With some critics calling for him to be stripped naked and led out of the Pentagon on a dog leash, Donald Rumsfeld stepped up the campaign to save his skin by announcing a lavish compensation package (including Halliburton stock options and McDonalds gift certificates) for the victims of the Iraqi prisoner abuse scandal.
"It's the right thing to do," the embattled Secretary of State told Congress. Poor guy. He'd never let on, of course, but it's got to bug him the way he botched the planning and execution of the war.
Now this horror show - set in a former Saddam hellhole, starring part-time soldiers not trained to be prison guards and stinking all the way to the top - may yet cost him his job as the president's guy in charge of getting people killed.
The despicable acts at Abu Ghraib have further scarred America's image around the globe. But Rummy's no dummy. He just spun the breakdown in human decency under his command as an opportunity to wow the world with another lesson on how a Democracy deals with evil-doers.
True to his word, Rumsfeld has assembled a generous package designed not only to salve Iraqi humiliation with material compensation but also to symbolize all that is good about America. The Humor Gazette has learned that some of the items include:
- Self-esteem counselling from Dr. Phil
- Season tickets to the Texas Rangers baseball team
- Basketball lessons from noted Allah enthusiast Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
- Autographed copies of Bob Woodward's best-seller "Plan of Attack"
- Cameos in the next Ben Affleck-Arnold Schwarzenegger film, "The Armagedinator"
- Collectible "Spider-Man" action figures
- Official "I Got Abused at Abu Ghraib and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt" sportswear
- Kodak Max disposable cameras
- Nike Air Jordans (made by skilled Indonesian craftschildren)
- A Mickey Mouse photo-op at Disneyland
- A gas-guzzling Hummer with a "George Bush is a Swell Guy" bumper sticker
- Allah-approved "Mission Accomplished" prayer mats
- "America's Funniest Prison Home Videos" on DVD
- A hand-written half-apology by Rumsfeld himself
- And samples of Levitra and Cialis to help put that spring back in their step