Bush now

October 30, 2005 § Leave a comment

The question is, afte the Libby inditement, is the nation in a vomit mode or a clam mode. Clearly there is a virus in the whitehouse, plain stupidity and lack of experience.. but there is a character element as well.

Doe fitzgerald and or the press open up to WMD, and the Italian conncection, who in the White House led the war effort, with Berlusconi coming next week to Washington?

The issues are there, but the path is not yet clear,

from the transcript

And as you sit back, you want to learn: Why was this information going out? Why were people taking this information about Valerie Wilson and giving it to reporters? Why did Mr. Libby say what he did? Why did he tell Judith Miller three times? Why did he tell the press secretary on Monday? Why did he tell Mr. Cooper? And was this something where he intended to cause whatever damage was caused?

Or did they intend to do something else and where are the shades of gray? And what we have when someone charges obstruction of justice, the umpire gets sand thrown in his eyes. He’s trying to figure what happened and somebody blocked their view.As you sit here now, if you’re asking me what his motives were, I can’t tell you; we haven’t charged it. So what you were saying is the harm in an obstruction investigation is it prevents us from making the fine judgments we want to make.


Today’s most noticed

October 28, 2005 § Leave a comment

10/28/2005, 9:30 PM

A fast paced day. Here are things that caught my attention along the way.

By Juan Cole. All the vice president’s men .

The ideologues in Cheney’s inner circle drummed up a war. Now their zealotry is blowing up in their faces. As Washington waits on pins and needles to see if special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald hands down indictments, the focus falls on Dick Cheney’s inner circle. This group, along with that surrounding Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, made up what Colin Powell’s top aide, Lawrence Wilkerson, called “a cabal” that “on critical issues … made decisions that the bureaucracy did not know were being made.” Cheney is the first vice president to have had, in effect, his own personal National Security Council. This formidable and unprecedented rump foreign policy team, composed of radical hawks, played a key role in every aspect of the war on Iraq: planning for it, gathering “evidence” to justify it and punishing those who
spoke out against it. It is not surprising that members of that team, and Cheney himself, have now also emerged as targets in Fitzgerald’s investigation of the outing of Valerie Plame Wilson to the press, along with Bush advisor Karl Rove .
. .

I said earlier that I thought the best outcome would be for Iraq to be internationalized and to have a United Nations military force enforce the peace. However, it does seem increasingly a rather forlorn hope (the UN is made up of member nations whose politicians would like to stay in power, and that might be difficult if they send their constituents’ young men into the meat grinder of Anbar province.) The Bushies aren’t very likely even to allow it during the next 3 years. I haven’t stopped advocating it, I just don’t see it happening tomorrow.

So what is left, if I am right that the US ground troops engaged in assaults such as Fallujah, Tal Afar and Qaim are doing more harm than good and there is no cavalry coming to the rescue any time soon?

I’m suggesting that the sort of tactics used in northern Afghanistan be retrofitted. The Northern Alliance fighters (surely not that much better than the current Iraqi army) accepted Special Ops embeds. They told the Special Ops guys where the Taliban positions were, and the GIs put lasers on the targets and called down smart air strikes on warlord HQs, tanks, etc. Once the Taliban positions were disrupted and their armor and machine guns taken out, the Northern Alliance could advance on cities like Mazar and take them, even on horseback. I think the same sorts of synergies can be deployed to protect, e.g., the Green Zone from the Sunni Arab guerrilla movement should it mount an aggressive army to march on parliament.

Many readers have told me that this tactic would not prevent car bombings or other killings. That is correct. Nothing can prevent the low-intensity guerrilla war from continuing, probably for a decade or more. The question is only if it can be kept from
escalating into a civil war that kills a million Iraqis and sparks a generalized Middle East war.

I find this proposal still hard to understand, but it seems to me to be a withdrwal in such a way as to lessen the likelyhood of decompsoton into civil war. No
More. No less.

The Niger connection.from Talkingpointsmemo

Today the Times reports the following as news …

The United States government did not receive
the papers until October 2002, eight months after the Central Intelligence Agency sent Joseph C. Wilson IV, a retired ambassador, to Niger on the fact-finding mission, according to a review completed last year by the Senate intelligence committee. The C.I.A. decided in March 2003 that the papers were forgeries.

But a little-noticed passage in another government report said the C.I.A. had determined that foreign intelligence passed to the agency in the months before Mr. Wilson’s trip also contained information that was “based on the forged documents and was thus itself unreliable.” That early foreign reporting, never endorsed by American intelligence analysts, prompted questions from the office of Vice President Dick Cheney, which in turn led to Mr. Wilson’s trip, a chain of events spelled out in the reviews of prewar intelligence issued this year and last year.

From Mathew Gross

Athenae explains why Bush, Rove and co. are so despised for smearing JoeWilson:It’s not mark of strength, it never is, to barrel down on somebodysmaller than you. If you’re really the leader of the free world, if you’re really the strongest and biggest badass the land has ever known, you aren’t threatened by anybody. Least of all another American speaking his or her mind.

But they never were our leaders. They told us to be afraid, and they turned us on each other, and they gave away our money to their friends and killed our sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, husbands and wives. They sniped and they snarled, but they never did lead us. They never brought us an inch above ourselves, or a milimeter closer together. For all their blithering about restoring honor and dignity, for all the lofty words that come from their speechwriters’ offices, they are small men, and their vision only extends to power, not poetry. They don’t understand what service to your country means; look at their service records. They don’t understand what respect that should entail; look what they did to Max Cleland, to John Kerry. They don’t understand anything except how to step hardest on somebody’s fingers on their way up the stairs.
They got to the top, and had no idea where they were, or why. And the mountain’s crashing down on them now, so I say again, what exactly did you think was going to happen?

Digby reminds us of Bush’s pledge to “ask not only what is legal, but what is right.”

of Blog— which someone recently and correctly called “the best blog you’re not reading”– has an incredibly well-written piece on that sense of democratic
rebirth that many of us have felt in the air recently:
[The last five years were] creepy. And it was depressing. And it was stupid. It was as if the world turned upside down and your quickest way to the top was burrowing as deep in the mud and the slime as possible. Brilliance required idiocy. Peace required war. Morality required torture and murder, and lies. And freedom required cold hearted repression and goose-stepping order.And more than once, I seriously thought that loving my country required me leaving it. Quickly. For good. I began to think the only way I could continue to be a good American was by becoming a Canadian.
But, lately, there’s been a little something going on. I’m not just talking about multiple indictments in the White House. It’s like a little change in the wind. A little sea breeze in the air, or something…

This surprised me.

U.S. forces in Iraq at record high US forces have swelled to 161,000, their highest level since the US invasion.

From Raw Story

“We are obviously watching and the press is beginning to document the implosion of a presidency,” Bernstein said Thursday, just hours before the Plame grand jury is set to expire. “How destructive that implosion is going to be, ultimately, we don’t know yet.

From Dailykos While we only know of one indictment, no one has said anything about pleas
that were made. If an attrorney can back me up on this, anyone who cops a plea
does not get indicted, so there actually may be more charged than we know about.

And from the same, this nice piece of language.

…the utterly boring Woof BLitzer standing there like an unattended disgruntled chipmonk at the petting zoo.

Don’t accept Rove’s spin – this is the worst scenario they could have. Remember Watergate was a step by step event. There was no overnight denoument. First it was lower level aides, then higher level then … well you what then.

I’m hearing a lot of commentary on both CNN and MSMBC this morning about how whatever happens today, this is all focussing attention on how we were misled into war with lies. Some, like Chris Matthews, are quite direct in saying that all the arguments for the war were false and the only open question is what the administration’s motivation was – whether they were “patriots” honestly doing what they thought was best for the country, or whether they had a self-serving agenda. It’s interesting how much the MSM viewpoint has shifted since the first release of the Downing Street memorandum, so that what was only “alleged” at that point is now generally accepted to be the truth.

If Libby is indicted, Cheney counsel David Addington will replace him as chief of staff, sources close to the Cheney’s office say. Addington is another longtime Cheney aide who worked for him at the Pentagon.

…but it was Rove who was making a final push to persuade special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald that he didn’t break the law.
….Rove attorney Robert Luskin prompted Fitzgerald to question ex-Bush aide Adam Levine this week to try to show Rove had not been shopping Plame’s name to reporters.
…then I regretfully conclude that we have no choice but to pursue an outside independent investigation. The American people deserve answers and they want the truth.”

Josh Marshall writes

If that’s all true, why did he and fellow Democrats on the intel committee sign off on last year’s report? Why has he said so little this year about the failure to pursue the promised second phase of the Senate investigation, which was supposed to look into the question of executive branch manipulation of WMD intelligence?

How did we get such a messy administraion? First, the war. Bush needed an identity. Dad gave him a a bunch of advisers. they had, on their own, during the Clinton years, been taking the power issue to the center, with Israel as the main beneficiary. Meanwhile the last years of Clinton, and congress failed to make anything of the “peace dividend” and the pentagon, against its own internal thinking, supported a conservative approach to budget in order to have one (I watched some of this process from inside).

Bush had the idea that leaders do big things, so he should do a big thing. he took Churchill as the model. 9/11 gave the key players in the admin the position they wanted, the same action – attack terrorism (the Israeli issue defined it, not 9/11), and so the goal that emerged: get Saddam, was in common but the motives were diverse. In part the US made and inherited the Afghan and ME history of colonialism, and post colonial thinking within Islam, and in style of reaction by England and France in their colonial withdrawal. Read a book like The Prize by Yegrin to get some view of the politics of oil in the region.

Backing up, Since Eisenhower, at least, the path to the presidency is narrow and is based on interests, in particular the wall street-media axis. (this is not corporate America, but a subset of the majors that have played the wall street media axis along with the Washington political power holders since at least the civil war, and on through oil and railroads..).
I think faith in the US had about halved. We are much weaker than five years ago. Lots of rebuilding to do.

Fitzgerald shows an attractive model. Make the law we have work, and work to have better law. every lawyer pledges to be an officer of the court on passing the bar. They need to be held to the implicit standard. Keynes said “it takes ninety nine percent of human effort to keep things from getting worse.”

I just wish we could see how we could organize to do some of that work. That the whole country has now digested the idea that the admin lied to get the war is a great advance, and those that support Bush still do so out of a real fear of what an alternative would be. We need to understand that fear, and recognize the degree to which both Clintons and Kerry were seen as part of the problem, not part of the solution.


October 28, 2005 § Leave a comment

What strikes me is his tension, anxiety, anger, righteousness. He has the story so internatlized he can do it without notes.

And now the thrown baseball story.

Fitzgerald and narrative integrity

October 27, 2005 § Leave a comment

On Fitz, Josh Marshall asks

Here’s my question. As Kevin Drum notes here, Pat Fitzgerald has been at this for almost two years. He’s interviewed or brought before the grand jury numerous witnesses and had Rove in there no fewer than four times. You’d assume he’s got as many facts as he’s going to get. So why he’s waiting? Does he need more facts? More time to think about it? Or is there some process of negotiation going on? Is there something else Fitzgerald expects will soon break free?

The other side is that Fitz is just taking time to get the narrative right, including getting more details. He seems like the type who likes the integrity of the story

Chalabi, Hariri and the bank of Medina

October 27, 2005 § Leave a comment

Could these be related? Chalabi was once convicted in absentia from that Bank fraud.

Searching for Saviors in Strange Places.

Could Ahmad Chalabi end up running Iraq?


The Money Scandal Behind the Hariri Assassination
A looted Lebanese bank may provide major clues in the investigation

Inside the white house and the pressures

October 27, 2005 § Leave a comment

You must read this discussion, of which the following is just a facet. What has to be amazing is why it took so long for this kind of voice to be legitimated. The analysis is deep and detailed.

TPMCafe || What It’s Like: “An engaged, quick, steady mind is a good thing to have in a crunch, just ask Bill Clinton. Bush has none of the above. That’s why Mr. Begala’s comments foretell something frightening for the Bush White House and all the aides standing in a row. Bush cannot speak freely and with passion about this situation, unless he has a script. In a crisis, that’s not going to cut it, as we shall soon see. Bush’s ‘Brown-Nosers Hall of Fame’ won’t be able to speak from a place of righteousness on Rovegate either, as the bad news rolls. They will all have to stick to a script that revolves around pure fiction, while pimping for the president. “

It is a most excellent discussion. Shakespeare and Greek Tragedy. Clinton’s was tragicomedy but this is to the core, when psyche and the public are entwined.


1. why now, why were we not able to put this together two years ago, or right after 9/11?

2. What will Bush do now? Iran, Israel, Cuba, Venezuela + martial law?

3. Pardons given now before indictments?

4. Back to the Young republicans. Having been at Berkeley in the Free Speech era, i was scared by the tone in the College republican meetings, but also the same tone, the same authoritarian mean spirit, slightly attenuated, Except for Savio who was famous because he was more deeply principled, dominated the SDS and local affiliates. Why did that become the prevailing model of politics of which the current presidency is the fruit?


October 27, 2005 § Leave a comment

On Miers from Talkingpointsmemo

The problem for the president aside from the imminent forced rearrangement of personnel — is that each group that took a bite out of Miers will feel empowered. And those groups are so multifarious that the president’s freedom of maneuver will be significantly curtailed.

The most obvious answer is that the president needs to throw one right over the plate for his right-wing base. But which one? The DC brainiac right? The single-issue anti-abortion fundies? Certainly there are plenty of brainy circuit court judges out there who could fill the bill. But each group feels empowered now and will want to be catered to.

Meanwhile, Democrats will see the obvious: that President Bush is a very weak chief executive right now. This is the second time in something like a week that a nomination has been withdrawn. Yesterday, the president folded on a policy initiative for the right — the Davis-Bacon suspension. Democrats can see that the president’s initiatives really can be beaten. In fact, they’re going down pretty routinely now. And more Republicans up for reelection next year will think twice before walking off another plank for the president.

In sum, he’s dealt himself deep in the hole with the Miers’ fiasco.

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