Talk Loudly and Carry a Big 'Shtick'

Recently, after a North Korean missile test, Secretary Rice warned, "I don't think anyone is confused about the ability of the United States to deter -- both on behalf of itself and on behalf of its allies -- North Korean nuclear ambitions or gains on the peninsula."

This statement was quickly followed up in a Bolton-like fashion by George Bush who described Kim Jong-Il as a "tyrant" and a "dangerous person" who starved his people and ran "huge concentration camps." That bit of 'diplomacy' was, in turn, followed up by a response from North Korea in which Bush was described as a “cowboy” and “hooligan” among other tidbits.

More importantly, it was followed up by both North Korea and Iran going full speed ahead with their nuclear programs.

The statements by Rice and the provocation by Bush seem to overlook the report by General Myers, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that although the U.S. would likely prevail in a future conflict, the stress placed upon the military ensured that any such engagement “may result in longer campaigns, higher casualties and greater collateral damage.”

Secretary Rice and George Bush also seem to have missed the reports of the military missing its recruitment goals by a wide margin ensuring further shortfalls in manpower.

As a matter of fact, things seem to have gone so badly for recruiters that they are resorting to taking recruits fresh from commitments in psychiatric wards, hiding police records and medical histories of potential recruits, falsifying documents, and giving wallet-size cheat sheets to applicants for the military's aptitude test.

Also, the statements seem to reflect a belief that the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan are either over or contained. Perhaps a review of the hundreds of headlines (from Western sources) devoted exclusively to the death and carnage continuing in both Iraq and Afghanistan might cause Ms. Rice a momentary pause to reflect on finishing the conflicts already started before committing to another one with an already depleted force. There are (with all due apologies to Tom DeLay) internet sources that keep track of that sort of thing and organize the information in an easy to access fashion.

Subsequent to her review, and assuming she can catch George Bush on one of his rare days in Washington rather than at Crawford, Camp David or Kennebunkport, she can fill him in on her findings since he's proudly proclaimed that he doesn’t read newspapers.

She may have to track him down or, more probably than not, wait until he's done with his bicycle ride to fill him in on any new developments she may glean from reading the news (much like the entire government/country waited for him during the Cessna scare over the Capitol with is potential shootdown of lost but innocent pilots, the evacuation of Congress, the White House, and the Supreme Court, and the scattering of D.C. occupants/workers).

Perhaps after briefing him they can get together with the Joint Chiefs of Staff and figure out exactly what military obligation checks they can still cash. While they're at it, they may want to see if there's anything left in the "diplomacy" acount- although that's highly doubtful given the last four years and with the nomination of Bolton as head accountant and bookkeeper of that account.


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