Art Buchwald, A Point Poorly Taken, The Washington Post, July 22, 2003
As everyone knows, CIA Director George Tenet fell on his sword to save President Bush. He took the blame for the president, who said in his State of the Union address that Iraq had sought uranium from Africa.
It was a noble thing to do, and the good news is, Tenet was assured that
if he took the blame for the foul-up he would not lose his job.
How he became the goat is a top-secret story. The main role of the White
House is to protect the president. Everyone in the administration is aware of
this, and when Bush does something that is politically incorrect, his damage
control team goes into high gear.
"All the President's Men," as they are known in the White
House, immediately met to decide who would be chosen to fall on his sword. The
minutes of that meeting have been leaked to the press.
One adviser said, "How about Colin Powell? He said the same thing in
front of the United Nations that the president said in his State of the Union
speech. How come he's getting a free ride?"
"We're saving him to fall on his sword when the president declares
war on Syria. Besides, if we blame him, he will refuse to go on 'Meet the
"Why don't we say Don Rumsfeld put the phrase in the president's
speech so that Congress would give the Defense Department more money? A nuclear
threat is always worth an extra $150 billion."
"Rumsfeld will never admit he has done anything wrong. He is one of
the biggest architects of the war in Iraq and he is certain Saddam Hussein still
has weapons of mass destruction somewhere in the country. I don't think we
should mess with him."
"What about Vice President Cheney? He was supposed to find out if
Niger was sending uranium to Iraq."
"Cheney is not a big enough name. The public is not certain who he
is when they see him on television."
"Has anyone thought of Tony Blair? His intelligence people are the
ones that got the president in trouble in the first place."
"Good idea. Blair owes Dubya a big one."
"The president would never go for it. Blair is the only person he
can count on."
All the President's Men kept noodling.
"Do we have anybody in the Cabinet who could fall on his or her
"No. If we blame him, he'll claim it was a terrorist plot within the
"I guess our only choice is George Tenet. As director of the CIA,
his duty was to vet President Bush's speech."
"Does he have a sword?"
"If he doesn't, Rumsfeld could lend him one."
One of the President's Men then said, "We have to move on and decide
whom we can blame for the trillion-dollar deficit."