Monday, March 12, 2007

Attempt to Whitewash Libby Continues

Let's see. George W. Bush now has a large ranch down in Paraguay. The CEO of Halliburton is conveniently moving to Dubai. The Justice Department has been firing US Attorneys who happen to be Republican but who take their jobs seriously. Bush and Cheney seem to be taking an awful lot of trips overseas as if being home is becoming uncomfortable. And an awful lot of people in the Bush Administration as well as friends of Bush and Cheney are ducking for cover or creating backup plans in case they're indicted for something. Now why would that be the case?

The other diversion in Washington is to pretend that Republicans who are convicted of felonies didn't really do anything wrong; the worst part of that diversion is that there have been a number of people in the media playing along. Ready to take them all to task, Frank Rich has an article in The New York Times on convicted felon Scooter Libby (I made one minor change below to stay focused on the WHIG story which is probably the most overlooked story of the last four years):
A president who tries to void laws he doesn't like by encumbering them with "signing statements" and who regards the Geneva Conventions as a nonbinding technicality isn't going to start playing by the rules now. His assertion last week that he is "pretty much going to stay out of" the Libby case is as credible as his pre-election vote of confidence in Donald Rumsfeld. The only real question about the pardon is whether Mr. Bush cares enough about his fellow Republicans' political fortunes to delay it until after Election Day 2008.

Either way, the pardon is a must for Mr. Bush. He needs Mr. Libby to keep his mouth shut. ... August 2002, [Libby] and a small cadre of administration officials including Karl Rove formed the White House Iraq Group (WHIG), a secret task force to sell the Iraq war to the American people. ...

...WHIG had been tasked, as The Washington Post would later uncover, to portray Iraq's supposedly imminent threat to America with "gripping images and stories not available in the hedged and austere language of intelligence." In other words, WHIG was to cook up the sexiest recipe for promoting the war, facts be damned. So it did, by hyping the scariest possible scenario: nuclear apocalypse. As Michael Isikoff and David Corn report in "Hubris," it was WHIG (equipped with the slick phrase-making of the White House speechwriter Michael Gerson) that gave the administration its Orwellian bumper sticker, the constantly reiterated warning that Saddam's "smoking gun" could be "a mushroom cloud."

Ever since all the W.M.D. claims proved false, the administration has pleaded that it was duped by the same bad intelligence everyone else saw. But the nuclear card, the most persistent and gripping weapon in the prewar propaganda arsenal, was this White House's own special contrivance. Mr. Libby was present at its creation. He knows what Mr. Bush and Dick Cheney knew about the manufacture of this fiction and when they knew it.


Mary Matalin, the former Cheney flack who served with Mr. Libby on WHIG and is now on the board of his legal defense fund (its full list of donors is unknown), has been especially vocal. "Scooter didn't do anything," she said. "And his personal record and service are impeccable." What Mr. Libby did - fabricating nuclear threats at WHIG and then lying under oath when he feared that sordid Pandora's box might be pried open by the Wilson case - was despicable. Had there been no WHIG or other White House operation for drumming up fictional rationales for war, there would have been no bogus uranium from Africa in a presidential speech, no leak to commit perjury about, no amputees to shut away in filthy rooms at Walter Reed.

Is it too much to ask the most powerful country in the world to hire people who are competent rather than hire people who break laws because they're too incompetent to know how to get the job done? Is it too much to go to war only as a last resort? Is it too much to ask to finish the necessary wars first? Did we really need to privatize so much of two wars so that Bush's friends could take part? Is it really too hard to ask politicians to keep their hands out of the public till? Is it too much to ask Congress and the media to hold a reckless and arrogant executive branch accountable?

More and more Americans are not satisfied with the answers they're hearing from Washington.
Daily Kos has the numbers from CNN via Atrios:
Just on CNN, 69% say there shouldn't be a pardon, 18% say there should be. 52% say Cheney was part of a cover-up, 29% say no.

Now how is it that the American people can catch on to the nonsense coming out of the White House but the media and conventional wisdom are so far behind the times.... and the facts? I've been reading Mark Twain this week. He would have had a lot of fun picking apart this crowd.

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Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

I get spells where a certain specter comes to mind repeatedly. It's simply people, Americans mostly, of a future time looking back at the beginning of the 21st century in bewilderment and asking, "How could they do this, do that . . . what were they thinking, or were they thinking at all?"

That applies, BTW, not just to the likes of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Wolfowitz, Libby and the rest, but to voters and campaign contributors who helped bring them to power and kept them there.

2:41 PM  
Blogger Craig said...

S.W., I feel like the Republicans reinvented the Know Nothing party of the 19th century except they managed to get a president elected.

1:37 AM  

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