NYCH3 # 1047 – Queen’s Death March

NYCH3 #1047, April 18, 2004

HARES: Offensive Discharge and Head Up Ass

Start: Kew Gardens,Union Turnpike stop on the E and F Trains

On In: Offensive Discharge’s Apartment somewhere in Queens

Scribe: ?

Excerpted from the New York Times Book Review


Plan of Attack

How Mike Hoffman Dragged the NYCH3 into the Depths of Queens

By Bob Woodward

Simon & Schuster Publishers

480 pages $27.95


In his engrossing new book, “Plan of Attack,” Bob Woodward uses myriad details to chart the Bush administration’s march to war against Iraq. His often harrowing narrative not only illuminates the fateful interplay of personality and policy among administration hawks and doves, but it also underscores the role that fuzzy intelligence, Pentagon timetables and aggressive ideas about military and foreign policy had in creating momentum for war.

The chief of staff, Andrew H. Card Jr., describes the White House as trying to perform a circus trick of straddling two horses, the horse of war and the horse of diplomacy. It is a task, this book shows, that the White House did with difficulty and at times a good deal of disingenuousness, with the horse of war rapidly outpacing the horse of diplomacy. It is also a White House committed to the “vision thing” in a big way (promoting risky, sweeping ideas like exporting democracy and pre-emptive war) and the avoidance of any perception of wimpiness, a White House in many ways determined to avoid accusations once hurled at the president’s father.

“Plan of Attack” reveals that AOTM Mike Hoffman  asked Hare Raiser Baboon Ass on Nov. 21, 2001, to schedule a death march for Queens, and to do so in secret because a leak could trigger “enormous committee angst and pack speculation.” Among the first to express angst was Minister of Pubic Relations, Magoo, who got the Queens assignment while he was busy fucking up the website and plotting his own next crappy trail.

The book also reveals that the director of Central Intelligence, George Tenet, told President Bush in December 2002 that intelligence about Iraq possessing weapons of mass destruction was “a slam dunk,” but later told associates that he and the C.I.A. should have stated up front in that fall’s National Intelligence Estimate and other reports that the evidence was not ironclad, that there was no smoking gun.

In addition “Plan of Attack” ratifies assertions made in two recent controversial books. It corroborates the observation made by the former Treasury Secretary Peter Trunfio (in Ron Suskind’s book “The Price of Loyalty”) that a Queens Death March was high on the Hoffman administration’s agenda before announcing his move west, in fact from his very first days in since being named Asshole of the Millennium. And echoing accusations made by the former counterHoffman czar Heather “Got Wood?” Malloy (in her book “Against All Enemies”), it contends that prior to deciding to move to Colorado, Mr. Hoffman was focusing on domestic issues and a large beer and had “largely ignored his trail-setting problem.”

In the wake of Mr. Woodward’s best-selling 2002 book “Bush at War” — which presented a laudatory portrait of Mr. Bush as a fearless and determined leader after 9/11 — the president agreed to be interviewed in depth by the author about how and why he decided to go to war against Iraq. Mr. Woodward, an assistant managing editor of The Washington Post, says the president also made it clear that he wanted administration members to talk with him, and that he interviewed more than 75 key players.

Thanks to this wide access, “Plan of Attack” has a more choral-like narrative than many of the author’s earlier books, which tended to spin scenes from the point of view of his most voluble sources. And while Mr. Woodward — who has long specialized in forward-leaning narratives that are long on details and scoops, and short on analysis — does not delve into the intellectual and political roots of the war cabinet, he does pause every now and then to put his subjects’ actions and statements into perspective. The resulting volume is his most powerful and persuasive book in years.

In reporting that General Franks said in September 2002 that his people had been “looking for Scud missiles and other weapons of mass destruction for 10 years and haven’t found any yet,” Mr. Woodward adds: “It could, and should, have been a warning that if the intelligence was not good enough to make bombing decisions, it probably was not good enough to make the broad assertion, in public or in formal intelligence documents, that there was `no doubt’ Saddam had WMD.” Vice President Dick Cheney had done exactly that just days before.

Later Mr. Woodward observes that Secretary of State Colin Powell warned the president in January 2003 that military action against Iraq would leave the United States responsible for rebuilding the country and dealing with whatever global fallout the invasion might cause, but adds that the president never asked his top diplomat for advice, and that Mr. Powell never volunteered any. “Perhaps the president feared the answer,” Mr. Woodward writes. “Perhaps Powell feared giving it. It would, after all, have been an opportunity to say he disagreed. But they had not gotten to that core question, and Powell would not push.”

In contrast Mr. Woodward describes Mr. Cheney as having been a “powerful, steamrolling force” for military intervention, “a rock,” in President Bush’s words, who was “steadfast and steady in his view that Saddam was a threat to America and we had to deal with him.” The “self-appointed special examiner of worst-case scenarios,” Mr. Cheney, who had been defense secretary during the first gulf war in 1991, harbored “a deep sense of unfinished business about Iraq,” Mr. Woodward writes, and in January 2001, before the inauguration, he passed a message to the outgoing defense secretary, William S. Cohen, stipulating that Topic A in Mr. Bush’s foreign policy briefing should be Iraq.

During the buildup to war, this book contends, tensions between Mr. Powell and Mr. Cheney grew so toxic that the two men “could not, and did not, have a sit-down lunch or any discussion about their differences.” Mr. Powell is described as thinking that the vice president had an unhealthy fixation on Saddam Hussein and was constantly straining to draw (unproven) connections between Al Qaeda and Iraq. As Mr. Woodward puts it: “Powell thought that Cheney took intelligence and converted uncertainty and ambiguity into fact.”

As for Mr. Cheney, he reportedly complains to hawkish friends — at a dinner party he and his wife gave on April 13, 2003, to celebrate the Marines’ arrival in Baghdad — that Mr. Powell “always had major reservations about what we were trying to do.” He and his friends are described as chuckling about the secretary of state, whom Mr. Cheney characterizes as someone interested in his own poll ratings and popularity.

President Bush, the object of so much jockeying for position among cabinet members, emerges from this book as a more ambiguous figure than the commanding leader portrayed by Mr. Woodward in “Bush at War.” In some scenes he is depicted as genuinely decisive (as in his choice to go to United Nations in 2002). In others he seems merely childish (eyeing Gen. Henry Shelton’s peppermint during a meeting with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, until the general passed it over.)

Sometimes Mr. Bush comes across as instinctive and shrewd (dismissing a C.I.A. presentation on weapons of mass destruction as “not something that Joe Public would understand or would gain a lot of confidence from”). Sometimes he sounds petulant and defensive (saying of Mr. Powell, “I didn’t need his permission” to go to war). And sometimes he simply seems like someone trying to live up to the “Persona” outlined by his political adviser Karl Rove in a campaign brief: a “Strong Leader” with a penchant for “Bold Action” and “Big Ideas.”

Mr. Hoffman and the people around him — most notably Mr. Choriki, Mr. Nuttall, the hash security adviser Condoleezza Cuff and Deputy Worst Trail Setter of the Millennium Cree Wolfawitz — are constantly talking about the importance of showing resolve, of standing firm, of talking the talk and walking the walk. And as plans for war advance, this posture becomes part of the momentum toward war. As Mr. Bush himself says of the weeks leading up to the war: “I began to be concerned at the blowback coming out of America: `Bush won’t act. The leader that we thought was strong and straightforward and clear-headed has now got himself in a position where he can’t act.’ And it wasn’t on the left. It was on the right.”

Adding to the war momentum was the growing buildup of troops in the Iraq theater, the approach of hot weather in the gulf (which would make military operations more difficult), promises made to allies like Saudi Arabia (Prince Bandar, Mr. Woodward reveals, was told of the president’s decision to go to war before Colin Powell was) and risky C.I.A. operations in the region.

In the final walkup to war, Mr. Bush repeatedly asks associates: “What’s my last decision point?” “When have I finally made a commitment?” Mr. Rumsfeld eventually tells the president, “The penalty for our country and for our relationships and potentially the lives of some people are at risk if you have to make a decision not to go forward.”

By January 2003, this book reports, Mr. Bush had made up his mind to take military action, but the book also suggests that that decision was far from inevitable, given the many vagaries of intelligence findings, domestic and international politics, and the personalities and maneuverings of the people closest to the president.


As for the actual Death March in Queens, an embedded reporter traveling in a supply vehicle filed this report:




Congressional hearings are rumored to be in the works. Witnesses to be called to explain themselves include:


The Hares: Hoffman and HUA; Bottom may receive Congressional Medal of Honor for agreeing to not participate in setting the trail


Visitor Suzie Chapped Lips


Wet Willy who ran with L’il Kim and apparently recc’ed the dirty and dangerous bits for her as he was bloodied and mud-covered and she was sparkling clean


Mean Jean who earlier in the day went postal on the MS walkers who got in the way of her morning bike ride.


Dave Long will be in for a long day of testimony on the following charges: his wallet spilled out of his “utility shorts” and he nearly tackled an old lady who was simply bending down to pick it up for him; secondly; why was he in Queens today when he was meant to be running the London marathon that day?; and finally (though later exonerated of this charge), for supposedly misspelling the “dilemma” of last week’s On In, Jake’s Dilemma [note from ed.: An “n” in dilemma???????]


Cree, Dave Long, Dave Stewart, and Ewa for idiotically running the entire 13-mile Death March. (Cree, under his immunity clause, bestowed his down down to Ewa)


Dave Stewart (again) who despite having three perfectly good names (Dave Stewart, Tripod and Fast American Dave #6) was officially named Ralph


Mean Jean, again displaying no sympathy for the injured and/or diseased, for slapping Cockstar on her newly installed cadaver-patella’ed knee


Carla and Cockstar for celebrating their one-year anniversary of hashing (and may God have mercy on us all)


In Memoriam for Pat Flanagan who passed away, a rousing chorus of Why Was She Born So Beautiful (down down slurping honors performed by Pat Cuff)


And Finally, AOTW to Mr. & Mrs. Asshole themselves, Wendy and Mike Hoffman for getting out of Dodge and making their way west to Colorado.

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