OWNING A WAR is tough for Democrats and Republicans alike. Hillary Clinton is owning up to her vote for the war and still thinks we need to finish what we started. Donald Rumsfeld who went to war with the army he had, not the one he wanted, seems to think he can dictate who the enemy is he wants, not the one he has. The war and its beginnings are part of the battle still even as George Bush tomorrow makes a first step how United States involvement might end. Reality is the war will sooner or later be left to the Iraqis to win or lose. Fantasy begins and will not end in the coming days with how the politicians write and rewrite their stories of the war’s beginnings and how they think it will end. Clinton plays the deceived party. [story]
"Given years of assurances that the war was nearly over and that the insurgents were in their 'last throes," this administration was either not being honest with the American people or did not know what was going on in Iraq," she wrote. Clinton's allies billed the letter as her most comprehensive statement on the war to date. "It is time for the president to stop serving up platitudes and present us with a plan for finishing this war with success and honor," she wrote.
NOTED HERE IS how Clinton attacks the President’s platitudes with platitudes of her own. As she begins to stand for the inevitable run for president, her party runs past her toward the ground Murtha staked, the ground the brave Democrats refused to beach themselves on as their ship sank in an undefined policy sea.
RUMSFELD IS DELUDED a man who had previous mastery of the press with every word, who now has words that press with desperation. The presumption with which the master of transformation Rumsfeld entered the war continues now in his view of insurgents. Rumsfeld had an epiphany over the weekend and calling the enemy insurgents “gives them a greater legitimacy than they seem to merit." To call the enemy that [story] [DOD transcript]
I think that you can have a legitimate insurgency in a country that has popular support and has a cohesiveness and has a legitimate gripe. These people don't have a legitimate gripe. They've got a peaceful way to change that government through the constitution, through the elections. These people aren't trying to promote something other than disorder and to take over that country and turn it into a caliphate, and then spread it around the world. This is a group of people who don't merit the word "insurgency," I think. But I'll look it up. You look it up for me, too. I'm sure you will.”
VIETNAM IRAQ UPDATE I FINALLY HAVE A NOT SO SECRET PLAN TO WIN THE WAR [MSNBC]
The administration is under pressure to convince increasingly skeptical Americans that the president’s strategy for Iraq is headed in the right direction nearly three years after the U.S.-led invasion. The president is to give a speech on the subject Wednesday at the Naval Academy and the White House is to release a 35-page document titled “Our National Strategy for Victory in Iraq.” The document is a public version of a classified strategy of military, political and economic efforts that are being implemented by Gen. George Casey, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, and Zalmay Khalizad, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq. The document defines the enemy in Iraq and discusses experiences and lessons learned during the conflict, a senior White House official said.
THE HERETIK CAN ONLY imagine why we are getting this information now. Cynics will have their say. At last "victory" or something is assured.
WAR OF WORDS UPDATE [MSNBC] Are the insurgents responsible for such insubordination?
Even Gen. Peter Pace, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who stood beside Rumsfeld at the news conference, found it impossible to describe the fighting in Iraq without twice using the term “insurgent.” After the word slipped out the first time, Pace looked sheepishly at Rumsfeld and quipped apologetically, “I have to use the word ‘insurgent’ because I can’t think of a better word right now.”
INSURGENT LANGUAGE and most likely insurgents will continue on. If Rumsfeld cannot get even Pace to go along, the war of words is lost. The other of course waits for "victory" however it is newly defined.
NOTE CLINTON’S SHADING [NY Times] "I believe we are at a critical point with the Dec. 15 elections that should, if successful, allow us to start bringing home our troops in the coming year, while leaving behind a smaller contingent in safer areas with greater intelligence and quick strike capabilities," she wrote. "I call on the president both for such a plan and for a full and honest accounting of the failures of intelligence - something we owe not only to those killed and wounded and their families, but to all Americans." In the past few weeks, Mrs. Clinton has voted in the Senate to move toward a phased withdrawal of troops as early as next year, and has called for a smaller American "footprint" in Iraq and the region, according to her spokesman, Philippe Reines.
WHEN YOU HEAR Dick Cheney attack war critics for making "one of the most dishonest and reprehensible charges ever aired in this city,” you realize irony is not dead, but it is severely wounded. [Cheney speech text] [story]
Asked if he agreed with the vice president or with Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) who said this week that it was patriotic to question the government during a war, Bush's face tightened and he answered sharply, "The vice president."
MORE THAN BUSH’S FACE is tightening. His pant seem a little tight these days, his temper a little short. Voters and Republicans are holding tighter to the idea the war was a mistake. Human nature works against Bush now. People who believed he could do no wrong after September Eleventh and who gave him the greatest benefit of the doubt now see the war as the greatest of mistakes, costly in blood and cash. And human nature being what it is, the people will not see their mistake in judgement as their own. They will see the mistake in the leader. Quack, quack. Hail to the Chief Lame Duck
LIVE BY THE LIE die by the lie could be Bush’s epitaph. It already is the marker on the grave of over two thousand soldiers. Even former Bush cheerleader to the cheerleaders for war Elisabeth Bumiller of the NY Times gets it. [story]
The administration, however, had access to far more extensive intelligence than Congress did. The administration also left unaddressed the question of how it had used that intelligence, which was full of caveats, subtleties and contradictions. Many Democrats now say they believe they had been misled by the administration in the way it presented the prewar intelligence.
IN BUMILLER'S CASE as always her non cheerleader take always come at the end of her piece.
BUSH GIVES IT but he can’t take it. He does retain his down home touch. Talking out of both sides of his mouth. On the one hand you can criticize and be patriotic, but on the other it is all political.
At a news conference in Kyongju, South Korea, where he will attend the Asian economic summit, President Bush said Thursday that he backed the vice president's comments. Mr. Bush said it was "patriotic as heck to disagree with the President." "It doesn't bother me. What bothers me is when people are irresponsibly using their positions and playing politics. That's exactly what is taking place in America."
IT DOESN’T bother me, it does bother me. Patriotic, irresponsible. The people are making the connections. If Bush didn’t have enough to worry about before, Bill Clinton is now coming out and saying the war was a mistake. [story]
Former President Clinton told Arab students Wednesday the United States made a “big mistake'' when it invaded Iraq, stoking the partisan debate back home over the war. Clinton cited the lack of planning for what would happen after Saddam Hussein was overthrown. “Saddam is gone. It's a good thing, but I don't agree with what was done,'' Clinton told students at a forum at the American University of Dubai. “It was a big mistake. The American government made several errors ... one of which is how easy it would be to get rid of Saddam and how hard it would be to unite the country.''
SOME SAY Clinton disrespects the presidential tradition of not criticizing the dude who now has your job. Other might see Clinton giving cover for his hawkish wife Hillary’s presidential bid. Some will say Clinton is in danger of looking like a mere politician rather than a president. These fools forget Clinton isn’t running for anything. Bush on the other hand looks like a politician running for cover.
REPREHENSIBLE PATRIOTS SPEAK OUT [Scrutiny Hooligans] Much of the intelligence suggested that Iraq, in fact, had WMD. But much of the intelligence suggested the opposite, and the Bush administration was willing to pluck out only the facts that would convince you there was no doubt.
HOW BAD IS IT FOR BUSH? [Joe Gandelman/The Moderate Voice] Vice President Dick Cheney is now so far down in the polls that he should beware of sniffing dogs. But that hasn't stopped the administration from sending him out as the attack dog to go after Democrats for allegedly "rewriting history" on Iraq . . . If there's a Republican who is damaged goods right now, it is Dick Cheney. So why would the administration send him out in such high-profile situations to go on the attack against Democrats? Why not get someone a bit more believable than Cheney is these days — such as Tom DeLay, Bill Frist or any woman asked to state her age? Most likely Cheney is being sent out because the game plan continues to be to mobilize the GOP's base — its big contributors (so TV ads can be run against the Democrats), its political choir (conducted by Rush and Sean). This has worked quite effectively in the past. But, again, we point out that in the past the administration could count on a chunk of independents and centrists to supplement the GOP support.
THE HERETIK NOTES these guys re-write history every time the attack dog jumps the fence. The problem for Bush and Cheney is that the average American has already written both of them off. What worked in the past won’t play anymore.
ALSO RECOMMENDED DICK, DICK, DICK . . . . [The Nitpicker] Whatever, fella. Don't you realize that the American people are no longer picking up what you're laying down? Hell, a week ago nearly a quarter of the Republicans polled by Newsweek said you personally "deliberately misused or manipulated pre-war intelligence about Iraq's nuclear capabilities in order to build support for war with Iraq."
MUST READ IN ITS ENTIRETY OPEN DOOR TO BROADER IRAQI WAR DECEPTIONS [Steven Zunes/Foreign Policy in Focus vis LeftI] Indeed, even prior to the return of United Nations inspectors in December 2002 and the U.S. invasion of Iraq four months later, it is hard to understand how anyone could have taken seriously the administration's claims that Iraq was somehow a grave national security threat to the United States. And, despite assertions by administration apologists that “everybody” thought Saddam Hussein possessed chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and an advanced nuclear program immediately prior to the March 2003 invasion, the record shows that such claims were strongly contested, even within the U.S. government.
THE HERETIK SHARPLY SEES Zunes’ sword zorros zeros in and skewers all the pre Iraq war warbling by the hawks. As far as who was for war and who was for peace, for who would run wide with wild charges, this piece wars on those who never gave peace or the sanctions or the inspectors or anyone without the most warlike approach a chance. Sychophant Democrats get a good hammering too.
ONE YEAR FROM NOW: Cheney has gotten all he wanted and more. The torture exemption for the CIA went through. Having convinced the Senate to exempt the CIA, Cheney was initially elated when Senate extended torture exemptions to the domestic law enforcement as well. With leather gloved hand, Federal prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald held the red hot poker above poor Richard’s porcine ass. Cheney’s ass shook like vanilla custard in the wind, too long left on the plate.
“YOU SAID we should have all options available to get the evidence," Fitzgerald offered solemnly.
“YEAH,” CHENEY YELPED “But I think my option should be off this table.” The courtroom was quiet, but for Scooter Libby tittering at first, then laughing uncontrollably. Some say the notes Libby was writing were for his defense, other say he was sketching plot for his next novel. MORE LINKS IN THE CHAIN OF FOOLS Mike Allen on Cheney in Time: He [Cheney] has seen better times, but all he cares about is history, not today's headlines. THE HERETIK AGREES Cheney is history. Most people aren’t aware if Cheney doesn’t give up the ghost this year, Mike Allen is going to ghostwrite the rest of the chapters of Cheney’s autobiography next year. Big and Hard: Fuck the Rest of the World. The ghostwritten Big Time bio is sure to be best seller, but unlikely to have any chapters on ghost detainees.
JIMMY CARTER IS A THREAT to America or at least to the likes of Cheney who believe torturing our enemies polishes the glow of the American way. Carter must be stopped before people catch on. [story]
JIMMY WHO WAS PRESIDENT before Ronnie, who might have gotten those Iranian hostages home if Reagan hadn’t made a secret deal, is that war hating weenie who spoke about an American malaise, who insists the homeless could use some help, rather than a kick in the teeth. A former President who bangs nails for Habitat for Humanity in retirement is a threat to a President who retires a few months a year while he still has the job. Carter makes Bush and Cheney look bad.
WHY DOES JIMMY Carter hate America? Some patriot should put him out of misery for saying such unAmerican things:
I never even considered the fact that our country would be debating whether or not we could continue to torture prisoners around the world in secret prisons. This is something that's inconceivable. . . . we have also done the same thing at home in doing away with civil liberties and incarcerating about 1,200 people after 9/11 who were not ever accused of a crime, who couldn't have access to a lawyer, who couldn't see their own family. They were finally — some of them secretly released. . . . . Also, it brings about discredit for the reputation of America as a country that believes in justice and fairness and abides by international structures that have been put forward.
CARTER IS A TOOL Somebody should take the hammer out of his hands and put the hammer to him. Knock some American sense into him. The Heretik now pauses . . . and realizes he may have succumbed to the fever of fury and rage and revenge that took over this country after September Eleventh. He now apologizes to Cardigan Carter. Sorry, your Jimminess.
MORE JIMMY JEWELS ON DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS
. . . it's an honest different of opinion. Most of these departures from basic moral values are held by very deeply committed people who believe they are absolutely right. A lot of people believe in the Republican Party that if you have a strong military, the best way to meet America needs or to implement our influence around the world is to take military action. Most Democrats believe that it's better to use military action only if our security is directly threatened, but to use negotiation, mediation and forming alliances as a best approach. That difference is the major single difference that distinguishes Democrats from Republicans.
ON WHY WE NOW GO TO WAR
We now have preemptive war, which means we will go to war, we will bomb people, we will send missiles in to attack people, we invade countries if we disagree with their leader and think he ought to be removed or if we think that someday in the future they might pose a military threat to us. That's a complete and unprecedented and dramatic change in basic values of America.
BUSH THINKS HIMSELF Reagan’s heir and Bush’s problems with overstretching the arm of America across the world, while leaving our flanks vulnerable are vaguely déjà vu in deed and action. We suffer a disconnect between what we claim as noble and what we do to achieve it. The same people who wanted to subvert the United States Constitution and privatize foreign policy in the Iran Contra era of error are in power again. These hard nosed “realists” optimistically march off to foreign wars and make America less true to its ideals with each lockstep.
CARTER COMMITTED the gravest political sin, then and now. Speaking truth won’t get you elected, but now how can Carter be ignored? PREVIOUS HERETIK POST [Why Does Jimmy . . .]
IN THE POWER PASSION PLAY now going on in the White House, Karl Rove probably misses somebody like Ari Fleischer who wouldn’t need to get on a ladder to stab him in the back, as Scott McLellan apparently does. Among some of the things in the previously discussed WaPo story today on Rove that The Heretik found odd was that a lot of anonymous middle level White House staffers were upset with Rove about how he treated McLellan.
ROVE CARES about midlevel staffers about as much as the Wicked Witch of the West cared about munchkins. The WaPo piece says Rove has no enemies at the White House, which is hard to believe now knowing the Kool Aid King McLellan is settling scores. Rove should be careful the next time he passes McLellan. Scottie could jump up and punch Rove in the balls.
RECENT RELATED HERETIK POST [Animal White House Again] RECOMMENDED READING [NY Times] It is I. Lewis Libby Jr., Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, who is under indictment in the C.I.A. leak case. And it is Karl Rove, President Bush's senior adviser, who remains under investigation. But it is Scott McClellan, the White House press secretary, whose credibility is already on trial amid the rough justice of the briefing room. THE HERETIK NOTES Rove probably did not need to reach down to twist McLellan’ arm too much to get him to cover for him. No matter how much McLellan protests, his claims for the fat man Rove were fatuous from the start.
McLELLAN AIN’T ALONE on credibility problems. [WaPo] For the first time in his presidency, a majority of Americans question the integrity of President Bush amid growing concerns about the overall direction of the country that have left Bush with record negative ratings on the economy, Iraq and even the war on terrorism, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
On virtually every key measure of presidential character and performance, the new survey found that Bush has never been less popular with the American people. Currently 39 percent approve of the job he is doing as president, while 60 percent now disapprove of his performance in office -- the highest level of disapproval ever recorded for Bush in Post-ABC polls. THE HERETIK IS STUNNED at how people respond when the bullsh*t hits the fan. Mid level staffers are falling over themselves to dogpile Rove, McLellan is one press briefing away from burrowing up to the basement of candor. On the way up, Scott might dig past some other sinking numbers.
2%[Shakespeare’s Sister] That’s the percentage of black Americans who support President Bush according to recent polling. So he hardly has anywhere to go but up, and yet I think he may have managed to cut that number in half, during yet another disastrous photo op.
WHAT'S IT ALL ABOUT, ALFIE? [Joe Gandelman/The Moderate Voice] So you have to ask yourself: is this a not-so-gentle "Get the hell out of here already and make life easier for the rest of us!" coming from one White House faction (the group that is sick of seeing McClellan guzzle all that Tylenol at the end of the day) or from Bush advisers planting the seeds for Rove's eventual departure?
It SOUNDS like it's coming from one frustrated segment in the White House. The question then becomes: if that's the case, will George Bush be pleased? And, even if that's the case, doesn't this story indicate Mr. Rove's days at the White House could indeed be numbered because he's becoming a highly controversial figure and divisive figure now within the White House itself? And, if that's the case and he stays, what would this say about both a divided White House and its prospects the next few years?
THE HERETIK HOWLS that Rove has screwed the pooch and now payback from the pooch and others will be a bitch. But is it a bitch for a snitch?
[Jeralyn Merritt/ Talk Left] These news articles along with Fitzgerald's past habits suggest to me that Karl Rove will resign. Either it will be revealed in coming weeks that he made a plea bargain with Fitzgerald to plead guilty to making a false statement to investigators prior to his grand jury testimony in exchange for no jail time and not being charged with perjury before the grand jury, obstruction of justice or with leaking Valerie Plame Wilson's identity or CIA status -- or he will be indicted and fight because Fitzgerald won't agree to no jail time.
AND THE HERETIK SIGHS Jail is where Karl Rove will know all it means to be a Prison Bitch.
AND WHAT ABOUT SCOTT? [Podhoretz/The Corner] This is the first time ever that a sympathetic word has been published about Scott McClellan, which is tipoff #1 that the story derives from him or his friends. Tipoff #2 is the idea that what's affecting the White House is less the whole leak affair than its effect on Scott McClellan. Yes, I'm sure people are wandering the halls of the Old Executive Office Building, murmuring to each other, "I just can't get any work done because of what's happened to Scott!"
AND THE HERETIK FINDS HIMSELF sharing a laugh with one from the right not so right on so many things(John Podhorror TM). What is left to him? Ha. Ha, ha. AND THE HERETIK FINDS HIMSELF sharing a laugh with one from the right not so right on so many things. What is left to him? Ha. Ha, ha.
FROM TODAY’S PRESS GAGGLE [White House transcript] Q So Rove might leave is part of a, sort of, natural staff turnover?
MR. McCLELLAN: See, this is a question trying to get me to play into all the speculation that's going on, and I'm just not going to do that. But that's why I reiterated the broader points that I've already made to you all earlier this week and those comments remain the same.
Q Well, The Post story, are you - I'm not hearing a denial here.
MR. McCLELLAN: No, I'm telling you I'm not going to get into all the speculation. Karl Rove is the Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor to the President. He continues to carry out his duties. But that's why I pointed out that, in terms of the question came up in the context of any discussion of staff changes, and that's why I reiterated what I said earlier.
Q Any discussion of an apology by him to staff?
MR. McCLELLAN: I've already addressed that question; I don't have anything else to add to it.
THE HERETIK SALUTES McLellan. He is now a player, a player late to the game, but a player nonetheless. He has nothing to add, but endless suckup middle level White House staff munchkins to do all the adding for him. Midlevel munchkins, mid level player.
THE WORDS THAT CHAP THE CHUMP [NY Times] "If anyone in this administration was involved in it, they would no longer be in this administration," he said on Sept. 29, 2003, speaking of how Mr. Bush would deal with any official found to have played a role in leaking classified information - a definition that some Democrats say could now be applied to Mr. Rove.
THE HERETIK NOW CONCLUDES this post. We return to regular programming, as no doubt likely will McLellan.
SOMEBODY SHOULD TELL the fuhrer. There’s a furor going on outside the bunker. Bush has been found out. Still Bush acts like it’s all good party times. [Blumenthal/ Salon]
One year after his reelection President Bush governs from a bunker. "We go forward with complete confidence," he proclaimed in his second inaugural address. He urged "our youngest citizens" to see the future "in the determined faces of our soldiers" and to choose between "evil" and "courage." But as he listened to Bush that day, Vice President Dick Cheney knew that the election had been secured by a coverup.
AS THIS STORY EXPLODES look for a lightning storm the White House will try to drown out with thunder. Blunder after blunder has its price. It’s time to play the Blitzkrieg Bop. And how did we get here so soon after Bush marched victorious through the Democratic low country? We are mirrored by whom we surround ourselves with. In Bush’s case, some of the mirrors are um a little cracked.
Ever-shifting ends justify ever-shifting means.
Libby's alleged coverup was undertaken in the spirit of neoconservative Leninism. The vanguard, which sets all policy and uses the party as its instrument, rationalizes any tactic. Libby was a deeply seeded neoconservative apparatchik, possessing long experience and great bureaucratic skill, an inside man, never seeking the spotlight for himself. He was a member of a small cadre of his caliber, not easily replenished. If he had testified truthfully in October 2004 the result would have consumed the final days of the campaign. His Leninist logic permitted him to protect the Republican cause, but he has tainted Bush's victory in history as surely as the Supreme Court decision in Bush v. Gore did in 2000.
BUSH NO DOUBT will go on as he has. The man without doubt needs no bunker windows. And Bush’s problem is he has only looked within for answers.
RECOMMENDED ADDITIONAL READING [WaPo] Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff pleaded not guilty Thursday in the CIA leak scandal, marking the start of what could be a long road to a trial in which Cheney and other top Bush administration officials could be summoned to testify.
THE HERETK NOTES the battle is now engaged. Look for nothing more than a long siege. And nothing less. This White House concedes nothing. Whether Scooter Libby will is another question. The White House finds its future in an uncomfortable place, in other people's hands. For one like Bush who has called all the shots, no place could be worse. Nor more lonely.
WHETHER DEMOCRATS ARE DOGS with the bite they showed yesterday or just dogs will be further found out in the next few months. Much barking by dogs red and blue was heard in the Senate yesterday [story]
"About 10 minutes ago or so, the United States Senate has been hijacked by the Democratic leadership!" he [Senator Bill Frist] announced. Never, he said, have "I been slapped in the face with such an affront to the leadership of this grand institution." Epithets flew from his mouth: "They have no conviction. They have no principles. They have no ideas. This is a pure stunt."
AH, THE OLD DEMOCRAT DOG Harry Reid showed he has a trick other than roll over and he gave Frist a new version of walk the dog through Senate rules. So now it seems there will be a further investigation of the runup to the war, the rundown of its critics, and we may find out which dogs are smart and which ones have played out in traffic for too long.
WHETHER REID AND THE DEMOCRATS can be taught new tricks or are only remembering old ones, no one can yet say. But it seems they have some teeth left and Bush may find out how they bite. The Republicans have again lost control of the narrative and howl now with much protest. Soon they may find much worse than that. The American people will find out how the dogs of war were loosed, how havoc cried was a false cry of “Wolf, wolf” by some like Wolfowitz.
AND IF BUSH AND THOSE NOW BITCHING look for sympathy when truth comes out, they may find themselves barking at the moon.
RECOMMENDED ADDITIONAL READING WOOF, WOOF [Balloon Juice] In a stunning revelation, Frist also announced that he will no longer let Barbara Boxer crib his math homework.
BOW WOW [Michael Stickings/ The Moderate Voice] it does bring Iraq and the WMD debacle back to the fore after Bush and the Republicans tried to turn the page with the Alito nomination and some presidential speeches and photo-ops (and fear-mongering: avian flu, anyone?). [and more at The Reaction]
THE HERETIK RECOMMENDS you do not miss the howling at Pandagon.
WHETHER THE LAW OF THE JUNGLE applies to the Bush Administration approach to torture may be for courts international and Federal to decide. Whether we must strip all dignity from our prisoners and hope our enemies do not do the same, only the future can tell. But who is representing us in these affairs now does come to light. With Scooter Libby gone as Cheney’s chief of staff, the secretive and more secret loving David S. Addington now takes his place . Addington now fights for the administration for allowing the CIA to torture prisoners. He is the chief opponent of John McCain’s campaign for decency to treat prisoners with dignity and fairness [NY Times story]
A central player in the fight over the directive is David S. Addington, who was the vice president's counsel until he was named on Monday to succeed I. Lewis Libby Jr. as Mr. Cheney's chief of staff. According to several officials, Mr. Addington verbally assailed a Pentagon aide who was called to brief him and Mr. Libby on the draft, objecting to its use of language drawn from Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions.
"He left bruised and bloody," one Defense Department official said of the Pentagon aide, Matthew C. Waxman, Mr. Rumsfeld's chief adviser on detainee issues. "He tried to champion Article 3, and Addington just ate him for lunch."
Despite his vehemence, Mr. Addington did not necessarily win the argument, officials said. They predicted that it would be settled by Mr. Rumsfeld after consultation with other agencies.
THE FEDERAL BUREACRACY RETAINS a touch of the boys club, the tension of a school yard playground where harsh words and aggression would seek to win the fight, but look pathetic in another less fawning light , when seen by others who are not quaking onlookers. Bruised, bloodied . . . Addington just ate him for lunch. And probably took his lunch money. But . . . did not necessarily win the argument.
ADDINGTON IS A BULLY nothing more and nothing less. Working for your government, Addison is in effect a bully for you. You would think more sharp minds would skewer his brutal arguments for the affronts they are to all things decent in the human spirit, but all these changes came about immediately after September Eleventh. September Eleventh changed everything.
But while advocates of change within the administration have prevailed in a few skirmishes, some of those officials acknowledged privately that proponents of the status quo still dominate the issue - partly because of the bureaucratic difficulty of overturning policies that have been in place for several years and, in some cases, were either approved by Justice Department lawyers or upheld by the federal courts.
"A lot of the decisions that have been made are now difficult to get out of," one senior administration official said.
SAVAGE CRUELTY AND BUREAUCRACY possess an evil inertia. Once bad policy is in place, great effort must be exerted to root its rot out. September Eleventh did change everything. It gave bullies like David Addison a hall pass to wreak a moral havoc in the hallways of power.
RECOMMENDED ADDITIONAL READING AND FURTHER DISCUSSION [Tom Dispatch] Here is the key passage in Senator John McCain's anti-torture amendment to the 2006 Defense Appropriations Bill (which the Bush administration has threatened to veto if it arrives so amended): "No individual in the custody or under the physical control of the United States Government, regardless of nationality or physical location, shall be subject to cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment."
THE HERETIK NOTES ADDINGTON AND OTHERS like Cambone work the maximum to make sure we don’t have to obey the minimum. Their logic itself is tortured. [NY Times]
Common Article 3, as the provision is known, sets out minimum standards for the treatment of captured fighters and others in "armed conflicts not of an international character." Although President Bush determined in February 2002 that the article was not relevant to Al Qaeda or the Taliban because of its international focus, the Sept. 11 panel noted that it "was specifically designed for those cases in which the usual laws of war did not apply."
The draft Pentagon directive adopted the language of Common Article 3 "as a matter of policy rather than law," one defense official said. Even so, the Geneva reference was opposed by two senior Pentagon officials, Stephen A. Cambone, the under secretary of defense for intelligence policy, and, William J. Haynes, the department's general counsel, defense officials said.
THOSE LOOKING FOR THE HYPOCRISY of government officials need look no further than Cambone, who as previously noted loudly claimed the Department of Defense would have no further hand in torture and would not allow the CIA to do so on DOD properties. What is proclaimed in public can later be fought and deleted in private. The exemption Cheney seeks for the CIA will now be decided by a joint House Senate Committee considering the latest Defense spending bill. Military and moral capital are forever linked.
"[The measure] shall not apply with respect to clandestine counterterrorism operations conducted abroad, with respect to terrorists who are not citizens of the United States, that are carried out by an element of the United States government other than the Department of Defense and are consistent with the Constitution and laws of the United States and treaties to which the United States is a party, if the president determines that such operations are vital to the protection of the United States or its citizens from terrorist attack."
"As for Mr. Cheney," the Washington Post editorial page commented astringently, "[h]e will be remembered as the vice president who campaigned for torture."
Last week, by the way, the ACLU released "an analysis of new and previously released autopsy and death reports of detainees held in U.S. facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan, many of whom died while being interrogated. The documents show that detainees were hooded, gagged, strangled, beaten with blunt objects, subjected to sleep deprivation and to hot and cold environmental conditions… The documents show that detainees died during or after interrogations by Navy Seals, Military Intelligence and ‘OGA' (Other Governmental Agency) -- a term, according to the ACLU, that is commonly used to refer to the CIA." Evidently, this is just everyday life in the world created by Dick Cheney and John Yoo.
THE HERETIK SEES bullies persistent in their desire to rule by the fist. Are we not better than that. MORE RECOMMENDED READING [WaPo] Addington's influence -- like Cheney's overall -- extends throughout the government in his bid to expand executive power. He goes through every page of the federal budget in search of riders that could restrict executive authority. He meets daily with White House counsel Alberto R. Gonzales and often raises objections to requests for information from Congress or the public, officials say. He also routinely works to defeat proposals from the State Department, where the pervasive internationalist philosophy is at odds with Cheney's neoconservatism.
IS BUSH’S BRAIN JUST A DIMWIT? Is the dark spell of Karl Rove finally leaving even Bush less entranced? Probably not. Everybody else gets some blame from Junior George. Card, Cheney, everyone but Rove. Who is fooling who? The last six months have been one fumble after another. For years we have hard the likes of this [Jonathan Chait/ LA Times]
For years, conservatives have treated the notion that Rove is the mastermind behind Bush as some sort of loopy conspiracy theory concocted by Bush-hating liberals. Andrew Ferguson's take in the Weekly Standard last year is typical: "[Bush's] Democratic adversaries have obsessed over piecing together odd, paranoid caricatures of the man who's driving them nuts — Bush as the agent of Halliburton, Bush as the idiot son of robber baron privilege, Bush the religious crank, the right-wing ideologue, the draft dodger, the front man for Enron or Rove or the Saudi royals or J.R. Ewing."
And yet the evidence has become increasingly hard to deny. After Bush won reelection, he granted Rove all-encompassing power over his domestic agenda. Rove is now overseeing the White House Domestic Policy Council, National Economic Council, National Security Council and Homeland Security Council. This was simply a formal recognition of the de facto power that Rove had wielded all along.
It's hard to prove something definitely, though, without the aid of a controlled study. And the Miers fiasco offers the best proof of Rove's influence.
MAYBE WHAT THE DEMOCRATS NEED is more of Karl Rove’s ‘influence’ now, not less. If Rove leaves the White House, Bush might rebound. If Rove stays, Bush’s negative numbers might sink below zero into negative integers. Right now Bush is a place holder with little value, but for better or worse he keeps someone else from getting Bush’s ear.
RECOMMENDED READING [Lance Mannion] Brainiac twists slowly, slowly in the wind
NUMBERS FOR BUSH bad too. CNN gives White House double shotgun load of bad news. About the little leak thing. [CNN]
Only one in 10 Americans said they believe Bush administration officials did nothing illegal or unethical in connection with the leaking of a CIA operative's identity, according to a national poll released Tuesday.
IF A PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION were held today, an anonymous nobody would trounce the man from whom you don’t hear much about mandate anymore. [CNN]
In the latest poll, 55 percent of the respondents said that they would vote for the Democratic candidate if Bush were again running for the presidency this year.
Thirty-nine percent of those interviewed said they would vote for Bush in the hypothetical election.
GOOD THING (or bad thing) the election was last year. More honor and dignity out of the Oval Office soon. MORE [Blogenlust]
NO SWEET, ALL SOUR [USA Today] The public's sour outlook raises the prospect that the elections next year could be more problematic for incumbents than any since Republicans swept to control of Congress in 1994.
“If a year from now the public mood is similar to what it is now, Republicans will be in trouble,” says political scientist Gary Jacobson of the University of California, San Diego. He calls predictions of a Democratic takeover of the House “a bit premature, but not crazy.”
THE HERETIK BELIEVES the Democrats need imagination, certainly more than they showed here.