John Negroponte’s back­ing down as Director of National Intelligence left a vac­uum Bush has decided to fill with Mike McConnell, who is appar­ently so much more qual­i­fied to occupy the post that one has to won­der why the hell Bush didn’t pick him first.

He served as direc­tor of the National Security Agency in the 1990’s,” Mr. Bush said. “He was the intel­li­gence offi­cer for the chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff dur­ing the lib­er­a­tion of Kuwait in Operation Desert Storm.”

Although he has been a pri­vate con­sul­tant for the last decade, Mr. McConnell said he had stayed in touch with intel­li­gence agen­cies and issues.

His work, he said, “has allowed me to stay focused on national secu­rity and intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ties as a strate­gist and as a con­sul­tant. Therefore, in many respects, I never left.”

Meanwhile Il Duce is chang­ing out a lot of the old Iraqi guard. Some of it is due to retire­ment — but as the Beeb notes, the tim­ing sure is con­ve­nient. I guess this is the Textard’s way of try­ing to smoke­screen. Look, I’m not stay­ing the course; I’m surg­ing and stuff, and we’re chang­ing out the gen­er­als, so it’s all dif­fer­ent now.

No, George, it’s no dif­fer­ent at all. You’re just going to try to get away with gimp­ing along for another 18 months or so … and then you’ll be able to dump the entire steam­ing mess of shit in the next poor bastard’s lap.

At this rate, that’ll only be another 2,000 or so American kids killed because of your unwill­ing­ness to accept per­sonal respon­si­bil­ity for your stu­pid­ity and pigheadedness.

And yet … we have this. (H/​T Pam.)

Jan. 4, 2007— ABC News has learned that President Bush will nom­i­nate Zalmay Khalilzad to be the new U.S. ambas­sador to the United Nations. Khalilzad is cur­rently the U.S. ambas­sador to Iraq. The announce­ment may come as soon as tomor­row. Khalilzad’s depar­ture from Baghdad will hap­pen as soon as he is con­firmed as U.N. ambassador.

Zalmay Khalilzad, soon to be the UN Ambassador — replac­ing the utterly crappy Mark Bolton — is a Muslim.

Right: The Textard has named a Muslim to be the US ambas­sador to the UN. And lest you doubt the rea­sons, please note that Khalilzad is well qualil­fied to fill the role.*

A con­sum­mate deal­maker, Khalilzad played an active role try­ing to push the Iraqi gov­ern­ment toward polit­i­cal rec­on­cil­i­a­tion. […] Before becom­ing U.S. ambas­sador to Iraq, Khalilzad served as U.S. ambas­sador to Afghanistan. Prior to that, he served as a Special Presidential Envoy and Ambassador at Large for the Free Iraqis.

Now why didn’t Bush pick him in the first place? I mean, really — first Rummy gets it, then Rove gets shoved aside, and now all these other changes … along with Bush telling Congress to cut spend­ing and lower the deficit. If he’d been behav­ing this way six months ago (or, dare we all hope, since 2000), this nation would be in far, far bet­ter con­di­tion than it cur­rently is.

But shades of the old Textard still fac­tor in. Japan, for instance, is devel­op­ing a con­tin­gency plan to deal with a flood of Korean refugees should a war start there, or should the nation sim­ply just col­lapse under the weight of Kim Jong Il’s hair.

The task force con­cluded more refugees could pour out of North Korea than Japan can pos­si­bly han­dle. It also con­cluded that the gov­ern­ment would need to con­sider the pos­si­bil­ity of trans­fer­ring them to third countries.

The esti­mated influx does not include refugees from South Korea, the sources said.

Some esti­mates go as high as 150,000 pos­si­ble dis­placed per­sons flood­ing Japan. Interesting that Bush, still deal­ing with his hardon for Iraq,** is con­sci­en­tiously ignor­ing this fact, leav­ing it to junior offi­cials to han­dle this remote Asian mess.

And now Hosni Mubarak, Egypt’s pres­i­dent, has spo­ken out on the idi­otic way Saddam Hussein was killed — say­ing baldly what I think I’ve been hint­ing at for sev­eral days now.

The cir­cum­stances of the hang­ing of Saddam Hussein have turned the for­mer Iraqi leader into a mar­tyr, Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak has said.

People are exe­cuted all over the world, but what hap­pened in Baghdad on the first day of Eid al-​​Adha was unthink­able. I didn’t believe it was hap­pen­ing,” he said.

Why did they have to hurry? Why hang him when peo­ple are recit­ing their hol­i­day prayers? Then the pic­tures of the exe­cu­tion were revolt­ing and barbaric.”

So on the one hand we have a Bush who seems to be will­ing to behave — for the first time in half a decade — in a semi-​​responsible fash­ion; and on the other we still have a spoiled dilet­tante who doesn’t seem to be in touch with any­thing at all.

My guess is that he’s stopped drink­ing again, and this is as close as we’ll ever see of him truly hav­ing his shit together.

And you know what? It still ain’t enough.

====

* Not that this is keep­ing the right-​​wing idiot fanat­ics from scream­ing in evi­dent mor­tal agony. Maybe we’ll get very lucky and this deci­sion really will kill them — or they’ll try to secede. I say this time we let them do it, too.

** Iraq is to war what coy­ote ugly is to one-​​night stands. That gnaw­ing sound you hear from the White House is the Textard try­ing to escape.

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