When President Bush says Don Rumsfeld is doing a "superb job" you really have to shudder to think what we'd have in store for us if the guy came off his winning streak.
Clearly, the president's political advisors have told him that his political fate is tied to Rumsfeld's. And on that judgment I think they're right. But certainly there are ways to keep someone on the job without submitting the English language to this sort of brutality, this ... abuse, shall we say.
Then there is the increasingly precious two-step -- perhaps fetishization -- of the photos. This from the Associated Press ...
The president was shown a "representative sample" of photos, including pictures not yet seen by the public, a senior defense official said, adding that some showed humiliation of prisoners and "improper behavior of a sexual nature," the official said.
Citing ongoing investigations and privacy concerns, McClellan refused to describe the still images, including some that were taken from videotape. And McClellan repeatedly sidestepped questions about whether the president thinks they should be publicly released.
The Pentagon agreed to send as-yet unreleased photos and at least one videotape to the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday. But senators had not determined when or under what circumstances they would be viewed by lawmakers.
Larry DiRita, spokesman for Rumsfeld, told reporters that the Pentagon was discussing arrangements with the committee staff for showing the additional photos and video "in a restricted environment."
I cringe to see these photos come out. But clearly they will come out. And really they should come out.
With all this mumbojumbo about representative <$Ad$>samples, and giving some pictures to congress and not others, and bizarre locutions like "improper behavior of a sexual nature" (that remind you of Clinton's "inappropriate sexual banter", only this time it's not a ridiculous joke), you get the feeling that you're dealing with an addict or a scammer who can't give up BSing even after everyone else can see that the jig is up.
You expect -- or perhaps better to say, you hope -- soon to see the sober, serious grown-up come along, put his hand on the guy's shoulder and say, "It's over" -- perhaps saying it a few more times, with arresting finality, until he understands.
Perhaps a better metaphor is a user at the ugly outset of his own intervention -- the increasingly desperate lies, the bargaining, the lickety-split oscillations between apologies, self-pity and impulsive anger.