All hands are on deck, and scrambling desperately, as the administration tries in vain to get its story straight regarding a July 10, 2001 meeting between then-National Security advisor Condoleeza Rice, then-CIA Director George Tenet, and his counterterrorism chief, J. Cofer Black.

It would be farcical if not for the incalculable consequences of their bungling and deceptions.

On Tuesday, The Washington Post reported that Bob Woodward’s State of Denial describes a meeting where Tenet and Black warned Rice of an imminent al-Qaeda attack.

Rice’s response to Woodward’s report was to insist that she never received such a briefing.

But then the administration said that the meeting did in fact take place.

Still, Rice “strongly suggest[ed] that the meeting may never have occurred at all – even though administration officials had conceded for days that it had.”

So a State Department spokesman then said that the meeting took place but that “there was nothing new” revealed. He added that Rice told Tenet to give the same briefing to both Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and then-Attorney General John Ashcroft.

Huh, come again? No new information but repeat the same briefing for Rumsfeld and Ashcroft? Would you mind explaining that, Mr. Spokesman?

“[The spokesman] was unable to explain why Rice felt the briefing should be repeated if it did not include new material,” The Post reported.

What is catching up with this administration is not so much its “state of denial” as its state of disdain. Disdain for any position in contradiction to its own. Disdain for any facts that fly in the face of its own myths and suppositions. And, most of all, disdain for the American public. So it is no surprise that former National Security Advisor and Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger (who arguably takes disdain to war crimes-proportions), has become one of President Bush’s preferred and most frequent confidantes.

Kissinger has even exhumed his September 10, 1969 “salted peanuts” memo for the “benefit” of President Bush. In it, Kissinger advised President Nixon against significant troop withdrawals from Vietnam: “Withdrawal of U.S. troops will become like salted peanuts to the American public; the more U.S. troops come home, the more will be demanded.” With opposition to the Iraq war solidifying, and the public aware that this war is based on lies and deception, Kissinger knows that if the administration flinches the floodgates will open.

And there you have it. To hell with the public, to hell with contradicting facts, to hell with the troops. Just stay the course. To this administration, the lives, the costs, the waste is nothing more than peanuts compared to its own ill-conceived, ill-fated designs.