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.