Saturday, December 04, 2004

Thompson to Terrorists: "Try the Food Supply!"

Yesterday Health & Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson chose his retirement announcement from the Bush Administration to offer helpful cooking tips: "I, for the life of me, cannot understand why the terrorists have not, you know, attacked our food supply, because it is so easy to do," Thompson said. "And we are importing a lot of food from the Middle East, and it would be easy to tamper with that."

Or was that a critique of El Presidente's handling of home-land security? Thompson said that he worries "every single night" about "food poisoning" on a massive scale. After his statement yesterday, we suspect there'll be several people joining him in that activity.

Then Thompson said he was "very concerned about pandemic flu, because we're not prepared for it," adding that Congress has inadequately financed preparations. Congress? We thought the Executive Branch had a hand in mishandling the availability of the flu vaccine this year. But whatever. "This is a really huge bomb out there that could adversely impact on the health care of the world," Thompson said.

Thompson strikes us as an honest man, which should promptly move him onto the White House's new enemies list. As Mike Allen in the WashPost points out this a.m., "The alarming tone of Thompson's comments contrasted with an assertion by Attorney General John D. Ashcroft in his resignation letter last month. Ashcroft declared, 'The objective of securing the safety of Americans from crime and terror has been achieved.' "

If the possibilities of organized food poisoning and a flu pandemic isn't enough to spook you for the rest of the weekend, try this: Mike Allen in the same article also reports that last Monday Pres. Bush asked Donald Rumsfeld to stay on as Secretary of Defense, thus making it official: no one in this White House will ever be punished for mistakes, miscalculations, and just plain bad policy. Allen says that if Rumsfeld left the administration, some might interpret that to mean that El Presidente admits the war in Iraq has been a disaster. So Rummy stays, apparently for appearance sake.

Meanwhile, the overnight also brings the purely coincidental news that the U.S. Navy has launched an investigation of some new photos of Navy Seals abusing Iraqi prisoners. At the moment, we can't tell whether it's mainly an investigation of who put the photos up on the World Wide Web, as opposed to why the Navy Seals were doing those things to those prisoners. But then, the man who presided over the sump of Abu Ghraib is to remain in charge of the military, so we won't hold our breath that the right crime gets prosecuted. (If you've got the stomach for it, several of the 40 photos can be seen here.)

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