Glenn Greenwald strongly suggests the possibility of A genuine political sea change? . Listing the letter signed by the entire Democratic membership of the Senate to Beltway demigod David Broder and the George Tenet’s nail in the Bush claims that the neocons invaded Iraq only as a last resort. Glenn is rightfully much wider read then this little blog and offers up reason for hope and optimism. On the other hand I’ve been up that hill before and while I couldn’t be more proud of Democrats for standing up for Senator Reid and previously Speaker Pelosi, recent turns will have more weight if they are the harbingers of a trend rather then a blip. The Tenet revelations are another matter. They might be the back on which many other truths finally get their hearing. They are the final crack in the Conservative facade – Tenet Details Efforts to Justify Invading Iraq
White House and Pentagon officials, and particularly Vice President Cheney, were determined to attack Iraq from the first days of the Bush administration, long before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, and repeatedly stretched available intelligence to build support for the war, according to a new book by former CIA director George J. Tenet.
Although Tenet does not question the threat Saddam Hussein posed or the sincerity of administration beliefs, he recounts numerous efforts by aides to Cheney and then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld to insert “crap” into public justifications for the war. Tenet also describes an ongoing fear within the intelligence community of the administration’s willingness to “mischaracterize complex intelligence information.”
It is unfortunate that Tenet also tries to justify torture of Khalid Sheik Mohammed, and others. There is no reason to believe that proven interrogation techniques that do not involve torture wouldn’t have gotten the same information. It is also in my opinion a mistake to focus exclusively on Tenet and the CIA. The State Department has its own intelligence gathering department and they claimed there was no compelling evidence that Saddam was trying to acquire or make nuclear weapons,
Ten months before the president’s speech, an intelligence review by CIA Director George Tenet contained not a single mention of an imminent nuclear threat—or capability—from Iraq. The CIA was backed up by Bush’s own State Department: Around the time Bush gave his speech, the department’s intelligence bureau said that evidence did not “add up to a compelling case that Iraq is currently pursuing what [we] consider to be an integrated and comprehensive approach to acquiring nuclear weapons.”
Who are the winners in the middle-east because of the neocons blind zealotry? Who Wins in Iraq?
Who Wins in Iraq? 2. Moqtada al-Sadr
Four years into the American occupation of Iraq, tens of thousands of people are dead and a nation is imploding. And Moqtada al-Sadr, the young, rabble-rousing cleric few people had even heard of when the invasion began, can now plausibly claim to be the most powerful man in the country. Sadr’s power covers the whole spectrum of political possibility: He commands as many allies in the Iraqi Parliament as any single party; and his armed followers permeate Iraq’s security forces, control the streets throughout eastern Baghdad and the Shiite south, and fill the ranks of many of the death squads that terrorize the country’s Sunni minority.
Before the United States invaded Iraq, al Qaeda was on the ropes. The United States and its coalition partners had rousted it from Afghanistan and toppled the Taliban, while a global manhunt was steadily shutting down jihadist cells from Morocco to Malaysia. Perhaps equally important, many Islamists, including fellow jihadists, harshly criticized bin Laden for having rashly attacked a superpower and, in doing so, causing the defeat of the Taliban, the only “true” Islamic regime in the eyes of many radicals.
Then the invasion of Iraq breathed new life into the organization. On an operational level, the United States chose to divert troops to Iraq rather than consolidate its victory in Afghanistan and increase its chances of hunting down bin Laden.
As the United States has become mired in bloody chaos in Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Egypt have wound up back in the Bush administration’s good graces. But it’s not because they’ve become more democratic. Saudi Arabia has not changed. The Egyptian regime is backsliding, becoming increasingly intolerant of dissent as it nears the inevitable end of the 25-year rule of President Hosni Mubarak and braces for a difficult succession. Nevertheless, the two countries have been rehabilitated, or at least relabeled: Sadly, they are now what passes for “moderate.” As Franklin D. Roosevelt might have put it in more frank language, they are still the same S.O.B.s, but they are once again “our S.O.B.s.”
The last one resonates with me. Over the years since 9-11 the one thing that consistently makes my head spin in disbelief is the boiler plate references in just about every major Bush speech where he claims to be spreading democracy. This administration is obviously a believer in the Big Lie – there are so many from strange lies about Bush’s participation in a varsity rugby team that didn’t exist to imminent mushroom clouds to why he took a pass on obeying FISA law that we need a central clearing house to hold all them all; but the one that is most glaringly false, insulting and exploitive of the goodness of the American public is the one about spreading Norman Rockwellish middle American democracy and values to all the world’s remaining authoritarian regimes. One hallmark of the Bush legacy will be his singular failure at fostering the slightest tiniest wave of democracy anywhere up to and including his contempt for democracy here at home.
But 30 years later, President Bush asserted that FISA hampered intelligence gathering in the war on terror, so as commander in chief he could ignore it. Actually, the FISA court overwhelmingly grants presidential requests (19,000 approvals since 1978 versus 5 rejections) and can grant approvals after wiretaps commence. But if President Bush still thought FISA too burdensome, he should have asked Congress to amend it. Since he didn’t, he must obey it. After the 2006 elections, he reversed himself, announcing he would comply with FISA, but what about all the years he flouted it?
The Constitution plainly states the president shall “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” The president must obey and uphold the law, not take it into his own hands. Case law on this is clear. When during the Korean War President Truman wanted to seize U.S. steel mills to keep them running despite a strike, the Supreme Court said no, noting in its decision that the president was commander in chief of the Army and Navy, not the country.
Atrios in describing the problem with the pretend Beltway moderate like Broder also describes why there will probably not be an impeachment, More Broder
The establishment is the permanent ruling class of Washington, our betters who know better. It is their rough agenda which is sold as “centrism” even when it has no actual relationship with the political center in a meaningful way. Democracy’s messy, in Broder’s world, and passionate voters are problematic. It is up to the Wise Old Men of Washington to implement the agenda, and the job of the voters to bless them for it.
While I think Democrats at the federal level are catching up this is the reason that liberal bloggers are seen as out of the mainstream, the media embraces Matt Sludge and Democrats sometimes sputter even when they’re on solid moral and political ground. After you’re bombarded with the conventional beltway wisdom for years some of it makes its way into your thinking, especially if you’re actually in Washington for a while. Then you slowly start the terrible habit of risk avoidance – avoiding offending the Broders, Matthews, Kondrackes, Russerts, Wills and Broders.
“I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.” – Robert McCloskey