Water Man Spouts

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Scandal preparations .....

DUers who have been active on the Plame Threads for a year or more will excuse this review of two figures who will, in relatively short order, be seen to have participated in the scandal that will expose the ugliest side of the Cheney administration. But, for those who are interested, let us examine the role of two key players: Stephen Hadley and Condi Rice.It is easy to dismiss Rice as a confused soul who simply doesn't "get it." For example, we think of her saying, "It is ludicrous to suggest the president of the United States went to war on the question of whether Saddam Hussein sought uranium in Africa. This was part of a very broad case that the president laid out in the State of the Union and other places." (Fox News Sunday; July 13, 2003) Right. The idea of WMD and mushroom clouds was never part of the administration's lies to the American public.Actually, this was simply part of Condi's outright lies. The administration had been using the Niger yellow cake documents as a "smoking gun" which "proved" Saddam had violated every effort at containment which those opposed to Bush's rush to war were advocating as successful.When the IAEA publicly denounced the documents as forgeries, and Wilson noted the administration knew that they were fully discredited, Condoleezza categorically lied, and said that noone -- including herself -- at the senior level at the White House had received any information that suggested the documents were not strong evidence. Shortly thereafter, she had to admit that her office recived two memos from the CIA saying just that; further, Condi had to admit that the NSC had received a phone call from the CIA stressing the fact the documents were worthless.Rice then took the novel position that in the three months between Bush's October speech in Ohio (where John Bolton's repeated attempts to stick the yellow cake lies in were frustrated by people who knew better) and the State of the Union address, she simply "forgot." Right. The single "strongest" evidence of Saddam's WMD programs is exposed as a lie, but she forgot. Sure. As Wilson notes on pages 331-2, "How does someone whose job it is to track nuclear weapons developments, especially in rogue states, receive such critical information and then proceed to forget it? This is not a grade school homework assignment. The short answer is they didn't forget, unless they are derelict. Regrettably, disingenuousness is another possibility. Condoleezza Rice may be many things, but she is hardly derelict."Is Ambassador Wilson (who drank mint tea) suggesting that this sweet and innocent flower that blooms in the compost of neocon trash is a liar? Good heavens! This virginal specimen of righteousness? Let's see: when she was asked on "Meet the Press" about the administration's having received the information that the documents that were the central "smoking gun" in the administration's WMD case for emergency intervention in Iraq, she said, "maybe someone knew down in the bowels of the Agency," suggesting the CIA was full of shit. But let's look closer for the aministration's favorite turd before we flush this chapter from the Plame discussion.Shortly after Wilson's NYT article exposed the "16 words" in the president's State of the Union address as a lie (i.e., falsehood, untruth, fib, taradiddle, pious fiction, tall tale, cock-n-bull, or full of shit, as in the bowels of the administration), CIA Director George Tenet -- looking for a pat of appreciation on his humbly bowed head -- said that he took full responsibility. But it was clear that responsibility lay elsewhere, and as Wilson makes crystal clear, this Nixonian adventure with the truth had its genesis in the State Department. (See Wilson, pages 351-55)Deputy NSC Adviser Stephen Hadley had been responsible for vetting Bush's State of the Union speech. And Steve had to admit that he left those 16 words in, despite the fact that he had recieved two CIA memos and a personal phone call from CIA Director Tenet which made clear the Niger documents were forgeries and lies. "The high standards the president set were not met," Hadlet sadly admitted, though he did not identify which president he was referring to.Wilson notes: "Earlier, in a press briefing on July 11, Hadley's boss, Condoleezza Rice, had skirted the issue of the sixteen words by saying: 'If there were doubts about the underlying intelligence to the National Intelligence Estimate, those doubts were not communicated to the president, the vice president, or to me.' After Hadley admitted the existence of the memos and suddenly recalled the telephone call from Tenet, Rice had no choice but to own up to her own culpability in the matter. On July 30, in an interview with PBS correspondent Gwen Ifill, she grudgingly acknowledged her responsibility, but not before trying yet again to fob the blame off on Hadley, much as she had earlier tried to blame Tenet." 'What we learned later, and I did not know at the time, and certainly did not know until just before Steve Hadley went out to say what he said last week, was that the director had also sent over to the White House a set of clearance comments that explained why he wanted this out of the speech. I can tell you, I either didn't see the memo, or I don't remember seeing the memo.' Gwen Ifill finally asked Rice directly: 'Do you feel any personal failure or responsibility for not having seen this memo and flagged it to anybody else who was working on this speech?' Rice responded: 'Well, I feel personally responsible for this entire episode. The president of the United States has the right to believe that what he is saying in his speeches is of the highest confidence of his staff.' " (pages 352-3)Within a short period of time, Rice would begin to pretend that she had never heard of Ambassador Joseph Wilson, and had never heard of him. He wrote that he was at first unsure of why she seemed to go out of her way to make this part of the public record, when there was really no question that she knew exactly who he was. I think we will see the answer to that. Very soon.


At July 19, 2005 at 12:26 AM, Blogger Liberal Chrystie said...

Thanks Water Man... sadly, but very informative.


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