Hawks and the Plame Affair

This is not the sort of topic I usually write about. However, while surfing tonight I found hawk blogger claims on this topic so off base that I felt compelled to respond. In short, hawks are now convinced that Bush did not lie about the uranium claim in the 2003 SOTU and that Valerie Plame was outed accidentally in an attempt to discredit Wilson, rather than as revenge against him. Glenn Reynolds offers this passage from a Chicago Sun-Times article by Marc Steyn, apparently to sum up his own opinion on the matter: Bush didn't LIE!!!! He was right, and the CIA were wrong. That doesn't mean they LIED!!!! Intelligence is never 100 percent. You make a judgment, and in this instance the judgments of the British and Europeans were right, and the judgment of the principal intelligence agency of the world's hyperpower was wrong. OK--let's actually look at the passage that Josh Marshall and others have always claimed was a lie:
The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa. Now, here is an AP article on the recent Senate report that supposedly justifies Bush's statement:
French and British intelligence separately told the United States about possible Iraqi attempts to buy uranium in the African nation of Niger, the report said. In the 2003 SOTU, Bush told the country that Iraq sought uranium from Africa. However, the report that has supposedly exonerated him only mentions "possible Iraqi attempts to buy uranium." Not only did he exaggerate the certainty of the event, he always threw in "significant quantities" as pure speculation. Intentional exaggeration coupled with pure speculation sounds like a lie to me. There is no way to deduce a truth-value of "true" for Bush's statement from the Senate Intelligence report.

The other main claim is that the administration outed Plame not as a means of punishing Wilson, but instead in order to respond to questions about how Wilson got the job investigating the Niger claims in the first place. However, in the same article that Glenn Reynolds links as the best roundup of the collapse of Joe Wilson's credibility there is the following paragraph:

My reading of 50 U.S.C. sec. 421 suggests that even if Administration officials identified and leaked Plame's name as a way of responding to queries about how Wilson--who admits that he did little in Niger except "drinking sweet mint tea and meeting with dozens of people"--a crime may still have been committed. So, even those trying to tear down the argument admit that the administration is probably still guilty of criminal activity in outing Plame. I am not a lawyer, but I'll just go ahead and concur with the hawks on this one.

In summary, Bush still lied and the administration is still probably criminally culpable for outing Plame. As for the rest of the hawk commentary on these new revelations, it is devoted entirely to trashing Wilson's character. To that I simply respond, "whatever." Whether Wilson is a partisan hack or a professional of the highest order ultimately has nothing to do with this case, because Bush still lied about uranium in order to go to war and a high crime, possibly treasonous, was still probably committed by the Bush administration against Valerie Plame. Then again, as I write this I am drinking Green tea, so I must not be credible.

More Libertarian GOP Angst

Today, Andrew Sullivan posted a letter that seems to imply his support for Kerry-Edwards in 2004. Apart from the continuing, perplexing hatred of Hillary Clinton that it demonstrates, it also reveals libertarian disgust with the current state of the GOP and raises the important question of what happens to the GOP if November is a Democratic sweep:Andrew, like all of us you deserve a party that represents faithfully at least most of your political philosophy. Right now that might not be either major party, but it could be the GOP if it is forced to engage in a real internal debate about its future and direction. In other words, a Kerry-Edwards win in 2004 might force the GOP to decide what it wants to be.... Only faced with a loss in November will the GOP have the opportunity to have this dialogue.... But if Bush wins there is no chance that anyone will stop to ask the hard questions. The contradictions and the fissures will simply be papered over and the Santorums will continue their triumphal march, smug and unchecked. The Pew poll in the previous entry showed that nearly half of moderate and liberal Republicans are not satisfied with Bush as the Republican nominee. It is not hard to imagine why, since rampant spending and disregard for civil rights are antithetical to libertarian values and hallmarks of the Ch--I mean Bush--Presidency.

Shame on Republicans, Help Cegalis beat Hyde

What the House Democratics did yesterday is something we'd all like to see more often in response to these shenanigans:House Republicans used an extra-long vote to derail a drive to weaken the USA Patriot Act, handing a campaign-season victory to President Bush and angering Democrats and GOP conservatives who led the unsuccessful effort.

``You win some, and some get stolen,'' said conservative Rep. C.L. Butch Otter, R-Idaho.

He was a lead sponsor of the provision that would have prevented authorities from using the anti-terrorism law to demand information on book buyers and library users.

The proposal, which had drawn a veto threat from the White House, was defeated 210-210, with a majority needed to prevail. House GOP leaders extended what is normally a 15-minute roll call by 23 additional minutes. That was enough to persuade about 10 Republicans to switch their votes to no, including Rep. Zach Wimp, R-Tenn.

Wimp said he changed his vote after being shown Justice Department documents asserting that terrorists have communicated over the Internet via public library computers. "This new world we live in is going to force us to have some constraints," Wamp said.

As the amendment's prospects shifted to defeat from an apparent victory, Democrats chanted, "Shame, shame, shame."

(click on image for link)

What a bunch of wussys these Republicans are; and most of them are tired old fat-ass white males like Henry Hyde, the Republican representative from Illinois.

Republicans in the majority, like Hyde, say "we have the votes; we don't need them" to the Democrats in the minority.  To that the Democratics must demand equal representation. Demand an end to Republican-only rule.  No more holding votes open for hours while they bribe the necessary votes.  No more conference committees without Democrats.  Cease shutting out contrary opinions.  And the militant enforcement of hard-right, social conservative positions and over-the-top snooping has to stop.

Wanna help?

Then go the website of Christine Cegalis. She wants to beat Henry Hyde, one of the Republicans most responsible for the one-party rule system in the House, help her boot Hyde out.

Frightened Conservatives, Self-Confident Liberals

It's not often that I read, much less quote the National Review, but the opening paragraphs of Rockefeller Republicans by Kate O'Beirne are worth a look:The lineup of primetime speakers at the Republican Convention predictably reflects its New York location by giving prominent spots to the hosts, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Governor George Pataki. But those enjoying the coveted spotlight also pay tribute to New York's former Governor Nelson Rockefeller. Joining the hosts will be other mavericks and dissidents who represent a minority in Ronald Reagan's GOP. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Arizona's Senator John McCain, and California's Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger will all be at the primetime podium. The only announced speaker who actually agrees with President Bush on major issues is Democratic Senator Zell Miller of Georigia.

The decision to showcase rogue elephants as representatives of the modern Republican party is not the mark of a self-confident party establishment. If the lineup is intended to make an overwhelmingly conservative party attractive to swing voters, it does so by pretending to be something it's not. The Republican party seems to habitually internalize the criticisms of its opponents. When the only Reagan Republican to enjoy a prominent supporting role at the party's convention is a Democrat, the GOP has a serious identity problem. The Kerry-Edwards ticket is liberal. The Boston convention will not be featuring Louisiana senator John Breaux in an attempt to pretend otherwise.

Where do conservatives get off complaining about a liberal media when their own damn party is too afraid of the way conservative beliefs are viewed by America as a whole to actually make a case for them on national TV? Reading something like this, I have to believe that liberalism is on the ascendancy.

Playing the Saddam Mugshot Card

And... as expected, the Republicans will attempt to move up the trial of Saddam before the November election. Bush was "just listening" (insert smirk)."Now that the WMD argument has been shot down, the freedom argument is the salient one," said a top GOP source.

The current timetable for the new Iraqi government would put Saddam on trial sometime next year, but Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) discussed with President Bush and Vice President Cheney last week moving up the schedule to late next month.

Specter described the reaction of Bush and Cheney to his proposal as "just listening," but he has prepared a Senate resolution calling for a speedier trial to be introduced when Congress returns from recess later this month.

"To try Saddam would put a lot of other issues in perspective," Specter said, and let Republicans argue the war was fought mainly to topple a hated dictator and free the Iraqi people.

Late next month, August?  Like just after the Olympics, and just before the GOP convention (which is already timed to paparazzi into 9/11), sure, TV will like it there (thinks Rove).

 

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