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
    blame.

    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
    public.

    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.