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December 13, 2006

Light At The End Of The Corridor

Bush-State-Department



by Chris Maynard

Sooner or later, someone was bound to bring it up.

Finally, on the afternoon of December 12, the “L” word was used in Washington. Tariq al-Hashimi, the vice president of Iraq, in direct view of President Bush, said that his country faces “a hard time, but there is a light in the corridor.” The last man to talk of distant lights in narrow passageways was Lyndon Johnson, who had enough shame, and sense, to leave office in 1968.

The trio above has made a show of taunting anyone who even mentions sense and shame. On Monday they left the State Department, stopping only for a brief statement to the press, taking no questions. The answers were, visually, quite obvious. Vice-President Cheney, head lowered as usual to avoid looking at lesser mortals, appears to be folding up notes, or perhaps a cheat sheet with only the word “No” scrawled across it. Secretary of State Rice looks even glummer than normal, her chin diving toward her collarbone. Suddenly the years of staring down anyone impertinent enough to question her are over, and the world is tired of her rigged version of Musical Chairs.

It’s President Bush, self-styled Leader of the Free World, who takes the prize for transparency: we can see right through him, and there’s nothing there. Forget the shirt collar that’s getting a little bit loose, or the cords beneath his chin that have started to pop in the past month or so.

It’s the utterly blank stare that stops us. He’s not looking at anything at all (this was the day before Hashimi brought up the light off in the distance.) He could be thinking of lunch, clearing brush or waiting for Santa Claus. It’s that look of someone showing up at a funeral who’s forgotten the name of the deceased, of a blind man without his guide dog.

The lid seems to be pretty tight on the meeting itself, with no mention of who exactly was there or what exactly was said. For this administration that’s business as usual, but given the release of the Iraq Study Group report there might be some interest in what’s going on in private. Tough luck for democracy, but government can be messy that way.

It could be a look of resignation, of finally biting the bullet and asking for help but that’s pretty far-fetched. The deadlines are already slipping; his response to the study was originally scheduled for “before Christmas” but now the talk is of “early January.”

“Their money spent, their wine gone sour,” what’s another couple of weeks, or months, or even years?

(hat tip: Gary. image: Stephen Crowley/The New York Times. December 13, 2006.  nytimes.com)

  • marysz

    Bush looks like he’s lost a little bit of weight; he doesn’t have the puffy look that he’s had in the past few months. Maybe they changed his meds? In this murky, dark photograph Cheney, Bush and Rice blend together in the darkness. Cheney isn’t carrying his usual posh leather portfolio. This shows that he contemptuously wrote off this meeting from the start. Maybe the paper Cheney’s holding contain the fake “notes” that he took at the State Department meeting. He’s getting ready to toss them into the shredder at the first opportunity. Rice looks awful. She’s getting backstabbed the same way Powell was.

  • limapup

    Isolation fells bad, but not bad enough. There will be no throwing-in-the-towel yet. How far can they take it? Perhaps we have under-estimated their madness.
    Then, from ISOLATION to IMPEACHMENT…why not? Why, Yes!

  • KansasKowboy

    These look like people at the end of thier rope. But unlike Nixon, who previously held the reputation as worse president of late, who even had enough civic responsibility to resign. These people will never give up. They will just continue to bury themselves and our nation into a deeper and deeper hole.

  • http://fuming-mucker.livejournal.com Darryl Pearce

    Ah, invoking the words of Yeats again? Rightly, indeed!
    Hmm…, what was it that Ronald Reagan said?
    Oh, yeah:
    “I know it is hard to understand, but sometimes painful things like this happen. It’s all part of the process of exploration and discovery. It’s all part of taking a chance and expanding man’s horizons. The future doesn’t belong to the fainthearted; it belongs to the brave. …We don’t keep secrets and cover things up. We do it all up front and in public. That’s the way freedom is, and we wouldn’t change it for a minute. We’ll continue our quest…. Nothing ends here; our hopes and our journeys continue.”

  • http://www.woodka.com donna

    You’re right, Kansas Kowboy. They are beyond failure and well into psychosis, all of them. They can’t give up now, since that would mean admitting everything they’ve lived for all these years is wrong.

  • http://www.woodka.com donna

    And Nixon’s was a personal failing. Their failing is of a cabal of neocons, The Republican party, and the entire nation for believing them. Aside from those of us who said in 2000 that all this would come to pass, we have ALL failed.

  • Garbo

    Cheney has an odd expression on his face, I can almost hear his internal monologue:
    “Ah, but the strawberries! That’s where I had them. They laughed at me and made jokes, but I proved beyond the shadow of a doubt, and with geometric logic, that a duplicate key to the wardroom icebox did exist!…”

  • http://ruinsofempire.blogspot.com/ Rafael

    Cheney hands or what is holding are important. He looks like he just came out of the bathroom, drying his hands as he goes out. Or is that one of those hand wipes? Is he that paranoid that he must clean his hands constantly. Or maybe, been in the State Department he doesn’t to catch the diplomatic germ.

  • http://thetruckerpundit.blogspot.com The Trucker Pundit

    I always chuckle when I see’s that “I just ate a baby” look on Cheney’s face!

  • ummabdulla

    They’re still in the dark; the light is behind them, not ahead of them.
    Bush does look different here… And they certainly don’t look like they’re all on the same team. The picture I saw of this – on the yahoo.com homepage – was this one, I think, which is also interesting.

  • http://thirdeyepushpin.blogspot.com thirdeyepushpin

    three blind mice, see how they run
    scuttling off into their personal darkness away from the light. It seems as if Bush realizes that he is alone, but can’t face that he is responsible, Condi has no answers but is following her man; and Cheney is gripping at a piece of paper looking somewhat like a cross between Woody Harrelson in Natural Born Killers and Mr Magoo before driving off a cliff

  • gasho

    Bush is exhausted. He’s the face-man in this operation so he has to have his chin up for the camera but he can no longer fake the appearance of the self assured cowboy. He’s lost, he’s alone and he’s… a war criminal. It must feel like a bad dream.
    The other 2 can stay back a little bit, but they are equally guilty of driving this illegal war, and conspiring to ruin our country in pursuit of their neo-con wet dream of global control. It’s failed and they have zero plan B.
    They are praying that they’ll be ‘forgiven’ by the people, the historians, and ultimately by whoever is going to dish out their just desserts. I doubt any of them believe in God, or have plans to start, but they talk like they do and Jesus would be seriously pissed at the chapter they’ve written in the big book.

  • gasho

    Bush is exhausted. He’s the face-man in this operation so he has to have his chin up for the camera but he can no longer fake the appearance of the self assured cowboy. He’s lost, he’s alone and he’s… a war criminal. It must feel like a bad dream.
    The other 2 can stay back a little bit, but they are equally guilty of driving this illegal war, and conspiring to ruin our country in pursuit of their neo-con wet dream of global control. It’s failed and they have zero plan B.
    They are praying that they’ll be ‘forgiven’ by the people, the historians, and ultimately by whoever is going to dish out their just desserts. I doubt any of them believe in God, or have plans to start, but they talk like they do and Jesus would be seriously pissed at the chapter they’ve written in the big book.

  • lytom

    Amazing how long the deciderer charade goes on.
    The polls show the public wants out.
    The deciderer is postponing the decision to decide until January and has a good reason. He wants to make sure his decision is going to be right. The question is if there are going to be any Iraqi left to listen in the heat of civil war and able to head his decision.
    The trio is in the dark as was noted here already, dark and irrelevant, they are the powder for explosion, they are in charge, but not in line of fire!

  • japandrew

    In recent weeks, I’ve been impressed by Cheney’s composure. For someone whose world has collapsed and who, unlike Bush, is capable of knowing in a thinking way what that means. As in this photo, he even continues to smile. (Here it is a bit of a grimace, but in a number I’ve seen lately, it is a pretty relaxed and confident smile.) I think this is because he knows he is still calling the shots, that he effectively controls the mind of the man walking a few steps ahead of him. Current talk of “doubling down” in Iraq would be a Cheney plan implemented. So if you were the power behind a throne this powerful, and knew that when push comes to shove you can disavow its present occupant and toss him in the junk heap of history (and move to a private island in Dubai?), you’d smile too…

  • Cactus

    I haven’t seen a photo of Condi holding her head up for weeks! She must know, if anyone does, that this is the end game. She can put on the front on stage, like any actor, but otherwise, it’s head down, watch the feet.
    The Saudi’s yanked Cheney by the shorts and took him to the woodshed. That expression, IMHO, looks like he’s trapped and trying to think his way out of this mess, screw everybody else.
    Jr. is trying for that chipmunk grin, but he just can’t pull it off. Daddy’s boys have taken HIM to the woodshed, too. Suddenly, he’s a 7-yo wanting daddy’s love and attention again. Will he ever be a real man? He’s aged more in the last six weeks than in the last six years. Maturity still eludes him.

  • PTate in MN

    Imagine walking out of a hospital room in which someone you love is dying. Their condition is hopeless, worsening: You’ve just been told that he or she won’t last the night.
    This is how I read the expression on the faces of Bush, Cheney & Rice. Someone has given them news (about Iraq? Russia? the Saudis? Ethiopia/Somalia? all of the above?) that has stripped them of hope. Something they love is dying, and they can’t pretend otherwise. They have imploded, emotionally.

  • Lightkeeper

    >> So if you were the power behind a throne this powerful, and knew that when push comes to shove you can disavow its present occupant and toss him in the junk heap of history (and move to a private island in Dubai?), you’d smile too…
    Or better yet, take his position…
    God. Could you imagine what that would be like?
    It is truly astonishing how aged B looks in this photo. Although, I have noticed that almost all our politicians age prematurely when they are in power. Perhaps lying so much of the time about so many things takes a toll on our psychic makeup?

  • ummabdulla

    From a Washington Post article: “Bush’s former chief of staff, Andrew H. Card Jr., who was by Bush’s side as he formulated many of his key decisions on the war, said Bush hears many opinions and thus believes that ‘his knowledge is more complete than anyone who is advising him.’”
    Don’t know whether to laugh or cry…

  • ummabdulla

    Correction: that quote was from a Boston Globe article.

  • http://bagnewsnotes.typepad.com/bagnews/2006/11/going_begging.html#comments Charlie C.

    They just received The Answer -
    MORE TROOPS.
    Coming to a theatre near you in late January. And you are all wrong about the remore and recriminations. They don’t care. It is the way out of the box and what matters is their lives, their reputations, their posterity, their little comma in the history books.
    MORE TROOPS. That will git’er done.

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