diet coke for breakfast
Thursday, January 29, 2004
Posted by Tanstaafl
I don't do a lot of Fisking, mostly because I don't have time... but this article requires it. I don't exactly know what possesed me to read a Maureen Dowd rant; I should know better. I guess I thought from the headline that MAYBE she had some constructive advice about who should have the #2 spot on the Republican ticket. That was WAY too much to hope for. Anyway, here it goes.
The awful part is that George W. Bush and Saddam Hussein were both staring into the same cracked spook- house mirror.
Thanks to David Kay, we now have an amazing image of the president and the dictator, both divorced from reality over weapons, glaring at each other from opposite sides of bizarro, paranoid universes where fiction trumped fact.
It would be like a wacky Peter Sellers satire if so many Iraqis and Americans hadn't died in Iraq.
Quick reality check to dispel ANY moral equivalence: Saddam killed over 300,000 OF HIS OWN PEOPLE. Since 1976, Texas has executed 314 people. Now, some may consider acid baths and human shredding machines the same as lethal injection, but even allowing for that, Texas is off by a factor of 1,000 (and only a fraction of those were on Bush's watch). Sorry Maureen, those are totally different "paranoid universes".
These two would-be world-class tough guys were willing to go to extraordinary lengths to show that they couldn't be pushed around.
Maybe, just maybe, Bush was worried about some mixture of WMD and the welfare of the Iraqi people. You've already admitted that he was lied to, so maybe he believed the lies and wanted to do something about the perceived threat. This isn't as "school-yard law" as you make it out to be Ms. Dowd.
Their trusted underlings misled them with fanciful information on advanced Iraqi weapons programs that they credulously believed because it fit what they wanted to hear.
Actually if you read Kay's testimony, the American "underlings" didn't tell Bush that there were WMD because that's "what he wanted to hear." Kay's fairly clear that the CIA reported the WMD existence because they made bad assumptions, not because they were pressured into it.
Saddam was swept away writing his romance novels, while President Bush was swept away with the romance of rewriting the end of the 1991 Persian Gulf war to finish off the thug who tried to kill his dad.
Ya know, it's not like his dad is just any other guy. Frankly, trying to assassinate a US President (sitting or former) should be the last action anyone makes.
The two men both had copies of 'Crime and Punishment' ? Condi Rice gave Mr. Bush the novel on his trip to Russia in 2002, and Saddam had Dostoyevsky down in the spider hole ? but neither absorbed its lesson: that you can't put yourself above rules just because you think you're superior.
I'm sorry, what rules was Bush above? Truthful testimony under oath? Nope, that was somebody else...
Oh right, "Bush Lied"... no, again I think Ms. Dowd has established that others lied to Bush...
I guess going to war without the UN's blessing? So were Haiti and Kosovo outside the rules?
When Dr. Kay spoke these words on W.M.D. ? 'It turns out we were all wrong, probably, in my judgment, and that is most disturbing' ? both America and Iraq learned that when you try too hard to control the picture of reality, you risk losing your grasp of it.
All I can say is read this to wash Maureen out of your brain
More to come later... (I'm only half-way through this).
Ok, here we go, round two:
In interviews, Dr. Kay defended the war with Iraq, saying that the U.S. "has often entered the right war for the wrong reason," and he defended Mr. Bush, saying, "if anyone was abused by the intelligence, it was the president." He also told Congress "there's no evidence that I can think of, that I know of" that Saddam collaborated with Al Qaeda.
His job wasn't to look for links to terrorism, his job was to look for WMD.
Testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee yesterday, the ex-C.I.A. weapons sleuth used a metaphor that was perhaps inspired by Martha Stewart, comparing the C.I.A. with a lousy stockbroker.
"If I were your broker," he told Senator Jack Reed, "and you were investing on my advice . . . and at the end of the day, I said Enron was the greatest company in the world, and you had lost a substantial amount of money on it because it turned out differently, you would think I had abused you."
Ummm... why even mention Martha Stewart here? He's not discussing insider trading, he's discussing bad stock advice. Martha didn't get bad stock advice, she got advice to trade illegally. Buying Enron stock wasn't illegal, it just turned out to be a bad investment.
Certainly the C.I.A. has a lot to answer for. For a bargain price of $30 billion a year, our intelligence aces have been spectacularly off. They failed to warn us about 9/11 and missed the shame spiral of a deranged Saddam, hoodwinked by his top scientists.
Sure, they may have messed up. But, I bet that $30 Billion has bought us a whole lot of security that Maureen knows nothing about. That's the curse of working as a spook: your failures are public, but your successes are classified.
They were probably relying too much on the Arabian Nights tales of Ahmad Chalabi, eager to spread the word of Saddam's imaginary nuclear-tipped weapons juggernaut because it suited his own ambitions ? and that of his Pentagon pals.
I don't know that Ahmed Chalabi did much talking about the WMD, I think that he talked more about the oppression. Plus, as someone who was exiled from Iraq, I doubt he was CIA's source. Sorry though Maureen, the CIA's not going to reveal their sources to you unless you, and Robert Novak, and any other self-righteous reporters reveal your sources. Oh, and one final difference, your sources might go to jail if they are outed... the CIA's sources get hanged if they're discovered.
But while he is skittering away from his claims about Iraqi weapons, President Bush is not racing toward accountability. It's an election year.
The Times's David Sanger wrote about an administration debate "over whether Mr. Bush should soon call for some kind of reform of the intelligence-gathering process. But the officials said Mr. Bush's aides were searching for a formula that would allow them to acknowledge intelligence-gathering problems without blaming" the C.I.A. or its chief.
The president wants to act as though he has a problem but not a scandal, which he can fix without rolling heads ? of those who made honest mistakes or dishonest ones by rigging the intelligence.
As much as it pains me to say it her, Maureen might ALMOST be on to something. I think that there are probably improvements that can be made to the CIA and NSA organizational structure, but there should probably also be some human accountability. It might be time for Tenet to move on to private life.
Dick Cheney, who declared that Saddam had nuclear capability and who visited C.I.A. headquarters in the summer of 2002 to make sure the raw intelligence was properly interpreted, is sticking to his deluded guns. (And still trash-talking those lame trailers.)
No, Cheney said that Saddam was working toward nuclear capability and that if we waited until he got it, then it would be too late. Tel Aviv might be reduced to a sheet of glass. As for "those lame trailers", I can only assume you mean the mobile bio-weapons trucks we found. Yeah, I'm sure that they had a legitimate purpose. Big Pharma was probably using them for all of that cancer drug research that they do... on the go... in the desert... camouflaged.
The vice president pushed to slough off the allies and the U.N. and go to war partly because he thought that slapping a weakened bully like Saddam would scare other dictators. He must have reckoned there would be no day of reckoning on weapons once Saddam was gone.
A) Cheney's not stupid... he knew that there would be questions if we didn't find WMD.
2) I don't understand why France and Germany are still called our Allies. France wasn't interested in Peace, or Security, or anything that enlightened. They were interested in countering ANYTHING the US wanted to do in order to promote their own place on the global stage. I don't know about anyone else, but when someone decides to boost their own stature by tearing me down, I stop considering them a friend.
So it had to be some new definition of chutzpah on Tuesday, when Mr. Cheney, exuding more infallibility than the pope, presented him with a crystal dove.
Wow, talk about chutzpah. To quote Barney Coopersmith, Maureen "let me ask you something, have you ever been wrong about anything?" Ms. Dowd, before you wind up to hurl a stone off at Mr. Cheney, you better check out the glass walls of your own house.