September 30, 2006
And the cover-up is just as heinous...
More from Bob Woodward's new book, State of Denial:
...on July 10, 2001, CIA Director George J. Tenet met with his counterterrorism chief, J. Cofer Black, at CIA headquarters "to review the latest on Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda terrorist organization. Black laid out the case, consisting of communications intercepts and other top-secret intelligence showing the increasing likelihood that al-Qaeda would soon attack the United States. The mass of fragments made a compelling case, so compelling to Tenet that he decided he and Black should go to the White House immediately."You don't think Condi Rice could have lied to the 9/11 Commission, do you?
Tenet called Condoleezza Rice, then national security adviser. "For months," Woodward writes, "Tenet had been pressing Rice to set a clear counterterrorism policy... that would give the CIA stronger authority to conduct covert action against bin Laden.... Tenet and Black hoped to convey the depth of their anxiety and get Rice to kick-start the government into immediate action.
"Tenet had been losing sleep over the recent intelligence. There was no conclusive, smoking-gun intelligence, but there was such a huge volume of data that an intelligence officer's instinct strongly suggested that something was coming....
"But Tenet had been having difficulty getting traction on an immediate bin Laden action plan, in part because Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld had questioned all the intelligence, asking: Could it all be a grand deception?"
Woodward describes the meeting, and the two officials' plea that the U.S. "needed to take action that moment -- covert, military, whatever -- to thwart bin Laden."
The result? "Tenet and Black felt they were not getting through to Rice. She was polite, but they felt the brush-off. President Bush had said he didn't want to swat at flies.
"Tenet left the meeting feeling frustrated. Though Rice had given them a fair hearing, no immediate action meant great risk. Black felt the decision to just keep planning was a sustained policy failure. Rice and the Bush team had been in hibernation too long....
"Afterward, Tenet looked back on the meeting with Rice as a lost opportunity to prevent or disrupt the attacks. Rice could have gotten through to Bush on the threat, Tenet thought, but she just didn't get it in time. He felt that he had done his job and been very direct about the threat, but that Rice had not moved quickly. He felt she was not organized and did not push people, as he tried to do at the CIA.
"Black later said, 'The only thing we didn't do was pull the trigger to the gun we were holding to her head.'"
In a separate story, the (Washington) Post's Peter Baker reveals: "The July 10 meeting of Rice, Tenet and Black went unmentioned in various investigations into the Sept. 11 attacks, and Woodward wrote that Black 'felt there were things the commissions wanted to know about and things they didn't want to know about.'
"Jamie S. Gorelick, a member of the Sept. 11 commission, said she checked with commission staff members who told her investigators were never told about a July 10 meeting. 'We didn't know about the meeting itself,' she said. 'I can assure you it would have been in our report if we had known to ask about it.'
"White House and State Department officials yesterday confirmed that the July 10 meeting took place, although they took issue with Woodward's portrayal of its results."
In Bob Woodward's new book, the President adored by Republicans "emerges as a passive, impatient, sophomoric and intellectually incurious leader, presiding over a grossly dysfunctional war cabinet and given to an almost religious certainty that makes him disinclined to rethink or re-evaluate decisions he has made about the war."
But I bet people still think he'd be fun to have at a BBQ...
September 29, 2006
September 28, 2006
The New York Times tells you everything you need to know about the horrible Antiterrorism Bill:
Here’s what happens when this irresponsible Congress railroads a profoundly important bill to serve the mindless politics of a midterm election: The Bush administration uses Republicans’ fear of losing their majority to push through ghastly ideas about antiterrorism that will make American troops less safe and do lasting damage to our 217-year-old nation of laws — while actually doing nothing to protect the nation from terrorists. Democrats betray their principles to avoid last-minute attack ads. Our democracy is the big loser.(Click the link to read the rest)
September 27, 2006
Inspiring or Just Plain Awful? You Decide.
Is it me, or is Billie Joe starting to look like a cross between Jared Leto and Robert Smith of the Cure?
And: Is it finally time to pull the plug on Bono? Jeez, he seems to have reached a new level of pretentiousness.
September 26, 2006
(Click here to download the rest.)
So are these excerpts more "representative" and, if so, please tell me how they contradict the New York Times article from Sunday. Or is the Bush Administration now saying that they are the Knights who say "Ekki-Ekki-Ekki-Ekki-PTANG. Zoom-Boing. Z'nourrwringmm" -- 'cause that would make a lot more sense.
Reader Martin is angry with me. He thinks I'm a typical gloom and doom lefty and has politely asked me to blog "some positive news." I'm assuming he means positive news about the 20 health centers we've built in Iraq (only 3 are operational and there are 120 other clinics that are only two-thirds finished due to money running out); or maybe he wants me to talk about how we've restored the Iraq energy grid to an average daily output of 4,000 megawatts (which comes to 400 megawatts less than prewar levels); okay, maybe I should talk about all of the schools that we are rebuilding (um, we're rebuilding them because we bombed them).
Okay, let me put my rose-colored glasses on: Iraq is about to get it's first modern landfill ever (well, it's being "developed"; meanwhile untreated waste is polluting the Euphrates River); oil is flowing freely again (even though the crucial Iraq pipeline has been delayed by at least two years and current output is only at 2.5 million barrels a day as compared to the 3 million bpd before the war).
I guess I should just say that at least we're trying to reconstruct Iraq (even though some $8.8 billion has gone missing) and, yes, woohoo!, Iraq has had elections (what exactly that means in the scheme of things is anybody's guess, especially once all-out civil war begins in earnest).
So, I'm sorry Martin. I've failed. I just cannot be positive about arrogance, wrongheadedness and incompetence. I even tried to go back five years (when "the whole world changed") and see if I could find anything positive about the Bush years.
Here's something positive: After 9/11, the country and the entire world were united. Oh. Right. Bush squandered that with his march to war.
How 'bout that other war? The one with Afghanistan. That was a good one, no? Well, it was...until we basically ignored it to go to Iraq. Since then, the Taliban has not only regrouped, but it "now enjoys greater political support than ever."
There are, of course, the big tax cuts (I'm not rich so I can't get too positive about that) which coincided with depleting our surplus and bankrupting the treasury (d'oh!). Still, Bush has improved the U.S. economy (well, he certainly has improved the wallets of the top 1 percent -- "By 2015, those making between $80,000 and $400,000 will pay as much as 13.9 percentage points more of their income in federal taxes than those making more than $400,000, assuming the tax cuts are made permanent"; yikes, that means higher taxes for the people who's median income has dropped in nearly every single state).
Let's get off the war and the economy. Let's talk about health. He's banned partial birth abortions (fetuses are rejoicing everywhere). He's deeply concerned with healthcare (that's why his 2007 budget "would eliminate federal programs that support inner-city Indian health clinics, defibrillators in rural areas, an educational campaign about Alzheimer's disease, centers for traumatic brain injuries, and a nationwide registry for Lou Gehrig's disease. It would cut close to $1 billion in health care grants to states and would kill the entire budget of the Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Resource Center").
What about education? George W. Bush is clearly committed to education. After all, he is the man behind "No Child Left Behind" (which "has wreaked havoc on our nation’s public school system, according to state lawmakers. A bipartisan panel of state legislators issued a scathing report, Feb. 23, on President Bush’s education law, calling it unworkable, inflexible, impractical and unconstitutional. The report accuses NCLB of setting unobtainable goals and not funding the demands it makes.").
Well, he's at least restored honor and dignity to the White House (if you define honor and dignity as "lying" and "cronyism").
I give up. Perhaps I should just shutup and take my soma and then, just then, everything will seem peachy and I too can act like a Shiny, Happy Republican.
In the meantime, here's something positive:
the show with zefrank
Retired Major General John Batiste tells it like it is:
For more videos from the Democrats' National Securtiy Hearings, go here.
September 25, 2006
It's quite mesmerizing, isn't it?
(Click to watch)
"I like to tell people when the final history is written on Iraq, it will look like just a comma because there is — my point is, there’s a strong will for democracy."This guy just doesn't care that he's selfishly sent thousands of U.S. soldiers to their deaths (and tens of thousands to the hospital). Hell, even crazy Mel Gibson sees how wrong this is:
In describing (Apocalypto's) portrait of a civilization in decline, Gibson said, "The precursors to a civilization that's going under are the same, time and time again," drawing parallels between the Mayan civilization on the brink of collapse and America's present situation. "What's human sacrifice," he asked, "if not sending guys off to Iraq for no reason?"
September 24, 2006
From the New York Times:
A stark assessment of terrorism trends by American intelligence agencies has found that the American invasion and occupation of Iraq has helped spawn a new generation of Islamic radicalism and that the overall terrorist threat has grown since the Sept. 11 attacks.Here's the response from The White House:
The classified National Intelligence Estimate attributes a more direct role to the Iraq war in fueling radicalism than that presented either in recent White House documents or in a report released Wednesday by the House Intelligence Committee, according to several officials in Washington involved in preparing the assessment or who have read the final document.
The intelligence estimate, completed in April, is the first formal appraisal of global terrorism by United States intelligence agencies since the Iraq war began, and represents a consensus view of the 16 disparate spy services inside government. Titled “Trends in Global Terrorism: Implications for the United States,’’ it asserts that Islamic radicalism, rather than being in retreat, has metastasized and spread across the globe.
An opening section of the report, “Indicators of the Spread of the Global Jihadist Movement,” cites the Iraq war as a reason for the diffusion of jihad ideology.
The report “says that the Iraq war has made the overall terrorism problem worse,” said one American intelligence official.
"The New York Times' characterization of the NIE is not representative of the complete document," White House spokesman Peter Watkins said.In other words, the article isn't "representative" but we're not going to tell you why or how because it's "classified." Wouldn't want to give aid to the enemy now, would we?
"Their (terrorists') hatred for freedom and liberty did not develop overnight, those seeds were planted decades ago. Instead of waiting while they plot and plan attacks to kill innocent Americans, the United States has taken the initiative to fight back," he said.
The spokesman said he would not comment on information contained in the classified document.
(Click to watch)
I love how Chris Wallace tried to take (out of his ass, apparently) a play from his father's 60 Minutes playbook and ended up getting himself caught in a trap of his own making rather than "zinging it" to Clinton. Think Progress documents Wallace's lies (follow their links below their video).
While watching Mr. Smirk in action, I kept thinking that he reminded me of somebody. I just figured it out:
BTW: Here is what Clinton was told he and Wallace would be talking about (they did get around to it eventually; onegoodmove has the video).
(Clinton interview "courtesy" of Crooks and Liars)
September 23, 2006
As usual, Digby nails the torture issue:
This is an important thing for us to think about. It's not just a matter of abstract morality. It's a practical question of what happens to societies when they let go. It's hard to imagine how gay marriage or women's rights could even come close to the kind of weird, inhumane behavior that is set free when you go this deeply into sanctioned authoritarian sadism. I wrote in that post, called Genie In A Bottle:To some extent civilization is nothing more than leashing the beast within. When you go to the dark side, no matter what the motives, you run a terrible risk of destroying yourself in the process. I worry about the men and women who are engaging in this torture regime. This is dangerous to their psyches. But this is true on a larger sociological scale as well. For many, many moons, torture has been a simple taboo --- you didn't question its immorality any more than you would question the immorality of pedophilia. You know that it's wrong on a visceral, gut level. Now we are debating it as if there really is a question as to whether it's immoral --- and, more shockingly, whether it's a positive good. Our country is now openly discussing the efficacy of torture as a method for extracting information.People and societies don't just wake up one morning to find they no longer recognize themselves. It's a process. And we are in the process in this country of "defining deviancy down" in ways I never thought possible. We are legitimizing torture and indefinite detention --- saying that we will only do this to the people who really deserve it. One cannot help but wonder what "really deserves it" will mean in the years to come as we fight our endless war against terror.
When Daniel Patrick Moynihan coined the phrase "defining deviancy down" he couldn't ever have dreamed that we would in a few short decades be at a place where torture is no longer considered a taboo. It certainly makes all of his concerns about changes to the nuclear family (and oral sex) seem trivial by comparison. We are now a society that on some official levels has decided that torture is no longer a deviant, unspeakable behavior, but rather a useful tool. It's not hidden. People publicly discuss whether torture is really torture if it features less than "pain equavalent to organ failure." People no longer instinctively recoil at the word --- it has become a launching pad for vigorous debate about whether people are deserving of certain universal human rights. It spirals down from there.
Sure, right now it's just a bunch of foreigners and I guess we don't feel foreigners are entitled to basic human rights. They must not be human --- or at least not as human as "we" are. When you think about it, who knows who "we" are either? Right wingers make millions of dollars writing books about how liberals are godless, death-loving, traitors within. Many people who read those books probably believe these liberals are only one step away from being sub-human too ---- they are, after all, godless traitors.
September 22, 2006
Bill Clinton wipes the floor with Chris Wallace on Fox News:
Wallace: When we announced that you were going to be on Fox News Sunday, I got a lot of e-mail from viewers. And I have to say I was surprised, most of them wanted me to ask you this question. Why didn't you do more to put bin Laden and al-Qaeda out of business when you were president? There's a new book out, I suspect you may have already read, called The Looming Tower. And it talks about the fact that when you pulled troops out of Somalia in 1993, bin Laden said "I have seen the frailty and the weakness and the cowardice of U.S. troops." Then there was the bombing of the embassies in Africa and the attack on the Cole.Makes one pine for the days when there actually was a responsible adult in the White House (sigh).
Clinton: OK let's just --
Wallace: May I just finish the question sir? And after the attack, the book says, that bin Laden separated his leaders, spread them around because he expected an attack and there was no response. I understand that hindsight is always 20/20 --
Clinton: No, let's talk about it.
Wallace: But the question is, why didn't you connect the dots and put him out of business?
Clinton: Let's talk about it. I will answer all those things on the merits, but first I want to talk about the context in which this arises. I'm being asked this on the FOX network. ABC just had a right-wing conservative running their little pathway to 9/11, falsely claiming it was based on the 9/11 commission report with three things asserted against me directly contradictory to the 9/11 commission report. And I think it's very interesting that all the conservative Republicans who
now say I didn't do enough claim that I was too obsessed with bin Laden.
All of President Bush's neo-cons that I was too obsessed with bin Laden, they had no meetings on bin Laden for nine months after I left office. All the right wingers who now say I didn't do enough, said
I did too much, the same people. They were all trying to get me to withdraw from Somalia in 1993 the next day after we were involved in Black Hawk Down and I refused to do it and stayed six months and had an orderly transfer to the United Nations.
OK, now let's look at all the criticisms, Black Hawk Down, Somalia, there is not a living soul in the
world who thought Osama bin Laden had anything to do with Black Hawk Down or was paying any attention to it, or even knew al-Qaeda was a going concern in October 93.
Wallace: I understand.
Clinton: No, no, wait. Don't tell me that -- you asked me why didn't I do more to bin Laden, there was not a living soul, all the people who now criticize me wanted to leave the next day. You brought this up, so you get an answer. But you -- secondly ...
Wallace: .. bin Laden says, but it showed the weakness of the United States.
Clinton: Bin Laden may have said it -- but it would have shown the weakness if we left right away. But he wasn't involved in that, that's just a bunch of bull. That was about Muhammad Aidid, a Muslim warlord, murdering 22 Pakistani Muslim troops. We were all there on a humanitarian mission; we had no mission, none, to establish a certain kind of Somali government or keep anybody out. He was not a religious fanatic ...
Wallace: Mr. President ...
Clinton: ... there was no al-Qaeda ...
Wallace: With respect, if I may, instead of going through '93 and ...
Clinton: No, no -- you asked it. You brought it up.
Wallace: May I ask you (INAUDIBLE) question, and then you can answer?
Wallace: The 9/11 commission, which you talk about -- and this is what they did say, not what ABC pretended they said ...
Clinton: What did they say?
Wallace: They said, about you and President Bush, and I quote, "The U.S. government took the threat seriously, but not in the sense of mustering anything like the kind of effort that would be gathered to confront an enemy of the first, second or even third rank."
Clinton: First of all, that's not true with us and bin Laden.
Wallace: Well, I'm telling ... (CROSS TALK)
Clinton: Let's see what Richard Clarke said. Do you think Richard Clarke has a vigorous attitude about bin Laden?
Wallace: Yes, I do.
Clinton: You do, don't you?
Wallace: He has a variety of opinions and loyalties, but yes. (CROSS TALK)
Clinton: He has a variety of opinions and loyalties now, but let's look at the facts: he worked for Ronald Reagan, he was loyal with him; he worked for George H.W. Bush, he was loyal to him; he worked for me, and he was loyal to me; he worked for President Bush, he was loyal to him. They downgraded him and the terrorist operation.
Now, look what he said -- read his book and read his factual assertions -- not opinions, assertions. He said we took vigorous action after the African embassies, we probably nearly got bin Laden ...
Wallace: But what ...
Clinton: Now, wait a minute -- wait, wait, wait. (CROSS TALK)
No, no -- I authorized the CIA to get groups together to try to kill him. The CIA was run by George Tenet that President (Bush) gave the medal of freedom to, and he said he did a good job setting up all these counter terrorism things. The country never had a comprehensive anti-terror operation until I came there.
Now if you want to criticize me for one thing, you can criticize me for this: after the Cole, I had battle plans drawn to go into Afghanistan, overthrow the Taliban and launch a full-scale attack search for bin Laden. But we needed basing rights in Uzbekistan -- which we got after 9/11. The CIA and the FBI refused to certify that bin Laden was responsible. While I was there, they refused to certify. So that meant I would have had to send a few hundred special forces in in helicopters, refuel at night. Even the 9/11 commission didn't do that.
Now, the 9/11 commission was a political document, too. All I'm asking is, anybody that wants to say I didn't do enough, you read Richard Clarke's book ...
Wallace: Do you think you did enough, sir?
Clinton: No, because I didn't get him.
Clinton: But at least I tried. That's the difference in me and some, including all of the right-wingers who are attacking me now. They ridiculed me for trying. They had eight months to try, they did not try. I tried. So I tried and failed. When I failed, I left a comprehensive anti-terror strategy and the best guy in the country, Dick Clark, who got demoted.
September 21, 2006
"I think that blogging should die a sudden death. It's just ridiculous. It's like a playground for four-year-olds. People say and do things in the world of blogs that they would never do in real life, and I think it's a false experience. You know, it's, like, eating too much candy. One of the things along those lines that bothers me about when people start citing blogs as news sources is that when people are writing on these blogs, they feel like they don't feel they need to do any research or back up their opinions with facts or anything, you know what I mean? Times have changed. It used to be, to be a writer you had to have experience and talent, and learn a craft. Now anybody with an opinion, which is anyone and everyone, feels that it's worthy. Technology is allowing people to have access to things where before it required very great skill. So there will be some interesting developments from that, and also some things that are pretty worthless. Pretty soon anybody with a cell phone is going to be able to be a news reporter. The blog is yesterday's parachute pants. It's here now but it's gone tomorrow."
- The "multi-talented" Jared Leto(via stereogum)
September 20, 2006
"The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."- from George W. Bush's State of the Union Address, January 2003
(Click to watch)
Just a wee bit different from the approach I took 3 years ago (listen here).
September 19, 2006
"Their breasts will sag and their faces will wither and they will be left with nothing but a hollow shell."
This is perhaps the greatest religious quote of all time. It's right up there with this humdinger from the Pope:
"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached."
Gosh, I hate to see what the Pope's breasts are gonna look like...
September 18, 2006
September 16, 2006
September 15, 2006
"America is Not Tired of Fighting Terrorism...America is Tired of the Boneheaded Leadership of the Republican Party"
Sen. Mary Landreiu (D-Louisiana) puts the ranting Republicants in their place.
September 14, 2006
"Outrageous and dishonest" -- that's what U.N. inspectors have called parts of a report on Iran's nuclear activity:
The letter (sent to the head of the House of Representatives' Select Committee on Intelligence by a senior aide to International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei) said the errors suggested Iran's nuclear fuel program was much more advanced than a series of IAEA reports and Washington's own intelligence assessments have determined.Here we go again.
It said the report falsely described Iran to have enriched uranium at its pilot centrifuge plant to weapons-grade level in April, whereas IAEA inspectors had made clear Iran had enriched only to a low level usable for nuclear power reactor fuel.
"Furthermore, the IAEA Secretariat takes strong exception to the incorrect and misleading assertion" that the IAEA opted to remove a senior safeguards inspector for supposedly concluding the purpose of Iran's program was to build weapons, it said.
The letter said the congressional report contained "an outrageous and dishonest suggestion" that the inspector was dumped for having not adhered to an alleged IAEA policy barring its "officials from telling the whole truth" about Iran.
Mr. Powell’s repudiation of the White House’s anti-terrorism approach was both stark and highly unusual for a former cabinet member. In 1980, Cyrus R. Vance resigned as President Jimmy Carter’s secretary of state to protest the failed mission to rescue American embassy personnel held hostage in Iran.
Ann Richards, Ex-Governor of Texas, Dies at 73
Richards's keynote address to the 1988 Democratic National Convention put her in the national spotlight when she uttered the famous line, about the wealthy, then-Vice President George H. W. Bush, "Poor George, he can't help it...He was born with a silver foot in his mouth."
September 13, 2006
September 12, 2006
(Click to watch)
Warning: This clip features graphic footage from the actual WTC attacks on 9/11 and may not be suitable for all audiences. In addition, this clip features the Truth which also may not be suitable for all audiences (you know who you are).
I find it odd that so many people asked the question, "Is it too soon?" in regards to both the United 93 and World Trade Center movies. I didn't hear a peep about that concerning ABC/Disney's rightwing travesty of a 9/11 movie. I guess it's who you know...
(NSFW so make sure you turn your speakers way up)
oh hell, and another:
September 11, 2006
(Click to watch Bruce perform "Empty Sky")
I think the best way to honor the 2,973 men and women who died on 9/11 and the
"They panicked. They drove the Taliban back into the mountains, restoring the latter's credibility in the Arab street and turning al-Qaida into heroes. They persecuted Muslims across America. They occupied Iraq and declared Iran a sworn enemy. They backed an Israeli war against Lebanon's Shias. Soon every tinpot Muslim malcontent was citing al-Qaida as his inspiration. Bin Laden's tiny organisation, which might have been starved of funds and friends in 2001, had become a worldwide jihadist phenomenon...
Bin Laden might boast that he had achieved terrorism's equivalent of an atomic chain reaction: a self-regenerating cycle of outrage and foreign-policy overkill, aided by anniversary journalism and fuelled by the grim scenarios of security lobbyists. He now had only to drop an occasional CD into the offices of al-Jazeera, and Washington and London quaked with fear. The authorities could be reduced to million-dollar hysterics by a phial of nail varnish, a copy of the Qur'an, or a dark-skinned person displaying a watch and a mobile phone...
The gruelling re-enactment of the London bombings in July and this weekend's 9/11 horror-fest are not news. They exploit grief and horror, and in doing so give gratuitous publicity to Bin Laden and al-Qaida. Those personally affected by these outrages may have their own private memorials. But to hallow the events with repetitious publicity turns a squalid crime into a constantly revitalised political act. It grants the jihadists what they most crave, warrior status. It more than validates terrorism as a weapon of war, it glorifies it.
The best way to commemorate 9/11 is with silence. Instead, Bin Laden must be laughing."
September 09, 2006
"W. is pulling out all the stops this week to try to make people forget he was in charge when the twin towers were hit, but if he’s doing so great, why is Osama releasing new tapes while Afghanistan crumbles while Pakistan stands ready to implode while Lebanon has already exploded while Iran goes nuclear and taunts us while Al Qaeda in Iraq calls on its followers to kill Americans 'by a sniper bullet, spear, explosive or martyrdom car'?"
Link (but they want your money)
SADDAM HUSSEIN REJECTED OVERTURES FROM AL-QAIDA AND BELIEVED ISLAMIC EXTREMISTS WERE A THREAT TO HIS REGIME, A REVERSE PORTRAIT OF AN IRAQ ALLIED WITH OSAMA BIN LADEN PAINTED BY THE BUSH WHITE HOUSE, A SENATE PANEL HAS FOUND.And I don't want to hear any buts...
THE ADMINISTRATION'S VERSION WAS BASED IN PART ON INTELLIGENCE THAT WHITE HOUSE OFFICIALS KNEW WAS FLAWED, ACCORDING TO DEMOCRATS ON THE SENATE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE, CITING NEWLY DECLASSIFIED DOCUMENTS RELEASED BY THE PANEL.
THE REPORT, RELEASED FRIDAY, DISCLOSES FOR THE FIRST TIME AN OCTOBER 2005 CIA ASSESSMENT THAT PRIOR TO THE WAR SADDAM'S GOVERNMENT "DID NOT HAVE A RELATIONSHIP, HARBOR OR TURN A BLIND EYE TOWARD" AL-QAIDA OPERATIVE ABU MUSAB AL-ZARQAWI OR HIS ASSOCIATES.
AS RECENTLY AS AN AUG. 21 NEWS CONFERENCE, PRESIDENT BUSH SAID PEOPLE SHOULD "IMAGINE A WORLD IN WHICH YOU HAD SADDAM HUSSEIN" WITH THE CAPACITY TO MAKE WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION AND "WHO HAD RELATIONS WITH ZARQAWI."
DEMOCRATS SINGLED OUT CIA DIRECTOR GEORGE TENET, SAYING THAT DURING A PRIVATE MEETING IN JULY TENET TOLD THE PANEL THAT THE WHITE HOUSE PRESSURED HIM AND THAT HE AGREED TO BACK UP THE ADMINISTRATION'S CASE FOR WAR DESPITE HIS OWN AGENTS' DOUBTS ABOUT THE INTELLIGENCE IT WAS BASED ON.
"TENET ADMITTED TO THE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE THAT THE POLICYMAKERS WANTED HIM TO 'SAY SOMETHING ABOUT NOT BEING INCONSISTENT WITH WHAT THE PRESIDENT HAD SAID,'" INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE MEMBER CARL LEVIN, D-MICH., TOLD REPORTERS FRIDAY.
TENET ALSO TOLD THE COMMITTEE THAT COMPLYING HAD BEEN "THE WRONG THING TO DO," ACCORDING TO LEVIN.
"WELL, IT WAS MUCH MORE THAN THAT," LEVIN SAID. "IT WAS A SHOCKING ABDICATION OF A CIA DIRECTOR'S DUTY NOT TO ACT AS A SHILL FOR ANY ADMINISTRATION OR ITS POLICY."
LEADERS OF BOTH PARTIES ACCUSED EACH OTHER OF SEEKING POLITICAL GAIN ON THE EVE OF THE FIFTH ANNIVERSARY OF THE SEPT. 11 ATTACKS.
REPUBLICANS SAID THE DOCUMENT CONTAINED LITTLE NEW INFORMATION ABOUT PREWAR INTELLIGENCE OR POSTWAR FINDINGS ON IRAQ'S WEAPONS AND CONNECTION TO TERRORIST GROUPS.
INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN PAT ROBERTS, R-KAN., ACCUSED DEMOCRATS OF TRYING TO "USE THE COMMITTEE ... INSISTING THAT THEY WERE DELIBERATELY DUPED INTO SUPPORTING THE OVERTHROW OF SADDAM HUSSEIN'S REGIME."
"THAT IS SIMPLY NOT TRUE," ROBERTS ADDED, "AND I BELIEVE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ARE SMART ENOUGH TO RECOGNIZE ELECTION-YEAR POLITICKING WHEN THEY SEE IT."
THE REPORT SPEAKS FOR ITSELF, DEMOCRATS SAID.
(image courtesy of The Schwartings; video courtesy of Brian)
September 08, 2006
September 07, 2006
Our Preznit, George W. Bush, finally comes clean.
A new movie that shows just how much our government "supports" our troops.
"Can this administration take the country to war to feed the greed of contractors?"From The Huffington Post:
Robert Greenwald's latest film, Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers (coming soon to a theater -- and a living room -- near you) is a devastating expose of how the Bush administration and the Republican-led Congress have allowed private corporations free reign in Iraq, leading to billions of dollars in profits at the expense of American troops, American taxpayers, and the people of Iraq...Lovely.
The Republicans have turned Iraq into a corporate welfare gravy train, funneling billions to corporations that think nothing of cutting corners by sending their own employees onto the mean streets of Iraq without properly armored vehicles or supplying contaminated water to U.S. soldiers or charging $45 for a six-pack of soda -- all while leaving the people of Iraq dealing with wide-scale food, gasoline, and electrical shortages...
September 06, 2006
...'cause I really like this song:
To me, it sounds like something Prince wishes he could still write.*
Besides, how bad could it be if Magic Man & El Diablo both like it?
*After talking about this with my niece last night, I decided to amend this statement: It sounds like something Prince wishes he could still write if he wasn't so busy doing drugs.
September 05, 2006
(Click to listen to "Banksy's own rudimentary composition," That's Hot*)
Bristol, England "guerrilla graffiti" artist Banksy "smuggled 500 doctored copies of Paris Hilton's debut album into music stores throughout the UK, where they have sold without the shops' knowledge.
In place of Ms Hilton's bubble-gum pop songs, the CDs feature Banksy's own rudimentary compositions. On the cover of the doctored CD, Ms Hilton's dress has been digitally repositioned to reveal her bare breasts; on an inside photo, her head has been replaced with that of her dog."
(More pics here)
A copy of the fake CD sold for $750 on ebay.
Here's Banksy in action:
Thanks to stereogum and freakgirl.
* Update: Apparently the tracks on the fake CD were mixed by Danger Mouse.
September 04, 2006
(Click to download)
I know, I know: I should be outside enjoying this beautiful Labor Day instead of blogging. I just wanted to put this out there so you could download it before the authorities closed the site down.
Warning for the listening impaired: This is more of a collage project than a traditional mash-up.
September 03, 2006
By FRANK RICH
PRESIDENT BUSH came to Washington vowing to be a uniter, not a divider. Well, you win some and you lose some. But there is one member of his administration who has not broken that promise: Donald Rumsfeld. With indefatigable brio, he has long since united Democrats, Republicans, generals and civilians alike in calling for his scalp.
Last week the man who gave us “stuff happens” and “you go to war with the Army you have” outdid himself. In an instantly infamous address to the American Legion, he likened critics of the Iraq debacle to those who “ridiculed or ignored” the rise of the Nazis in the 1930’s and tried to appease Hitler. Such Americans, he said, suffer from a “moral or intellectual confusion” and fail to recognize the “new type of fascism” represented by terrorists. Presumably he was not only describing the usual array of “Defeatocrats” but also the first President Bush, who had already been implicitly tarred as an appeaser by Tony Snow last month for failing to knock out Saddam in 1991.
What made Mr. Rumsfeld’s speech noteworthy wasn’t its toxic effort to impugn the patriotism of administration critics by conflating dissent on Iraq with cut-and-run surrender and incipient treason. That’s old news. No, what made Mr. Rumsfeld’s performance special was the preview it offered of the ambitious propaganda campaign planned between now and Election Day. An on-the-ropes White House plans to stop at nothing when rewriting its record of defeat (not to be confused with defeatism) in a war that has now lasted longer than America’s fight against the actual Nazis in World War II.
Here’s how brazen Mr. Rumsfeld was when he invoked Hitler’s appeasers to score his cheap points: Since Hitler was photographed warmly shaking Neville Chamberlain’s hand at Munich in 1938, the only image that comes close to matching it in epochal obsequiousness is the December 1983 photograph of Mr. Rumsfeld himself in Baghdad, warmly shaking the hand of Saddam Hussein in full fascist regalia. Is the defense secretary so self-deluded that he thought no one would remember a picture so easily Googled on the Web? Or worse, is he just too shameless to care?
Mr. Rumsfeld didn’t go to Baghdad in 1983 to tour the museum. Then a private citizen, he had been dispatched as an emissary by the Reagan administration, which sought to align itself with Iraq in the Iran-Iraq war. Saddam was already a notorious thug. Well before Mr. Rumsfeld’s trip, Amnesty International had reported the dictator’s use of torture — “beating, burning, sexual abuse and the infliction of electric shocks” — on hundreds of political prisoners. Dozens more had been summarily executed or had “disappeared.” American intelligence agencies knew that Saddam had used chemical weapons to gas both Iraqi Kurds and Iranians.
According to declassified State Department memos detailing Mr. Rumsfeld’s Baghdad meetings, the American visitor never raised the subject of these crimes with his host. (Mr. Rumsfeld has since claimed otherwise, but that is not supported by the documents, which can be viewed online at George Washington University’s National Security Archive.) Within a year of his visit, the American mission was accomplished: Iraq and the United States resumed diplomatic relations for the first time since Iraq had severed them in 1967 in protest of American backing of Israel in the Six-Day War.
In his speech last week, Mr. Rumsfeld paraphrased Winston Churchill: Appeasing tyrants is “a bit like feeding a crocodile, hoping it would eat you last.” He can quote Churchill all he wants, but if he wants to self-righteously use that argument to smear others, the record shows that Mr. Rumsfeld cozied up to the crocodile of Baghdad as smarmily as anyone. To borrow the defense secretary’s own formulation, he suffers from moral confusion about Saddam.
Mr. Rumsfeld also suffers from intellectual confusion about terrorism. He might not have appeased Al Qaeda but he certainly enabled it. Like Chamberlain, he didn’t recognize the severity of the looming threat until it was too late. Had he done so, maybe his boss would not have blown off intelligence about imminent Qaeda attacks while on siesta in Crawford.
For further proof, read the address Mr. Rumsfeld gave to Pentagon workers on Sept. 10, 2001 — a policy manifesto he regarded as sufficiently important, James Bamford reminds us in his book “A Pretext to War,” that it was disseminated to the press. “The topic today is an adversary that poses a threat, a serious threat, to the security of the United States of America” is how the defense secretary began. He then went on to explain that this adversary “crushes new ideas” with “brutal consistency” and “disrupts the defense of the United States.” It is a foe “more subtle and implacable” than the former Soviet Union, he continued, stronger and larger and “closer to home” than “the last decrepit dictators of the world.”
And who might this ominous enemy be? Of that, Mr. Rumsfeld was as certain as he would later be about troop strength in Iraq: “the Pentagon bureaucracy.” In love with the sound of his own voice, he blathered on for almost 4,000 words while Mohamed Atta and the 18 other hijackers fanned out to American airports.
Three months later, Mr. Rumsfeld would still be asleep at the switch, as his war command refused to heed the urgent request by American officers on the ground for the additional troops needed to capture Osama bin Laden when he was cornered in Tora Bora. What would follow in Iraq was also more Chamberlain than Churchill. By failing to secure and rebuild the country after the invasion, he created a terrorist haven where none had been before.
That last story is seeping out in ever more incriminating detail, thanks to well-sourced chronicles like “Fiasco,” “Cobra II” and “Blood Money,” T. Christian Miller’s new account of the billions of dollars squandered and stolen in Iraq reconstruction. Still, Americans have notoriously short memories. The White House hopes that by Election Day it can induce amnesia about its failures in the Middle East as deftly as Mr. Rumsfeld (with an assist from John Mark Karr) helped upstage first-anniversary remembrances of Katrina.
One obstacle is that White House allies, not just Democrats, are sounding the alarm about Iraq. In recent weeks, prominent conservatives, some still war supporters and some not, have steadily broached the dread word Vietnam: Chuck Hagel, William F. Buckley Jr. and the columnists Rich Lowry and Max Boot. A George Will column critical of the war so rattled the White House that it had a flunky release a public 2,400-word response notable for its incoherence.
If even some conservatives are making accurate analogies between Vietnam and Iraq, one way for the administration to drown them out is to step up false historical analogies of its own, like Mr. Rumsfeld’s. In the past the administration has been big on comparisons between Iraq and the American Revolution — the defense secretary once likened “the snows of Valley Forge” to “the sandstorms of central Iraq” — but lately the White House vogue has been for “Islamo-fascism,” which it sees as another rhetorical means to retrofit Iraq to the more salable template of World War II.
“Islamo-fascism” certainly sounds more impressive than such tired buzzwords as “Plan for Victory” or “Stay the Course.” And it serves as a handy substitute for “As the Iraqis stand up, we’ll stand down.” That slogan had to be retired abruptly last month after The New York Times reported that violence in Baghdad has statistically increased rather than decreased as American troops handed over responsibilities to Iraqis. Yet the term “Islamo-fascists,” like the bygone “evildoers,” is less telling as a description of the enemy than as a window into the administration’s continued confusion about exactly who the enemy is. As the writer Katha Pollitt asks in The Nation, “Who are the ‘Islamo-fascists’ in Saudi Arabia — the current regime or its religious-fanatical opponents?”
Next up is the parade of presidential speeches culminating in what The Washington Post describes as “a whirlwind tour of the Sept. 11 attack sites”: All Fascism All the Time. In his opening salvo, delivered on Thursday to the same American Legion convention that cheered Mr. Rumsfeld, Mr. Bush worked in the Nazis and Communists and compared battles in Iraq to Omaha Beach and Guadalcanal. He once more interchanged the terrorists who struck the World Trade Center with car bombers in Baghdad, calling them all part of the same epic “ideological struggle of the 21st century.” One more drop in the polls, and he may yet rebrand this mess War of the Worlds.
“Iraq is not overwhelmed by foreign terrorists,” said the congressman John Murtha in succinct rebuttal to the president’s speech. “It is overwhelmed by Iraqis fighting Iraqis.” And with Americans caught in the middle. If we owe anything to those who died on 9/11, it is that we not forget how the administration diverted our blood and treasure from the battle against bin Laden and other stateless Islamic terrorists, fascist or whatever, to this quagmire in a country that did not attack us on 9/11. The number of American dead in Iraq — now more than 2,600 — is inexorably approaching the death toll of that Tuesday morning five years ago.
September 02, 2006
The Raconteurs: Hands
Shot at the Dikemark hospital in Oslo with a group of deaf girls.
“Jack White said that the whole experience changed his life. He was very inspired by the girls who danced to and felt their music without actualy hearing it.”
via This Modern World:
Welcome to the ``Flat Daddy" and ``Flat Mommy" phenomenon, in which life-size cutouts of deployed service members are given by the Maine National Guard to spouses, children, and relatives back home.Perhaps we should prop these Flat Daddies and Mommies all over the northern coast of Maine so they can protect our border -- like their actual counterparts are supposed to be doing instead of fighting an unnecessary war over in Iraq.
The Flat Daddies ride in cars, sit at the dinner table, visit the dentist, and even are brought to confession, according to their significant others on the home front.
``I prop him up in a chair, or sometimes put him on the couch and cover him up with a blanket," said Kay Judkins of Caribou, whose husband, Jim, is a minesweeper mechanic in Afghanistan. ``The cat will curl up on the blanket, and it looks kind of weird. I've tricked several people by that. They think he's home again."
At the request of relatives, about 200 Flat Daddy and Flat Mommy photos have been enlarged and printed at the state National Guard headquarters in Augusta. The families cut out the photos, which show the Guard members from the waist up, and glue them to a $2 piece of foam board.