If you don't write me a blank check, the terrorists have won

In asking for $82 billion more for the Iraq war, Bush shows his strong commitment to sacrifice, for both Americans and Iraqis!

By Joyce McGreevy

Published February 22, 2005 7:58PM (EST)

President Bush sent to Congress a request for a "whole bunch of billions" in additional spending to cover the increased costs of mismanaging Iraq, but mostly for walking-around money. He then reconsidered and added, "Tell you what, better make it an even couple of trillion. Just a little something extra to tide me over."

Pointing out that catastrophic success doesn't come cheap, the White House reiterated its unwavering commitment to spreading cashocracy to contractors around the world. "We have reason to believe that Iraq has amassed vast stockpiles of opportunism," the president said, predicting that "the trail of imminent debt would inev-, inebit-, ineptly lead to an 'Axis of Upheaval.' But by staying the course, and profiting from experience and other stuff along the way, we can secure the fate of unborn generations." The unborn generations, who were not available for comment, are said to be reviewing alternatives.

The president's wish list was scribbled on the back of a postcard that also read, "Dear Federal Surplus, Enjoying D.C. Wish you were here."

Many lawmakers have questioned the wisdom of issuing the White House a constant stream of blank checks. But as Secretary of Defensiveness Donald Rumsfeld made evident in remarks to the House Armed Services Committee, wisdom's just another word for "Oh, what the hell."

Challenged to come up with some straight answers, or else just use the word "calibrate" in a sentence, Rumsfeld ventured, "What lessons have we learned during the past three-plus years of warfare that can lead us to better calibrate and refine our strategies against enemies, who, lest we forget, have brains?"

Several awkward moments later, Rumsfeld still had not responded to his own questions, so White House spin doctors were called in.

But the champ of chicanery was doing just fine: "When you come back to reset the force," he said, "you reset the force the way it ought to be ... The question is, is that a replenishment and a reset that goes in a supplemental, or is it something else? Is it an improvement? Well, it's both."

Rumsfeld also defended White House plans to spend $8.8 billion on ballistic missile defense programs, arguing that the mere fact that the system hasn't worked yet and would not therefore serve as a deterrent to aggression should hardly be considered a deterrent to keep funding the hell out of it.

Shortly afterward, Rumsfeld, along with Treasury Pez Dispenser John Snow and Secretary of Fate Condoleezza Rice, agreed to let Christo and Jeanne-Claude wrap them in sheets and install them along the Washington Mall, as part of an exhibition called "The Gatekeepers: A Look Back at the Beginning of the End." The artists had used a steady flow of accountant's red ink, as well as domestic and foreign blood, to give the sheets their distinctive color.

Supporters of the "Budget to End All Budgets" say critics are willfully ignoring the president's offsets. According to a report issued by the newly formed Department of Endless Expense and its subsidiaries and shareholders, "Our well-funded unilateral analysis shows that overall, the federal budget makes judicious cuts in programs that only affect ordinary people out there in Otherland. Furthermore, we heard no objections from such types at our closed-door sessions."

The report also praised the White House for its willingness to do without an exit strategy. "This alone demonstrates the president's firm commitment to making sacrifices, something that has touched, and will continue to touch, countless numbers of Americans and Iraqis."

The report concludes, "By adhering to a strict policy of chaos-based initiatives, there is no limit to the things we cannot do. These are the things that cost money and the reason they pay us the big bucks."

But some lawmakers insist that mismanagement of resources and massive waste of taxpayer money may actually not be in the public's best economic interest. Making a cameo appearance on the low-rated sitcom "Desperate Democrats" (since replaced by the edgier "Dean Patrol"), Sen. Joe Lieberman seemed poised to whisper that he was fully prepared to issue a few quibbles. But Lieberman tempered his remarks on hearing from his agent that his controversial kiss scene with the president, filmed live at the State of the Union address, had gone so well that the duo were being considered as presenters for the 2006 Grammy Awards.

Meanwhile the Senate Democratic Policy Committee -- rumored actually to have formed a committee and to have a policy -- has called on Republican leaders to investigate reports that more than 9 billion of taxpayer dollars intended for reconstruction in Iraq were either missing, unaccounted for, or stuffed into a coffee can at an undisclosed location. The leaders said they would get right on it.

But not all Republicans were as agreeable. "Oh, boohoo, they can't find $9 billion," said a defense contractor, who spoke anonymously because his name is privately owned and operated. "We're busy trying to protect our patriotic investment and they're nickel-and-diming us to death."

Joyce McGreevy

Joyce McGreevy is a writer in Portland, Ore.

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Donald Rumsfeld Iraq War Joe Lieberman Pentagon