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Payback?
July 17, 2003 11:34 AM   Subscribe

Payback? How did Bush officials get back at Ambassador Joseph Wilson for talking publicly two weeks ago about his trip to Niger to investigate claims of an Iraqi uranium deal? By outing his wife as an undercover CIA operative. As David Corn of The Nation says, "...the Bush administration has screwed one of its own top-secret operatives in order to punish Wilson or to send a message to others who might challenge it..... a pair of top Bush officials told a reporter the name of a CIA operative who apparently has worked under what's known as 'nonofficial cover' and who has had the dicey and difficult mission of tracking parties trying to buy or sell weapons of mass destruction or WMD material. If Wilson's wife is such a person--and the CIA is unlikely to have many employees like her--her career has been destroyed by the Bush administration." The exposure of an undercover CIA agent is in fact a federal crime.
posted by Artifice_Eternity (159 comments total)

 
I don't understand. If this is true, wouldn't they guilty of treason (actual treason, not like Anne Coulter everything-is-treason treason)?
posted by BigPicnic at 11:43 AM on July 17, 2003


Ah, so that's what Rafe meant by this post.

Is it just me or is the Executive Branch is being run more like a mafia crime family? I remember they left Christine Whitman out in the breeze to catch heat over EPA news a few months back (and she ended up resigning).
posted by mathowie at 11:45 AM on July 17, 2003


Err, how do we know Mrs. Wilson is an undercover agent, as opposed to just having a 9-5 desk job, like most CIA employees presumably do. Besides, wouldn't being married to an ambassador make you a little too high-profile to do undercover work?
posted by kickingtheground at 11:46 AM on July 17, 2003


David Corn's Nation article suggests that her "cover" is (was) as "an energy analyst for a private firm." My impression is that Joseph Wilson or someone else may have given Corn further details on background.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 11:49 AM on July 17, 2003


BigPicnic: In this case, probably not. Although the Constitution does make treason a crime, the Supreme Court has interpreted the "adhering to their enemies, giving aid and comfort" language of Article III as requiring a treason prosecutor to prove four elements in order to get a conviction: (1) the defendant's intention to betray the United States, (2) manifested in an overt act, (3) testified to by two witnesses, (4) which gave aid and comfort to the enemy.

In this case, the administration officials almost certainly didn't have the intent to "betray the United States," only to screw Wilson and his wife. However, as the article notes, revealing the identity of an undercover operative is a federal crime, punishable by both fine and prison time.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 11:50 AM on July 17, 2003


It's as if President Bartlett was replaced by James Gandolfini instead of John Goodman.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 11:54 AM on July 17, 2003


The administration seems to be engaged in a hapless downward spiral in which it alienates constituencies that are progressively closer to its core base of support. If this story is true, and if it is investigated and widely reported, this administration is over.
posted by stonerose at 11:54 AM on July 17, 2003


The exposure of an undercover CIA agent is in fact a federal crime.

questions of what constitutes treason aside, if the above statement is true, a federal law has been violated. anybody know?
posted by quonsar at 11:59 AM on July 17, 2003


This makes me violently ill.
posted by four panels at 12:07 PM on July 17, 2003


anybody know?

From the article:
Under the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982, it is a crime for anyone who has access to classified information to disclose intentionally information identifying a covert agent. The punishment for such an offense is a fine of up to $50,000 and/or up to ten years in prison.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 12:08 PM on July 17, 2003


Time has got the story, and while they state that Wilson's wife's role was pointed out by the administration in a specific attempt to disparage him, they don't address the issue of whether this compromises her.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:09 PM on July 17, 2003


Watch in awe as I channel the Bush apologists who will find this post and condense the comments that they will make to defend the administration:

"It's not true and even if it is there a certain nuance or technicality that makes it all right and Bush could stab a small child in the neck during a State of the Union address and I would still love him a lot!"
posted by Mayor Curley at 12:09 PM on July 17, 2003


Here's a link to the Novak article, referred to in the Corn article.

Time Magazine declares administration's "War on Wilson"

Our government is run by thugs. Although, ya know...were I to go around pissing people off...I'm not sure I'd pick the agency that has the best snipers...
posted by dejah420 at 12:10 PM on July 17, 2003


These past 10 days have certainly been a turning point in what many in the anti-war and liberal camps see as a series of lies, deception and manipulation that stretches back to the presidential election of 2000.

People have been saying from the onset of this presidency that it was won by a coordinated effort to fix the vote, aided by Governor Jeb. I used to think those people were a little too far out there, but as these events have unfolded, I have been more and more skeptical.

We all said there was no justification for war... that Bush and the Republicans had stolen the election... a dozen other questionable issues since then... but underneath it all, we (or I at least) wanted what the government told us to be true. At least a little bit. At least to the point where there were two sides. But there are hardly two sides, past truth and lies now.

After all this, I find it hard not to believe that this was revenge. Ambassador Joseph Wilson's writing and speaking on the subject has been one of the most clear and authoritative voices to tell the public that the uranium scandal is a serious issue that deserves examination.

Hopefully, in the growing firestorm that is seeping throughout the executive branch, this betrayal won't be forgotten. (Or the smear campaign, if she isn't CIA at all!)
posted by VulcanMike at 12:11 PM on July 17, 2003


I think the key phrase here is "nonofficial cover". If it's "nonofficial", maybe they can get away with it?
posted by jpoulos at 12:12 PM on July 17, 2003


re the Bush family's very clannish, "Connecticut Mafia" nature, I remember an old Maureen Dowd column where Poppy and the sons talked in "Godfather" fashion (can't find it online sorry). it was not particularly funny (I'm not a Dowd fan), but the family has a history of operating like that.
Wilson the Fink disrespected them, they got even -- they took out Wilson's wife. a nice, clean shot

it alienates constituencies that are progressively closer to its core base of support

"core base of support"?
*avoids making inevitable, inexcusable 5-4 SCOTUS joke*

on preview: dejah linked the same article I did, sorry. ladies first
posted by matteo at 12:12 PM on July 17, 2003


My understanding is that "nonofficial" means covert. Official would be like the station chief, who everyone knows is CIA.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 12:15 PM on July 17, 2003


Serving under what is referred to as "nonofficial cover" (NOC), CIA officers pose as American businessmen in friendly countries, from Asia to Central America to Western Europe. There, they recruit agents from the ranks of foreign officials and business leaders, pilfer secrets, and even conduct special operations and paramilitary activities.
Source: Mother Jones
posted by VulcanMike at 12:18 PM on July 17, 2003


Here is another article in TIME and here is the Novak article in the Chiago Sun-Times.
posted by gruchall at 12:19 PM on July 17, 2003


Any apologists? No one wants to point out that if you don't expose CIA agents for revenge's sake than you must hate freedom?

OK.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 12:19 PM on July 17, 2003


Oops, I now see dejah420 beat me to the Time and Sun-Times links.
posted by gruchall at 12:21 PM on July 17, 2003


The Nation is about as accurate as The National Enquirer these days, and not nearly as entertaining. With the Enquirer you get cool stories about UFOs and feral wolf-children. At The Nation all you get are warmed-over 1960's liberal screeds and fulminating hate-pieces. It's a waste of time to even read that rag any more.
posted by mrmanley at 12:24 PM on July 17, 2003


That's hilarious, mrmanley! I was just about to point out to IJR that that's not how it's done: the first step will be to disparage The Nation as a liberal rag.

But you beat me to it! Well-done! Beautiful parody of the kind of desparate thrashing that usually occurs at this point.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:26 PM on July 17, 2003


Be proud fellow MeFiers. You are watching history unfold. All signs point to this particular incident being the linchpin of destruction for this administration. In future years we (and others) will be looking back at this particular thread to revisit how it all came to be.

To future observers of this thread... I hope that you've managed to correct the atrocities that we have so irresponsibly allowed to occur in this administration. I apologize for our inaction and I pray that you at least have learned from our mistakes.
posted by EmoChild at 12:26 PM on July 17, 2003


There are too many "if's" and "maybe's" in these articles for me to say that there's been any wrongdoing, but if there has, and the story catches on in the media, this could be big. Of course, the "pair of top Bush officials" will take the fall, but this would still add to the tarnish on the administration's self-declared yee-haw-darn-good-bring-'em-on victory in Iraq
posted by kahboom at 12:27 PM on July 17, 2003


Both the Time and Chicago Sun-Times article talk of his wife as if she were widely known to be a CIA operative. So where is this undercover assertion coming from? That's the bigger story than the attacks on Wilson himself, and its absence in those papers is suspect.

Anybody have any other information on this?
posted by GhostintheMachine at 12:28 PM on July 17, 2003


I find it hard to believe that anything would bring down the Bush Administration. At this point in time, I honestly feel that Bush COULD stab a small child in the neck, on national television, and get away with it.
posted by agregoli at 12:33 PM on July 17, 2003


In Time's article there was no mention of Wilson's wife being an undercover agent or anything. Once that matter is clarified, I think this story will either snowball into a major scandal or melt away. Though as usual the evidence doesn't sound good for W's crew.
posted by Birichini at 12:35 PM on July 17, 2003


I agree we'll have to await clarification of her undercover status, but Novak - who usually chooses his words carefully - called her an "operative" - a word which usually carries 'undercover' connotations.

From dictionary.com, for what it's worth:

operative

n.
A skilled worker, especially in industry.

A secret agent; a spy.

A private investigator
posted by stonerose at 12:42 PM on July 17, 2003


Hey stavros - remember that wind I toldja about a while back?

Open a window. I think it's here.
posted by Perigee at 12:42 PM on July 17, 2003


George_Spiggott:

Sadly, it's not satire. Chris Hitchens left because The Nation had simply turned into a wallow for the wonkier elements of the left (hello Naomi Klein), leaving little room for more moderate discourse. Luckily The New Republic is still doing good work. And I don't find it a bit odd that Time/Warner properties like Time and CNN are parroting the liberal line; they've incorporated Ted Turners' leftie ethos to their very marrow.

More on-topic: we got the intel on the Iraq/Niger uranium buy from the Brits, and they're sticking by their story. I wonder if all the "BUSH LIED!!!!" crowd will apologize when it turns out that he was right after all.

I doubt it.
posted by mrmanley at 12:43 PM on July 17, 2003


CNN and Time liberal? Are you barking mad??? Wolf(owitz) Blitzer an acolyte of Ted Turner (who, in case you're out of the loop, is estranged from the whole operation and disgusted with what has become of it)? Do you even own a television?
posted by stonerose at 12:46 PM on July 17, 2003


*sigh*

Wilson's wife is not an CIA Operative.

She is a CIA Official.

There is a huge difference.

Read the Time article.

Some government officials, noting that Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, is a CIA official who monitors the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, intimate that she was involved in his being dispatched Niger to investigate reports that Saddam Hussein's government had sought to purchase large quantities of uranium ore, sometimes referred to as yellow cake, for the purposes of building nuclear devices.

No one's cover was comprimised. She never had any cover.

She is a CIA OFFICIAL. Not an undercover operative.

Man, ya'll get worked up and get the paranoia going and start spinning the conspiracy theories.
posted by da5id at 12:47 PM on July 17, 2003


kickingtheground: Besides, wouldn't being married to an ambassador make you a little too high-profile to do undercover work?

Having spent some time as a "corporate wife" let me tell you that most of the interesting conversations take place in or near the women's bathroom or over coffee or wine on a sunny afternoon at a sidewalk café. We "wives" usually knew who was getting hired or fired long before anyone else, what the latest budget crisis was, what the new product design on the drawing board was, and all the other insider stuff that no one outside the corporation knew (but sometimes wanted to). Of course we ALWAYS kept it to ourselves. ;)
posted by Orb at 12:47 PM on July 17, 2003


If Time knows she is a CIA Official, I really doubt that she was a "secret undercover" agent.
posted by da5id at 12:49 PM on July 17, 2003


mrmanley: your link does not suggest to me that the Brits are sticking by their story. The closest it comes is this: "A British official said Britain has occasionally felt caught in the crossfire over Bush's speech, but Blair does not plan to make an issue of the matter. 'This visit has nothing to do with the uranium-from-Africa issue,' the official said."
posted by monju_bosatsu at 12:49 PM on July 17, 2003


I wonder if all the "BUSH LIED!!!!" crowd will apologize when it turns out that he was right after all.

Someone needs to get the sign that Harry Truman had on his desk that said 'the buck stops here' and present it to GWBush as a gift.

I wonder if he'd get it.
posted by Space Coyote at 12:49 PM on July 17, 2003


Birichini:
And some government officials have noted to TIME in interviews, (as well as to syndicated columnist Robert Novak) that Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, is a CIA official who monitors the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
As I noted in my initial posting of this article, this one article doesn't mention if the role was covert, or address the legality and propriety of revealing it if it was. But both of these questions refer to matters of fact, not opinion, whose answers can be readily determined with certainty. If The Nation hasn't already done so, I think it's safe to assume that they will be.

On preview: da5id, the fact the Time article does not mention "covert" or "unofficial" proves absolutely nothing.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:50 PM on July 17, 2003


At the risk of sounding argumentative da5id, READ THE ARTICLE the FPP links to...

If she is not a CIA employee and Novak is reporting accurately, then the White House has wrongly branded a woman known to friends as an energy analyst for a private firm as a CIA officer. That would not likely do her much good.
posted by VulcanMike at 12:50 PM on July 17, 2003


Chris Hitchens left because The Nation had simply turned into a wallow for the wonkier elements of the left

Of course, the argument can be made that Hitchens turned pretty wonky himself, but that's another story.

More on-topic: we got the intel on the Iraq/Niger uranium buy from the Brits, and they're sticking by their story. I wonder if all the "BUSH LIED!!!!" crowd will apologize when it turns out that he was right after all.

Isn't Tony Blair's latest spin something along the lines of "They tried to once in the 80s, so we thought they would again"? Isn't that what they started telling people now that everyone knows how widely discredited the evidence they used was?

I'm just wondering what exactly makes you think it's going to turn out Bush was right. Because Tony Blair says so?
posted by nath at 12:51 PM on July 17, 2003


monju_bosatsu:

So I guess you missed this part:

"The British are sticking with the allegation, saying they have a secret source that is trustworthy and separate from the fraudulent papers."
posted by mrmanley at 12:51 PM on July 17, 2003


da5id, did you read the Chicago Sun-Times piece by Novak? ...Valerie Plame, is an agency operative on weapons of mass destruction

and BTW, you consistently spell y'all wrong.
posted by stonerose at 12:52 PM on July 17, 2003



"The British are sticking with the allegation, saying they have a secret source that is trustworthy and separate from the fraudulent papers."


Don't hurt yourself with all this stretching.
posted by Space Coyote at 12:54 PM on July 17, 2003


Don't hurt yourself with all this stretching.

I think it's always wise for Bush apologists to stretch before they have to run...
posted by stonerose at 12:56 PM on July 17, 2003


I read that, mrmanley, but it's not attributed to anyone in the British government, and is followed by this line:

"Mark Leonard, director of the Foreign Policy Centre, a London think tank launched by Blair, said the two leaders must use the visit 'to align what they are saying on weapons of mass destruction and make sure things don't come out in a way that can embarrass Blair.'"

That seems to suggest not that the Brits are sticking to their story, but rather that the Brits and Bush need to get there stories straight, which is something quite different altogether.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 12:56 PM on July 17, 2003


It proves everything!

When Time talks as if it has known that Wilson's wife has been a CIA OFFICIAL OVERLOOKING proliferation of WMDs, then the context speaks that it is a well known fact that she is CIA.

There is a HUGE difference between Official and Operative.

The Director of the CIA is an Official. Joe Scmoe out in the field is an Operative.
posted by da5id at 12:56 PM on July 17, 2003


mrmanley, I was being sarcastic. The usual trick, as I had been about to point out to IJR, is to disparage the source as being "liberal", as if the facts vanish in the face of this brutal condemnation.

But you beat me to it with an otherwise worthless little rant that couldn't have illustrated it more perfectly.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:57 PM on July 17, 2003


mrmanley:

"The British are sticking with the allegation, saying they have a secret source that is trustworthy and separate from the fraudulent papers."

Except that after all of the *untrustworthy* evidence that the Brits and US presented, they can't be trusted on the strength of their word alone. I'm afraid the Brits have to do a lot better than quoting a 'secret source'.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 12:58 PM on July 17, 2003


To make it clear, Valerie Plame is NOT commonly known as a CIA officer according to these articles. She's known to the public as CIA only now, after Novak's column brought it to public attention, and that officials confirmed such information. Time cites this here:

And some government officials have noted to TIME in interviews, (as well as to syndicated columnist Robert Novak) that Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, is a CIA official who monitors the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
posted by VulcanMike at 12:58 PM on July 17, 2003


mrmanley:
"The British are sticking with the allegation, saying they have a secret source that is trustworthy and separate from the fraudulent papers."

Maybe if the US had even claimed to have seen that info., you would be doing more than blowing smoke. See those words "fradulent papers?" Yeah, those were what the Bush admin. used, despite numerous, documented attempts by the CIA and State Department to get them to shut up.

Do you honestly believe, manley, that the CIA, State, and the press are all lying, and the President's people's ever-changing vaguaries are the truth?
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 12:59 PM on July 17, 2003


As long as we're at it, when did Naomi Klein become "wonky" liberal? I can think of half a dozen FAR wonkier liberals, if we're pointing fingers.
posted by 40 Watt at 1:00 PM on July 17, 2003


wow, to think I am being critique'd on how to spell ya'll...

as if I care.

Ya'll are missing the point.

1. The Chicago Sun Times knew that Wilson's wife is a CIA Operative / Agent / Official

2. Time knew that Wilson's wife is a CIA Operative / Agent / Official

It seems as if everyone knew this except The Nation.
posted by da5id at 1:01 PM on July 17, 2003


da5id: read the Time article again. Time only knew she was CIA because the administration officials told them so. It was NOT apparently public knowledge.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 1:05 PM on July 17, 2003


da5id, read the first paragraph of the Time article again. The officials who noted that she works for the CIA are the same ones attempting to disparage Wilson's trip as having been "influenced" by her.

There is at this point no reason to believe that this was public information before these particular administration officials started shooting their mouths off.

On preview: monju_boatsu: jinx!
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:06 PM on July 17, 2003


My question to ya'll is:

If this is such a big deal, then why isn't Wilson complaining about it?

Why aren't the newspapers making a huge fuss about it (I am sorry, but The Nation doesn't count.)

Why hasn't Congress said something about it?

Why hasn't the Senate Intelligence Commitee started hearings?

Because she was never undercover.
posted by da5id at 1:07 PM on July 17, 2003


Also, from the FPP article:
Without acknowledging whether she is a deep-cover CIA employee, Wilson says, "Naming her this way would have compromised every operation, every relationship, every network with which she had been associated in her entire career. This is the stuff of Kim Philby and Aldrich Ames." If she is not a CIA employee and Novak is reporting accurately, then the White House has wrongly branded a woman known to friends as an energy analyst for a private firm as a CIA officer.
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:09 PM on July 17, 2003


The person who 'outed' Jo Wilson's wife's status (whatever it was) as a CIA employee was Jo Wilson himself.

If you write an op-ed in the New Yrok Times about the mission you undertook for the CIA, then every intelligence serivce is going to assume that you and everyone connected to you is, always has been, and always will be a CIA operative/plant. He knew that even if the Bushies never did anything but send him roses that the other countries of the world will think that, even though their newspapers praise him. That's the way the game is played and Jo Wilson knows it.

So the 'outrage' expressed in the Corn article is purely manufactured.
posted by Jos Bleau at 1:09 PM on July 17, 2003


Ummm, I have read the Time article and it states:

Some Government Officials..."

It doesn't say Administration Officials.

Last time I checked, our entire government was not Republican (each and every person who works for it) so your point doesn't hold much water.
posted by da5id at 1:11 PM on July 17, 2003


Look, I can guarantee you that if she is an "official who monitors the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction" she's overtly working for the CIA. That's simply not the language used to describe a covert operative.

And yes, an Ambassadors wife would make an excellent undercover operative. But that's clearly not what's going on here. The sort of work one does as an undercover operative abroad is running agents, picking up information from drops, initiating contact with foreign sympathizers.

Monitoring proliferation is something that happens from an office with a desk, and everyone knows thats what you do. They may not know the information you use to monitor, or where that information comes from, but a general job description like that is always in the open.

I have a number of friends here in DC who work, or have worked, in intelligence, at DIA, at the service agencies, and at CIA. And all of the are completely open about what they do: "I work on proliferation in South Asia" or "I track the Russian mafia" etc. Really, for the bulk of the people at CIA, there jobs are just like working for a thinktank. The only difference is they have access to much more interesting information than Brookings.

Talk about tempest in a teacup.
posted by pjgulliver at 1:13 PM on July 17, 2003


VulcanMike, I'm just not getting that. The quote you highlight sounds like the government officials were just making the reporters in question aware of her (perhaps well known in the intelligence community but not well known among reporters) occupation.

Methinks if the Bush administration really had just burned one of their own NOCs (which the Mother Jones link shows to be not the best treated assets in the CIA so it wouldn't be surprising), that *that* would be the lead of the story, not this petty sniping at Wilson. As I posted earlier, that's the much bigger story, and the fact it doesn't (yet) rate any mention in anything other than The Nation article causes me grave concern. Right now, we only have one source for this assertion.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 1:14 PM on July 17, 2003


I think I will just put on my tin foil hat and leave this thread...

Corn is just someone trying to create controversy where there most likely isn't any.

I guess we will see in the next few weeks.

$5 says there is no story.
posted by da5id at 1:15 PM on July 17, 2003


Ignatius J. Reilly:

I must have missed the part on your bio that said, "Ignatius is a privileged insider on all aspects of the US intelligence and defence policy." And unless you're working on information the rest of us don't have yet, then you (and the rest of the haters on the Left) don't have any right to accuse the President of lying.

What bugs me about this whole tempest-in-a-teapot isn't that the president lied (he didn't) or that we were somehow chivvied into a war we didn't want (we weren't). What bugs me is that the lefties simply hate George W. Bush, and have let their hatred for the man draw them into nutty conspiracy theories and paranoid fantasies. Tinfoil hats can't be all that far behind.
posted by mrmanley at 1:15 PM on July 17, 2003


Why aren't the newspapers making a huge fuss about it (I am sorry, but The Nation doesn't count.)

Because it's just starting? The Novak column which kicked all of this off is from two days ago. How fast do things have to happen for you?

It doesn't say Administration Officials.

The Novak piece does:

Wilson never worked for the CIA, but his wife, Valerie Plame, is an agency operative on weapons of mass destruction. Two senior administration officials told me his wife suggested sending Wilson to Niger to investigate the Italian report.
posted by claxton6 at 1:17 PM on July 17, 2003


re the Bush family's very clannish, "Connecticut Mafia" nature, I remember an old Maureen Dowd column where Poppy and the sons talked in "Godfather" fashion (can't find it online sorry). it was not particularly funny (I'm not a Dowd fan), but the family has a history of operating like that.

Ah, the Fortunate Son.
posted by four panels at 1:17 PM on July 17, 2003


You all seem to think that the small child Bush stabbed in the neck during the SOTU was innocent. Fools! The truth will be revealed -- Al'Qaeda operative, most likely, or even *gasp* one of our own American youth brainwashed by liberal media.
Bush saved our country by killing that small child, and now he needs us to stand behind his wars.

I think the true issue in this thread is the proper spelling of an improper conjunction. It's y'all people: you all. Get with it!
posted by graventy at 1:17 PM on July 17, 2003


Lack of precision indicates an ill-ordered mind, and it is certainly valid to take that into account when assessing someone's contribution.

"Y'all" is a contraction of "You all." The apostrophe stands in for the replaced letters, in this case "ou" (and arguably the space as well). That's simply how contractions work in English. Your refusal to acknowlege such a simple mistake does not bode well for the rigor of your more complex argumentation—or the intellectual honesty underlying it.

Back on topic, I have a "secret source" which tells me that no matter how this particular issue plays out, it will not be enough to oust the usurper. But every straw is golden, and the back will eventually break.
posted by rushmc at 1:18 PM on July 17, 2003


Why aren't the newspapers/Congress/Senate Intelligence Commitee making a huge fuss about it?

It could be because there's no story there. Or it could be that the story just broke and hasn't caught on yet. We've seen plenty of examples where it takes days, weeks, months for big stories to 'take off'. Too early to say, methinks.
posted by kahboom at 1:18 PM on July 17, 2003


how to have a political debate on mefi

FPP: Bush administration does horrible thing.

Poster 1: what a horrible thing that has happened.

Poster 2: no, whats horrible is your blind hatred for George W. Bush!
posted by mcsweetie at 1:23 PM on July 17, 2003


Hey, why don't we ask her? It looks like this Geneaology website provides the family's email address. Anybody want to ask them directly?
posted by GhostintheMachine at 1:23 PM on July 17, 2003


What bugs me is that the lefties simply hate George W. Bush, and have let their hatred for the man draw them into nutty conspiracy theories and paranoid fantasies. Tinfoil hats can't be all that far behind.

Not to get into a tit-for-tat discussion, but I felt the same way during the Clintion years, starting with the first IMPEACH CLINTON bumper sticker seen a week after the innaguration. What basis could someone possibly have for any wrongdoing in one week aside from being personally hated for other reasons?

So while I too grow tired of "stolen election!" claims to this day, I felt the exact same way about hearing "vince foster was murdered!" up until 2000. Carry on.
posted by mathowie at 1:26 PM on July 17, 2003


they've incorporated Ted Turners' leftie ethos to their very marrow.

heh. good derail, man. those damn TimeWarner/CNN terrorist pinkos are really something, aren't they?

please e-mail me when you'll argue that the deficit is good for the economy, that the post-war plan for Iraq is good and those GIs who get killed almost every day in Iraq are just pretending to be dead and they'l be back to their families in no time, and that it's true oh-so-true that Saddam Hussein was 45 minutes from delivering Armageddon

I don't wanna miss that -- I enjoyed so much the "babies killed in incubators" prank in 1991 that I can't wait for more
posted by matteo at 1:27 PM on July 17, 2003


Why hasn't Congress said something about it?

Why hasn't the Senate Intelligence Commitee started hearings?


Uh, have you seen who is in charge of these particular institutions lately?! Give it time.
posted by micropublishery at 1:31 PM on July 17, 2003


Who dies?
posted by the fire you left me at 1:36 PM on July 17, 2003


mathowie:

For what it's worth, I agree with you: the Clinton-bashing was nearly as bad. I never liked the man, but I thought the whole "Monica-gate" thing was dumb, and a terrible waste of taxpayer money.

matteo:

Regarding CNN's obvious liberal bias: it ain't just me. It's not so surprising, really -- most of the major media outlets are stuffed with Boomer-era liberals like Dan Rather, Peter Jennings, Ted Koppel, Ed Bradley, and so on. Fox News, much as I hate it, was designed to confront that disparity, and it paid off: Fox News Network is kicking the crap out of CNN in the ratings.
posted by mrmanley at 1:39 PM on July 17, 2003


I must have missed the part on your bio that said, "Ignatius is a privileged insider on all aspects of the US intelligence and defence policy."

Hmm. Maybe I should have added a part that said that I read shit and occaisionally remember it? There have been more than enough obvious lies in the mainstream press for me, thanks to those commies at CNN.

And unless you're working on information the rest of us don't have yet, then you (and the rest of the haters on the Left) don't have any right to accuse the President of lying.

So when will the 8000-whatever liters of anthrax show up? Is Saddam off hiding with Ossama now planning another 9/11--just like they did the first time? Those tax cuts, they really benefitted "all americans," huh?

What bugs me about this whole tempest-in-a-teapot isn't that the president lied (he didn't) or that we were somehow chivvied into a war we didn't want (we weren't). What bugs me is that the lefties simply hate George W. Bush, and have let their hatred for the man draw them into nutty conspiracy theories and paranoid fantasies. Tinfoil hats can't be all that far behind.

nutty conspiracy theories and paranoid fantasies?

Whatever, man. Why would you talk that way in front of a communist organiztion like MeFi? You know that public support is behind our commie agenda to overthrow Bush, right? You are soooo getting slapped into a gulag!
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 1:40 PM on July 17, 2003


The Republicans may be in charge, but last time I checked, there were still Dems in both institutions, and I believe they still have the ability to say something.

As for rushmc, the fact of whether I spell ya'll correctly or incorrectly really had no bearing on the argument at hand.
It's almost an Ad Hominem attack on me because I spell a word differently or incorrectly compared to what is norm.

I also spell my name with a "5". So I guess because I chose to do things differently, I don't count? Or my contribution to the discussion isn't as worth as much?

Excuse while I put my tinfoil cap back....
posted by da5id at 1:42 PM on July 17, 2003


I think I will just put on my tin foil hat and leave this thread...

tease.
posted by stonerose at 1:46 PM on July 17, 2003


The critics don't seem to have read Corn's article very carefully. Let's review:

- It appears that the ONLY sources who have thus far publicly stated Valerie Plame works for the CIA are Bob Novak (not "The Chicago Sun-Times" as an organization), TIME.com, and David Corn. TIME's and Corn's statements of this fact followed Novak's revelation in his column. If further sources come to light establishing a long history of public knowledge about Valerie Plame's status, THEN and only then it will be safe to say this was overblown.

- The frantic parsing of "official" vs. "operative" is as pathetically Clintonian as the Bushies' "technically accurate" defense of the Niger statement. Again, read Corn's article. It's quite clear that Valerie Plame's public job was as "an energy analyst for a private firm." She was NOT publicly known to be an employee of the CIA. It looks to me like Corn probably got some background from Wilson himself on all of this.

- The political slant of The Nation is irrelevant. Corn's article is based on Novak's column. Novak is a conservative. Novak was the one who outed Valerie Plame, and his information came from "senior administration officials." If you attack Corn's facts, you are attacking Novak's facts. Do you think Novak is making up the leak from the senior administration officials?
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 1:46 PM on July 17, 2003


>Why would you talk that way in front of a communist organiztion like MeFi?

Gus Hall for 2004!

>What bugs me about this whole tempest-in-a-teapot isn't that the president lied (he didn't) or that we were somehow chivvied into a war we didn't want (we weren't).

So if you love the Bush administration they are incapable or wrong-doing as your comments in the paranthesis suggest AND everyone who criticizes them does so out of some blind lefty loyalty? Who exactly is wearing the tinfoil cap now?
posted by skallas at 1:47 PM on July 17, 2003


Fox News Network is kicking the crap out of CNN in the ratings.

Just like Timex is kicking the crap out of Rolex.
posted by the fire you left me at 1:48 PM on July 17, 2003


"Fox News Network is kicking the crap out of CNN in the ratings."

Uh huh. Ever compare the subscription figures between "The Weekly World News" and "Newsweek?"
posted by Perigee at 1:49 PM on July 17, 2003


Ignatius:

So when will the 8000-whatever liters of anthrax show up?

How much would be enough to satisfy you? An ounce? A pound? Ten pounds?

And if not biologicals, let's talk nuclear: we already found parts, but I guess that's not enough. How much uranium or plutonium would convince you? Do you need to see an actual working weapon in order to be convinced?

This whole focus on stuff by both sides in this debate really baffles me. It's not about stuff. It's about capability and intention: did Saddam's regime have the scientific knowledge, personnel, and wherewithal to produce such weapons? It's pretty clear that they did, and furthermore were willing to use them (refer again to Halabja).

And then there's the argument that the regime itself was a WMD: the mass-graves scattered around the country certainly bolster that idea.

I get the idea that liberals would almost rather have let Saddam murder his people in peace rather than allow that the USA did the right thing in invading. Which is a very un-liberal thing to think, from a human-rights perspective.
posted by mrmanley at 1:51 PM on July 17, 2003


MrManley: Don't use "A Conservative News Forum" as your "*fill in the blank* has a liberal bias" backup. It's not going to change anyone's mind on the matter.
posted by Pinwheel at 1:52 PM on July 17, 2003


da5id: The majority in Congress is trying to ignore all this. Duh. Of course. But old line Republicans weren't such lap dogs as this. And since Roberts has taken over the Senate Intel Committee (SIC), they haven't shown much interest in anything besides changing the subject. They're being dragged into this kicking and screaming, doing the bare minimum--and slowly... And the SIC Dems are just along for the ride (even Bob Graham can't say what he might remember from those National Intel Estimates from back in the day)....

Did I spell "duh" right, y'all?
posted by micropublishery at 1:53 PM on July 17, 2003


<nitpick>

Y'all is singular.

All y'all is the plural.

So "all y'all seem to think" is the correct usage.

</nitpick>
posted by Dipsomaniac at 1:57 PM on July 17, 2003


Well, Manly -

"Our conservativeestimate is that Iraq today has a stockpile of between 100 and 500 tons of chemical weapons agent. That is enough agent to fill 16,000 battlefield rockets."
Colin Powell
Remarks to UN Security Council
February 5, 2003

THAT's what we were told we were threatened with - THAT's what I'll accept. After all, it was only a conservative estimate, right? Should be No Problemo.

And while you're at it,

"Our intelligence officials estimate that Saddam Hussein had the materials to produce as much as 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent."
George W. Bush
State of the Union Address
January 28, 2003

I want this 500 tons of additional materials that are not yet the chemical weapons agent already stockpiled.

Those are the Administration's words. That was the threat. That was the promise.

Now... fulfill it or admit the damn lie already.
posted by Perigee at 1:58 PM on July 17, 2003


how to have a political debate on mefi: part two

FPP: Bush administration does yet another horrible thing that may or may not be related to the war in Iraq.

Poster 1: I can't believe he's getting away with this.

Poster 2: I can't believe you lefties still want saddam in power. unbelievable!
posted by mcsweetie at 2:01 PM on July 17, 2003


Do you have any idea how long it takes to smuggle those amounts into Iraq with all those reporters nosing about?!
posted by crunchland at 2:01 PM on July 17, 2003


Boomer-era liberals like Dan Rather, Peter Jennings, Ted Koppel, Ed Bradley

HAHAHA! Those are suits man.

I bet if you saw a real liberal it would scare the corn out of your crap.

Ahh. . . .

Here's one!
posted by velacroix at 2:02 PM on July 17, 2003


It's not going to change anyone's mind on the matter.

I've known that all along, Pinwheel. The liberal hatred of George W. Bush has long since gone beyond rational argument. It's a quasi-religious cause, and facts are only interesting so far as they advance the liberal agenda. The Left has already found W. guilty; now they simply look for crimes to hang him for. If this allegation fizzles out (as it will), they'll look for something else, and something else, and something else.
posted by mrmanley at 2:03 PM on July 17, 2003


As for rushmc, the fact of whether I spell ya'll correctly or incorrectly really had no bearing on the argument at hand.
It's almost an Ad Hominem attack on me because I spell a word differently or incorrectly compared to what is norm.


Re-read what I wrote. I wasn't commenting on your misspelling, but on your reaction to having your error pointed out to you. Open discourse has no room for stubborn intractability.
posted by rushmc at 2:03 PM on July 17, 2003


This whole focus on stuff by both sides in this debate really baffles me. It's not about stuff. It's about capability and intention: did Saddam's regime have the scientific knowledge, personnel, and wherewithal to produce such weapons? It's pretty clear that they did, and furthermore were willing to use them (refer again to Halabja).

Bullshit, to borrow a phrase from Colin Powell. It was about stuff. Don't let the administration's shift in rhetoric towards "weapons programs" go to your head, man. It doesn't change the content of their statements. Rumsfeld went so far as to claim that he knew where the weapons caches were.

Ever heard the word "imminent" before? I have, and it wasn't used to describe "programs." Was Saddam going to attack Britain in 45 minutes with "programs?" Let's be consistent. If, as you claim, this is about "intentions and capabilities," and not actual stockpiles of harmful weapons (and an al Qeada link), than was Bush lying when he stated that Iraq did have WMD?

And, wow, here's the best part:
We are discussing an aritcle by a conservative (Novak is a conservative. If you won't take his word for it, you can believe me: I took a class from him in college and he always talked lovingly about Reagan), in which he calls out a fellow conservative. You accuse us, for having noticed the article, of blind partisanship. Than, to further your point, you link to the Free Republic? That's like saying "You're crazy! That drunk guy who sleeps in the dumpster told me!"
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 2:04 PM on July 17, 2003


The Left has already found W. guilty; now they simply look for crimes to hang him for. If this allegation fizzles out (as it will), they'll look for something else, and something else, and something else.

And we'd impeach him for diddling an intern, too, if only we could prove that republicans actually have sex.
posted by crunchland at 2:06 PM on July 17, 2003


>And if not biologicals, let's talk nuclear: we already found parts, but I guess that's not enough.

Certainly not. Americans were led to believe there was an "imminent threat"
"Some citizens wonder," the president said, "after 11 years of living with this problem, why do we need to confront it now? There is a reason. We have experienced the horror of Sept. 11. ... Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof -- the smoking gun -- that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud."
No wonder so many supported the war and so many politicians are now claiming to be misled. A pre-1991 nuclear widget does not make a ready-to-go ICBM pointed at NYC.

> It's about capability and intention

No its not. It never was until the all the WMDs pointed at NYC and photos of Saddam kissing Ossama bin Laden on the mouth never showed up.

>And then there's the argument that the regime itself was a WMD: the mass-graves scattered around the country certainly bolster that idea.

Who's the conspiracy nut now? Regime as WMD? That's some semantic gymnastics there.

>I get the idea that liberals would almost rather have let Saddam murder his people in peace rather than allow that the USA did the right thing

BY the right thing you mean muscling UN inspectors, giving into PNAC warmongering, lying about the war, killing thousands of civilians and soldiers, giving up on Saddam's containment, and now backed into the "ends justify the means" corner then yeah, they might have a point.

Wake me when you PNAC/Bush types are ready to face the real enemy like Saudi Arabia or even N. Korea, not an oil-filled paper tiger.
posted by skallas at 2:07 PM on July 17, 2003


Perigee:

Tell you what -- if we haven't found unambiguous chemical and/or biological weapons in Iraq within six months of today, I will post an admission that I was wrong to you on whatever forum you desire. If we do find such weapons, I expect you to post an admission that you were wrong.

Fair enough?
posted by mrmanley at 2:08 PM on July 17, 2003


Well, we might as well start accusing all those Clinton administration officials, including the President, who made claims about Iraq's WMD capability. And we should probably arrest Kenneth Pollack too.
posted by pjgulliver at 2:08 PM on July 17, 2003


Bush seemed not to have registered the growing disquiet about U.S. casualties inflicted by Baathist loyalists when he brashly declared on July 2, "Bring 'em on." Such red-meat rhetoric has generally played well for the president since 9/11. This time it made him seem either out of touch with or not sympathetic toward the dangers faced by American troops.
More puzzling is the decision by Bush and his top aides to respond with finger-pointing of their own to anonymous leaks accusing them of ignoring CIA doubts about a 16-word assertion in the president's State of the Union address, when Bush said Britain had learned that Iraq was trying to buy uranium in Africa. The White House sought to shift full responsibility to the CIA and pushed Director George Tenet into the middle of an escalating political crossfire.
Worse, in a subsequent series of shifting and at times contradictory accounts, the White House called the information about Africa incorrect -- even though Blair stands by a case that is on its face still entirely plausible. The impression left has been one of a president seeking to deflect all blame onto others -- and not doing a very good job of it.
Competence is fast becoming the central issue on Iraq. The resonance of the uranium controversy represents a blinking warning light for Bush, who needs to reestablish for Americans that he knows where he is going in Iraq and that the destination is reachable in a reasonable amount of time.


Written in the (are they communists too?) Washington Post by pro-war, pro-Chalabi Jim Hoagland (who not even in mrkelley's Loyalty Oath Universe can be considered an appeaser)


I get the idea that liberals would almost rather have let Saddam murder his people in peace

ah, the almost-handy slur: appeasers! terrorists! Chamberlain!!!

there should be a Godwin Law for crap like that
posted by matteo at 2:11 PM on July 17, 2003


Sure, crunch - in fact I just did the math. Using a truck Like This, it would take 250 trucks in a convoy to move the conservative 500 tons of nerve agent.

At 18 feet long, and with a Super-Dave safety space between each truck in the convoy, the convoy would stretch over 2 and a half miles.

Now then... Manly... You have our order, right? And the right promised us it was there. Show us where it all is.
posted by Perigee at 2:12 PM on July 17, 2003


it's "mrmanley", sorry, not "mrkelley"
posted by matteo at 2:14 PM on July 17, 2003


Perigee:

So...was that an agreement to my wager, or are you just bloviating again?
posted by mrmanley at 2:14 PM on July 17, 2003


And Manley - absolutely - you roll those trucks in and I'll not only admit I'm wrong - I'll vote for W.

And THAT's saying something.

Will you vote against him if it doesn't show?

That would say something too.

(Sorry- just late in reading yours.)
posted by Perigee at 2:15 PM on July 17, 2003


pj:
Sure, let's impeach Clinton. That not only makes sense, but will be productive. Kenneth Pollack did not make any decisions about war, though it could be argues that his book helped convince poeple. When it became clear to him that he was misled and that this assertions were untrue, he began an immediate string of public retractions and apologies. When Bush starts doing that (apologizing, not writing books, we don't have that long), you could ask that again.

Sometimes, a lie starts off as a mistake. If you fail to acknowledge your mistake, and continue to defend it, it becomes a lie at some point. This happens to children sometimes, when one little "fib" ends up having to be stretched further than the kid intended. Determining the actual moment in which that transition occurs (a process which is ongoing as we speak, because--as someone pointed above--we don't have all of the information yet) is just gamesmanship.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 2:16 PM on July 17, 2003


Is there any academic institution anywhere in the US that can, in some sense, objectively back up claims of media bias?

If not, just pick & choose your news to fit your mind set, as ever.

Oh, btw: how can any institution (MetaFilter, CNN, The BBC, eg) with diverse contributors, and/or journalistic ethics, be broad-brushed as 'Lefty', 'Righty', or otherwise? Thats simply prejudice.
posted by dash_slot- at 2:18 PM on July 17, 2003


Nice little derail there. Getting back to the topic: Interestingly, Time has two versions of this article up, which differ very slightly in the matter of the quoted officials. I wonder why, and if it has any significance.

Version 1:
Some government officials, noting that Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, is a CIA official
who monitors the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction
Version 2:
And some government officials have noted to TIME in interviews, (as well as to syndicated
columnist Robert Novak)
that Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, is a CIA official who monitors the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction
posted by George_Spiggott at 2:20 PM on July 17, 2003


Just like Timex is kicking the crap out of Rolex.

ROFL!
posted by quonsar at 2:21 PM on July 17, 2003


matteo:

Well, you tell me a better word for a group of people who would rather leave a homicidal sociopath in power rather than let the US intervene. Appeaser sounds about right to me, but hey, I'm one of those nasty neo-cons who harbor world-domination fantasies....
posted by mrmanley at 2:23 PM on July 17, 2003


remove the homocidal sociopath from thine own eye...
posted by quonsar at 2:24 PM on July 17, 2003



Y'all is singular.
All y'all is the plural.
So "all y'all seem to think" is the correct usage.



nitpick take 2:

It was my understanding that y'all is the second person plural in either an object form, or while functioning as the subject in a conditional clause, and all y'all is the second person plural subject in indicative clause or emphatic sense, or else a vocative form.

As in:
I'll take y'all to the mall tomorrow.
or
All y'all want to go to the mall?
or
When did y'all want to go the mall?
or
Hey, all 'yall, it's time to go to the mall.
posted by jann at 2:26 PM on July 17, 2003


wait, which homocidal sociopath are we talking about here?
posted by crunchland at 2:27 PM on July 17, 2003


Well, you tell me a better word for a group of people who would rather leave a homicidal sociopath in power rather than let the US intervene.

Look, for the most part, I agree with you. Saddam was a brutal dictator who was, unfortunately, aided in no small part by the US in the 1970s and 80s. For me, this issue is less about the objective possibility of justifying the war than how the war was in fact justified. No matter how bad Saddam was, should the Bush administration be lying to the American public, and when caught out, strike at the critics like an angered child?

The issue here is character.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 2:30 PM on July 17, 2003


"absolutely - you roll those trucks in and I'll not only admit I'm wrong - I'll vote for W.

And THAT's saying something.

Will you vote against him if it doesn't show?

That would say something too
."

Ummm..Hullllooooo??


Manly?

Woo-hooo?
posted by Perigee at 2:37 PM on July 17, 2003


ah, the almost-handy slur: appeasers! terrorists! Chamberlain!!!

there should be a Godwin Law for crap like that


Matteo: There is. It's the Ashcroft Corollary to Godwin's Law.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 2:38 PM on July 17, 2003


monju_bosatsu:

The issue here is character.

Exactly. Some people believe the worst about George W. Bush -- like the pinheads who write for The Nation. They assume that every word out of his mouth is a lie. Then there are the people who believe every word the Administration says. And then there are people like me, who know that the government is not a monolith: you don't get one opinion, you get a consensus. You get a picked-over, lawyered, finessed, and weasel-worded summaries which may or may not be accurate.

Do I think that George W. Bush would deliberately lie to the American people? No. Do I think that some of his advisors would? You bet your ass they would -- and this includes people on both sides of the aisle, and the military too. People lie to protect their funding, to paper over bad results, to divert blame, to butter up their superiors.

The President, no more and no less than any president before him, has to work his own way through the morass of truth, half-truth, lies, and unknowns and somehow come up with policy.

I believe that George W. Bush approches this task honestly -- he means what he says, and backs up his words with deeds. He's not perfect (his domestic fiscal policy is a disaster), but he's not the Machiavellian demon that some on the Left make him out to be.
posted by mrmanley at 2:42 PM on July 17, 2003


Metafilter: Are you just bloviating again?
posted by dhoyt at 2:44 PM on July 17, 2003


How about George Freakin Bush the senior as a goddam appeaser who is content to let a sociopath murder his own people, seeing as how he backed well away from finishing the job the first time? Saying "People of Iraq, rise up against Saddam and we'll back you all the way to the wall...Psyche!"

How about half of Africa that could use a little love in terms of psychopaths murdering their own people? No help there. Come down off the high horse kids, stop mouthing the same tired slogans in defense of this administration, it's a joke.

Also.. I am well tired of being called a liberal, I am not profligate or even particularly overindulgent, I don't put too much butter on my toast. Whenever you are tempted to say liberal, why not say progressive or leftist or secular humanist internationalist or even shithead, just not liberal.
posted by Divine_Wino at 2:45 PM on July 17, 2003


Perigee:

First, it's mrmanley, not Manly, okay?

Second, I'll apologize if the WMD's don't show up -- never fear. I'm not worried because I'm quite confident that the WMDs are indeed in Iraq and will be found in due time. (Whether they'll satisfy your bulk-lot requirements is another matter, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.)

I will vote my conscience on election day, as I always do.
posted by mrmanley at 2:45 PM on July 17, 2003


*The sound of crickets washes across the battlefield*

C'mon, Manley - as a good American, wouldn't you want to get rid of a guy who lied to the world and the American people to forward his own agenda? Stirred up all that fear... disrupted our standing in the world community... all on the basis of whole-cloth lies - that would really not be a guy you'd want to vote for, would it?

And, after all,

"We have high confidence that they have weapons of mass destruction - that is what this war was about, and is about - and we have high confidence it will be found"
Ari Fleisher
News Interactive
April 11,2003

I mean, there it is - in the flesh, black and white, direct Administration quote. You wouldn't vote for a rotten liar that started a war and got a lot of people killed for his own private purposes, would you?

I said, if he shows up with those trucks, he was right and he has my vote. If he doesn't... well, as Ari said, "That is what the war was about." You couldn't in good concience vote to re-elect a guy who took us to war on false claims...

...could you...?
posted by Perigee at 2:46 PM on July 17, 2003


an old Maureen Dowd column where Poppy and the sons talked in "Godfather" fashion

I'm all for comparing the Bushes to gangsters, but not the Corleones. First of all, I like the Corleones. Second, if the Bushes are the Corleones, why did we have to elect (or "elect," if you prefer) Fredo?
"Well, he's got a good heart but he's weak, and he's stupid."
posted by kirkaracha at 2:48 PM on July 17, 2003


(and of course, you're right - I always shorten everybody's name. It's a lazy habit - apologies. No offense meant.)
posted by Perigee at 2:51 PM on July 17, 2003


I've known that all along, [poster X]. The conservative hatred of Bill Clinton has long since gone beyond rational argument. It's a quasi-religious cause, and facts are only interesting so far as they advance the conservative agenda. The Right has already found Clinton guilty; now they simply look for crimes to hang him for. If this allegation fizzles out (as it will), they'll look for something else, and something else, and something else.

I think the reason some people spell it ya'll is because they convert "you" to "ya" first, and then they do Ya+All.

And it's G-E-N-E-A-L-O-G-Y. It's just a -logy, not an -ology.

I have nothing constructive to add, except: How cool would it be to be an ambassador's wife who secretly works for the CIA? It's like Alias, but with marriage.

And yes, this administration is a bunch of thugs. But GWB isn't Gandolfini. Karl Rove is Gandolfini. GWB is that old dude who used to be the boss who goes to the doctor a lot and whines and has no power.
posted by jengod at 2:52 PM on July 17, 2003


Regarding the issue of character, I take to heart your argument that the government is not a monolith, but Bush should not, and indeed, in my opinion, cannot be separated from his administration. The top advisors and officials, including Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz, among others, exhibit a cavalier attitude towards the American people that I find frankly disturbing. Of course I don't assume that every action by every government official can be traced back to the President, but the truth is that every administration has an institutional culture that can and should be considered. The culture of this administration seems to be lying and unwarranted slighting of its critics.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 2:54 PM on July 17, 2003


I noticed the same thing, George. It was apparent when you read the search results for 'Valerie Plame' on Google News - both versions show up, with the text in question excerpted.

Google. Is there anything it can't do?
posted by pzarquon at 2:54 PM on July 17, 2003


Perigee:

No offense taken; it just makes searching the thread easier.
posted by mrmanley at 2:56 PM on July 17, 2003


Well, you tell me a better word for a group of people who would rather leave a homicidal sociopath in power rather than let the US intervene.

Pragmatists? You DO know how many homicidal sociopaths currently rule around the world, right?
posted by rushmc at 3:07 PM on July 17, 2003


I'm not worried because I'm quite confident that the WMDs are indeed in Iraq and will be found in due time.

Fun fact: go back a few months in the mefi archive and you'll find all sorts of people making exactly this sort of prediction. Six months, nine months, twelve, all the way back to the day the big I displaced I/P as metafilter's primary source of pointless newsthreads, you'll find plenty of people pledging their faith that this administration's dire predictions about Iraq are going to come true, any minute now.

Just how far does your credulity stretch?
posted by ook at 3:17 PM on July 17, 2003


examples?
posted by crunchland at 3:22 PM on July 17, 2003


... Far enough that he notably refused to say he would vote against the current administration if the WMDs prove out to be paper tigers, ook.

Some people are just... into that party line. I respect the heck outta mrmanly - I disagree with him venomously, but by god, he really is America, Mother, and Apple-Pie.

I hope his faith and trust proves justified. I look at it another way.
posted by Perigee at 3:28 PM on July 17, 2003


Second, I'll apologize if the WMD's don't show up -- never fear. I'm not worried because I'm quite confident that the WMDs are indeed in Iraq and will be found in due time. (Whether they'll satisfy your bulk-lot requirements is another matter, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.)

They are not our requirements. They are what we were told were there -- weapons so abundant and so dangerous that we were at risk if we so much as hesitated before attacking. Weapons whose precise locations we supposedly knew, and which would be extremely difficult to hide. I'm saddened (if not surprised) that you can look at the yawning chasm between that nightmare scenario and what we've actually found and not find it troubling.

As a wonky liberal, I was pretty sure they were making much of the WMD stuff up -- not because I hate this administration, which I freely admit I do, but because they found it so unnecessary to try to convince critical thinkers that they were telling the truth (by, say, using evidence). They pitched the war crudely and effectively, playing up Iraq's threat and layering in allusions to revenge, and built popular support the cheap and manipulative way.

Why did/do I think he was lying? Because that's how liars act, skating around the truth with inconsistent and offensive bits of sophistry. People who tell the truth have better (if less viscerally effective) arguments at their disposal.

And then there's the argument that the regime itself was a WMD: the mass-graves scattered around the country certainly bolster that idea.

And when all else fails, people without a leg to stand on resort to playing the humanitarian card.

The reason Iraq was our top priority was because of WMD. If they did not actually exist, we had no more reason to "liberate" the people than we do the people of the Congo (or name your own oppressed nation here), and their absence would have to be answered for even if things were going well post-war.
posted by Epenthesis at 3:34 PM on July 17, 2003


the Dowd - Corleone column is here (NYTimes link)

plus, here's
Michael Wolff's take
on the Corleone thing:

The party-boy son, shoehorned into a Jesus-loves-me marriage (I'm surely not satisfied I know as much as I'll bet there is to know about George's first fiancée); set up in business (a baseball team! Maureen Dowd thinks George W. is like Sonny, but in many ways he's like Fredo Corleone, sent off to Vegas); nepo-ed into the statehouse, which is turned into a money-raising apparatus (politics is the only legitimate Ponzi scheme); and now strong-armed into the least desirable presidential victory in the history of presidential victories. In Dubya's defense, such a disreputable and picaresque bio could be provided for Bill Clinton -- which, of course, contributed to his impeachment.
We may not need campaign reporters so much as some new form of literary criticism. We need reality critics.

posted by matteo at 3:35 PM on July 17, 2003


Having lived extensively in both Texas and West Virginia, I can address the burning y'all question with some authority.

The word is properly spelled with the apostrophe eliding the ou in you, leaving the all intact. The alternate spelling is, to my eye, as wrong as y'oull would be instead of you'll.

As to its number, I've never heard y'all used to refer to anyone in the singular. Southerners say you when referring to a single person and y'all or you all when referring to a group.
posted by vraxoin at 3:45 PM on July 17, 2003


Long thread, probably nearing its end, but I wonder about informed consent. It appears from the administration's constantly changing the rationale for war (it's 9/11 . . . no, it's building democracy in the Middle East . . . no, it's weapons of mass destruction . . . no, see, there were all those mass graves) (and, of course, never mentioning oil, and giving their good buddies the Halliburton Corp. no-bid reconstruction contracts) that they knew they wanted to go to war, and offered whatever superficial justification seemed to work at the time. Campaign discourse applied to governing . . .

So why not treat the American public as adults, make an honest case, and go with that? I have yet to hear a 'winger suggest that this would have been the better course. Perhaps the implication is that the public is too impatient, stupid, apathetic, etc., to recognize what the administration in its wisdom knew--that the world would be a better place if we began a war. But what Bush 'n' co. did instead was to treat us all as rubes, and make a decision for us, one that will cost $100-200 billion, in the context of an insupportable deficit and tax cut, on the basis of photo ops and flag waving to pump up (temporarily) the poll numbers.

What's the justification for not laying things out for the public to deliberate about and endorse with our eyes open?

(And y'all has to be plural. No one says "y'all is," right?)
posted by palancik at 3:56 PM on July 17, 2003


Character? Character? CHARACTER?

Bush can't even take the simplest responsibility -- something we hope children learn by the time they enter school -- that of taking responsibility for one's own words and actions.

Here's his press secretary, dressed in his finest weasel costume, continuing the responsibility-ducking on Bush's behalf:

QUESTION: Regardless of whether or not there was pressure from the White House for that line, I'm wondering where does the buck stop in this White House? Does it stop at the CIA, or does it stop in the Oval Office?

Scott McClellan: Again, this issue has been discussed. You're talking about some of the comments that -- some that are --

QUESTION: I'm not talking about anybody else's comments. I'm asking the question, is responsibility for what was in the President's own State of the Union ultimately with the President, or with somebody else?

Scott McClellan: This has been discussed.

QUESTION: So you won't say that the President is responsible for his own State of the Union speech?

Scott McClellan: It's been addressed.

QUESTION: Well, that's an excellent question. That is an excellent question. (Laughter.) Isn't the President responsible for the words that come out of his own mouth?

Scott McClellan: We've already acknowledged, Terry, that it should not have been included in there. I think that the American people appreciate that recognition.

QUESTION: You acknowledge that, but you blame somebody else for it. Is the President responsible for the things that he said in the State of the Union?

Scott McClellan: Well, the intelligence -- you're talking about intelligence that -- sometimes you later learn more information about intelligence that you didn't have previously. But when we're clearing a speech like that, it goes through the various agencies to look at that information and --

QUESTION: And so when there's intelligence in a speech, the President is not responsible for that? Scott McClellan: We appreciate Director Tenet saying that he should have said, take it out.

QUESTION: But it's the President's fault.

Scott McClellan: In fact, if you look back at it, I mean, we did take out a different reference, a reference based on different sources in a previous speech because it was said -- the CIA Director said, take it out.

QUESTION: Let me come back to your "nonsense" statement here, and let me slice it as thinly as I possibly can, just growing out of what Scott asked. Is it nonsense to say that the White House wanted this information included in the State of the Union and negotiated with the CIA to find a way to put it in to the State of the Union?

Scott McClellan: I'm sorry?

QUESTION: Is it nonsense to say that the White House wanted this information in the speech and went through negotiations with the CIA on a way to get it in the speech?

Scott McClellan: That there were discussions? Speech drafts go -- we've stated that these speeches go out to the principals, it goes out to the State, it goes out to DOD, it goes out to CIA, when it's going through the drafting process.

QUESTION: Scott, you said it was "nonsense" to say that the White House was pressuring the CIA to put this in the speech. Is it nonsense to say --

Scott McClellan: I think the question that you asked about was that someone was insisting --

QUESTION: Durbin said, a White House official insisted --

Scott McClellan: -- insisting that it be put in there in an effort to mislead the American people, I think is what --

QUESTION: You didn't explicitly give a motive.

Scott McClellan: And I said I think that's just nonsense.

QUESTION: I'm just trying to slice it a little bit narrowly, to say, is it nonsense to say that the White House wanted this information in the speech and negotiated with the CIA on a way to get it in the speech?

Scott McClellan: Are you asking me to characterize the discussions that occur going on during the speech drafting process? I don't --

QUESTION: I'm saying, does your "nonsense" statement apply to the idea that the White House wanted it in the speech and negotiated with the CIA on a way to get it in the speech?

Scott McClellan: I think that it still goes back to, these drafts go to the various agencies, it goes to the CIA, this is an intelligence matter. It was based on information in the National Intelligence Estimate. That's the consensus document of the intelligence community, and that's what the information was based on in that speech.

QUESTION: So what I asked you about in that speech, your "nonsense" statement --

Scott McClellan: I'm trying to walk you --

QUESTION: You're trying to walk me out the door. (Laughter.)

Scott McClellan: I'm trying to walk you through this.

QUESTION: So your nonsense statement doesn't apply to what I just asked you?

Scott McClellan: I'm trying to walk you through the drafting process. And that's why I was trying to put it in context, so you understand how this occurs.

QUESTION: Scott, on Keith's question, why can't we just expect, basically what would be a non-answer, which is, of course the President is responsible for everything that comes out of his mouth. I mean, that's a non-answer. Why can't you just say that?

Scott McClellan: This issue has been addressed over the last several days.

QUESTION: Why won't you say that, though, that's, like, so innocuous and benign.

Scott McClellan: The issue has been addressed.


Pathetic.

Almost as bad is the "blame it on the liberal press", "tin foil hats" bullshit parroted above in the thread. If you can't attack the message, gnaw at the messenger's kneecaps, right mrmanley?

Let's ask mrmanley here the same question facing the Bush administration. You seem to be willing to blame everyone in Bush's administration but him. Where exactly does the buck stop in Bush's little circus, and what does it say about his character that he can't accept the simplest responsibility: that for his very own words to the American people?
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 4:01 PM on July 17, 2003


what was the point of linking to it if you were going to quote it in its entirety here?
posted by crunchland at 4:12 PM on July 17, 2003


Foldy, just read that (via an earlier thread >Tom Tomorrow's blog).

Also, What Eric Alterman said.
posted by palancik at 4:12 PM on July 17, 2003


Appreciation of foldy's posts is a subjective aesthetic matter.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 4:16 PM on July 17, 2003


fold_and_mutilate:

It's been said before: the simplest way to find out what George W. Bush is going to do is to listen to what he says. He's followed through on every foreign policy aim I can think of. He's even gone forward with some pretty awful domestic programs -- an ill-considered tax cut, and a suicidal spending policy that will beggar the middle-class...but that's a rant for a different thread.

Remember to listen to what he says -- not what the press says, not what Dowd says (God, what a talentless hack), not what the endless pundits, anchors, or editors say. Listen to what George W. Bush says. Then watch him back up his words with deeds.
posted by mrmanley at 4:26 PM on July 17, 2003


As I scroll through this thread reading about the latest political hoo-hah in the US, I realise that the music in the CD player is "Ship of Fools", by The Doors, on their album Morrison Hotel. A couple of places down the track listing is "The Spy".

Heh.
posted by tomcosgrave at 4:37 PM on July 17, 2003


Remember to listen to what he says -- not what the press says, not what Dowd says (God,

Or just listen to what God says, like Bush does.
posted by homunculus at 4:50 PM on July 17, 2003


Remember to listen to what he says


You must have missed the Bush vs. Bush debate. I'll link it here for you're personal pleasure.

Just remember: "Read my lips . . ."
posted by velacroix at 4:51 PM on July 17, 2003


i still blame the nader voters for all of this mess.
posted by centrs at 5:03 PM on July 17, 2003


The word is yins, not y'all, as in "yins guys wanna go diantian & wortch the Stillers beat the shi' adda the worshington crad?"

Re the Novak story, if the outing turns out to be true it's just one more fact that the election-machine riggers will need to adjust for come next November.

This Administration knows no bounds.
posted by cbrody at 5:16 PM on July 17, 2003


While we're nitpicking, can we please abstain from furthering the "tinfoil hat" meme? It's pretty much as useless as calling Godwin--it's like holding your hands over the ears and singing "nanananana i won't listen to you because you're crazy."

Discounting arguments because you happen to think they're too far out is not a legitimate rejoinder.
posted by muckster at 5:30 PM on July 17, 2003


cbrody = yinzer
posted by arco at 5:46 PM on July 17, 2003


Thanks for the press conference quote, fold_and_mutilate. I hadn't seen that. Wow, it looks like maybe some of the press have found their balls now that Ari the Worm is gone. Hallelujah.
posted by rushmc at 6:08 PM on July 17, 2003


"Asked if he would take personal responsibility for the words in his own speech, Bush said, 'I take responsibility for putting our troops into action.'" -- CNN
posted by kirkaracha at 6:20 PM on July 17, 2003


After all it is surely the prerogative of our Supreme Leader to say the buck stops wherever he wants it to stop.
posted by cbrody at 6:49 PM on July 17, 2003


Hey stavros - remember that wind I toldja about a while back? Open a window. I think it's here.

I hope you're right, mate, I sincerely do.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:28 PM on July 17, 2003


I can't believe I scrolled all the way through that and didn't find mcsweetie's Part Three.

Damn.
posted by yhbc at 7:40 PM on July 17, 2003


mr manley - Tell you what -- if we haven't found unambiguous chemical and/or biological weapons in Iraq within six months of today, I will post an admission that I was wrong to you on whatever forum you desire. If we do find such weapons, I expect you to post an admission that you were wrong.

Fair enough?
--------
Second, I'll apologize if the WMD's don't show up -- never fear. I'm not worried because I'm quite confident that the WMDs are indeed in Iraq and will be found in due time. (Whether they'll satisfy your bulk-lot requirements is another matter, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.)

6 months? How about approximately 120 days?

You know, like the amount of time we gave Hans Blix & his UN inspectors to find the WMD.

Now *thats* fair.
posted by romakimmy at 8:10 PM on July 17, 2003


Christ, watching Republicans defend Bush on these threads is like seeing an eight year-old child try to ignore you, with their hands over their ears, screaming at the top of their lungs, "LA-LA-LA... I'M NOT LISTENING!"
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:51 PM on July 17, 2003


how to have a political debate on mefi: part three

FPP: Bushies are a bunch of psychopathic lying hypocritical bastards

Poster 1: Wait a minute. Are you sure?

Poster 2: Yes.

Poster 3: This place is nothing but a Chomskyite cabal. I'm leaving!
[To reconsider my whole deluded perspective on life]

With apologies to mcsweetie, mrmanley, ParisParamus, 111, all intelligent Republicans everywhere (you don't still support Bush do you?), etc...
posted by cbrody at 8:53 PM on July 17, 2003


Hmm. This page lists a Valerie Plame Smith as someone researching Ukranian geneology. Any relation? (I suppose I could ask... an e-mail address is listed.)
posted by pzarquon at 10:45 PM on July 17, 2003


y'all can be used as a singlar. No, you would not use 'is' with it anymore then you would use 'is' when using 'they' as a singular.
posted by delmoi at 12:56 AM on July 18, 2003


Butbut, if it's singular, it takes a singular verb, right? If it's plural, it takes a plural verb. My car is / My cars are.

Or try the pronoun test: My car = it. My cars = they.

Damn postmodernists.
posted by palancik at 3:56 AM on July 18, 2003


Butbut, if it's singular, it takes a singular verb, right?

It takes the singular verb associated with "you". You wouldn't say "you is", so you wouldn't say "y'all is". You would say "you are"--even if you're talking about a singular "you"--so you say "y'all are".
posted by jpoulos at 8:26 AM on July 18, 2003


Is payback a Bush administration pattern here? Drudging up personal details? ABC's Jerry Kofman recently filed a story about low troop morale in Iraq, and Drudge was subsequently tipped off to Kofman's being both gay and Canadian (the horrors!):

Yesterday Drudge told us he was unaware of the ABC story until "someone from the White House communications shop tipped me to it" along with a profile of Kofman in the gay-oriented magazine the Advocate.
posted by madamjujujive at 8:35 AM on July 18, 2003


Gay and Canadian?

[stonerose, made aware of this compound sin, slinks from room, shamefaced...]
posted by stonerose at 8:37 AM on July 18, 2003


Only movie actors poorly impersonating southerners ever use y'all in the singular.
posted by muckster at 12:39 PM on July 18, 2003


Traditionally, "y'all" was used as the 2nd person plural case (like the Spanish "vosotros," more informal than using "you" plural, or perhaps just to distinguish from "you" singular). I think now there is probably some regional variation, though, with some people using it in the singular. This usage, of course, is technically incorrect. But then, so is the original plural usage. Ain't language fun?
posted by rushmc at 5:43 PM on July 18, 2003


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