Wednesday, July 20, 2005

No Nuclear Weapons Material

So, Tierney's Nadagate continues, and it seems to me that with all the back and forth bickering about whether what Rove, now that we've established him as the leak, did was treasonous or patriotic, the press seems to be forgetting that the presidents claims were based on forged documents and Saddam had received no uranium from Niger. Ambassadors Wilson's claims that the president was presenting faulty information were correct. Rove and Novak's attempts to poison the well by pointing out that Wilson was recommended for the Niger trip by his wife don't affect his points, indeed, it's one of the classic fallacious arguments.
This issue will fade away. Fitzgeralds case will come to nothing. Bush will fire no one. Judith Miller will get out of jail and return to writing articles like the one she wrote before the war began saying that not only would the smoking gun evidence of WMDs be found in Iraq, but a silver bullet (which I guess is a way of saying the evidence is even more compelling?)

That reminds me, I wonder what Chalabi is up to these days. It was he who, while giving fuel to the neo-cons convinced the Times (via Miller) and the Post that there was good reason for the invasion. Then he fell out of US favor a year and a half ago, was accused of counterfeiting Iraqi money, then found religion and was in some group linked to Muqtada al-Sadr. That guy's got real talent. I'm sure we've not seen the last of him.

Saturday, July 16, 2005


"Trajan was ambitious of fame; and as long as mankind shall continue to bestow more liberal applause on their destroyers than on their benefactors, the thirst for military glory will ever be the vice of the most exalted characters"

-Gibbon v.1p35

Vicissitude of Fortune

"The forests and morasses of Germany were filled with a hardy race of barbarians, who despised life when it was separated from freedom; and thought on the first attack, they seemed to yield to the weight of Roman power, they soon, by a single act of despair, regained their independence and reminded Augustus of the vicissitude of fortune."
-Gibbon v.1p32

Edward Gibbon

I've just started reading Edward Gibbon's The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Some of the sentences I've come across thus far are amazing so I've decided to post them here.


In today's New York Times columnist John Tierney suggests Nadagate as a title for the scandal I discuss bellow. A label for "a scandal that's not scandalous" he says. If he's correct, than we have on our hands the most scandalous non-scandalous-scandal ever (I sound like Rumsfeld here). If the courts have gone so far as to send someone to jail for contempt in refusing to break sworn confidentiality when the case involves no real crimes, I think that's sort of scandalous. When the Whitehouse declares that its ridiculous to say Karl Rove had anything to do with the leaking of a CIA agents name and then its later discovered that he had been discussing that very subject with various members of the press, then that might qualify as scandalous. When a country is led to war on false pretenses, misleading statements and outright lies, then that's certainly scandalous. I think that is the larger issue that is being lost sight of in all the questions about the investigation. I really hope that peoples' attentions are once again being drawn to the presidents preverications about the war.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Kow Tow

Recently a federal prosecutor was able to cajole Time magazine into submitting to the court the notes of its reporter, Matt Cooper, thereby revealing his confidential sources for a story he wrote. Time Inc. felt that it was better to comply with a court order than to protect the integrity of their employees and their company. Time's Editor in Chief Norman Pearlstine explained his decision saying "I think it sets a bad precedent for journalists to think they are above the law, it leads to anarchy. That is one of the reasons the press is held in such low esteem." Indeed, the press is held in low esteem, but not because reporters think themselves 'above the law'. The press is poorly thought of because for the entire Bush presidency they've done nothing but tow the administration line.
Take, for example, the events that brought us to this current imbroglio. In his State of the Union address in the lead up to the occupation of Iraq, Bush claimed that there was evidence that Saddam Hussein was attempting to purchase yellowcake from Niger to produce nuclear bombs. Before he decided to bring this statement before our nation as causi bellum, it had already been discredited. Did the press aggressively scrutinize the president's claims? No, they let it pass, calling his bluff only after the war had begun. It was the same way for Bush's other claim that Saddam was buying aluminum tubes for use in a centrifuge. Again, after the war the fourth estate was kind enough to inform us that the materials in question could not be used to produce nuclear weapons.
The press is held in low esteem because they seem to have no voice of their own. Now, when two reporters attempt to bravely protect what little voice they've left, one of their editors under-cuts them, and capitulates to the governments demands. We very much need the press to question the policies and actions of this administration, not go along with and do whatever it says.