“You could almost see their dicks getting hard as they got new ideas."
A Vanity Fair
reporter investigates the chain of command that tossed out the Geneva Conventions and instituted coercive interrogation techniques -- some might call them torture or even war crimes
-- in Bush's Global War on Terror. UC Berkeley law professor John Yoo's now-obsolete 81-page memo to the Pentagon in 2003 [available as PDFs here and here
] was crucial, offering a broad range of legal justifications and deniability for disregarding international law in the name of "self-defense."
that Yoo was just making "a clear point about the limits of Congress to intrude on the executive branch in its exercise of duties as Commander in Chief." [previously here
: In opening arguments today
in the Plame investigation perjury case against Vice President Cheney's former Chief of Staff I. Lewis Libby, the prosecutor portrayed Libby as an agent of a Cheney-driven media offensive
. Perhaps the biggest surprise of the day came from Libby's attorney, who portrayed his client as a White House-chosen scapegoat for Karl Rove's misdeeds
. A conservative reporter saw in Libby's emerging defense a "dramatic split inside the Bush White House
." An MSNBC host asked whether
this hullabaloo could lead to Cheney's resignation.
Background on the case. Liveblogging of today's arguments from an anti-administration perspective.
Now they tell us.
Neocon hindsight is 20/20. War architect Richard Perle
on invading Iraq, 2002: "We have no time to lose, and I think the president understands that and it's probably taken too long already, but I don't think it'll be much longer... Support for Saddam, including within his military organization, will collapse at the first whiff of gunpowder.... Now, it isn't going to be over in 24 hours, but it isn't going to be months either
." Four years later: "If I had been delphic, and had seen where we are today, and people had said, 'Should we go into Iraq?,' I think now I probably would have said, 'No, let's consider other strategies'... Could we have managed that threat by means other than a direct military intervention? Well, maybe we could have."
"I'm not here for the Iraqis. I'm here for George Bush."
How the reconstruction of Iraq was bungled by inexperienced staffers and officials who passed the GOP's loyalty test -- including their views on Roe v. Wade. A WashPost excerpt from Rajiv Chandrasekaran's new exposé Imperial Life in the Emerald City
. (Corruption in Iraq previously discussed here.)
The new GOP buzzword: Fascism.
President Bush in recent days has recast the global war on terror into a "war against Islamic fascism
." Fascism, in fact, seems to be the new buzz word for Republicans in an election season dominated by an unpopular war in Iraq. Donald H. Rumsfeld in a speech to an American Legion convention in Salt Lake City said [of his critics, they are] trying to appease "a new type of fascism."
Before it was
"cut and run
", which was tested using a focus group. On the Senate floor, Sen Hagel earlier decried the tactic: "Focus Group-Tested Buzz Words…Like ‘Cut and Run’…Debase the Seriousness of War." What will they come up with next?
The practical future of the country formerly known as Iraq.
[NewsFilter, but a significant acknowledgement of something long-in-coming.]
Majority Leader Boehner’s Confidential Strategy Memo For Thursday’s Iraq Debate
On Thursday, the House of Representatives will hold a debate on the Iraq war. Media reports say Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) “hopes to match the serious, dignified tone of deliberation that preceded the Gulf war, in 1991.”
ThinkProgress has obtained a “Confidential Messaging Memo” from Boehner instructing his caucus to conduct a very different kind of deliberation. Here’s a quick summary:
Former GOP senior strategist Kevin Phillips wrote the political Bible of the New Right, The Emerging Republican Majority
. He coined the term "Sun Belt." He voted for Reagan twice and still considers himself a staunch Republican. But now Phillips, the author of a new book called American Theocracy
, is warning that the party of George Bush and Karl Rove ("W brand Republicans," in the phrase of GOP pollster Jan van Lohuizen) has become "God's own party
" -- the champion of a convergence of "petroleum-defined national security; a crusading, simplistic Christianity; and a reckless credit-feeding financial complex." Phillips also cautions that the W-brand party's "sense of how to win elections comes out of a CIA manual
, not out of the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution." [Phillips was also discussed here
"It has become clear that official intelligence was not relied on
in making even the most significant national security decisions, that intelligence was misused publicly to justify decisions already made, that damaging ill will developed between [Bush] policymakers and intelligence officers, and that the intelligence community's own work was politicized," writes former CIA official Paul Pillar, coordinator of U.S. intelligence on the Middle East until 2005, in an article soon to appear in Foreign Affairs
, hardly a radical rag. More confirmation that Seymour Hersh was right about the administration "cherry-picking" intelligence
to justify a foregone conclusion to go to war in Iraq.
Q - Mr. Secretary, on Iraq, how much money do you think the Department of Defense would need to pay for a war with Iraq?
Rumsfeld - Well, the Office of Management and Budget, has come up come up with a number that's something under $50 billion for the cost. How much of that would be the U.S. burden, and how much would be other countries, is an open question.
The estimated cost to US taxpayers of the Iraq war to date is $250 billion and rising, or $100,000 per minute. Total cost of the Bush doctrine of spreading "democracy" since September 11th -- half a trillion dollars
, or nearly the cost of the 13 years of the Vietnam War, adjusted for inflation. What else could we have done with that kind of money
? Also see here
"I learned this week
that on December 6, Bush summoned Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger and executive editor Bill Keller to the Oval Office in a futile attempt to talk them out of running the story
..." President Bush really
did not want journalists to reveal his NSA spying program against Americans [discussed here
.] And in yesterday's rare press conference
, the President said: "An open debate about law would say to the enemy, 'Here's what we're going to do.' And this is an enemy which adjusts... Any public hearings on programs will say to the enemy, 'Here's what they do. Adjust.' This is a war." Neocon guru William Kristol argues
that talk of Bush being an "imperial" president" is "demagogic" and "irresponsible" since "Congress has the right and the ability to judge whether President Bush has in fact used his executive discretion soundly." What is the role of "open debate" in a war against terror that may last for decades?
Bush in the Bubble. Newsweek's
analysis of the man who is possibly "the most isolated president in modern history."
"Brat Pack" - the twentysomething Young Republicans who are running Iraq's economy.
Their resumes all pulled from the conservative think-tank Heritage Foundation, they came to Iraq with no experience and found themselves with six-figure salaries managing the $13 billion budget of the Coalition Provisional Authority. An amazing article from The Washington Post
that reads like the scariest season of MTV's The Real World
GOP Warns TV Stations Not to Air Ad Alleging Bush Mislead the Nation Over Iraq
They claim that the ad itself
is dishonest, and cite the obligation of broadcast outlets to be free of misleading information. “Such obligations must be taken seriously. This letter puts you on notice that the information contained in the above-cited advertisement is false and misleading; therefore, you are obligated to refrain from airing this advertisement.”
Despite the implicit threats, only one station has refused to run the ad, a Fox station.
Gore questions timing of Iraq concern
Is it proper to invade Iraq? This would be an unprecedented move for the US military as Iraq has not attacked the US anyone the US has defense treaties with.
"Republican National Committee spokesman Jim Dyke called Gore's comments "irresponsible."
"This is no time to attack the president or Republicans for their handling of the war for political gain," he said."
Hmmm..so he admits the Iraqi attack IS for partisan political gain, eh? I would have never suspected it.
CNN Chief orders "balance" in war coverage.
Earlier this year, CNN Chief Walter Isaacson got chummy with GOP lawmakers and begged them for tips
on how to attract more conservative viewers. Next, he tried to bring Rush Limbaugh to CNN
. Now he's issued a memo to his reporters, urging them "to balance images of civilian devastation in Afghan cities with reminders that the Taliban harbors murderous terrorists, saying it "seems perverse to focus too much on the casualties or hardship in Afghanistan." Is this "balance", or is he urging CNN to gloss over the realities of what is happening in Afghanistan?