July 02, 2005
Connect the Dots, La, La, La, La
Let's review what we know, shall we?
• President Bush's statements on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction:
"Right now, Iraq is expanding and improving facilities that were used for the production of biological weapons."
United Nations address, September 12, 2002
"Iraq has stockpiled biological and chemical weapons, and is rebuilding the facilities used to make more of those weapons."
"We have sources that tell us that Saddam Hussein recently authorized Iraqi field commanders to use chemical weapons -- the very weapons the dictator tells us he does not have."
Radio address, October 5, 2002
"The Iraqi regime . . . possesses and produces chemical and biological weapons. It is seeking nuclear weapons."
"We know that the regime has produced thousands of tons of chemical agents, including mustard gas, sarin nerve gas, VX nerve gas."
"We've also discovered through intelligence that Iraq has a growing fleet of manned and unmanned aerial vehicles that could be used to disperse chemical or biological weapons across broad areas. We're concerned that Iraq is exploring ways of using these UAVS for missions targeting the United States."
"The evidence indicates that Iraq is reconstituting its nuclear weapons program. Saddam Hussein has held numerous meetings with Iraqi nuclear scientists, a group he calls his "nuclear mujahideen" -- his nuclear holy warriors. Satellite photographs reveal that Iraq is rebuilding facilities at sites that have been part of its nuclear program in the past. Iraq has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes and other equipment needed for gas centrifuges, which are used to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons."
Cincinnati, Ohio speech, October 7, 2002
"Our intelligence officials estimate that Saddam Hussein had the materials to produce as much as 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent."
State of the Union Address, January 28, 2003
"Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised."
Address to the nation, March 17, 2003
(source: John W. Dean, CNN.com)
• Saddam Hussein did not possess stockpiles of illicit weapons at the time of the U.S. invasion in March 2003 and had not begun any program to produce them, a CIA report concludes.
In fact, the long-awaited report, authored by Charles Duelfer, who advises the director of central intelligence on Iraqi weapons, says Iraq's WMD program was essentially destroyed in 1991 and Saddam ended Iraq's nuclear program after the 1991 Gulf War.
• “The problem lay not with intelligence professionals, but with the Bush and Blair administrations. They wanted a war, so they demanded reports supporting their case, while dismissing contrary evidence. . .”
"The public was told that Saddam posed an imminent threat. If that claim was fraudulent, the selling of the war is arguably the worst scandal in American political history -- worse than Watergate, worse than Iran-contra."
(source: Paul Krugman, The NY Times)
• Did the Bush administration manipulate intelligence about Saddam Hussein's weapons programs to justify an invasion of Iraq?
Based on my experience with the administration in the months leading up to the war, I have little choice but to conclude that some of the intelligence related to Iraq's nuclear weapons program was twisted to exaggerate the Iraqi threat...
In February 2002, I was informed by officials at the Central Intelligence Agency that Vice President Dick Cheney's office had questions about a particular intelligence report. While I never saw the report, I was told that it referred to a memorandum of agreement that documented the sale of uranium yellowcake — a form of lightly processed ore — by Niger to Iraq in the late 1990's. The agency officials asked if I would travel to Niger to check out the story so they could provide a response to the vice president's office...
It did not take long to conclude that it was highly doubtful that any such transaction had ever taken place...
(As for the actual memorandum, I never saw it. But news accounts have pointed out that the documents had glaring errors — they were signed, for example, by officials who were no longer in government — and were probably forged. And then there's the fact that Niger formally denied the charges.)...
Then, in January, President Bush, citing the British dossier, repeated the charges about Iraqi efforts to buy uranium from Africa.
(source: Joseph Wilson, The NY Times)
• A week later, Wilson received the payback. Conservative columnist Robert Novak, quoting two unnamed administration sources, reported that Wilson’s wife, Valerie Wilson (nee Plame), was a CIA operative working in the counterproliferation field. Novak revealed her identity to suggest that Wilson had been sent to Niger due to nepotism not his experience. The point of Novak’s column was to call Wilson’s trip and his findings into question.
The real story was that Novak’s sources–presumably White House officials–might have violated the law prohibiting government officials from identifying a covert officer of the United States government. Outing Valerie Wilson was a possible felony and–to boot–compromised national security. Two months later, the news broke that the CIA had asked the Justice Department to investigate the Wilson leak. And a US attorney named Patrick Fitzgerald has been on the case since the start of this year, leading an investigation that has included questioning Bush.
(source: David Corn, Bushlies.com)
• Now that Time Inc. has turned over documents to federal court, presumably revealing who its reporter, Matt Cooper, identified as his source in the Valerie Plame/CIA case, speculation runs rampant on the name of that source, and what might happen to him or her. Friday night, on the syndicated McLaughlin Group political talk show, Lawrence O'Donnell, senior MSNBC political analyst, claimed to know that name--and it is, according to him, top White House mastermind Karl Rove.
Today, O'Donnell went further, writing a brief entry at the Huffington Post blog:
"I revealed in yesterday's taping of the McLaughlin Group that Time magazine's e-mails will reveal that Karl Rove was Matt Cooper's source. I have known this for months but didn't want to say it at a time that would risk me getting dragged into the grand jury."
(source: Editor & Publisher)
• (Joseph) Wilson indicates that the work up on him beginning March, 2003, turned up the information on Valerie (Plame) -- which was then shared with Karl Rove who then circulated it through Administration and neo-Conservative circles. He cites conservative journalists who claimed to have had the information before the Novak column.
So the question is -- in the work-up process beginning about March 2003, who had the information re: Plame? I think it was John Bolton. At the time he was State Department Deputy Secretary with the portfolio in WMD and Nuclear Proliferation. Assuming that Valerie Plame's identity was that of a NOC (No Official Cover) the information about her would have been highly classified, compartmentalized, and only those with a need to know would know. Bolton's Job probably gave him that status. However to receive it he would have to sign off on the classification -- that is he would have to agree to retain the security the CIA had established.
• It is undisputed among all parties that Plame's covert work involved principally the gathering of intelligence related to weapons of mass destruction, which put her at an important nexus of operations in the runup to the Iraq War. At another nexus point across town, during the same period, was John Bolton.
While Plame and other covert operatives acted as the raw sources of WMD intelligence, Bolton was one of the significant administration officials guiding the acceptance and use of that intelligence.
(source: Daily Kos)
• Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security John Bolton, while offering no new evidence, assured Congress that WMDs would indeed be found. And he advised that a new unit called the Iraq Survey Group, composed of some 1400 experts and technicians from around the world, is being deployed to assist in the searching.
(source: John W. Dean, CNN.com, 6/6/03)
• It might not be putting too fine a point on it to say that news reports have painted Bolton as a counterintelligence agent for the White House; a figure charged not only gathering with the "correct" intelligence to support the administration position, but with retaliation against sources of information or analysis contrary to the Bush Administration's desired pre-Iraq-War interpretations in order to refute, stifle, or punish those sources. Some of these counterintelligence operations -- and given the targets of Bolton's wrath, that would appear to be an accurate, if inflammatory, term to use -- appear to have taken place on Bolton's own initiative, such as his efforts to remove State Department employees who advanced WMD analyses different from endorsed Bush Administration views.
(source: Daily Kos)
• White House officials declined yesterday to give senators the extra documents they are seeking regarding John R. Bolton, President Bush's choice to become ambassador to the United Nations, setting up a major standoff with Senate Democrats over the long-troubled nomination.So, WHAT ARE THEY HIDING?
Democratic senators sidetracked a final vote on Bolton's nomination late Thursday, saying they will keep it from the Senate floor until the Bush administration hands over the information they have been seeking for two months.
(source: Boston Globe)
It appears the Bush administration is guilty of both the crime(s) and the cover-up(s).
• To put it bluntly, if Bush has taken Congress and the nation into war based on bogus information, he is cooked. Manipulation or deliberate misuse of national security intelligence data, if proven, could be "a high crime" under the Constitution's impeachment clause. It would also be a violation of federal criminal law, including the broad federal anti-conspiracy statute, which renders it a felony "to defraud the United States, or any agency thereof in any manner or for any purpose."Sorry Mr. Dean, but there are four words that prove that this is indeed the case: The Downing Street Memos:
It's important to recall that when Richard Nixon resigned, he was about to be impeached by the House of Representatives for misusing the CIA and FBI. After Watergate, all presidents are on notice that manipulating or misusing any agency of the executive branch improperly is a serious abuse of presidential power.
Nixon claimed that his misuses of the federal agencies for his political purposes were in the interest of national security. The same kind of thinking might lead a President to manipulate and misuse national security agencies or their intelligence to create a phony reason to lead the nation into a politically desirable war. Let us hope that is not the case.
(source: John W. Dean, CNN.com)
• Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action.Now, let's talk about what Bush has done "in the interest of national security." The 2004 election tipped toward Bush, not because of gays, guns and God, but because people thought he was the right man to protect our country. Yes, the same Commander in Chief who, with the help of his talented administration, screwed the pooch on 9/11:
Bush administration officials told former Sens. Gary Hart, D-Colo., and Warren Rudman, R-N.H., that they preferred instead to put aside the recommendations issued in the January report by the U.S. Commission on National Security/21st Century. Instead, the White House announced in May that it would have Vice President Dick Cheney study the potential problem of domestic terrorism -- which the bipartisan group had already spent two and a half years studying -- while assigning responsibility for dealing with the issue to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, headed by former Bush campaign manager Joe Allbaugh.And who could forget Condi Rice's big moment in the spotlight?
The Hart-Rudman Commission had specifically recommended that the issue of terrorism was such a threat it needed far more than FEMA's attention.
RICHARD BEN-VENISTE: Isn't it a fact, Dr. Rice, that the August 6 PDB warned against possible attacks in this country? And I ask you whether you recall the title of that PDB?9/11, as our president is fond of saying, changed everything and enabled Bush to annoint himself our "War President":
CONDOLEEZZA RICE: I believe the title was, "Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States."
I'm a war president. I make decisions here in the Oval Office in foreign-policy matters with war on my mind. Again, I wish it wasn't true, but it is true. And the American people need to know they got a president who sees the world the way it is. And I see dangers that exist, and it's important for us to deal with them.Okay, so we'll of course grant him the war in Afghanistan. Right move. Right time. But then he had to drain our resources in Afghanistan, putting our soldiers and our mission there at risk, as well as all of us here at home, and go and invade Iraq because it was an "imminent threat." When the administration's lies about WMDs in Iraq became apparent, Bush & Co. changed the storyline and became fond of telling us that removing Saddam Hussein has made the world a safer:
Three years ago, (Bush said), Iraq was ruled by "a proven mass murderer who refused to account for weapons of mass murder." (Note: "weapons of mass murder," not "weapons of mass destruction"; and "refused to account for," not "refused to disarm.") Now, Bush went on, Iraq is "becoming an example of reform to the region." Because America "helped to end the violent regime of Saddam Hussein, and because we're helping to raise a peaceful democracy in its place, the American people are safer."And doesn't this make you feel more secure?
As the pundits say, that remains to be seen. Maybe Iraq will emerge from the chaos as an exemplar of reform; maybe it will slide further into chaos and only encourage neighboring tyrannies to intensify their clampdowns. Meanwhile, terrorists, who it turns out didn't enjoy safe haven in Iraq before the war, have carved out camps in its aftermath. Leading Shiites are forming unsettling alliances with Iran. The Kurds are balking at any incursions on their autonomy. And, in the first month of Iraqi sovereignty, the most cherished consumer item for many citizens—thousands line up for one—is a passport to get the hell out of there.
The CIA believes the Iraq insurgency poses an international threat and may produce better-trained Islamic terrorists than the 1980s Afghanistan war that gave rise to Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda, a U.S. counterterrorism official said on Wednesday.Oh, America is safe I guess. Glad I don't live in "other regions." The fact that Iraq has become a training ground for terrorists was more or less reaffirmed by Bush in his speech to the nation from Fort Bragg in which he quoted the man he failed to capture in Afghanistan:
A classified report from the U.S. spy agency says Iraqi and foreign fighters are developing a broad range of deadly skills, from car bombings and assassinations to tightly coordinated conventional attacks on police and military targets, the official said.
Once the insurgency ends, Islamic militants are likely to disperse as highly organized battle-hardened combatants capable of operating throughout the Arab-speaking world and in other regions including Europe.(source: Reuters)
Some wonder whether Iraq is a central front in the war on terror. Among the terrorists, there is no debate.So, it's pretty clear to me and my fellow "elitists" that our President is a capital "F" failure in the very area (WAR) that made him so much more attractive than John Kerry to 51% of the American voters: He failed to protect us on 9/11; he's failing in Afghanistan; he failed us in Iraq; he's failed our veterans; a member of his administration "violated the law prohibiting government officials from identifying a covert officer of the United States government...and–to boot–compromised national security"; and, most importantly, Bush lied to Congress and the American people in order to start this sad, sad war in Iraq.
Here are the words of Osama bin Laden: This third world war is raging in Iraq. The whole world is watching this war. He says it will end in victory and glory or misery and humiliation.
So what do we do? We can start with this:
And then, after Karl the Traitor is sent to Gitmo, we can connect all of the dots and impeach The Big Turd Sandwich and his entire corrupt adminstration.
(Click for Articles of Impeachment)
"Every generation needs a new revolution." - Thomas Jefferson
If this post involved too much reading and cross-referencing for some of you, may I politely suggest listening to this musical collage I made a couple of years ago which pretty neatly sums up many of the lies and failures of George W. Bush, War President.
(Pee Wee image stolen from i-mockery.com. Rove image stolen from Rising Hegemon.)