Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, responding yesterday at a hearing in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee,  reasserted the Cheney claim that the US could be in Iraq for more than another decade. She also discussed the possibility of expanding the conflict to Iran and Syria, stating that Bush would not need to seek permission from congress to do so.

''I don't want to try and circumscribe presidential war powers," Rice stated. ''I think you'll understand fully that the president retains those powers in the war on terrorism and in the war in Iraq."

''Under the Iraq War Resolution, we restricted any military action to Iraq," noted Senator Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island.

"What's your point, fat boy" responded Rice, putting on her mean face and jabbing a finger deeply into Chafee's chest. "You think we need to ask permission from the likes of you? If you guys had any balls at all, you would have stopped us long ago. Instead you've chosen to sit at the children's table. I suggest the lot of you get back to what you do best... investigating steroids."

"Hey, don't push my buddy around," shouted Senator George Voinovich of Ohio. "He's got a heart condition. And besides, he was just trying to make a point."

"Just trying to make a point? I've got your point right here, Voinobitch. Come on, beg for it."

"I'm so embarrassed by my colleagues, Madame Secretary," interjected Senator Barbara Boxer, ever the peace maker. "These gentleman are awfully rude, and I'm sure, in private countenance, that they would agree that they have not shown the proper respect that a personage such as yours most surely..."

"Shut up. Or make your point and then shut up."

"Ahem. It's just that these boys, they're sick at heart at the spin and false expectations. They want the truth, and they deserve it. Please."


"Pretty please."


"Pretty please with sugar on top."


"I've go a chart..."

"She's got a chart! Praise the Lord, she's got a chart! Somebody notify the press! Oh, wait, the press are here - they're just so insubstantial that I hardly ever notice them anymore. Everybody, let's all gather round and take a look at Barbra Boxer's pretty chart. It's showtime, Barbie."

"Well, this box here represents the vice president. I apologize if it's too small to read, but the text in the box says "the insurgency is in it's last throws..."

"That should be t-h-r-o-e-s."

"...'last throes'. Now this line, which comes out of the box and extends all the way to the circle which I've labeled 'the future', is a timeline. And each perpendicular line represents a violent attack that has..."

"Hahahahahaha... I believe that's the worst chart I've ever seen. Good lord, girl, you should hire yourself an intern who knows PowerPoint or something. Quit getting stuck on stupid. A political solution was not going to be born overnight in Iraq."

''That's not what you told America and that's not what you told this committee."

"If it's not the honorable John F Kerry, loser at large. I was wondering when you were going to show your distinguished head, Senator Botox."

"That time is now."

"Good enough. And your position of moral certitude is going to be what? That you voted for the war, voted to refund it, voted to refund it again, and again, and now you're bored with your little plaything?"

"Not at all. I just..."

"Not at all, what?"

"Not at all, Madame Secretary. I just want... gosh darn it, I just want to see some kind of timetable, that's all. Please."


"Pretty please."


"I am not going to get into some sick display of obsequiousness, unlike some senators I could name. It is you, Ms. Rice, who is appearing in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, not the other way around."

"That's not the sort of talk that's going to get you a timetable."

"Oh, all right. Pretty please with sugar on top."



2005, Mark Hoback