Murray Waas is the new Bob Woodward
April 10, 2006 9:52 AM   Subscribe

Murray Waas is the new Bob Woodward. An opposing view. Wuh-duh-yuh-bet most Americans will be much more interested in this story?
posted by spock (27 comments total)
Lost, for free?
posted by Plutor at 10:01 AM on April 10, 2006

Eh, proprietary tech to make you watch the commercials. Think I will stick to bit torrent, thanks. Who is Bob Woodward again?
posted by JeremyT at 10:24 AM on April 10, 2006

What do you bet that if you glanced at the polls between downloading episodes of Lost, you'd notice that Bush's popularity is deep in the shitter and plunging fast, even among Republicans?

The chorus of people yammering on about how no one in the US cares about Iraq, no one cares about Plame, and so forth, have become more of the problem than the alleged apathy itself, which was washed considerably away when the levees breached in New Orleans.

Murray Waas is a brilliant reporter. The fact that the author of "the opposing view" implies that Woodward's coverage of the Watergate scandal is a prime example of "gotchya" (sic) journalism is all you need to know. What does that guy think the press is for -- broadcasting RNC press releases?
posted by digaman at 10:27 AM on April 10, 2006

A useful index of Waas's stories.
posted by digaman at 10:31 AM on April 10, 2006

An alternative link to the (full article?) "even among Republicans" AP story digaman alluded to above
posted by spock at 10:39 AM on April 10, 2006

Rick Moran:
What if prior to the invasion, the Bush Administration was roiled in a policy dispute between elements at the CIA and national security hawks in the White House and Department of Defense? What if this policy dispute got so contentious that the White House lost faith in what the intelligence community was telling it about Iraq?
Umm, none of this is hypothetical. We know there was a dispute between the CIA and the White House, because the CIA was telling the truth and not what the White House wanted to hear. That's why Scooter and Shooter pressured the CIA to try to influence the intelligence.
And what if, following the revelations about Saddam's lack of WMD, elements at the CIA worked to exact revenge on the Administration by illegally leaking cherry-picked analyses at odds with what the Administration had been telling the American people?
Oh, so it's the CIA that cherry-picks information? The Bush administration leaked information they cherry-picked from the October 2002 National Intelliegence Estimate on Iraq to support their claims that Iraq had tried to procure uranium, even though the reports had been disproven months before the leak. This whole line of argument might have some credibility if Iraq had had any WMD, but they didn't.

From the Fox story: "Nearly four out of five Americans, including 70 percent of Republicans, believe civil war will break out in Iraq." I wonder if they're asking anyone if they believe Iraq is already in a civil war.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:00 AM on April 10, 2006

Thanks for that additional link, spock. The first time I clicked it, the entire article came up with no reg required.
posted by digaman at 11:32 AM on April 10, 2006

What does that guy think the press is for -- broadcasting RNC press releases?

not just that, come on, you're being too harsh. they also reprint INC press releases, too!
posted by matteo at 11:33 AM on April 10, 2006

“This whole line of argument might have some credibility if Iraq had had any WMD, but they didn't.”

Aha! But what about the yellowcake?

The new paradigm seems to be pure Machiavellian - Rove’s influence I think. There is no subject that is not political.

Even - or ‘particularly’ one might say - facts.

Within that sphere, any internal argument might hold water. Perhaps if ‘X’ occured then ‘Y’.
So perhaps if the moon was suddenly made of green Edam cheese, there would be a shift in the tidal pattern because cheese has a different density than rock. We can then argue that opponants theories about Gorganzola are complete B.S. and only exist because of Mr. Wallace’s connection to the Cheddar cabal.

More simply - ‘the facts’ aren’t the issue. As long as we’re arguing within a political perspective about ‘the facts,’ then ‘the facts’ themselves don’t matter.
To wit: “Because in the end, in order to find the truth of the matter, you have to understand the motivating factors of both sides.”

We can see the moon isn’t made of cheese, and in much the same way we can see the difference in the tides if it was.

While we can’t see the lack of WMDs (that is - physically see) we can see the difference in events if they were there - e.g. other nations didn’t join in the attack, they weren’t used on U.S. troops, etc. etc.

Even if the moon is in fact made of a kind of cheese that mimics rock perfectly and is camoflaged by gray dust (hiding the green) it makes no difference. You have to act as though the moon is rock and other considerations are irrelevent.

This is the point that the media trips itself up - it’s interesting to explore those other considerations because of the drama.
Like a soap opera - he said this but he’s actually doing that and cheating on her, the other one’s motivations are ‘x’ - etc.
None of that actually matters (except for the entertainment value).
Indeed even the WMDs don’t ultimately make a difference - the big question is - was there a threat from Iraq?

Obviously there wasn’t.

What’s interesting is the politicization process is itself being poltiticized.

Assigning blame and finding motivations is one of the most interesting things in crime stories.
But it is not at all relevent to solving the crime.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:45 AM on April 10, 2006

You had me at "Gorganzola".
posted by spock at 11:47 AM on April 10, 2006

Wuh-duh-yuh-bet most Americans will be much more interested in this story?

Well, I will. Lost is brilliant sci-fi/fantasy. Woodward's credibility has been under siege in media trade pubilcations for years.
posted by transona5 at 12:02 PM on April 10, 2006

Murray Waas is the new Bob Woodward Bernstein.

Woodward was the much lesser of the two during Watergate and he's still not much.
posted by nofundy at 12:18 PM on April 10, 2006

Hey, Rick!

posted by bashos_frog at 1:10 PM on April 10, 2006

Republican logic: If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck and quacks like a duck - it's probably a...Hey look over there! It's a couple of gay immigrants trying to get into the country so they can get married, adopt children and turn them into gay atheists!!!
posted by any major dude at 1:13 PM on April 10, 2006

posted by forforf at 2:13 PM on April 10, 2006

oh come on bashos_frog how stupid do you have to be to get tricked into visiting a warehouse on North Clark Street on the pretext of buying some bargain hijacked bootleg whiskey by Jack 'Machine Gun' McGurn?
If the Morans had any brains they’d never been massacred on Valentine’s Day.’s kind of weird for that slack jawed yokel to be deriding them, and I’m not sure how that ties into language centers...still, bonehead play.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:31 PM on April 10, 2006

Maybe the sign is signed. "Get a brain! Morans."
posted by kirkaracha at 3:10 PM on April 10, 2006

Or perhaps they misspelled 'Brian'.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:27 PM on April 10, 2006

Conspiracy Theories Prove Administration Innocent

news at 11
posted by Sparx at 9:11 PM on April 10, 2006

That Moran piece is deeply malign:

what he discovered while in Niger (which to this day is a matter of fierce dispute

Oh, yes, you'd like it to be in deep dispute, wouldn't ya? But it isn't. We spent millions of dollars looking for the WMDs, and I hear Bush even checked his own office, to make completely sure. To anyone who believed that this narrative was a paramount trump making the case for Iraq {raises hand} ... this argument is lost. Give it up, Rick.

"facts" ... "evidence"

Ricky, m'boy, they are facts and evidence. Try making the scare quotes extra bold, taht might help.

Waas has missed the knife sticking out of the back of the Bush Administration

Mein Gott! Nicht der Dolchstoss! Really, the right-wing noise machine has been shopping around this "knife in the back" theory for several weeks already. You'd think Moran would be smart enough not to actually articulate it in the very words that bring to mind the most obvious historical corollary -- but then, the neo-cons have always been somewhat dull when it comes to recalling historical precedents. I fear that -- similar to the AUH2O bumper stickers that weren't covered up until Reagan ran in '76 -- Bush is going to have his little claque of defenders for years running, their theme song "Bush Was Right!".

the CIA who, unelected though they were, took it upon themselves to first try and prevent the execution of United States policy they were sworn to carry out, and failing that, trying to destroy

Wait, did he just say the CIA is supposed to tailor its intelligence to fit policy? Jesus Christ on a stick, I thought he did.

I imagine that there might be something about the DCI responsibilities in the US code, and as it happens (pure happenstance!) there is:

(a) Provision of intelligence
(1) Under the direction of the National Security Council, the Director of Central Intelligence shall be responsible for providing national intelligence--
(2) Such national intelligence should be timely, objective, independent of political considerations, and based upon all sources available to the intelligence community.

Jesus. They can't fucking stop lying if they're wasting away in the fucking desert.

How can anyone possibly understand the motivations, the actions, or the thinking in the White House during this crucial time without taking into account the war being conducted against them by the CIA?

Here we have a nice rhetorical trick. The White House believes itself at war with those who would destroy us, to wit, Osama and Saddam. By the way, the CIA is also "at war" with us and must be treated accordingly.

Now, one could say that Moran was trying to describe the WH bunker mentality. But he didn't put it that way. There's nothing softening the claim: "that they thought ...", "rhetorical ..." Moran actually says the CIA was conducting war against the White House. It's the Republicans, I thought, who went around making farting noises whenever somebody makes an argument they consider "moral equivalence" -- but Moran shows no compunctions here about making an equivalence between the CIA and our mortal enemies.

This is just the set-up.

And what if, following the revelations about Saddam’s lack of WMD, elements at the CIA worked to exact revenge on the Administration by illegally leaking cherry-picked analyses at odds with what the Administration had been telling the American people?

Now he's trying desperately to turn the tables: it was the CIA who was engaged in a campaign of "illegal" (hey, scare quotes are fun, Rick loves them) leaks. It's a huge hand-wave, of course, because what the CIA was leaking was the truth and what the White House was leaking was the lies. That's sort of, you might say, why these analyses were at "odds". I'm finding that reality -- evolution, Katrina, the civil war -- seems to be something Republicans have a particularly hard time digesting.

The implication, of course, is that Moran -- and the White House -- expect not just that the CIA will be subordinate to policy, but so will the facts. It's kind of a fun mind-fuck if you think about it.

Howard Fineman of Newsweek lays out some of this history: The “we-can-use Saddam” faction held the upper hand right up to the moment he invaded Kuwait a decade ago. Until then, the administration of Bush One (with its close CIA ties) had been hoping to talk sense with Saddam. Indeed, the last American to speak to Saddam before the war was none other than Joe Wilson

Set-up, and punch-line. See, Joe Wilson is a pal of Saddam. They're old chums, in fact. All those guys at the CIA, they like-a the Saddam.

That history is one reason why, in the eyes of the anti-Saddam crowd

Just to remind you that there was a great and mighty purpose behind wanting to invade Iraq, and all who supported the President can share in the afterglow of knowing they were, you know, anti-Saddam.

(Does the fact that they see all these things in personality terms -- anti-Saddam, "Bush Derangement Syndrome" -- indicate anything about the depth of thought or -- to be fair -- rhetoric?)

The reason for the formation of this group according to the CIA was to shape and manipulate intelligence to give the Administration a false justification for going to war against Saddam.

Ah, here we are again. Denying the reality that the justification has been empirically shown to be false gives Moran another opportunity to try to switch the foot on which the shoe is.

And this is especially true when, during the months leading up to the 2004 election, we witnessed what can only be termed an attempted coup by the very same faction at the CIA who had been fighting the Administration in the lead up to the war.

You know, I might think that Mr. Moran has CIA Derangement Syndrome, but I can't tie it to a specific person, so let's call it Wilson Derangement Syndrome. See, they were attempting a coup -- using voters. Millions and millions of voters.

We really have to defend the country against that sort of thing.

Doesn't Moran realize how clearly his elitism shines at moments like this?

We hope he appreciates that he now has two insurgencies to defeat: the one that the CIA is struggling to help put down in Iraq, and the other inside Langley against the Bush Administration. [WSJ editorial]

Again, here we have truth-tellers being equated with our enemies. To be charitable, perhaps Moran got this from a distrustful Mainstream Media source. Those MSM people wearing their "suits" and "filing stories" from their "newsrooms" are really hysterical and over-the-top at times, don't you think?

Their latest improvised explosive political device

Just to drive the nail of this metaphor home, of course.

But to posit the notion that the Wilson/Plame imbroglio took place in a vacuum and was a matter of sheer “revenge” is lunacy.

Wait a minute. Moran has just written an entire article asserting that they were engaged in a program of revenge. Well, he doesn't call it that, but it's clear as day. Is this one of those semiotics things where the form of the message undermines the content of the message?

the curious reluctance on the part of both the mainstream press and the New Media to face up to the consequences of CIA perfidy

Dolchstoss. Just use the word. It has a nice guttural ring to it. French-Norman words like "perfidy" just sound prissy.
posted by dhartung at 10:44 PM on April 10, 2006

Damn, I cut-and-pasted out one of the more amazing pirouettes (Fineman at Newseek again):

But, as a diplomat, he didn’t want the Americans to “march all the way to Baghdad.” Cheney, always a careful bureaucrat, publicly supported the decision. Wilson was for repelling a tyrant who grabbed land, but not for regime change by force.

See, when they were deciding whether to invade Iraq back in '91, they checked with the charge d'affaires first. He didn't like it, so the Secretary of Defense, knowing that there was no way he could win a bureaucratic fight with the assistant diplomat in charge of -- once we closed our embassy -- jack shit. That check of our advance? The generals wanted to do it! SECDEF wanted to do it! Maybe even Bar wanted to do it. But gosh, Joe Wilson stopped them.

It's a mini-dolchstoss reconceptualizing of Gulf War I, in two sentences.

This trip inside the psychedelic right-wing mind is not endorsed by the FDA and may have long-lasting effects. Please check with your doctor if you experience symptoms such as shaking, sweating, or simply feeling dumbfounded.
posted by dhartung at 10:54 PM on April 10, 2006

Great take down dhartung! You de' man!
Keep this great work up and matteo will want to have your babies!
posted by nofundy at 6:40 AM on April 11, 2006

I thought it was President Bush's father who didn't want to "march all the way to Baghdad."
"I'll never forget," he said, when Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Colin Powell "came over and said it was time to end the fighting -- mission accomplished. I said, 'Do [Gen. Norman] Schwarzkopf and the commanders agree.'"
And would Moran put Bush 1.0 and Reagan and Rumsfeld and Cheney in the 'we-can-use Saddam' faction?

Wilson was for repelling a tyrant who grabbed land, but not for regime change by force.

Repelling a tyrant who grabbed land was endorsed by the United Nations and supported by the UN Charter. Regime change by force would have been illegal under the UN Charter (and, by extension, US law). This is not an unusual position for a diplomat to take.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:47 AM on April 11, 2006

Pretty much spot on, kirkaracha -- but of course Moran knows that. It's why he resorts to such a mendacious hand-wave. The idea that Joe Wilson somehow got the office-politics drop on Cheney is preposterous, as is the idea that he was the primary supporter of that position. Christ almighty, his boss was James Baker, who knows where all the bodies are buried hairs on every Bush ass are.

But it's necessary to circle the wagons around the idea that they hope they can still rhetorically defend -- the Saddam was a bad man angle. And Bush-Cheney were "anti-Saddam", you see. It helps set up an unspoken, unarticulated (because he knows he can't say it explicitly) Joe Wilson was pro-Saddam motif. It's almost poetic in its structure, but it's a smear of the worst kind.

In reality, who wasn't anti-Saddam? But Moran needs desperately to discredit Wilson and the CIA; it's astonishing the depths to which he'll stoop here.
posted by dhartung at 9:11 AM on April 11, 2006

Nice dissection of the moves.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:21 AM on April 11, 2006

I was hoping that someone might notice that my post on Murray Waas as Woodward for now does not even mention Joe Wilson or Valerie Plame. It's about who's reporting the biggest story in town: "what really went down as the Bush team drove deceptively to war, and later tried to conceal how bad the deception—and decision-making—had been."

What happened to Valerie Plame is one small part of that (very big) story, but Rick Moran wants to argue about Wilson. Meanwhile, Waas keeps moving closer and closer.
posted by Jay Rosen at 7:28 PM on April 11, 2006

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