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2.4

Well, Larry, give him your flotation tank. Such a brave warrior deserves no less than the best. I also think you ought to share a ginseng colonic with him.

Intellectual Conservative

Classic, Larry .. classic. Well done :)

The Exorcist

"...in the West only women and effeminate men throw their footwear when they're pissed off about something. So al-Zaidi's courageous outburst struck a chord with Progressives here in the states."

If I've said it once, I've said it half as many times as twice. This is why we pay Chomstein the big bucks.


Im.mad.as.HELL!
. . . WE have a regular human being that WE can identify with, someone who puts a voice to our anger and speaks the words we have longed to be spoken, but that no one would hear. Best of all, he hasn't exploded in a crowded market or sawed someone's head off on the internet yet.

Is this one of those moderate mooslims I have been hearing about? If he had splattered himself all over the room he would have been a terrorist. Or better yet a more devote mooslim.

As far as the left is concerned, they wish they had thought of doing the same thing to the shrub, but lack the creative gene. And at the same time are clueless as to the real motive behind this alleged journalist.

PS What do you have in mind for Jan 20th? Just thought I would ask. MAYBE THE SECOND COMING?

Peter

Love your post, thank you!

Fist of Etiquette

I assume we all noticed that the Secret Service didn't bust its ass trying to stop the martyr, either. When Bush's SS henchmen don't even bother anymore, you know things are bad in the bunker.

On a personal note, I feel I need to lodge an official complaint. Chomstein, did you have to use the word "holiday"? You know it contains a variation of the word "holy" in it, right? A little Separation of Church and State, please?

Bush4Ever

Did anyone else notice that Der ChimpenReichsFuhrer used his Rovian Death Stare to first deflect The Blessed Footware and then force The Martyr to the ground?

Fist of Etiquette

Now, watch this drive...

At least President(-elect) Obama has the good sense to not even say anything about current events before teeing off. When the current "president" was on the links, he would stop and talk with reporters about what was going on in the world. In other words, he couldn't even get golf right. THERE'S NO PRESS CONFERENCING IN GOLF!

You go, tiger!

>>

"So here's to Muntadhar al-Zaidi, Man of the People. There's a Pulitzer Prize and a job waiting for him at CNN if he ever gets out of Bush's torture chamber."

*IF* he does.
Indeed, he's a hero in Iraq, and a source of hilarity to the left, as well as amusing online games for us. He did a damn good job. I'd like to see a member of the White House press corps with that much guts. Wouldn't you?

>>

"Did anyone else notice that Der ChimpenReichsFuhrer used his Rovian Death Stare to first deflect The Blessed Footware and then force The Martyr to the ground?"

Posted by: Bush4Ever

No, I noticed he's good at ducking. Obviously from a very young age.

>>

"I crawled out of my flotation tank this morning after a long winter's nap"

Yes Larry, you ARE a bit behind with this story. Maybe try to be a little more up to date?

.

Add Up the Damage

By BOB HERBERT
Published: December 29, 2008

Does anyone know where George W. Bush is?

You don’t hear much from him anymore. The last image most of us remember is of the president ducking a pair of size 10s that were hurled at him in Baghdad.

We’re still at war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Israel is thrashing the Palestinians in Gaza. And the U.S. economy is about as vibrant as the 0-16 Detroit Lions.

But hardly a peep have we heard from George, the 43rd.

When Mr. Bush officially takes his leave in three weeks (in reality, he checked out long ago), most Americans will be content to sigh good riddance. I disagree. I don’t think he should be allowed to slip quietly out of town. There should be a great hue and cry — a loud, collective angry howl, demonstrations with signs and bullhorns and fiery speeches — over the damage he’s done to this country.

This is the man who gave us the war in Iraq and Guantánamo and torture and rendition; who turned the Clinton economy and the budget surplus into fool’s gold; who dithered while New Orleans drowned; who trampled our civil liberties at home and ruined our reputation abroad; who let Dick Cheney run hog wild and thought Brownie was doing a heckuva job.

The Bush administration specialized in deceit. How else could you get the public (and a feckless Congress) to go along with an invasion of Iraq as an absolutely essential response to the Sept. 11 attacks, when Iraq had had nothing to do with the Sept. 11 attacks?

Exploiting the public’s understandable fears, Mr. Bush made it sound as if Iraq was about to nuke us: “We cannot wait,” he said, “for the final proof — the smoking gun that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud.”

He then set the blaze that has continued to rage for nearly six years, consuming more than 4,000 American lives and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. (A car bomb over the weekend killed two dozen more Iraqis, many of them religious pilgrims.) The financial cost to the U.S. will eventually reach $3 trillion or more, according to the Nobel laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz.

A year into the war Mr. Bush was cracking jokes about it at the annual dinner of the Radio and Television Correspondents Association. He displayed a series of photos that showed him searching the Oval Office, peering behind curtains and looking under the furniture. A mock caption had Mr. Bush saying: “Those weapons of mass destruction have got to be somewhere.”

And then there’s the Bush economy, another disaster, a trapdoor through which middle-class Americans can plunge toward the bracing experiences normally reserved for the poor and the destitute.

Mr. Bush traveled the country in the early days of his presidency, promoting his tax cut plans as hugely beneficial to small-business people and families of modest means. This was more deceit. The tax cuts would go overwhelmingly to the very rich.

The president would give the wealthy and the powerful virtually everything they wanted. He would throw sand into the regulatory apparatus and help foster the most extreme income disparities since the years leading up to the Great Depression. Once again he was lighting a fire. This time the flames would engulf the economy and, as with Iraq, bring catastrophe.

If the U.S. were a product line, it would be seen now as deeply damaged goods, subject to recall.

There seemed to be no end to Mr. Bush’s talent for destruction. He tried to hand the piggy bank known as Social Security over to the marauders of the financial sector, but saner heads prevailed.

In New Orleans, the president failed to intervene swiftly and decisively to aid the tens of thousands of poor people who were very publicly suffering and, in many cases, dying. He then compounded this colossal failure of leadership by traveling to New Orleans and promising, in a dramatic, floodlit appearance, to spare no effort in rebuilding the flood-torn region and the wrecked lives of the victims.

He went further, vowing to confront the issue of poverty in America “with bold action.”

It was all nonsense, of course. He did nothing of the kind.

The catalog of his transgressions against the nation’s interests — sins of commission and omission — would keep Mr. Bush in a confessional for the rest of his life. Don’t hold your breath. He’s hardly the contrite sort.

He told ABC’s Charlie Gibson: “I don’t spend a lot of time really worrying about short-term history. I guess I don’t worry about long-term history, either, since I’m not going to be around to read it.”

The president chuckled, thinking — as he did when he made his jokes about the missing weapons of mass destruction — that there was something funny going on.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/30/opinion/30herbert.html?ref=opinion

The Exorcist

Oh, Bob Herbert! Yes, I've been axiously awaiting his opinion all year. Thanks for the enlightening opinion piece of shit from the Old York Times, Dottie Dumbshit.

You don't happen to have anything from Michael Moore's website you could cut/paste for us, do you Dottie? How about Airheadiana Huffypuffy? Rosie O'Dumbell?

The Exorcist

Who Is Lying About Iraq?
A campaign of distortion aims to discredit the liberation. by NORMAN PODHORETZ
Monday, November 14, 2005 12:01 A.M. EST

Among the many distortions, misrepresentations and outright falsifications that have emerged from the debate over Iraq, one in particular stands out above all others. This is the charge that George W. Bush misled us into an immoral or unnecessary war in Iraq by telling a series of lies that have now been definitively exposed.

What makes this charge so special is the amazing success it has enjoyed in getting itself established as a self-evident truth even though it has been refuted and discredited over and over again by evidence and argument alike. In this it resembles nothing so much as those animated cartoon characters who, after being flattened, blown up or pushed over a cliff, always spring back to life with their bodies perfectly intact. Perhaps, like those cartoon characters, this allegation simply cannot be killed off, no matter what.

Nevertheless, I want to take one more shot at exposing it for the lie that it itself really is. Although doing so will require going over ground that I and many others have covered before, I hope that revisiting this well-trodden terrain may also serve to refresh memories that have grown dim, to clarify thoughts that have grown confused, and to revive outrage that has grown commensurately dulled.

The main "lie" that George W. Bush is accused of telling us is that Saddam Hussein possessed an arsenal of weapons of mass destruction, or WMD as they have invariably come to be called. From this followed the subsidiary "lie" that Iraq under Saddam's regime posed a two-edged mortal threat. On the one hand, we were informed, there was a distinct (or even "imminent") possibility that Saddam himself would use these weapons against us or our allies; and on the other hand, there was the still more dangerous possibility that he would supply them to terrorists like those who had already attacked us on 9/11 and to whom he was linked.
This entire scenario of purported deceit was given a new lease on life by the indictment in late October of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, then chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney. Mr. Libby stands accused of making false statements to the FBI and of committing perjury in testifying before a grand jury that had been convened to find out who in the Bush administration had "outed" Valerie Plame, a CIA agent married to the retired ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV. The supposed purpose of leaking this classified information to the press was to retaliate against Mr. Wilson for having "debunked" (in his words) "the lies that led to war."

Now, as it happens, Mr. Libby was not charged with having outed Ms. Plame but only with having lied about when and from whom he first learned that she worked for the CIA. Moreover, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor who brought the indictment against him, made a point of emphasizing that "this indictment is not about the war":


This indictment is not about the propriety of the war. And people who believe fervently in the war effort, people who oppose it, people who have mixed feelings about it should not look to this indictment for any resolution of how they feel or any vindication of how they feel.
This is simply an indictment that says, in a national-security investigation about the compromise of a CIA officer's identity that may have taken place in the context of a very heated debate over the war, whether some person--a person, Mr. Libby--lied or not.

No matter. Harry Reid, the Democratic leader in the Senate, spoke for a host of other opponents of the war in insisting:
This case is bigger than the leak of classified information. It is about how the Bush White House manufactured and manipulated intelligence in order to bolster its case for the war in Iraq and to discredit anyone who dared to challenge the president.
Yet even stipulating--which I do only for the sake of argument--that no weapons of mass destruction existed in Iraq in the period leading up to the invasion, it defies all reason to think that Mr. Bush was lying when he asserted that they did. To lie means to say something one knows to be false. But it is as close to certainty as we can get that Mr. Bush believed in the truth of what he was saying about WMD in Iraq.
How indeed could it have been otherwise? George Tenet, his own CIA director, assured him that the case was "a slam dunk." This phrase would later become notorious, but in using it, Mr. Tenet had the backing of all 15 agencies involved in gathering intelligence for the United States. In the National Intelligence Estimate of 2002, where their collective views were summarized, one of the conclusions offered with "high confidence" was that "Iraq is continuing, and in some areas expanding its chemical, biological, nuclear, and missile programs contrary to UN resolutions."

The intelligence agencies of Britain, Germany, Russia, China, Israel and--yes--France all agreed with this judgment. And even Hans Blix--who headed the U.N. team of inspectors trying to determine whether Saddam had complied with the demands of the Security Council that he get rid of the weapons of mass destruction he was known to have had in the past--lent further credibility to the case in a report he issued only a few months before the invasion:


The discovery of a number of 122-mm chemical rocket warheads in a bunker at a storage depot 170 km [105 miles] southwest of Baghdad was much publicized. This was a relatively new bunker, and therefore the rockets must have been moved there in the past few years, at a time when Iraq should not have had such munitions. . . . They could also be the tip of a submerged iceberg. The discovery of a few rockets does not resolve but rather points to the issue of several thousands of chemical rockets that are unaccounted for.
Mr. Blix now claims that he was only being "cautious" here, but if, as he now also adds, the Bush administration "misled itself" in interpreting the evidence before it, he at the very least lent it a helping hand.


So, once again, did the British, the French and the Germans, all of whom signed on in advance to Secretary of State Colin Powell's reading of the satellite photos he presented to the U.N. in the period leading up to the invasion. Mr. Powell himself and his chief of staff, Lawrence Wilkerson, now feel that this speech was the low point of his tenure as secretary of state. But Mr. Wilkerson (in the process of a vicious attack on the president, the vice president, and the secretary of defense for getting us into Iraq) is forced to acknowledge that the Bush administration did not lack for company in interpreting the available evidence as it did:

I can't tell you why the French, the Germans, the Brits and us thought that most of the material, if not all of it, that we presented at the U.N. on 5 February 2003 was the truth. I can't. I've wrestled with it. [But] when you see a satellite photograph of all the signs of the chemical-weapons ASP--Ammunition Supply Point--with chemical weapons, and you match all those signs with your matrix on what should show a chemical ASP, and they're there, you have to conclude that it's a chemical ASP, especially when you see the next satellite photograph which shows the UN inspectors wheeling in their white vehicles with black markings on them to that same ASP, and everything is changed, everything is clean. . . . But George [Tenet] was convinced, John McLaughlin [Tenet's deputy] was convinced, that what we were presented [for Powell's UN speech] was accurate.
Going on to shoot down a widespread impression, Mr. Wilkerson informs us that even the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research, known as INR, was convinced:

People say, well, INR dissented. That's a bunch of bull. INR dissented that the nuclear program was up and running. That's all INR dissented on. They were right there with the chems and the bios.
In explaining its dissent on Iraq's nuclear program, the INR had, as stated in the NIE of 2002, expressed doubt about:

Iraq's efforts to acquire aluminum tubes [which are] central to the argument that Baghdad is reconstituting its nuclear-weapons program. . . . INR is not persuaded that the tubes in question are intended for use as centrifuge rotors . . . in Iraq's nuclear-weapons program.
But, according to Wilkerson:

The French came in in the middle of my deliberations at the CIA and said, we have just spun aluminum tubes, and by God, we did it to this rpm, et cetera, et cetera, and it was all, you know, proof positive that the aluminum tubes were not for mortar casings or artillery casings, they were for centrifuges. Otherwise, why would you have such exquisite instruments?
In short, and whether or not it included the secret heart of Hans Blix, "the consensus of the intelligence community," as Mr. Wilkerson puts it, "was overwhelming" in the period leading up to the invasion of Iraq that Saddam definitely had an arsenal of chemical and biological weapons, and that he was also in all probability well on the way to rebuilding the nuclear capability that the Israelis had damaged by bombing the Osirak reactor in 1981.
Additional confirmation of this latter point comes from Kenneth Pollack, who served in the National Security Council under Clinton. "In the late spring of 2002," Pollack has written:


I participated in a Washington meeting about Iraqi WMD. Those present included nearly twenty former inspectors from the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM), the force established in 1991 to oversee the elimination of WMD in Iraq. One of the senior people put a question to the group: did anyone in the room doubt that Iraq was currently operating a secret centrifuge plant? No one did. Three people added that they believed Iraq was also operating a secret calutron plant (a facility for separating uranium isotopes).
No wonder, then, that another conclusion the NIE of 2002 reached with "high confidence" was that "Iraq could make a nuclear weapon in months to a year once it acquires sufficient weapons-grade fissile material." (Hard as it is to believe, let alone to reconcile with his general position, Joseph C. Wilson IV, in a speech he delivered three months after the invasion at the Education for Peace in Iraq Center, offhandedly made the following remark: "I remain of the view that we will find biological and chemical weapons and we may well find something that indicates that Saddam's regime maintained an interest in nuclear weapons.")


But the consensus on which Mr. Bush relied was not born in his own administration. In fact, it was first fully formed in the Clinton administration. Here is Bill Clinton himself, speaking in 1998:

If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear. We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq's weapons-of-mass-destruction program.
Here is his Secretary of State Madeline Albright, also speaking in 1998:

Iraq is a long way from [the USA], but what happens there matters a great deal here. For the risk that the leaders of a rogue state will use nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons against us or our allies is the greatest security threat we face.
Here is Sandy Berger, Clinton's National Security Adviser, who chimed in at the same time with this flat-out assertion about Saddam:

He will use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has ten times since 1983.
Finally, Mr. Clinton's secretary of defense, William Cohen, was so sure Saddam had stockpiles of WMD that he remained "absolutely convinced" of it even after our failure to find them in the wake of the invasion in March 2003.
Nor did leading Democrats in Congress entertain any doubts on this score. A few months after Mr. Clinton and his people made the statements I have just quoted, a group of Democratic senators, including such liberals as Carl Levin, Tom Daschle, and John Kerry, urged the President "to take necessary actions (including, if appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites) to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq's refusal to end its weapons-of-mass-destruction programs."

Nancy Pelosi, the future leader of the Democrats in the House, and then a member of the House Intelligence Committee, added her voice to the chorus:


Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons-of-mass-destruction technology, which is a threat to countries in the region, and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process.
This Democratic drumbeat continued and even intensified when Mr. Bush succeeded Mr. Clinton in 2001, and it featured many who would later pretend to have been deceived by the Bush White House. In a letter to the new president, a group of senators led by Bob Graham declared:

There is no doubt that . . . Saddam Hussein has invigorated his weapons programs. Reports indicate that biological, chemical, and nuclear programs continue apace and may be back to pre-Gulf war status. In addition, Saddam continues to redefine delivery systems and is doubtless using the cover of a licit missile program to develop longer-range missiles that will threaten the United States and our allies.
Sen. Carl Levin also reaffirmed for Mr. Bush's benefit what he had told Mr. Clinton some years earlier:

Saddam Hussein is a tyrant and a threat to the peace and stability of the region. He has ignored the mandate of the United Nations, and is building weapons of mass destruction and the means of delivering them.
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton agreed, speaking in October 2002:

In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical- and biological-weapons stock, his missile-delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al-Qaeda members.
Senator Jay Rockefeller, vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, agreed as well:

There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years. . . . We also should remember we have always underestimated the progress Saddam has made in development of weapons of mass destruction.
Even more striking were the sentiments of Bush's opponents in his two campaigns for the presidency. Thus Al Gore in September 2002:

We know that [Saddam] has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country.
And here is Mr. Gore again, in that same year:

Iraq's search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to deter, and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power.
Now to John Kerry, also speaking in 2002:

I will be voting to give the President of the United States the authority to use force--if necessary--to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security.
Perhaps most startling of all, given the rhetoric that they would later employ against Mr. Bush after the invasion of Iraq, are statements made by Sens. Ted Kennedy and Robert Byrd, also in 2002:
Kennedy: "We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction."

Byrd: "The last U.N. weapons inspectors left Iraq in October of 1998. We are confident that Saddam Hussein retains some stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and that he has since embarked on a crash course to build up his chemical- and biological-warfare capabilities. Intelligence reports indicate that he is seeking nuclear weapons."

Liberal politicians like these were seconded by the mainstream media, in whose columns a very different tune would later be sung. For example, throughout the last two years of the Clinton administration, editorials in the New York Times repeatedly insisted that "without further outside intervention, Iraq should be able to rebuild weapons and missile plants within a year [and] future military attacks may be required to diminish the arsenal again."
The Times was also skeptical of negotiations, pointing out that it was "hard to negotiate with a tyrant who has no intention of honoring his commitments and who sees nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons as his country's salvation."

So, too, the Washington Post, which greeted the inauguration of George W. Bush in January 2001 with this admonition:

Of all the booby traps left behind by the Clinton administration, none is more dangerous--or more urgent--than the situation in Iraq. Over the last year, Mr. Clinton and his team quietly avoided dealing with, or calling attention to, the almost complete unraveling of a decade's efforts to isolate the regime of Saddam Hussein and prevent it from rebuilding its weapons of mass destruction. That leaves President Bush to confront a dismaying panorama in the Persian Gulf [where] intelligence photos . . . show the reconstruction of factories long suspected of producing chemical and biological weapons.

All this should surely suffice to prove far beyond any even unreasonable doubt that Mr. Bush was telling what he believed to be the truth about Saddam's stockpile of WMD. It also disposes of the fallback charge that Mr. Bush lied by exaggerating or hyping the intelligence presented to him. Why on earth would he have done so when the intelligence itself was so compelling that it convinced everyone who had direct access to it, and when hardly anyone in the world believed that Saddam had, as he claimed, complied with the 16 resolutions of the Security Council demanding that he get rid of his weapons of mass destruction?

Another fallback charge is that Mr. Bush, operating mainly through Mr. Cheney, somehow forced the CIA into telling him what he wanted to hear. Yet in its report of 2004, the bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee, while criticizing the CIA for relying on what in hindsight looked like weak or faulty intelligence, stated that it "did not find any evidence that administration officials attempted to coerce, influence, or pressure analysts to change their judgments related to Iraq's weapons-of-mass-destruction capabilities.
The March 2005 report of the equally bipartisan Robb-Silberman commission, which investigated intelligence failures on Iraq, reached the same conclusion, finding "no evidence of political pressure to influence the intelligence community's pre-war assessments of Iraq's weapons programs. . . . Analysts universally asserted that in no instance did political pressure cause them to skew or alter any of their analytical judgments."

Still, even many who believed that Saddam did possess WMD, and was ruthless enough to use them, accused Mr. Bush of telling a different sort of lie by characterizing the risk as "imminent." But this, too, is false: Mr. Bush consistently rejected imminence as a justification for war. Thus, in the State of the Union address he delivered only three months after 9/11, Mr. Bush declared that he would "not wait on events while dangers gather" and that he would "not stand by, as peril draws closer and closer." Then, in a speech at West Point six months later, he reiterated the same point: "If we wait for threats to materialize, we will have waited too long." And as if that were not clear enough, he went out of his way in his State of the Union address in 2003 (that is, three months before the invasion), to bring up the word "imminent" itself precisely in order to repudiate it:


Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike? If this threat is permitted to fully and suddenly emerge, all actions, all words, and all recriminations would come too late. Trusting in the sanity and restraint of Saddam Hussein is not a strategy, and it is not an option.
What of the related charge that it was still another "lie" to suggest, as Mr. Bush and his people did, that a connection could be traced between Saddam Hussein and the al Qaeda terrorists who had attacked us on 9/11? This charge was also rejected by the Senate Intelligence Committee. Contrary to how its findings were summarized in the mainstream media, the committee's report explicitly concluded that al Qaeda did in fact have a cooperative, if informal, relationship with Iraqi agents working under Saddam. The report of the bipartisan 9/11 commission came to the same conclusion, as did a comparably independent British investigation conducted by Lord Butler, which pointed to "meetings . . . between senior Iraqi representatives and senior al-Qaeda operatives."


Which brings us to Joseph C. Wilson, IV and what to my mind wins the palm for the most disgraceful instance of all.
The story begins with the notorious 16 words inserted--after, be it noted, much vetting by the CIA and the State Department--into Bush's 2003 State of the Union address:


The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.
This is the "lie" Mr. Wilson bragged of having "debunked" after being sent by the CIA to Niger in 2002 to check out the intelligence it had received to that effect. Mr. Wilson would later angrily deny that his wife had recommended him for this mission, and would do his best to spread the impression that choosing him had been the vice president's idea. But Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times, through whom Mr. Wilson first planted this impression, was eventually forced to admit that "Cheney apparently didn't know that Wilson had been dispatched." (By the time Mr. Kristof grudgingly issued this retraction, Mr. Wilson himself, in characteristically shameless fashion, was denying that he had ever "said the vice president sent me or ordered me sent.") And as for his wife's supposed nonrole in his mission, here is what Valerie Plame Wilson wrote in a memo to her boss at the CIA:

My husband has good relations with the PM [the prime minister of Niger] and the former minister of mines . . ., both of whom could possibly shed light on this sort of activity.
More than a year after his return, with the help of Mr. Kristof, and also Walter Pincus of the Washington Post, and then through an op-ed piece in the Times under his own name, Mr. Wilson succeeded, probably beyond his wildest dreams, in setting off a political firestorm.
In response, the White House, no doubt hoping to prevent his allegation about the 16 words from becoming a proxy for the charge that (in Mr. Wilson's latest iteration of it) "lies and disinformation [were] used to justify the invasion of Iraq," eventually acknowledged that the president's statement "did not rise to the level of inclusion in the State of the Union address." As might have been expected, however, this panicky response served to make things worse rather than better. And yet it was totally unnecessary--for the maddeningly simple reason that every single one of the 16 words at issue was true.

That is, British intelligence had assured the CIA that Saddam Hussein had tried to buy enriched uranium from the African country of Niger. Furthermore--and notwithstanding the endlessly repeated assertion that this assurance has now been discredited--Britain's independent Butler commission concluded that it was "well-founded." The relevant passage is worth quoting at length:


a. It is accepted by all parties that Iraqi officials visited Niger in 1999.
b. The British government had intelligence from several different sources indicating that this visit was for the purpose of acquiring uranium. Since uranium constitutes almost three-quarters of Niger's exports, the intelligence was credible.

c. The evidence was not conclusive that Iraq actually purchased, as opposed to having sought, uranium, and the British government did not claim this.

As if that were not enough to settle the matter, Mr. Wilson himself, far from challenging the British report when he was "debriefed" on his return from Niger (although challenging it is what he now never stops doing), actually strengthened the CIA's belief in its accuracy. From the Senate Intelligence Committee report:

He [the CIA reports officer] said he judged that the most important fact in the report [by Mr. Wilson] was that Niger officials admitted that the Iraqi delegation had traveled there in 1999, and that the Niger prime minister believed the Iraqis were interested in purchasing uranium.
And again:

The report on [Mr. Wilson's] trip to Niger . . . did not change any analysts' assessments of the Iraq-Niger uranium deal. For most analysts, the information in the report lent more credibility to the original CIA reports on the uranium deal.
This passage goes on to note that the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research--which (as we have already seen) did not believe that Saddam Hussein was trying to develop nuclear weapons--found support in Mr. Wilson's report for its "assessment that Niger was unlikely to be willing or able to sell uranium to Iraq." But if so, this, as the Butler report quoted above points out, would not mean that Iraq had not tried to buy it--which was the only claim made by British intelligence and then by Mr. Bush in the famous 16 words.
The liar here, then, was not Mr. Bush but Mr. Wilson. And Mr. Wilson also lied when he told the Washington Post that he had unmasked as forgeries certain documents given to American intelligence (by whom it is not yet clear) that supposedly contained additional evidence of Saddam's efforts to buy uranium from Niger. The documents did indeed turn out to be forgeries; but, according to the Butler report:


The forged documents were not available to the British government at the time its assessment was made, and so the fact of the forgery does not undermine [that assessment].
More damning yet to Mr. Wilson, the Senate Intelligence Committee discovered that he had never laid eyes on the documents in question:

[Mr. Wilson] also told committee staff that he was the source of a Washington Post article . . . which said, "among the envoy's conclusions was that the documents may have been forged because 'the dates were wrong and the names were wrong.' " Committee staff asked how the former ambassador could have come to the conclusion that the "dates were wrong and the names were wrong" when he had never seen the CIA reports and had no knowledge of what names and dates were in the reports.
To top all this off, just as Mr. Cheney had nothing to do with the choice of Mr. Wilson for the mission to Niger, neither was it true that, as Mr. Wilson "confirmed" for a credulous New Republic reporter, "the CIA circulated [his] report to the Vice President's office," thereby supposedly proving that Cheney and his staff "knew the Niger story was a flat-out lie." Yet--the mind reels--if Mr. Cheney had actually been briefed on Mr. Wilson's oral report to the CIA (which he was not), he would, like the CIA itself, have been more inclined to believe that Saddam had tried to buy yellowcake uranium from Niger.
So much for the author of the best-selling and much-acclaimed book whose title alone--"The Politics of Truth: Inside the Lies that Led to War and Betrayed My Wife's CIA Identity"--has set a new record for chutzpah.

But there is worse. In his press conference on the indictment against Mr. Libby, Patrick Fitzgerald insisted that lying to federal investigators is a serious crime both because it is itself against the law and because, by sending them on endless wild-goose chases, it constitutes the even more serious crime of obstruction of justice. By those standards, Mr. Wilson--who has repeatedly made false statements about every aspect of his mission to Niger, including whose idea it was to send him and what he told the CIA upon his return; who was then shown up by the Senate Intelligence Committee as having lied about the forged documents; and whose mendacity has sent the whole country into a wild-goose chase after allegations that, the more they are refuted, the more they keep being repeated--is himself an excellent candidate for criminal prosecution.
And so long as we are hunting for liars in this area, let me suggest that we begin with the Democrats now proclaiming that they were duped, and that we then broaden out to all those who in their desperation to delegitimize the larger policy being tested in Iraq--the policy of making the Middle East safe for America by making it safe for democracy--have consistently used distortion, misrepresentation and selective perception to vilify as immoral a bold and noble enterprise and to brand as an ignominious defeat what is proving itself more and more every day to be a victory of American arms and a vindication of American ideals.

Mr. Podhoretz is editor-at-large of Commentary and author of 10 books, most recently "The Norman Podhoretz Reader," edited by Thomas L. Jeffers (Free Press, 2004). This article will appear in Commentary's December issue.

Intellectual Conservative

Exey .. well done, you'll make at least one leftie's head pop over that .. never mind that a> it quotes facts and b> those facts disagree with their hallucinations

stoorat

Oh, sure, under the former Iraqi regime the brave shoe-chucker would've been summarily executed, maybe along with all of his immediate family, his pets, and his co-workers, but the consequences of doing this to Bushie McHitler are going to be far more dire. I mean, he may end up in an air conditioned cell with 3 squares a day and state-provided Korans, but I hear the televisions in Gitmo only play reruns from Al Gore and Obama's tv stations, a clear violation of the Geneva Convention.

stoorat

"Exey .. well done, you'll make at least one leftie's head pop over that .. never mind that a> it quotes facts and b> those facts disagree with their hallucinations"

Posted by: Intellectual Conservative



Silly. If there's one thing we at BB have been taught by our local progressives, it's that what a lefty has said in the past means nothing right now. I mean, duh.

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Duh.

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If there's one thing we at BB have been taught by our local righties, it's that they'll believe what they're told to believe. I mean, duh! They're doing it right now about those horrible Palestinians too.

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Let's face it, Iraq was overflowing with WMD, Israel is "defending" itself against the
Palestinians, and all Israelis support their government's policy of endless war against said Palestinians. That's the line and you're sticking to it! Yup. No news there.

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(Psssst! Don't read the wrong sources - you might get contaminated)

>>

Hallucinations?? You mean all those "WMD" they found in Iraq? I heard about that. The heat and dehydration got to them something terrible.

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But it's nothing to the hallucinations Colin Powell had looking at those satellite photos ...

stoorat

As opposed to believing everything reported by leftward sources. Because, of course, they have a monopoly on Truth and never, never spin.

Keith Olbermann, Michael Moore, and Al Franken FTMFW, baby.


Levelheaded, down-to-earth people those radical lefties are, and no doubt about it.

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Never spin, like Colin Powell's head didn't at the UN. I thought LSD had gone out of fashion.
FTMFW? What's that? MORE hallucinations??

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