Monday, November 21, 2005

Of Straw Men and Dishonest Men

Of Straw Men and Dishonest Men

Vice President Dick Cheney claims that some Iraq war critics are 'dishonest,' not anything like good old honest Dick Cheney, whose chief of staff "Scooter" Libby allegedly lied through his teeth to Patrick Fitzgerald's grand jury to secure a roadblock to a complete investigation of the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson and the smearing of her husband Joseph C. Wilson IV.

Former CIA official Ray McGovern has had Cheney's number for quite a while now. In the Downing Street Memo hearing on Capitol Hill last summer, Mr. McGovern testified that on August 26, 2002, Vice President Dick Cheney gave a major speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and he told them:
"...we now know that Saddam has resumed his efforts to acquire nuclear weapons. Among other sources, we've gotten this from the firsthand testimony of defectors -- including Saddam's own son-in-law, who was subsequently murdered at Saddam's direction. Many of us are convinced that Saddam will acquire nuclear weapons fairly soon."
Mr. McGovern made a very strong accusation, saying that Dick Cheney lied about Saddam's son-in-law in that VFW speech. McGovern quoted page 13 of his own debriefing report which said that Saddam's son-in-law confirmed that all WMD were destroyed in July of 1991, at his order, to prevent the UN inspectors from finding them after the first Gulf war. A whistleblower had leaked this debriefing to Newsweek magazine as the Bush administration's drumbeat for war got louder. The article about it appeared in Newsweek on February 24, 2003, weeks before the war began. The story never got much play because the timid media supressed the story. McGovern said that a "supine press" eager to accept official explanations contributed to the facilitation of this war.

In the DSM hearing, McGovern talked about VP Cheney's personal visits to CIA. He said not only were they "unusual", they were unprecedented. McGovern said that he believed 'the best of the CIA' is gone from the department now. In the old days, you never would have seen CIA acquiesce to fixing the facts around the Executive's policy whims. Yet, when Cheney went to CIA and told them he wanted certain intelligence to take priority to fit the case for war, too many CIA officials became yes-men. In McGovern's time, he said most of the CIA would have walked out if they'd been presented with such a request.

VP Cheney needs some serious reflecting in his own mirror before he sets out to accuse others of dishonesty.


Cheney couldn't call's Peter Daou dishonest in laying out ten pro-Iraq-war fallacies. See: STRAW MEN OF IRAQ

At TPM Cafe, Ivo Daalder asks a question upon learning that then-Senator Bob Graham (D-Florida) had confirmed that there had been "troubling aspects" to the NIE presented to the Senate just before the Senators were expected to cast their 'Yes or No' vote on the Iraq Resolution.
Graham..confirms the point that the unclassified NIE released by the CIA only days before the Iraq vote bore little resemblance to the fully caveated classified version. But we, the public, of course did not know that....So why didn't those could have known call the administration on it? Is it because no more than six senators and a handful of House members bothered reading past the 5-page executive summary of the NIE before casting what may have been the most important vote of their congressional careers?
Todd Gitlin comments further.
Today too, the LA Times reveals in thousands of words that the Bush gang inflated ("bungled" is the authors' word) what they gleaned second-hand from "Curveball," the screwball informant who claimed Saddam had biowar establishments humming. Frankly, I can't keep up.
Ivo asks why senators who knew that the CIA pre-war public release version of the NIE was expurgated beyond recognition haven't said so. Good question. But it's not too late to yell bloody murder.
Related story:
CSM - Germany - CIA knew 'Curveball' was not trustworthy: German intelligence alleges Bush administration repeatedly 'exaggerated' informant's claims in run-up to war.

Misno's Story - Poverty Breeds Terrorism

Misno's Story - Poverty Breeds Terrorism

In the Jakarta Post, there is a thoughtful editorial on poverty - and how it breeds terrorism.

WaPo Editor Discusses Woodward's Holding Back on Plame Leak

WaPo Editor Discusses Woodward's Holding Back on Plame Leak
"..there is much about Mr. Woodward's conduct that is disturbing,".. but....

WaPo executive editor Leonard Downie Jr. discussed Bob Woodward's recent revelation that he'd had a role in the Valerie Plame Wilson leak over two years ago (a secret for which Woodward has apologized). Mr. Downie carefully criticizes Woodward, articulating Woodward's reason for holding the secret as wanting to "avoid being subpoenaed in the Fitzgerald investigation and being forced to reveal his source." Here are excerpts from Mr. Downie's chat:
I understand that, but he nevertheless should have come to me and we would have decided together how to proceed. It is quite possible that if he had come to me, as he should have, we still would not have been able to publish anything if his source had refused to release Woodward from their confidentiality agreement, as indeed the source has so far..
.. reporters should share with their editors significant information of his kind, even in a confidential source relationship, so that the editors can help the reporter decide what to do with it in the best interests of our readers, as well as making certain we do not violate a confidential source agreement.
..Bob should have told me about his conversation, even if we would have been unable to publish anything about it because of his confidentiality agreement with his source..
..Bob Woodward never lied. He failed to come to me sooner and tell me something he should have told me..
..In the future, I expect him to work within our newsroom's standards, as he always has except for these two mistakes.
Mr. Downie claims that Mr. Woodward has asked his source to release him from his confidentiality agreement. Downie says that he believes that Walter Pincus and Bob Woodward have "honestly different recollections of conversations two years ago." Downie asks that readers measure Woodward's exceptional record against his current error in professional judgement.

My favorite question came from Omaha, Nebraska:
Does Woodward always decide for us which information he feels we need to know? Does The Post approve of his filtering of information to your readers?

Leonard Downie Jr: No. His editors ultimately decide. That is why he should have told me sooner about this piece of information, whether or not we would have been able to report it because of the confidential source agreement.

The WaPo's ombudsman is less forgiving, rebuking Woodward for his professional reticence, saying that Mr. Woodward committed a "deeply serious sin" by keeping Post Executive Editor Leonard Downie in the dark about his source for more than two years.
"He also committed another journalistic sin -- commenting on National Public Radio and (CNN's) "Larry King Live" about the Plame investigation without disclosing his early knowledge. [CNN/Reuters]

John Edwards visits India

John Edwards visits India


The Business Process Outsourcing Services sector is thriving. Senator John Edwards recently traveled to India, and quite honestly, he told an audience of Young Parliamentarians under the auspices of The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India that increased unemployment in the U.S. creates complications and that many U.S. citizens are opposing the free-wheeling, job-crushing methods of business process outsourcing. Outsourcing companies in the U.S. are becoming more competitive and are earning 8 dollars by their outsourcing of work of 1 dollar to other countries - including India. (BPO IT laborers in India are considering unionizing.)

For Americans living abroad, asserting that the Democratic Party would win the next U.S. presidential elections, Senator Edwards opened a Democrats Abroad chapter in India.

He stressed that India and the US must cooperate closely to fight nuclear proliferation.

Senator Edwards intended to use his recent trip to India to underscore the need for correcting the poverty problem that exists, both in this country and globally.
“It was an eye-opening experience for me,” he said of his trip. Senator Edwards said stopping poverty at global and local levels can be accomplished with uniform political movements to capture the attention of politicians.
More can be read about the India trip from Josh at the One America blog.