Published on January 20, 2005 by Star Tribune / Minneapolis, Minnesota
The Inaugural Ball: Dancing with Wolves, by Susan Lenfestey
"It's time to party.
As the families of bomb-flattened Fallujah huddle in make-shift refugee camps, drinking from sewage-filled streams, Iraqi policy mastermind Paul Wolfowitz fastens the last stud into his starched collar.
As the Iraq Survey Group ends its search for WMD, concluding that there was no imminent mushroom cloud or even a smoking gun, Condi Rice draws herself a hot bath.
As Sgt. Kevin Benderman, an Army mechanic with nine years of service, refuses a second deployment to Iraq, saying "you just don't know how bad it is," Colin Powell pours himself a drink.
As Specialist Charles A. Graner, miscreant and major-domo of Abu Ghraib, shuffles off to prison, Donald Rumsfeld straightens the black tie of his tux.
As the 9/11 widow tucks her children into bed, wondering why the recommendations made in the 9/11 Commission Report weren't implemented, Tom Ridge tightens his cummerbund.
As prisoners charged with no crimes, and given no recourse, languish in the hellhole of Guantanamo Bay, torture apologist Alberto Gonzales clicks his cufflinks into place.
As Dan Rather retires in disgrace over forged documents, former CIA Director George Tenet, proponent of forged documents about Iraq's nonexistent nuclear program, adjusts the Medal of Freedom around his neck.
As the working mother in Chicago wonders how to keep her child from being left behind now that her special-ed program has been cut, Armstrong Williams polishes his shoes.
As Valerie Plame walks away from a distinguished career as a CIA "operative," destroyed when her identity was revealed by columnist Robert Novak, Mr. Novak walks to his limo.
As Osama bin Laden chuckles in his cave to see America's fortunes sink in the morass of Iraq and as fresh recruits to his cause multiply like flies, Dick Cheney pops the cork on a bottle of Dom Perignon.
As America's trade gap surges and the red ink in the national debt bleeds to a record level, Treasury Secretary John Snow finishes shaving and dabs at a spot of blood on his chin.
As the Republican Congress gets ready to underfund everything from Head Start to veterans' benefits, Speaker Dennis Hastert checks his profile in the mirror.
As Pfc. Francis Obaji, oldest son of an immigrant Nigerian family, is zipped into a body bag for the sad journey home, Laura Bush zips up her Oscar de la Renta gown.
And as his corporate pals, forgetting for a moment the bottom line that forces them to ship jobs overseas, slide their millions across the table to dance at his ball, George W. Bush pulls on his snakeskin boots.