Turned up to eleven: Fair and Balanced

Thursday, July 24, 2003

It's not the crime, it's the cover-up

Everyone has heard this before, and it is a mantra that held true in Watergate, Iran-Contra, and the Clinton scandals. In all three cases, the actual event itself was not what brought down powerful people, but rather the cover-up lies, misdirections, and attempts to intimidate. It's happening again. It seems to me that the Amb. Wilson/Valerie Plame story will have "legs", and will threaten the administration to its core, maybe even as a direct threat to Bush's re-election. See Mark Kleiman for all the details. It also seems, from what I have read, that Condi Rice may be on her way out. I actually think this is bad news for the country, but, it may be that she truly wasn't good at her job. Bob Somerby, who has taken an incredibly (in this day and age) principled stand on this and other press accuracy related issues, has some details on this as well. Basically, she is now in a position where either she lied publicly about the info she had on the "16 words", or she is completely incompetent. She has been deftly outmanuevered by George Tenet and Steven Hadley, the two men who "took responsibility" for the yellowcake statement. I must differ with Mr. Somerby on the issue of the press accuracy on this story. He has basically taken the position that Bush's statement is being misrepresented because he said Saddam tried to get yellowcake from Africa, not Niger. But the Bushies have admitted that they were basing the statement on the forged Niger docs, so I think this explanation is not sufficient. It falls in the "technically accurate" category, along with the "British government" caveat. Nevertheless, I applaud his willingness to stick to his guns, even when his liberal audience turns on him.

The big question, though, is will the congressional Republicans hang together with the Bushies in the face of all of this, or will they defect and allow Dems to get public hearings on all of this? My guess is that the Senate will hold public hearings, and things may get very interesting. It seems to me that the Bush political machine is strong on offense, but weak on defense. Actually, I am not even sure they are all that strong on offense. It might be time to start reminding people who won the popular vote in 2000...

By the way, anyone seen Osama bin Laden lately? Me neither. Saddam Hussein? Me neither. Any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq? Me neither.

Yes, I know we killed Uday and Qusay. I'm glad. I would be even happier if they had been captured and had divulged 1) where their father is and 2) where the WMD are.

It is time to start asking the following question. Either there were no WMD in Iraq, or they have been moved out of the country. Mr. President, did we attack Iraq for no good reason, or did we merely fail in securing our objectives?