Covering Their Behinds

It’s National Rebuttal Day on the Right. The White House is rebutting the National Intelligence Estimate from April that came to public attention yesterday, and the Right Blogosphere is rebutting the Bill Clinton interview on Faux Nooz.

Let’s start with the White House. Richard Serrano writes for the Los Angeles Times:

The White House on Sunday sharply disagreed with a new U.S. intelligence assessment that the war in Iraq is encouraging global terrorism, as Bush administration officials stressed that anti-American fervor in the Muslim world began long before the Sept. 11 attacks. …

… But the White House view, according to Watkins, is that much of the radicals’ rage at the United States and Israel goes back generations and is not linked to the U.S.-led invasion and occupation of Iraq.

“Their hatred for freedom and liberty did not develop overnight,” Watkins said. “Those seeds were planted decades ago.”

Let’s get this straight — Before the invasion they blithely ignored Iraq’s violent history and warnings that an invasion could have nasty consequences, in favor of their candy-and-flowers fantasies. But now that the Bushies need an excuse they get interested in history.

He said the administration had sought in Iraq to root out hotbeds of terrorism before they grew. “Instead of waiting while they plot and plan attacks to kill innocent Americans, the United States has taken the initiative to fight back,” Watkins said.

An argument that does not, in fact, rebut the findings of the NIE — that our thrashing around in Iraq is growing extremism rather than reducing it. Intentions are irrelevant.

And I say it’s the War on Extremism, not the War on Terror. Let’s get the name straight.

Payson at Think Progress posts a video of a Bush Press Conference in which the President made claims that were directly opposite what the NIE said. The press conference was in August; the NIE was handed to Bush in April.

Speaking of excuses and intentions, at Slate Michael Kinsley discusses Bush’s ever-shifting explanations regarding “victory” in Iraq. You’ll enjoy this one.

Jeffrey Sachs points out that, assuming Bush’s intention was to control the world’s oil supply, he’s missing the bigger picture.

It is ironic that an administration fixated on the risks of Middle East oil has chosen to spend hundreds of billions – potentially trillions – of dollars to pursue unsuccessful military approaches to problems that can and should be solved at vastly lower cost, through R&D, regulation, and market incentives. The biggest energy crisis of all, it seems, involves the misdirected energy of a US foreign policy built on war rather than scientific discovery and technological progress.

Max Hastings explains
why the “struggles against Islamic fundamentalism” are unwinnable as long as Bush and Blair are running the show. It’s going to take new leadership (dare we say, regime change?) before any realistic solutions to the Iraq problem will be found.

In the “poor baby” department — at WaPo, Peter Baker writes that President Bush really, really, really does feel “anguish” over the loss of American soldiers and that all the public bravado is an act. To which I point out that nobody can fake sincerity better than a psychopath.

And in the “they shoulda seen this coming” department — Peter Spiegel writes at the Los Angeles Times that the Army warned Rumsfeld it is billions of dollars short of what it needs.

The Army’s top officer withheld a required 2008 budget plan from Pentagon leaders last month after protesting to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld that the service could not maintain its current level of activity in Iraq plus its other global commitments without billions in additional funding.

The decision by Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker, the Army’s chief of staff, is believed to be unprecedented and signals a widespread belief within the Army that in the absence of significant troop withdrawals from Iraq, funding assumptions must be completely reworked, say current and former Pentagon officials.

“This is unusual, but hell, we’re in unusual times,” said a senior Pentagon official involved in the budget discussions.

Schoomaker failed to submit the budget plan by an Aug. 15 deadline. The protest followed a series of cuts in the service’s funding requests by both the White House and Congress over the last four months.

I’ll move on to the Clinton rebuttals in the next post.

12 thoughts on “Covering Their Behinds

  1. There is much to comment on here, but I’ll limit myself to Jeffrey Sachs’ quote – about how BushCo’s real intention is to control the region’s oil.

    It was obvious to me, and to many others that this is the major aim of the neocons, obvious to me since before the Iraq war began. As Dennis Kucinich famously said, “we wouldn’t be in Iraq if the principal export were kumquats”. Or if you prefer, as Bob Dole plainly put it in the 1990s, “we’re in the Middle East for one reason, and one reason only, and that’s the oil”.

    Terrorism is a smokescreen, a way to get the public frightened and a way for the cabal to strip away more power from the same. It’s the perfect cover for the real intentions of the cabal.

    I am waiting for the day when the Dumbocrats can figure this out, and will have the courage to say it out loud. Terrorism is a charade. It’s really about the oil. I am angry that this root cause is not debated at all.

    The tragedy is, if the question were put to the public, about whether fighting over the planet’s last oil reserves is worth risking World War 3, worth risking the ruin of our country, many of them would say, without hesitation, “hell yes!”. As I see all the SUVs on the road, as I see my neighbor’s new Hummer, I am struck by the overwhelming, staggering stupidity and self-absorbed selfishness of the American public. PT Barnum was right – a whole nation of them.

    A more immediate tragedy is that this question of our energy future isn’t even being put to the public. Cheney and his energy cabal decided it for us, that it’s perfectly OK to use our country’s powerful military to take the foreign oil fields because his pals see trillions of dollars of profits buried in the sands of the Middle East. They decided for us. In secret.

    This decision was taken despite what Sachs pointed out – that the billions or trillions wasted in conquering the Middle East could have been spent on getting us off of oil (the energy technology of the past) and onto the energy technologies of the future. The great irony is that we are going to have to do this at some point anyway, since the oil isn’t going to last forever. It’s easier to do it now, while oil is still relatively cheap, but this window is closing.

    It’s bad enough that amoral, delusional greedheads like Cheney and his front stooge Bush are running the show, making disastrous decisions that will affect everyone in this country for generations to come, but we deserve it if we’re not willing to call them on their bullshit, and let ourselves get led down the garden path of “fighting terrorism”, rather than having the courage to steer the debate toward root causes.

  2. Here’s a good laugh from assessments that the insurgency in Iraq could grow..
    The White House spokesman, Scott McClellan, suggested the assessment was the work of “handwringers”.

    I’m sure Norman Vincent Peale’s work was required reading at the White House. It’s sort of like the little train that could…I know I can, I know I can!

  3. Consolidation of wealth and power. That’s what Bush and his cronies seek, not oil, specifically.

    It IS amazing that an active-duty general is standing up to them on the fubar budget. I figure Rummy will get him retired within three months.

  4. Pingback: The American Street » Blog Archive » The GOP undercuts the war

  5. For almost all my teens we debated Viet Nam. ALL the arguments I am hearing now are just what I heard then. Switch ‘terrorist’ with ‘communist’. “Yes, the war might not have been a good idea, but we can’t let communism win.” , “We have to honor the thousands who have died in Viet Nam fighting the EVIL of communism by not retreating.”

    Here we are – 30 years later and nobody learned. Our biggest trading ‘partner’ buys almost nothing from us, but makes everything we consume. China.They happen to be the biggest communist despotism, and our (almost) lone ‘export’ to China is the technological expertise to tighten the Internet access in China, and use technology to identify who is a political threat, so they can be imprisoned. By the way, they are financing the war in Iraq, and probably laughing as we bleed.. We are spending out the wazoo for the war, combined with the tax cuts we have to borrow – from communist China.

    Stand by – they are looking at opening Nam up to Americans – as a tourist destination. Somebody wake me so I can find out this is a bad dream.

  6. Great post Maha.
    I have to agree with Kevin Hayden, and further state that Palast had it right in “Armed Madhouse” when he wrote the goal is to keep Iraq’s oil “in the ground”, thus keeping the price up.
    There is little doubt that the big arms makers from Boeing to Lockheed-Martin, Northrup-Grumman, and many others have made a fortune since “Shock ‘N Awe”. On top of this, the profits of Halliburton and The Carlyle group investments have surely been fantastic, a direct relationship to spilled blood.
    Swami has provided the cherry for the dessert.

  7. Gosh the Donna’s that comment here are wise!!!I think Donna summed it all up pretty well!I would only add that if they wished to cover their asses,maybe they shouldn’t use wet tissue to do it..
    I just love it when the Donna’s(Donna&Donna in WI) they always know JUST the right thing to say 🙂 Good thoughts inspired by Good material…sigh… if only the rest of the world worked that way

  8. Swami , your add deserved it’s own reply….As the kids say”You rock!”….Thanks for the ,as Erinyes said so well,the cherry!

  9. Not all Americans are stupid and self-absorbed. I’m noticing more and more smaller autos on the roads these days and more hybrids. At work, my husband says there is a lot of talk about alternative fuels. There is a a growing concensus amongst some that our lust for more and more oil is completely and totally morally bereft. My son is a nuclear engineer. I have told him that it is up to his generation to get us out of this mess by coming up with alternative energy sources. He assures me that many young people are waking up to the conservative agenda. I just hope its enough, fast enough.

  10. To Doug Hughes, my son got married to a Vietnamese woman in Vietnam this past December. They met in college here in the states and went over there as tourists for the wedding as she still has family there. My son says it was like being in the Twilight Zone, being in a country with communist banners flying in the wind and seeing the communist soldier’s compounds. He didn’t have a clue that he’d be inside a communist country. With that said, he was treated very well there and had a great time.

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