Friday, October 28, 2005

Hersh Interviews Ritter on Iraq Agenda

"..the best we can do is mitigate failure."

- Former UN Weapons Inspector Scott Ritter, on the Iraq War

Hersh Interviews Ritter on Iraq Agenda

Seymour Hersh and Scott Ritter discuss a hidden foreign policy agenda in the Middle East. Ritter says that "disarmament [of Saddam Hussein] was only useful insofar as it contained through the maintenance of sanctions and facilitated regime change. It was never about disarmament, it was never about getting rid of weapons of mass destruction. It started with George Herbert Walker Bush, and it was a policy continued through eight years of the Clinton presidency, and then brought us to this current disastrous course of action under the current Bush Administration."[...] 1995 there were no more weapons in Iraq, there were no more documents in Iraq, there was no more production capability in Iraq because we were monitoring the totality of Iraq's industrial infrastructure with the most technologically advanced, the most intrusive arms control regime in the history of arms control. And furthermore, the CIA knew this, the British intelligence knew this, Israeli intelligence knew this, German intelligence, the whole world knew this. They weren't going to say that Iraq was disarmed because nobody could say that, but they definitely knew that the Iraqi capability regarding WMD had been reduced to as near to zero as you could bring it, and that Iraq represented a threat to no one when it came to weapons of mass destruction. [..] .. [Nation]
Mr. Hersh attended a panel discussion on "The Challenges of Reporting About Iraq" at the Associated Press Managing Editors annual conference in San Jose, California on Friday, Oct. 28, 2005 [see WaPo/Michael Warren].
He described a "perfect trifecta" of problems as the [Iraq] conflict unfolds - Iran-friendly Shia regime in the south that is hostile to Sunni-led Arab governments in nearby countries, an independence-minded Kurd region in the north that may go to war with Turkey, and a war of attrition in the center of Iraq.

"The exit plan is really simple, folks _ you're going to see fewer troops and more bombs," Hersh said. "We don't control anything outside the Green Zone," the fortified district of Baghdad where most non-Iraqis stay.

Hersh also predicted that the new Iraqi constitution practically guarantees civil war.

"The religions and ethnic divisions there are not only deep and complicated, we don't know much about them, and we have to learn about them if we're going to be involved in the country, particularly as it breaks up," he said.
Owen Harries, veteran diplomat and senior fellow at the Centre for Independent Studies (Australia), writes about the failure of the Bush doctrine, stating that the notion that democratic values could be imposed by force was doomed from the outset.
I believe that the first great test of the Bush Doctrine in Iraq is also likely to be its last. Failure there will restore balance and prudence to American foreign policy. With reasonable luck, it will lead to the conclusion that the smartest way of being hegemonic is to be content with appearing to be primus inter pares in a concert of powers. [Age]


"Truth is the engine of the justice system."

-Patrick Fitzgerald


In a press conference today, Special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald would say he's not quite done with his grand jury work, but he would not specify or detail his meaning. He said that no one would like to have the investigation over with as much as he, but that the investigation would not be over until he feels that it's been covered sufficiently. "Be patient," he asked the press corps.

"Truth is the engine of the justice system," said Fitzgerald, making the point that there is no different standard for those in higher office.

The legal process has been frustrated by I. Scooter Libby's lies and stonewalling, and I'm wondering how a new grand jury investigation could ever be considered to be "unfair," as I've heard some pundits have suggested? Fitzgerald was stopped from getting to the truth, which he obviously prizes and holds as priceless in the halls of justice.

Damage has been done to all of us in this case - not just damage to Joseph and Valerie Plame Wilson.

He commented that the dispute over Joseph Wilson and the Niger trip is "irrelevant to the investigation" and "not in focus."

He averred, unabashed, that damage has been done to all of us in this case - not just damage to Joseph and Valerie Plame Wilson. When asked what he'd meant by that statement, he focused on the CIA workers and the importance of the need for their IDs, covers, and information to be protected. Our CIA workers need to know nothing bad will happen to them and that every government official - especially those who hold the highest offices - should never work against those all-important interests. Our national security depends upon it.

Fitzgerald requested a respect for his silence on matters of law as to which he is bound, and a sense of dignity in the press reporting of the matter. He would (and could) only comment on matters regarding the specific indictment of I. Lewis Scooter" Libby, who resigned his position as VP Dick Cheney's chief of staff this morning.

While stating that he was surely not in favor of jailing journalists for failure to reveal sources, he was, disturbed in this case, that journalist Judith Miller was an eyewitness to facts that were material to the indictments on theis out-of-the-ordinary legal case.

Though Fitzgerald spoke as if he knew who the actual leaker was, he advised the press corps that even if he knew, he could not mention it, by law, if it's not contained in the indictment of Libby. He said that anyone who's been against the Iraq War who is looking for this case to confirm suspicions will likely be disappointed. This case is focused upon the Libby indictment - the Libby lies - and there were many in which Libby seems to have been caught. (See the video of Fitzgerald's opening statement at Crooks and Liars.)

Raw Story reports that Fitzgerald is expanding the probe, believing he can get Rove on more serious charges. Sources are lawyers directly involved in the case.

Sources say that Karl Rove is "Official A"

Think Progress has great coverage today, including the Full Text of the Libby indictment in PDF.

Deputy White House Chief of Staff Karl Rove was the mysterious 'Official A' named in the indictment of Vice President Dick Cheney's Chief of Staff, lawyers close to the case have told RAW STORY...Friday's indictment identified "Official A" as a "senior official in the White House who advised Libby on July 10 or 11 of 2003" about a conversation with conservative columnist Robert Novak about an upcoming column where Plame would be identified as a CIA employee
In the WaPo's "A New Moment of Truth For a White House in Crisis," Dan Balz and Juliet Eilperin show the political challenges that lie ahead for the president. They say that "there is little way for [Bush] administration officials to adopt the pose of business as usual with Libby under indictment."
The long leak investigation and the Libby indictment threaten to rekindle the debate over how the United States went to war, only this time with the administration, rather than Bush's opponents, on the defensive.

Libby Now - Karl Later?

Libby Now - Karl Later?
(Reuters) Legal sources said Fitzgerald has informed President George W. Bush's top political adviser, Karl Rove, that he will be spared indictment on Friday, although he will remain under investigation and in legal jeopardy. Rove's attorney, Robert Luskin, had no immediate comment. Legal sources said Libby appeared likely to be charged with making false statements to the grand jury...Some lawyers in the case said Fitzgerald may not be prepared at this time to bring charges against Rove and could keep the investigation open...It was unclear how Fitzgerald would keep the Rove investigation going since the current grand jury is scheduled to expire at the end of the day on Friday.
At Talk Left - Based upon this statement by one "non-legal" member of Rove's team, Jeralyn Merritt believes that Rove took a deal and Fitzgerald has agreed not to announce it immediately.

Borrowing from Andrew Sullivan:
If the New York Times' version is correct (a big 'if' these days), then it seems to me to be a pretty horrible scenario for the president. You have Libby indicted and Cheney thereby under suspicion, with a raft of potential questions heading his way; and you have Rove still under threat from the Grand Jury, fighting for his legal and political life, but required to stay mum (and understandably distracted) if the prosecution continues. You don't even get a clean break, and a chance to start over.
Murray Waas tells us that VP Dick Cheney and his chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, "overruling advice from some White House political staffers and lawyers, decided to withhold crucial documents from the Senate Intelligence Committee in 2004 when the panel was investigating the use of pre-war intelligence that erroneously concluded Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, according to Bush administration and congressional sources..."

According to Richard Sale, unnamed sources who are former senior and serving U.S. intelligence officials have said that the phone call revealing to I. Lewis Libby the identity of the CIA operative Valerie Plame defintely came from the State Department office of John Bolton, then the arms control chief of the department....and that Cheney still remains at the center of the probe. [tip of the hat to Sic Semper Tyrannus and Hunter]

Pete Yost reports that "leaving Rove in legal jeopardy keeps Bush and his team working on problems like the Iraq war, a Supreme Court vacancy and slumping poll ratings beneath a dark cloud of uncertainty."

The theme from the film "Titanic" comes to mind - and the Bush administration is a sinking ship, indeed....

It ain't over til Patrick Fitzgerald sings.

Near - - far - - wherever you are
I believe that the investigation goes on.
Once more we'll open the door
You'll be here in my court and -
this probe will go on and on.....

glllllrrrrggghhhh - - (*the sound of sinking)