a seriously dysfunctional foreign policy. I don't think we've heard you speak on that. Can you just respond to that?and Rumsfeld replied:
I haven't read this. I've heard about it. And I don't know the man. I've never met the man, and I don't believe he's ever been in a meeting of the NSC. So it's hard for me to understand exactly what his insights might have been.Larry Wilkerson was Colin Powell's chief of staff. How could Rumsfeld not know him? And if he really never met Wilkerson, and Wilkerson was indeed never in a meeting of the National Security Council, then isn't it true that the invasion of Iraq was directed by a cabal that excluded the state department?
Or check out this incredible exchange:
Q: Mr. Secretary, can we ask you to just clarify something?"How would I know?" WTF? You're the goddamn secretary of defense. You are responsible for defending 300 million people and managing the world's most powerful military force. It's your job to know. 5 comments | post a comment
SEC. RUMSFELD: No. Let me get some other people here with questions.
Q: Mr. Secretary, was --
SEC. RUMSFELD: Yes?
Q: -- was this department involved in, aware of, in any way, in the alleged efforts by the Vice President's Office to learn about Mr. Wilson's trip to Africa?
SEC. RUMSFELD: Not to my knowledge, but how could one answer that? I mean, you've got a department of hundreds and thousands of people, millions of people, and you say, "Was this department in any way involved in some allegation?" My goodness gracious. Only a --
Q: You never spoke about it with the vice president?
SEC. RUMSFELD: I -- how would I know if I ever spoke about it with the vice president over five years? I don't recall speaking it -- with him about it, and I don't recall the department being involved. Is it possible? I mean, my goodness, that's -- that question is such a -- it's -- what is that game? Fish. Give me all your sevens or something. I mean, that's not for me.
Q: Mr. Secretary, one of the implications of the --
SEC. RUMSFELD: I think he thinks I just fell off a turnip truck.