(c) David Volk

"The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."

--From George W. Bush's State of the Union Address

What is with you people?

I leave the country for five days and you finally come to your senses?

At least that's the only conclusion I can draw from what happened while my wife and I attended a friend's wedding in Banff, Alberta and took a side trip to the Calgary Stampede (think state fair on steroids). When we left on July 10th, the Bush administration was still blustering about how they knew there were weapons of mass destruction (a.k.a. weapons of mass distraction) and they would find them even if they had to bring in inspectors to plant them by themselves. Then, when I came back, everyone was screaming about the fact that Resident Bush lied during his State of the Union speech earlier this year.

Well, duh.

Of course, administration officials were quickly dispatched to the Sunday morning news shows to dissemble the mess that had blown up in their faces in the hope that the recently woken American public would roll over and go back to sleep if they simply continued to calm them with soothing comments.

The best came from National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice who told CNN's Wolf Blitzer, "let me just start by saying, it is 16 words, and it has become an enormously overblown issue."

That's one of the great things about having an administration in the White House that hates history so much it sealed presidential records going back more 20 years. Bush and his buddies are living proof of the old saw, "Those that forget history are doomed to repeat it."

After all, if they had learned their history lessons, they would remember that it takes around 16 words or less to sink a presidency or destroy a reputation.

Consider these modest examples:

"I truly believe that they may not have some of the necessities to be, let's say, a field manager, or perhaps a general manager.'' Los Angeles Dodgers general manager Al Campanis, in an April 6, 1987 interview with Ted Koppel on "Nightline," explaining why African-Americans weren't getting jobs as big-league managers or front-office executives (23 words)

"If anybody wants to put a tail on me, go ahead. They'd be very bored." - Gary Hart (15 words).

"He's been bred to be that way because of his thigh size and big size." - Jimmy "The Greek" Snyder, on CBS describing why African Americans are so dominant in professional sports. He was fired the next day. (15 words)

"I've signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes." - Ronald Reagan (14 words).

"I did not have sex with that woman, Monica Lewinsky." - Bill Clinton (10 words).

"Well, I am not a crook." - Richard Nixon (six words).

Oh yes, and who can forget:

"Read my lips. No new taxes!" - President George Bush.

It's good to see George W. is following in his father's footsteps.

Just standing around, hoping to step in something good

David Volk

P.S. And then there's one other great quote from the administration on the subject:

"I think the burden is on those people who think Saddam didn't have weapons of mass destruction to tell the world where they are." - Ari Fleischer (far too many words).