Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Sunday, October 16th, 2005.


Cornered

Condi Rice, Iraq War

Condi Rice is guardedly optimistic the Iraqi Constitution will be approved.

“The assessment of the people on the ground, who are trying to do the numbers and trying to look at where the votes are coming from, is there’s a belief that it can probably pass,” Rice told reporters today in London. She cautioned that she wasn’t certain of the outcome.

Does this mean we’ve turned another corner? If so, how many corners have we turned, all together? And next time we invade somebody, let’s make it a country with fewer corners.

Juan Cole is the go-to guy for background on the Iraqi constitution and today’s vote. Here is his most recent post.

Speaking of Condi–bloggers are having some fun with her this morning. No, really. Today on Meet the Press, she said,

The fact of the matter is that when we were attacked on September 11, we had a choice to make. We could decide that the proximate cause was al Qaeda and the people who flew those planes into buildings and, therefore, we would go after al Qaeda…or we could take a bolder approach.

Comments:

Joe Aravosis:

That is way, way too nuanced for George Bush. He told us he was going to get Al Qaeda. Bin Laden was going to be captured “dead or alive.” Not true after all.

So, the “bolder approach” was to go after Iraq? That had nothing to do with September 11, or the people who flew those planes into buildings. But he said he was going after Al Qaeda. Thanks for clearing that up.

Condi’s right about one thing: Bush did have a choice to make. He said his choice was to make us safer from terrorism. That would have meant going after Al Qaeda and Bin Laden. He made another choice by invading Iraq. That has made us less safe, killed a lot more Americans and increased terrorism. Nice job.

Judd:

This may be news to the Secretary of State but the proximate cause of 9-11 was al-Qaeda. Nevertheless, the administration decided to invade Iraq instead of focusing our efforts on destroying al-Qaeda and capturing Bin Laden.

Today, bin Laden remains at large, international terrorism is on the rise and the invasion has become “a potent recruiting tool for al Qaeda and other terrorist groups.”

Kos:

We could destroy the people who attacked us, or we could let our attackers off scott free to go after an unrelated and unthreatening foe.

That’s not “bold”. That’s “fucking idiotic”.

If you could sit down and talk to Condi, what would you say to her? No, let me rephrase–what would you say to her other than f— you, you lying bitch?

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Punchin’ Judy

Bush Administration, News Media, Valerie Plame, Weapons of Mass Destruction

Judy Miller’s eagerly anticipated account of her grand jury testimony is published. Already there is enough commentary on the Blogosphere to fill a library.

And today there are new questions about whether Scooter Libby tried to keep Judy quiet. Pete Yost of the Associated Press writes today,

The dispute centers on year-ago conversations that the lawyer Cheney aide I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby had with one of Miller’s lawyers and on a letter from Libby to Miller last month regarding their talks in the summer of 2003 that touched on covert CIA officer Valerie Plame.

In urging her to cooperate with prosecutors, Libby wrote Miller while she was still in jail in September, “I believed a year ago, as now, that testimony by all will benefit all. … The public report of every other reporter’s testimony makes clear that they did not discuss Ms. Plame’s name or identity with me.”

One of Miller’s lawyers, Robert Bennett, was asked Sunday whether he thought Libby’s letter was an attempt to steer her prospective testimony.

“I wouldn’t say the answer to that is yes, but it was very troubling,” Bennett said on ABC’s “This Week.”

“Our reaction when we got that letter, both Judy’s and mine, is that was a very stupid thing to put in a letter because it just complicated the situation,” Bennett said.

“It was a very foolish thing to put in a letter, as evidenced by the fact that you’re highlighting it here,” Bennett said. “It was a close call and she was troubled by it; no question about it.”

In today’s Times, Miller wrote that she’d been questioned on this point [emphasis added].

During my testimony on Sept. 30 and Oct. 12, the special counsel, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, asked me whether Mr. Libby had shared classified information with me during our several encounters before Mr. Novak’s article. He also asked whether I thought Mr. Libby had tried to shape my testimony through a letter he sent to me in jail. …

…When I was last before the grand jury, Mr. Fitzgerald posed a series of questions about a letter I received in jail last month from Mr. Libby. The letter, two pages long, encouraged me to testify. “Your reporting, and you, are missed,” it begins.

Mr. Fitzgerald asked me to read the final three paragraphs aloud to the grand jury. “The public report of every other reporter’s testimony makes clear that they did not discuss Ms. Plame’s name or identity with me,” Mr. Libby wrote.

The prosecutor asked my reaction to those words. I replied that this portion of the letter had surprised me because it might be perceived as an effort by Mr. Libby to suggest that I, too, would say we had not discussed Ms. Plame’s identity. Yet my notes suggested that we had discussed her job.

Mr. Fitzgerald also focused on the letter’s closing lines. “Out West, where you vacation, the aspens will already be turning,” Mr. Libby wrote. “They turn in clusters, because their roots connect them.”

How did I interpret that? Mr. Fitzgerald asked.

In answer, I told the grand jury about my last encounter with Mr. Libby. It came in August 2003, shortly after I attended a conference on national security issues held in Aspen, Colo. After the conference, I traveled to Jackson Hole, Wyo. At a rodeo one afternoon, a man in jeans, a cowboy hat and sunglasses approached me. He asked me how the Aspen conference had gone. I had no idea who he was.

“Judy,” he said. “It’s Scooter Libby.”

That’s where Judy ends the article, btw. Very weird, if you ask me.

It seems to me Judy still has some ‘spainin’ to do; if not to Fitzgerald, then to the staff and readers of the New York Times. At Editor & Publisher, Greg Mitchell writes that the Times should fire Miller and apologize to its readers. Howard Kurtz writes at WaPo that the New York Times staff is upset and demoralized by the Judy Miller episode and doubt that the newspaper’s editors and executives are being, shall we say, transparent about what’s really going on. Be sure to read James Wolcott and Steve Gilliard, too.

Other commentaries of note:

Digby argues that the nature of the testimony must have caused Patrick Fitzgerald to at least consider the bogus WMD claims made by the Regime before the invasion.

Judy Hamsher at Firedoglake says
Judy and Fitz must’ve played “Let’s Make a Deal.”

Arianna says it’s no clearer now exactly why Judy Miller went to jail.

John Aravosis at AMERICAblog writes that Libby undercut Bush.

Viveca Novak and Mike Allen write in Time that, if indicted, Karl Rove and other White House staff plan to either resign or take unpaid leave. This would apply to Scooter Libby as well. The article implies that this is Karl Rove’s plan, not President Bush’s plan, which seems odd. It’s as if they know the boss can’t make decisions; they have to be made for him.

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