Skip to content

Posts from the ‘Colin Powell’ Category

HYPOCRISY AND HUBRIS

“A pitiful week, which found Colin Powell apologizing for a fraudulent State Department report on terrorism that suffered from shockingly wrong statistics and apparent, er, printing problems”

BY JOHN TULLY
THE LOS ANGELES SUN
Jan. 25 2005

There are weeks on that tiny hill full of impressive buildings and important people when swirling winds truly collide. Halfway through 2004, the June sun was shining, the war was spiraling out of control, and nobody except maybe Joe Biden had the faintest trace of a viable plan to stop digging the hole .

It had been an extraordinary few days, one which brought William Jefferson Clinton back to the limelight that he loves so much. The former president’s book tour received a curious mixture of scoffing and slathering from the networks while they just about ignored a visit from the Special Prosecutor to the Oval Office, He was there to find out who gave Bob Novak the identity of C.I.A. agent Valerie Plame, which ruined her long undercover career.

A pitiful week, which found Colin Powell apologizing for a fraudulent State Department report on terrorism that suffered from shockingly wrong statistics and apparent, er, printing problems. The original report stated that terrorism acts in the world against America, for the year 2003, had gone down.

It hadn’t .

Terrorism acts actually went up for the year; what do you know? It turned out that they had only looked at part of the year and in fact attacks were up by a record amount.

A typical week, as the Vice-President was given a break by the Supreme Court when it sent the now infamous lawsuit about his energy policy meetings back down to the lower courts.

As usual the mainstream media got lost in the shuffle about Ken Lay and Big Oil running energy policy. Forgotten once again was the release in 2003 of curious Energy Task-Force documents that contained detailed Iraqi oil field maps, pipelines and terminals, and a list of “Foreign Suitors of Iraqi Oil Field Contracts”.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, it had been a long week for Congressman Henry Waxman who called for a Select House committee to investigate the abuses at a prison named Abu-Ghraib after weeks of outright stonewalling by the administration.

A partial and select document dump of memos late on a Tuesday evening by the White House, showed that the President had approved a document on February 7, 2002 approving a new set of interrogation techniques that fall outside the law of the Geneva Convention and could be used in future conflicts.

Now, six months later, the fellow who cleared those torture memos will be our new Attorney General, the head of the C.I.A. who claimed the intelligence about Iraq’s imminent threat was a “slam dunk” gets a medal, and the President’s adviser on national security for the past four years and two failed wars gets to head up the State Department.

Oy that Bush….

We Were So Naive

2005 THE LOS ANGELES SUN

An Open Letter To: People Who Thought This War Was a Good Idea.

A LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

An Open Letter to:
People who thought this war was a good idea.
Subtitle: You know who you are.


JUNE 19 2004

You don’t get to sneer about how the evidence was there.

You don’t get to scoff about how even Bill Clinton, Germany and France thought there were WMD’s.

You don’t get to shriek about media-elite liberals just Bush-hating, conspiracy theorists whining about Halliburton, and Saddam gassing his own people:

…Not when our leaders were so fully unprepared for this war that there was no legitimate flank or rear security support for the thousands of vehicles, many endlessly breaking down, in that convoy that stretched across the Iraqi desert at the beginning of the war.

…Not when they couldn’t even bribe Turkey into letting us enter Iraq from the north.

…Not when there weren’t enough MRE’s, tanks that would work in the sand and flack-jackets for our troops .

…Not when our Marines suddenly became gendarmes on the streets of Baghdad while we completely disbanded both the Iraqi army and police and the country was being destroyed from the bottom up as the looters demolished everything that the precision guided bombs did not.

…Not when Republican Senators Richard Shelby, Chuck Hagel and Dick Lugar had been screaming about the need for a plan post-war Iraq and what to do about the Shiites/Sunnis/Kurds on The News Hour and Charlie Rose virtually every night for the twelve months leading up to the start of the attack.

…Not when there was no budget for the war, funding was asked for on the eve of the initial strike and there have been no plans to pay for the ever-increasing cost.

…Not when Deputy Secretary Of Defense Paul Wolfowitz is asked to give the number of Americans killed in Iraq during a congressional commitee on April 29 2004 and he’s off by over two hundred soldiers.

…Not when they won’t let us see the bodies at Dover and undercount casualties received in combat by the thousands.

Now bugger off and prepare for the trials.

©2004 THE LOS ANGELES SUN

Bob Somerby on Maddow, Dowd, Matthews and Mission Accomplished

THE DAILY HOWLER

LIKE DOWD ON RICE: Good God. The history of an age could be found in Greg Mitchell’s post last Friday. Or could it?

inaug3

On the sixth anniversary of “Mission Accomplished,” Mitchell recalled the way big pundits recorded Commander Bush’s splashdown on the deck of the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln. The commander strutted about in his flight suit, producing some of the most god-awful “commentary” in the history of pseudo-journalism. We all recall the lunacy of Chris Matthews and Gordon Liddy, gaping at the commander’s manly assets on Hardball (text below). But thanks to Mitchell’s review, we could also recall what Maureen Dowd wrote, some four days earlier. Take the children—and the pets—to some distant chamber:

DOWD (5/4/03):The tail hook caught the last cable, jerking the fighter jet from 150 m.p.h. to zero in two seconds.

Out bounded the cocky, rule-breaking, daredevil flyboy, a man navigating the Highway to the Danger Zone, out along the edges where he was born to be, the further on the edge, the hotter the intensity.

He flashed that famous all-American grin as he swaggered around the deck of the aircraft carrier in his olive flight suit, ejection harness between his legs, helmet tucked under his arm, awestruck crew crowding around. Maverick was back, cooler and hotter than ever, throttling to the max with joystick politics.

Compared to Karl Rove’s ”revvin’ up your engine” myth-making cinematic style, Jerry Bruckheimer’s movies look like Lizzie McGuire.

This time Maverick didn’t just nail a few bogeys and do a 4G inverted dive with a MiG-28 at a range of two meters. This time the Top Gun wasted a couple of nasty regimes, and promised this was just the beginning.

Yes, that sounds like crazy stuff. But uh-oh! Missing from Mitchell’s post was a bit of elementary fairness. In her column, Dowd was actually mocking Bush for his manly, cock-of-the-walk presentation (to read the whole column, click here). Her attack on Bush begins at the point in the column where Mitchell stops quoting. Soon, she has an alter ego saying this to Bush:

DOWD: You can fly, Maverick. But you, Cheney and Rummy are strutting around on a victory tour when you haven’t found Osama or Saddam or WMD; you haven’t figured out how you’re going to stop tribal warfare and religious fanaticism and dangerous skirmishes with our soldiers; you don’t yet know how to put Afghanistan and Iraq back together so that a lot of people over there don’t hate us. And why can’t you stop saying that getting rid of Saddam removed “an ally” of Al Qaeda and was payback for 9/11? You know we just needed to jump somebody in that part of the world.

In fairness, that was salient stuff. Dowd had her Bush figure respond this way, using the kind of Dems-are-fems lingo she herself practically invented: “Hey, Miss Iceman, why don’t you head to the Ladies Room? John Kerry and John Edwards are already there, fixin’ their hair all pretty-like. Howard Dean’s with ’em, trying on a dress, and Kucinich is hemming it for him.”

We’d have to say that Mitchell’s quotation of Dowd was a bit unfair. But then, bungled quotation—and tortured paraphrase—are key parts of the modern landscape. If you could wave a magic wand and remove Bad Paraphrase from Campaign 2000, for example, there’s no way Bush could have reached the White House. The history of our modern politics is a history of this technique.

We humans love tendentious paraphrase! We see this again in Dowd’s new column, a column in which she actually gets something semi-right about Condi Rice. Dowd uses a tortured semi-paraphrase first—but lurking inside her central passage, Dowd does say something that’s basically accurate.

Even Dowd sees the basic framework here! Why can’t our progressive TV hosts?

Dowd is discussing the questions Rice took from some Stanford students last week. Before we get to her central passage, let’s enjoy a good solid laugh as she sets the scene:

DOWD (5/3/09): Condi Rice, who plans to go back to being a professor of political science at Stanford, got grilled by a student at a reception at a dorm there on Monday.

I’ve often wondered why students haven’t been more vocal in questioning the architects of the Iraq war and ”legal” torture who landed plum spots at prestigious universities. Probably because it would have taken the draft, like the guillotine, to concentrate the mind. But finally, the young man at Stanford spoke up. Saying he had read that Ms. Rice authorized waterboarding, he asked her, ”Is waterboarding torture?”

Too funny! Dowd often wonders why college students don’t question these people more! That’s odd! We’ve often wondered the same darn thing about our multimillionaire journalists! (And their young, millionaire-track colleagues.) Appropriate guffaws to the side, Dowd continues with her tale. In our view, she essentially misparaphrases Rice in the passage we highlight. But she makes a sound point in the process:

DOWD (continuing directly): She replied: ”The president instructed us that nothing we would do would be outside of our obligations, legal obligations, under the Convention Against Torture. So that’s—and by the way, I didn’t authorize anything. I conveyed the authorization of the administration to the agency.”

This was precisely Condi’s problem. She simply relayed. She never stood up against Cheney and Rummy for either what was morally right or what was smart in terms of our national security.

The student pressed again about whether waterboarding was torture.

”By definition, if it was authorized by the president, it did not violate our obligations under the Conventions Against Torture,” Ms. Rice said, almost quoting Nixon’s logic: ”When the president does it, that means that it is not illegal.”

She also stressed that, ”Unless you were there in a position of responsibility after Sept. 11, you cannot possibly imagine the dilemmas that you faced in trying to protect Americans.”

Reyna Garcia, a Stanford sophomore who videotaped the exchange, said of Condi’s aria, ”I wasn’t completely satisfied with her answers, to be honest,” adding that ”President Obama went ahead and called it torture and she did everything she could not to do that.”

In fairness, no—Rice really didn’t “almost quot[e] Nixon’s logic.” (Please note the slick use of “almost.”) She really didn’t say what Nixon is said to have said: If the president orders it, that makes it legal. But by the time Dowd typed her column, everyone else had enjoyed some good fun with this rather tendentious claim. So Dowd went ahead and typed it too—hiding behind her “almost.”

No, Candidate Gore didn’t say that he invented the Internet (the most consequential mis-paraphrase in American history). Candidate McCain didn’t say he wanted a hundred-year war (the press corps dropped that one quickly). And no: Condi Rice didn’t really say that if the president orders X, that means that X is legal. But in the midst of her fumbling fun, Dowd raised a very good point in this passage, which we quote again:

DOWD: This was precisely Condi’s problem. She simply relayed. She never stood up against Cheney and Rummy for either what was morally right or what was smart in terms of our national security.

Rice may not have made the decisions, Dowd said. But she didn’t push back either.

Dowd raises an excellent point in that passage, though her history may be imperfect. In this morning’s Times, Mark Mazzetti offers a history of the torture/enhanced techniques regime (just click here). Among other things, he attempts to report what Rice actually did about this regime at various junctures. His reporting could be wrong, of course. But in Mazzetti’s account, Rice offered “strong support” for the torture/enhanced techniques program at least until May 2004, when a critical internal report began to raise essential questions. He describes her pushing back against Cheney on several points during Bush’s second term, even winning at least one fight. (At other times, she accepts Cheney’s wins.) You can read Mazzetti’s full report for yourself. But his account of Rice’s conduct isn’t quite as one-sided as Dowd’s.

That said, Dowd raised an excellent point: By normal standards, serious questions should be asked about the role officials like Rice played in Bush’s regime. What role did she play in the move to war? What role did she play in the creation of the torture regime? Even Dowd understands that this is a basic, essential framework. That’s why we remind you again of the work which occurred when Rice’s number-one man, Philip Zelikow, appeared on our most liberal TV show.

Appearing on the Rachel Maddow Show, Zelikow was allowed to skate. No questions were asked about any of this—and the same policy obtained two nights later, when Colin Powell’s top aide appeared (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 4/27/09). But then, when Powell himself appeared on this show, he wasn’t asked the world’s most obvious question. Was water-boarding discussed in your presence? The question was screaming out to be asked. But your new imaginary best friend completely forgot to ask it.

Citizens need to lobby their journalists! More specifically, progressives need to tell people like Maddow that they expect her to ask these questions. That they expect her to challenge these public figures. That they want her to stop kissing up to every big star who drifts by.

Progressives need to lobby that way. Unless this nightly “journalism” is really just a social event, a way to define our glorious clan. A way to feel good for an hour each night. A way to feel good—and superior.

Even Dowd can see the shape of this problem! Why on earth does our new best friend keep giving big Bush aides a pass?

Yes, they actually said it: We think Mitchell’s quote is unfair to Dowd. But here’s what Liddy and Matthews said—and yes, the boys really meant it! In his opening question, Matthews refers to Democratic criticisms of Bush’s glorious splashdown:

MATTHEWS (5/8/03): Gordon, my buddy, thanks for joining us. I’m now giving you a shooting gallery of opportunity here.

LIDDY: Yes, you are.

MATTHEWS: What do you make of this broadside against the USS Abraham Lincoln and its chief visitor last week?

LIDDY: Well, I—in the first place, I think it’s envy. I mean, after all, Al Gore had to go get some woman to tell him how to be a man.

And here comes George Bush. You know, he’s in his flight suit, he’s striding across the deck, and he’s wearing his parachute harness, you know—and I’ve worn those because I parachute—and it makes the best of his manly characteristic.

You go run those—run that stuff again of him walking across there with the parachute. He has just won every woman’s vote in the United States of America. You know, all those women who say size doesn’t count—they’re all liars. Check that out!

Please note: Four years later, Liddy went straight to the smutty sexual trashing dished to Gore and Naomi Wolf—a sexual trashing which was thoroughly accepted by the “career liberal” world in real time. And make no mistake—Matthews took Liddy’s side on this program, ridiculing the silly folk who had been criticizing Bush’s splashdown. In fairness, that would have included Dowd, in her earlier column. Matthews thought they were all nuts:

MATTHEWS: And I’ve got to say why do the Democrats, as you say, want to keep advertising this guy’s greatest moment?

LIDDY: Look, he’s, he’s coming across as a—well, as women would call in on my show saying, what a stud, you know, and then guy—they’re seeing him out there with his flight suit, and he’s—and they know he’s an F-105 fighter jock. I mean it’s just great.

MATTHEWS: Let’s let him talk for himself. Here’s President Bush expressing his confidence that he did the right thing…

The boys were full of admiration for Bush’s manly splashdown. Of course, Matthews had always swum in this sea. Searching today on “Hardball and Bush and manly,” we hit this earlier bit of misery, from Campaign 2000. At this time, Hardball was soliciting and airing comments from insightful viewers:

MATTHEWS (4/27/00): Our second caller says that Al Gore and George W. Bush are both attractive candidates, but in very different ways.

CALLER: I really can’t believe that Chris Matthews thinks that Al Gore is the more attractive of the two presidential candidates. Al Gore is attractive in a sort of limp-wrist sort of way. However, George Bush is attractive in a manly sort of way.

MATTHEWS: Well, Susan, as I said last night, I’ve been polling women, by the way, on this subject, because I don’t know what—have any idea what the right answer is, which of these two bucks women find most appealing or least appealing. I’ll remember to include, however, your comments in my current tally. And if you want to play Hardball yourself, just call us at 202-824-6799, or e-mail us at hardball@msnbc.com.

Each candidate was attractive—Gore in a limp-wrist sort of way, Bush in a manly manner.

Of all the comments he had received, Matthews chose to read just two on the air. This was one of the comments he chose. Five months before, in November 1999, he had played an aggressive, leading role in the sexual trashing of Wolf and Gore.

Career liberals cowered and stared at all this. They still don’t discuss it, to this very day. Olbermann licks Matthews’ keister on air. Bush ended up you-know-where.

What He Just Said: The Brilliant Bob Somerby on the Madness of Maureen Dowd

March 30, 2009 9:46 est.

BS was the second guy I ever read on the tubes…-JT

Feel free to focus for five…you little freaks…

300px-fozzie_season_1

STILL DUMBING US DOWN! A former sports guy—and a former Rhodes Scholar—continue to dumb liberals down: // link // print // previous // next //

MONDAY, MARCH 30, 2009

Since we asked: On Friday, we asked a question (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 3/27/09): Now that the Washington Post had semi-corrected its bungled report about the weakling Obama Admin, would Rachel Maddow follow suit? Last Tuesday night, Maddow’s report had been even more wrong than the Post’s efforts had been.

Did Maddow correct? We’d have to say no. She did devote a lengthy segment to the topic in question—a segment we thought was quite remarkable for the ways it seemed to pretend that Maddow was brilliantly right all along. To see Friday’s segment, just click here (it runs more than seven minutes). We’ll discuss this topic later this week.

By the way, do you want to see Maddow’s original segment? It seems to have disappeared.

The emperor’s favorite columnist: Sadly for you and your whole family, “The Emperor’s New Clothes” may be Hans Christian Andersen’s most contemporary fable. Quite frequently, people simply can’t see lunacy, even as it stands before them—if the lunacy in question involves a famous authority figure.

We thought of Andersen when we read Maureen Dowd’s Sunday column. Dowd is the most famous columnist at our most influential newspaper—and she’s been visibly crazy for years. Read more

Colin Powell's Chief of Staff Lawrence Wilkerson Reveals the Truth About Gitmo and Graib

Thomas Ricks Plays Propaganda Point-Man on Pentagon Plan for Permanent U.S. Bases in Iraq

General Barry McCaffrey Exposed For The Ultimate Spineless Shill That He Is

THE NEW YORK TIMES

November 30, 2008

One Man’s Military-Industrial-Media Complex

In the spring of 2007 a tiny military contractor with a slender track record went shopping for a precious Beltway commodity.

The company, Defense Solutions, sought the services of a retired general with national stature, someone who could open doors at the highest levels of government and help it win a huge prize: the right to supply Iraq with thousands of armored vehicles.

Access like this does not come cheap, but it was an opportunity potentially worth billions in sales, and Defense Solutions soon found its man. The company signed Barry R. McCaffrey, a retired four-star Army general and military analyst for NBC News, to a consulting contract starting June 15, 2007.

Four days later the general swung into action. He sent a personal note and 15-page briefing packet to David H. Petraeus, the commanding general in Iraq, strongly recommending Defense Solutions and its offer to supply Iraq with 5,000 armored vehicles from Eastern Europe. “No other proposal is quicker, less costly, or more certain to succeed,” he said.

Thus, within days of hiring General McCaffrey, the Defense Solutions sales pitch was in the hands of the American commander with the greatest influence over Iraq’s expanding military.

“That’s what I pay him for,” Timothy D. Ringgold, chief executive of Defense Solutions, said in an interview.

Read more

President-Elect Barack Obama's Press Conference | Dec 1 2008

Part Two

Best New Rules Ever

tcbred1

Snark Central: Matt Taiibi With Don Imus During The Election

Part Two

tullycast

%d bloggers like this: