Business as usual at the Bush White House

They fired to the left,
They fired to the right,
They fired all around;

One of them nicked a cricket,
Damn near brought him down.

They continued firing
and finally, to their suprise.
One of them got the gameskeeper,
Right between the eyes.

These lyrics from the song, Three Jovial Huntsmen,
came to mind when reading about the Vice President gunning down a
lawyer and fellow hunter while quail hunting in Texas Saturday.

At first I laughed. Then, as I watched the story unfold, the
laughing stopped. With Vice President Dick Cheney’s bungled attempt to
hunt quail without shooting another hunter, the White House once again
proved it cannot even report on an accident without attempting to avoid

Presidential spokesliar Scott McClellan, under fire from reporters
over — among other things — an 18-hour delay in releasing the story
to the press, said Monday the victim, 74-year-old Austin attorney
Harold Whittington, was at fault for not “announcing” his return to the
hunting party. The Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife disagreed,
saying Cheney showed a lack of hunter’s judgment and also cited the
Veep for not having a valid hunting stamp.

Let’s see. The Vice President of the United States, hunting without
a proper license and in a red-haze firing frenzy, shoots someone and
it’s the victim’s fault because he happened to be in the line of fire?
I suppose that if the Bush White House can plunge the nation into a war
based on lies about weapons of mass destruction that didn’t exist and a
non-existent threat from Iraq and then use those lies to justify the
killing of more than 2,000 American soldiers and countless thousands of
Iraqi civilians, then blaming a hunting accident on the guy that got
shot is second nature.

But the inept handling of details on Cheney’s shoot-em-up is just
another example of how the Bush administration always thinks first of
covering its own ass and keeping details secret from the American

McClellan says the decision on notifying the press was left to
Cheney’s office. But Cheney’s office claims it was left to the owners
of the property. Guess they forgot the first rule of media management:
Get your stories straight.

The 18-hour delay probably occurred because the White House spin
machine needed to talk to everyone involved and make sure that no one
told conflicting stories about what happened out on that Texas ranch on
Saturday. Second rule of media management: Control the story.

I’ve been a hunter for more than 40 years and always practice the
first rule of safe hunting: Look before you shoot. It’s a simple rule
that helps avoid shooting the wrong thing. Maybe that’s why I’ve never
managed to shoot anyone by accident in four decades of hunting.

Cheney’s blunder may well have been a simple hunting accident, but
when you wait 18 hours before telling anyone and then try to shift
blame to the victim, questions naturally arise.

It also doesn’t help that the Bush White House, the most secretive
in modern times, clamps down on anyone who dares talk to the press and
classifying even the most mundane of information under the cloak of
“national security.”

If the White House cannot come clean about a hunting accident, how
can we expect them to be honest about the war in Iraq, the warrantless
spying on Americans by the National Security Agency or the many other
failures of the Bush Administration?

The sad fact is we can’t. George W. Bush, the minions that follow
him and his party that controls Congress, have proven time and again
they are corrupt, dishonest and out of control.