No Associated Press content was harmed in the writing of this post
Jane Mayer dismantled Marc Thiessen’s book “Courting Disaster”:
In order to make the case that America was blind to the threat of Al Qaeda in the days before 9/11, Thiessen skips over the scandalous amount of intelligence that reached the Bush White House before the attacks. In February, 2001, the C.I.A.’s director, George Tenet, called Al Qaeda “the most immediate and serious threat” to the country. Richard Clarke, then the country’s counterterrorism chief, tried without success to get Condoleezza Rice, Bush’s national-security adviser, to hold a Cabinet-level meeting on Al Qaeda. Thomas Pickard, then the F.B.I.’s acting director, has testified that Attorney General John Ashcroft told him that he wanted to hear no more about Al Qaeda. On August 6, 2001, Bush did nothing in response to a briefing entitled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in the U.S.” As Tenet later put it, “The system was blinking red.”Mayer shows the way to do this: patiently and persistently respond with the truth to these liars who are desperate to rewrite history.
An inmate at Guantánamo was ordered released. That’s the good news. The bad news is, Guantánamo is morphing from a physical place to a general theory about how to indefinitely detain people without charge and outside domestic law or international obligations. Meaning, for as important as this is to Mohamedou Ould Slahi (and that should not be quickly dismissed) it doesn’t mean we’ve turned a corner on a proper legal disposition for detainees. Which means the well functioning legal system that could be used for these cases remains dormant.
The Army Field Manual has a section that appears to give cover for certain kinds of torture. It hasn’t gotten lots of coverage, though I did post on it last year. Marcy spent some time looking at how it interacted with the OLD, DOD and DOJ in the Bush years.
You know, it’s really depressing that Defense Department leaders are so much smarter than our elite media:
Jerome Starkey, the Afghanistan correspondent for the Times of London, says the “embed culture” of reporting in war zones results in military censorship and self-censorship that allows military commanders to get away with falsehoods about civilian deaths.Actually, let me correct that: Elite media was probably fully aware of that, and just looking for a plausible model that would allow them catapult government propaganda during wartime while still appearing independent. Well, you did - and no one ever questioned your patriotism, either. Mission Accomplished!
Vandals threaten Democrats and attack their offices. Republicans blame Democrats. Yes, Newt, it’s all just a masterfully orchestrated ratfuck. Oh, and in addition to being violent extremists they are also breathtaking hypocrites: “Vanderboegh is on Social Security Disability[.]”
I understand the impulse behind this, but all it does is turn her into a free speech martyr. The likes of her are ultimately self-marginalizing; give ‘em enough rope. Wouldn’t you rather read stories like this?
I really like Bruce Bartlett and think there is a world of difference between him and David Frum. I’ll admit part of it is personal, since Bartlett wrote me a very nice email a couple years ago about one of my posts. Consider this, though: Bartlett had the courage to write a pointedly critical book about George W. Bush during the Bush presidency. One of my most common complaints about the right is that they are too obedient to authority and never take on their own leadership when it matters. Bartlett is a rare exception, and note how he was purged for his efforts.
Frum, on the other hand, was perfectly happy to toe the party line when the wind was at Republicans’ backs. Only now that they have become discredited does he voice any misgivings, and he refuses to give an honest accounting of his previous cheerleading. There is a world of difference between the two. Bartlett stood up when it mattered; Frum had his change of heart once the damage was already done, and still seems to be fine with his previous positions. It is very generous of Bruce to describe David as a fellow traveler, but in my book there’s a chasm between the two. (Also, I have a hard time imaging Bartlett being reduced to stuttering incoherence because he made a transparently phony argument and got called on it.) Shorter version:
Here’s a man who came up with “Axis of Evil”, who wrote a book defending the Iraq War and advocating the same treatment for Syria, and who ultimately endorsed Sarah Palin even though he knew she was completely unqualified. His problem today was timing, not an excess of honesty or nobility.
A couple Republicans made some good noises on financial reform and were promptly abandoned because their colleagues are deeply committed to politically suicidal posturing. Meanwhile, administration officials made some good noises and that meant what exactly? Probably not much.
I’ve seen multiple posts from different parts of the spectrum on how the health care reform law closely mirrors Republican proposals of the last few years and is therefore Republican. I’d just like to point out that Republicans had six long years in which to pass that law and declined to. There is a world of difference between rhetoric offered for political cover and an initiative that is pursued energetically to completion.
Special interests: Still special.
Scarecrow on the Vatican and the White House. This is the Age Of Impunity.
“Defense Secretary Robert Gates has ordered a study of US ‘information operations’ after a Pentagon official allegedly set up a spy network with private contractors, a spokesman said on Tuesday.” And here’s a timely reminder on how we went to war:
Insiders variously placed in the bureaucracy under George W. Bush are strikingly unified in observing that members of the core thwarted established processes and bureaucracy. And they marginalized officials who were not part of their network.
Circumstances converged to create a perfect storm of folly on the buy side, beginning with essentially fraudulent mortgage originations at ground level, which the short-sellers – whether trading at the multimillion or multibillion dollars level – took advantage of. That they walked away with large profits may be enviable, but there was nothing valiant about it. In the end, Main Street, having been desolated by a mortgage-driven housing bust, now found itself the buyer of last resort of Wall Street’s garbage.
Link dump. On Kremlinology at the Fed, on the destruction wrought by the “school choice” movement, on the John Adams Project, and digby on health care reform: “This reform bill has many holes in it, as you know. And when that becomes obvious, it’s going to be necessary to have the public plan sponsored and ready, the idea fully developed and the political support in place to quickly pass this when the opportunity strikes.”
I WISH I COULD WRITE LIKE Eli.