Thought Process On On American Foreign Policy

This is as close as anyone’s likely to come to explaining what’s been going on since 9/11. The same site also explains the difference between science and faith.

Former CIA Agent Debunks Attacks on Plame and Wilson

The evidence presented at Libby’s trial verifies what we already knew–the Bush administration was engaging in a campaign to both deceive the American people about Iraq and to discredit those who opposed them. The authoritarian mind set of many Bush-worshippers cause them to believe the most implausible excuses. They claim that Valerie Plame was not really covert, or that her identity was exposed by her own husband. They attribute statements to Wilson he never made, and then attack him when it is shown that these statements he never made are not true.

Former CIA agent Larry Johnson provides more accurate background information on the case at his blog as he debunks the claims made in a Washington Post op-ed. He verifies that Plame was undercover at the time her identity was exposed:

Valerie Plame was undercover until the day she was identified in Robert Novak’s column.  I entered on duty with Valerie in September of 1985.  Every single member of our class–which was comprised of Case Officers, Analysts, Scientists, and Admin folks–were undercover.  I was an analyst and Valerie was a case officer.  Case officers work in the Directorate of Operations and work overseas recruiting spies and running clandestine operations.  Although Valerie started out working under “official cover”–i.e., she declared she worked for the U.S. Government but in something innocuous, like the State Department–she later became a NOC aka non official cover officer.

Johnson provides further evidence that Plame was undercover as well as debunking many of the claims made about Wilson. He notes, “The INR memo introduced in the Libby trial confirms Joe’s account as well about what he told the CIA debriefing team.” Johnson sums up the lessons from this case:

Thanks to the work of Patrick Fitzgerald and his team of prosecutors, we now know beyond any doubt that the Vice President of the United States and members of his staff ignored intelligence and tried to spin the press away from the truth that Joe Wilson found in Africa–Iraq had not sought uranium.   Cheney and Libby feared what the American people might do if they discovered they had been lied to about the case for war in Iraq.  Now there is no doubt.  They did lie and these lies have been exposed.

Glenn Greenwald Quotes General To Smack Down Neocons and The Victory Caucus

Glenn Greenwald takes on the “Victory Caucus” which suffers from the fantasy that our current policies in the middle east serve the national interests of the United States. He compares their logo to the totalitarian logos seen in V For Vendetta and the movie version of 1984:

The bulk of Greenwald’s post consists of quotes from Lt. Gen. William Odom, former director of the National Security Agency under Ronald Reagan and head of Army intelligence. Odom had an op-ed in the Washington Post last week arguing that Victory is Not an Option. Odom was interviewed by Bush-worshipper Hugh Hewitt and Greenwald has several selections. Here are a couple of the highlights:

On the fear-mongering tactics used to oppose withdrawal:

HH: Now you also write in the article that we must, that you dismiss the idea it will get worse if we leave.

WO: No, I said it doesn’t matter how bad it gets, it’s not going to get better by us staying there. You see, I’m not one of those — I personally think that we might end up finding less of a terrible aftermath than we’ve pumped ourselves up to expect, because the President and a lot of other people have really made a big thing of trying to scare us about that. What I’m saying is even if their scare scenarios turn out to be the case, that is the price we have to pay to get out of this trap, and eventually bring a stability to that region which if the Iraqis and other Arab countries want to become liberal systems, they can do it. They’re not going to do it the way we’re headed there now. . . .

HH: So you don’t think it can get worse?

WO: Yeah, it can get worse. It’s gotten worse every year.

HH: But how much worse could it get if we weren’t there?

WO: I don’t know. I don’t think it — look, it will eventually get as bad it can get if we stay there long enough. . . .

HH: So how many people do you think will die [if we withdraw]? . . . And as a result, that doesn’t matter, though?

WO: And so you can sit there and fantasize any scale you want to, to scare people into continuing to do stupid things.


Frank Rich on Bush’s Malleable War

Frank Rich notes that George Bush might not be able to conduct a war, but he sure can lie about it. Bush has lied from the start with his reasons for the war. “First it was waged to vanquish Saddam’s (nonexistent) nuclear arsenal and his (nonexistent) collaboration with Al Qaeda”, he writes. “Then it was going to spread (nonexistent) democracy throughout the Middle East. Now it is being rebranded as a fight against Tehran.”  Rich does not find the current lies any more credible:

Surely these guys can do better than this. No sooner did unnamed military officials unveil their melodramatically secretive briefing in Baghdad last Sunday than Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, blew the whole charade. General Pace said he didn’t know about the briefing and couldn’t endorse its contention that the Iranian government’s highest echelons were complicit in anti-American hostilities in Iraq. Public-relations pandemonium ensued as Tony Snow, the State Department and finally the president tried to revise the story line on the fly. Back when Karl Rove ruled, everyone read verbatim from the same script. Last week’s frantic improvisations were vintage Scooter Libby, at best the ur-text for a future perjury trial.

Yet for all the sloppy internal contradictions, the most incriminating indictment of the new White House disinformation campaign is to be found in official assertions made more than a year ago. The press and everyone else seems to have forgotten that the administration has twice sounded the same alarms about Iranian weaponry in Iraq that it did last week.

In August 2005, NBC News, CBS News and The Times cited unnamed military and intelligence officials when reporting, as CBS put it, that “U.S. forces intercepted a shipment from Iran containing professionally made explosive devices specifically designed to penetrate the armor which protects American vehicles.” Then, as now, those devices were the devastating roadside bombs currently called E.F.P.’s (explosively formed penetrators). Then, as now, they were thought to have been brought into Iraq by members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. Then, as now, there was no evidence that the Iranian government was directly involved. In February 2006, administration officials delivered the same warning yet again, before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Rich notes that such dishonesty has been a common tactic of the Bush administration: (more…)

Sullivan Opposes Romney’s Religious Test

Add Andrew Sullivan to the list of conservatives who are getting fed up with Mitt Romney. He quotes Romney as responding to a heckler by saying, “We need to have a person of faith lead the country.” Sullivan criticizes Romney for establishing such a “religious test” and argues that Romney is using bigotry to respond to bigotry:

Bush and Rove have built a Republican party on a sectarian base – and Romnney is of the wrong sect. But instead of standing up to this sectarianism, and affirming the right of anyone of any faith or none to be president, Romney panders to religious bias. It seems to me that it is equally bigoted to say that a Mormon should not be president as it is to say that an atheist should not be president. Romney has chosen to fight bigotry with bigotry.

Sullivan deserves credit for standing up for the rights of atheists here considering the degree with which this differs from his personal views, as seen in his debates with Sam Harris (posts here and here). We only have religious freedom when the rights of all to believe, or disbelieve, is respected without regard to one’s personal beliefs.

I do note that Romney made this statement while responding to a heckler and feels the need to explain to Republicans that he is religious, even if coming from the “wrong” religious background. Politics is increasingly being decided like a game of Survivor in which candidates are excluded by a single gaffe which might not reflect their actual views. It is possible Romney misspoke in haste, but in that case I would expect a clarification.

Sick of Reading about Intelligent Design?

Then watch these videos on evolution versus creationism. (Hat tip to Panda’s Thumb)

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