By Charles Pugsley Fincher, A Part of

George W. Bush gave a speech on his Iraq policy at the War College in Carlisle, PA. He announced a 5-point program, but afterwards every analyst I read or listened to agreed that nothing new came out of the speech. I was left longing for the days when presidents somberly addressed the nation about war from the Oval Office.

I was annoyed by the forced applause. It went on and on and on -- OK people, you all get your promotions, now, so quit it. The way excessive applause and Bush's vacuous, cheerleader delivery turned the event into a pep rally and robbed it of its seriousness. I think Karl Rove went overboard in producing this obvious campaign commercial -- and we're paying for this campaign fluff. Super Bowl halftimes lie in his and Bush's future.

Brandon Mayfield is the Muslim lawyer from Oregon who was arrested as a material witness because his fingerprints were found on a suicide bombing a continent away. Except that they weren't. Mayfield was thrown into jail for two weeks because the FBI blew its fingerprint analysis. And I thought that was something the FBI was good at. Spanish intel set them straight. The jailing is a part of, in my opinion, John Ashcroft's vision for a new McCarthy-style America.

Gen. Ricardo Sanchez is being taken off his command as the top military guy in Iraq. Official spokesmen are saying that it has nothing to do with his failure to alert the Pentagon of the seriousness of the Abu Ghraib torture photos or the rumors that he knew what had been going on and even was at some interrogations. Kids, it's just time for a routine rotation of his command in Iraq. Do we believe any of this spin. If you expand the comments from other generals, Sanchez is an excellent military officer, however without vision, who is now a victim of the Peter Principle -- meaning he's been promoted past his level of competency. 05.25.04

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