Saturday, July 10, 2004

One has to wonder if Susan Schmidt has actually read the Senate report on intelliegnce failures in regard to Iraq. Josh Marshall finds so many holes in her story it makes you wonder if she shouldn't have let some intern fact checker look her story over. A more deligent editor would have been nice too. Marshall in his own understated way slams Schmidt for not just her fact skipping. but her snarky political agenda:
Schmidt writes:
The report may bolster the rationale that administration officials provided the information not to intentionally expose an undercover CIA employee, but to call into question Wilson's bona fides as an investigator into trafficking of weapons of mass destruction. To charge anyone with a crime, prosecutors need evidence that exposure of a covert officer was intentional.
and Marshall replies:
There's no 'challenging the bona fides of a political opponent' exception to the law in question. While Plame's alleged role may have some political traction, it's legally irrelevant. Government officials are not allowed to disclose the identity of covert intelligence agents, whether they feel like they have a good reason or not.

Remarkably the Senate investigation drew an arbitrary line in the sand regarding where the documents that ultimately were the source for Bush's SOTU screw-up came from and how they were used.
Further more, Wilson's assertions are not his alone, there are other sources for Wilson's claim that the Whitehouse played with the information about Niger in a way that suited their agenda.
* Cheney initiated the CIA's original inquiry into reports that Iraq had tried to purchase uranium in Niger. Cheney's chief of staff Lewis Libby admitted "the Vice President asked a question about the implication of the report" during one of his regular intelligence briefings. [Time, 7/13/03]
* After Cheney's question, the CIA sent retired Ambassador Joseph Wilson to Niger to investigate. Wilson reported in March 2002 to both the CIA and State Department that the reports were false. CIA sent a memo on Wilson's findings to the White House on March 9, 2002. [Time, 7/13/03]
* 4-Star Marine Gen. Carlton W. Fulton Jr. met with Niger president in Feb. '02, to check the security of the country's uranium. [Washington Post, 7/15/03]
* Fulton reported that he was "convinced it was not an issue," and passed his findings to Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs. [Washington Post, 7/15/03]
* State Department's intelligence bureau independently concluded in early March 2002 that the allegation connecting Iraq to Niger was likely false. [AP, 7/11/03; Time, 7/13/03]
* In March ’02 State Department intelligence officials sent a memo directly to Powell, advising him that Iraq connection to Niger was likely false. [AP, 7/11/03; Time, 7/13/03]
* The National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), cited by the Bush administration to rebut charges Bush knowingly used false information, included a State Department conclusion that "the claims of Iraqi pursuit of natural uranium in Africa are, in [the State Dept.’s] assessment, highly dubious." [Tenet Statement, 7/11/03]

Yet the Niger stuff still ended up in the 2003 SOTU. Only a determination by Bush-Cheney to distort and manipulate the public could have allowed that to happen. There is no excuse for the smear campaign waged against Wilson and by proxy, his wife. Bush's behavior has been shameless and it how seems that the Senate has joyed in.

Rape Nation
At a press conference during the National Summit of Women Veterans Issues, women cited surveys indicating that up to 50 percent of military women have experienced sexual assaults, and 78 percent have experienced sexual harassment. Because of the intimidation and harassment that women face for reporting assaults, the military's own numbers are much lower.

Global Women's Strike has been in contact with women's and human rights advocates in Iraq who say women detainees and civilians are regularly raped and abused there.

While women bear the brunt of rape in the military, advocates point out that as seen in Abu Ghraib, both enlisted men and male detainees in foreign countries are also raped and abused, and these attacks are likewise hidden.

A male veteran who was sexually abused in the military said that "soldiers are trained to take whatever they want, whether from fellow servicemen or Iraqi detainees, and they know they will be protected."

related links STAMP - Survivors Take Action Against Abuse by Military Personnel
Global Women's Strike

This is no way to run a military. With an all volunteer military, its important that everyone, soldier and sailor be treated with dignity and respect. This should be a dead issue, real leaders would make it known that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated. To think that america's families are racked with worry the minute that their sons and daughters enter the service with the knowledge that the enemy might cause them harm or death, they also have to worry that their loved ones may be attacked by their fellow soldiers; and if attacked sexually or otherwise that their superiors may not only not do anything about it, but may put the onus of guilt on them.

Friday, July 09, 2004

Bye-Bye, Bush Boom
by Paul Krugman

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

via Josh Marshall, the anti-american party and their president will side-step how they manipulated and distorted CIA intelligence until after the elections.

....the committee's initial, unanimous report will focus solely on misjudgments by intelligence agencies, not the White House, in the assessments about Iraq, illicit weapons and Al Qaeda that the administration used as a rationale for the war.
Convenient ...

After Kerry is elected one can only hope for a criminal investigation and a trial for treason.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

via Intel Dump
The war in Iraq -- particularly the brutal, close-quarters combat where it's hard to distinguish civilian from combatant -- is having a tremendous psychological effect on U.S. soldiers. In particular, the act of killing human beings at close range is affecting many of their minds in ways we have seen before, but not for some time. These soldiers are experiencing a variety of problems upon coming home. Unfortunately, the Army does not have the resources or the institutional apparatus to deal with these problems entirely, nor does the Veterans Administration. The problem is compounded by a reticence within the military medical community to acknowledge (and write into doctrine) the psychological effects of killing -- because doing so would "pathologize" the very act for which the U.S. military exists.

Provide Mandatory Funding of Veterans Health Care
The Bush Administration chronically under-funds VA health care. Instead of adding sufficient resources to a system desperately in need of them, President Bush has frozen whole classes out of the VA system. By the Bush Administration’s own estimate, their policies will exclude approximately 500,000 veterans from the VA healthcare system by 2005. President Bush also proposed increasing fees and co-payments in an effort to shift the burden for care onto the backs of veterans and drive an additional million veterans from the system.

Mark Salter, McCain's chief of staff, said McCain "has never been offered the vice presidency by anyone."

via Kos
In Four Trials, John Edwards has written movingly of people who were terribly wronged, and whom he helped seek some measure of justice with great skill, determination, and genuine compassion. He shows a perceptive appreciation in these accounts for the strength of his clinets' character. And, in the loving portrait of his son, Wade, and the deeply touching account of his loss, John reveals the strength of his own character and give the reader a look beyond a political biography into the heart of a good man.
-Senator John McCain
and also by McCain
He's got the ambition, the talent and the brains to go very far, to be president of the United States.

-Charlotte Observer, 2/26/01

Terror's Undiminished Threat
Though the war on Iraq was called a major battle in the war on terrorism, the removal of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein from power will not dramatically reduce the direct threat to the United States from terrorists. Saddam and his regime were not a major influence on international terrorism. The Iraqi government had tenuous, if any, links to the only international terrorist group that has been targeting and killing Americans during the last several years: al Qaeda.

Vincent Cannistraro is a former chief of CIA counterterrorism operations, so its worth the read.

Monday, July 05, 2004

Issue: Liberal Media Bias
The Gadflyer gives you ammunition for the next time a conservative tries to tell you the media are biased in favor of liberals.

Mark Kleiman vs Brad Delong on Bush, $#@!-ups, and determinism.

just a snippet from the post:

We have Bush budget policy: a $#@!-up. We have Bush tax policy: $#@!-up. We have Bush employment policy: a $#@!-up. We have John Di Iulio's report on Bush social policy: a $#@!-up. We have Bush stem-cell policy: a $#@!-up. We have Bush global warming policy as reported to us by Paul O'Neill: a $#@!-up. We have Bush energy policy: a $#@!-up.

They're both good bloggers and smarter then I'll ever be. Read the rest, funniest post I've read in a while.

via The Poor Man
Let's just deal with this fact: there are no WMD in Iraq. If Saddam had been building bio/chem weapons, as was claimed as a fact before the war, he would have tried to use them. If he had been unable to use them - if every single one of his soldiers had been unwilling to use them, for example - we would have found them when we searched their bases. If he had had his WMD programs on hot standby, ready to churn out quantities of WMD as soon as the heat was off, we would have found the facilities that could do this, and the scientists who were working there. If there was anything to find, we would have found it a long time ago. All these "preliminary tests indicate" stories are disinformation, pure and simple - an opportunity for desperate administration officials to muddy the water, and to continue the push-back against an objective reality that refuses to conform to pleasing neocon fantasies.

As a commenter there noted, it may not even matter. There is a public perception that WMD were/are in Iraq and that the United States was in immient danger. While we can sight the laziness of the press and the public regarding the facts about WMD we still run head long into mass pyschology. Head meet wall. from the WAPO to Motherjones to CIA agents speaking on background to British intelligence, this stuff has echoed across the globe for over a year. The kool-aid krowd sure isn't going to sober up or grow up. Its a maturity divide, those that accept the facts and the Bushies that just can't be serious minded when it comes to critical issues facing the world today.

Sunday, July 04, 2004

While its still an "allegation" at this point, we all know how it works. The Arab world, especially the fanatic fundies will milk it for all the propaganda mileage they can. Another hearts and minds victory for Bin Laden and his best friend George Bush.

U.S. General Says Met Israeli Interrogator in Iraq
LONDON (Reuters) - The U.S. general who was in charge of Baghdad's notorious Abu Ghraib prison said on Saturday she had met an Israeli interrogator in Iraq, a controversial allegation likely to irritate many in the Arab world.
A U.S. military spokesman in Washington said he had no information and an Israeli official denied Israel was involved.

Brigadier-General Janis Karpinski, who was responsible for military police guarding all Iraqi jails at the time prisoners were abused by U.S. troops there, told the BBC she met the Israeli at a Baghdad interrogation center.