From Tomdispatch today, "The White House Ethics Lesson (From the Hope Springs Eternal Department)" http://www.tomdispatch.com/index.mhtml?pid=35043
in which I consider whether the Bush White House, at its present nadir, has reached a "tipping point" or can catch a glimmer of light at tunnel's end. I suggest -- please note: this is satire -- that it can and cite recent evidence from the Pentagon and the White House Counsel's office that this might be so. I especially explore the presidentially mandated "ethics lessons" being offered this week to White House staffers and speculate on some of the ethical questions and answers being explored. For example:
By Tim Grieve, www.Salon.com
We spend a lot of our time wondering what the 60 percent of the American people who disapprove of George W. Bush's job performance now were thinking on Election Day a year ago. Yes, there's more evidence of administration ineptitude now than there was in November 2004. An additional 900 U.S. troops have been killed in Iraq since then. The administration has flubbed an attempt to reform Social Security, bumbled its way through a natural disaster and stumbled on a Supreme Court nomination since then. And, of course, the chief of staff to the vice president has been indicted since then.
Kucinich: House International Relations Committee Once Again Shuns War Oversight Duties
House International Relations Committee Narrowly Rejects Kucinich Resolution of Inquiry On White House Iraq Group (WHIG)
Today, by a narrow 25-23 vote, the House International Relations Committee rejected a Resolution of Inquiry, offered by Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich (D-OH) and co-sponsored by 106 Members of Congress, demanding all documents produced by the White House Iraq Group (WHIG).
The Kucinich Resolution (H. Res. 505) demanded that the White House turn over to Congress all white papers, minutes, notes, emails or other communications kept by the WHIG. Kucinich's resolution was supported by all Democrats at the committee hearing and Congressman Paul (R-TX) and Congressman Leach (R-IA).
By Arianna Huffington
Getting ready to take my 14 year old to school this morning, I turned on C-SPAN 2. “Oh, no, not C-SPAN 2 again,
Read transcript of David Airhart's entire talk at
"When I realized how over the top it was, was after An Nasiriyah. We were supposed to set up a perimeter around the city. We were out of sand bags. We didn’t have enough sand bags to protect our holes from small arms fire and things like that. Conveniently, there was a flour truck driver riding a truck down the highway that was full of canvas flour bags. And sand bags are made out of canvas, so this was perfect for sand bags. We were ordered to open fire on this man - just say, a working family man, and to use his flour bags as sand bags. A lot of guys in my platoon opened fire and the man was killed. And the individuals who didn’t open fire on this man were ordered to remove his body from the truck and throw it off in a ditch on the side of the road into a ditch and throw some dirt on top of it. And after that, I was an extreme, I guess, sort of anti-war marine."
By Judy Linehan
While denying a UN group access to Guantanamo detainees this week, Rumsfeld was unconscionably dismissive of torture reports and the extreme issues leading to hunger strikes. Indeed, abrogating all Pentagon responsibility the Defense Secretary callously denied the reality of hunger strikes, “There are a number of people who go on a diet where they don’t eat for a period and then go off of it at some point. And then they rotate and other people do that.
By Dan Robinson, Voice of America
Questions about the issue of intelligence used to justify the war in Iraq remain in the spotlight in Capitol Hill. Later Wednesday a congressional committee considers a resolution by opposition Democrats seeking information from the Bush administration, amid more heated debate across the political spectrum over the war in Iraq and the issue of treatment of terrorist suspects.
A resolution before the Republican-controlled House International Relations Committee marks the latest attempt by Democrats to intensify debate over Iraq pre-war intelligence.
News From House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi
H-204, The Capitol, Washington D.C. 20515
Tuesday, November 8, 2005
Contact: Brendan Daly/Jennifer Crider, 202-226-7616
House Leaders to President Bush: Uphold the Rule of Law, Do Not Misuse the Public Trust
Washington, D.C. - House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, Democratic Caucus Chair Robert Menendez, and Democratic Caucus Vice Chair James E. Clyburn sent a letter to President Bush today, urging him not to give special treatment to anyone under investigation regarding the CIA leak case.
By emptywheel, http://thenexthurrah.typepad.com
Laura Rozen offers the most astute comment I've seen on Chalabi's impending visit to the US.
If you think about it, it does seem possible that both sides, Washington and Tehran, might consider Chalabi a useful back channel.
She's alluding to Chalabi's visit to Iran, just before his trip to the US. Pretty curious timing, but perhaps not unsurprising.
We know Chalabi has serious business to conduct with the Bush Administration; as this Joe Klein column scooped, the Bush Administration considers Chalabi a realistic candidate to be Iraq's prime minister in Iraq's December 15 election.
ADD YOUR SIGNATURE AS A COMMENT BELOW
November 9, 2005
Deputy Prime Minister Ahmed Chalabi
Iraqi National Congress
c/o The Ritz-Carlton Georgetown
3100 South Street, NW
Washington, DC 20007
Dear Mr. Deputy Prime Minister:
We write to you as members of the 60 to 70 percent of Americans who believe that this war has been (in the words of the polling companies) a "mistake," or (in our own words) a criminal fraud. We resent the role you played in instigating it. We believe you owe an apology.
Left I on the News
President Bush's disastrous visit to Latin America, it's unnerving to
realize that his presidency still has more than three years to run. An
administration with no agenda and no competence would be hard enough to
live with on the domestic front. But the rest of the world simply can't
afford an American government this bad for that long."
By Robert Scheer, The Los Angeles Times
Who in the White House knew about DITSUM No. 044-02 and when did they know it?
That's the newly declassified smoking-gun document, originally prepared by the Defense Intelligence Agency in February 2002 but ignored by President Bush. Its declassification this weekend blows another huge hole in Bush's claim that he was acting on the best intelligence available when he pitched the invasion of Iraq as a way to prevent an Al Qaeda terror attack using weapons of mass destruction.
The report demolished the credibility of the key Al Qaeda informant the administration relied on to make its claim that a working alliance existed between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. It was circulated widely within the U.S. government a full eight months before Bush used the prisoner's lies to argue for an invasion of Iraq because "we've learned that Iraq has trained Al Qaeda members in bomb making and poisons and deadly gases."
By Mary Jordan
The Washington Post
Premier was 'seduced' in run-up to Iraq War, ex-ambassador writes.
London - Prime Minister Tony Blair was so "seduced" by the "proximity and glamour of American power" that he failed to use his leverage with President Bush to slow the rush to war with Iraq, Britain's former ambassador to the United States has written in a new book.
In "DC Confidential," which British papers began serializing Monday, Christopher Meyer, who served in Washington from 1997 until February 2003, offers an insider's look at the meetings between Blair and Bush during the lead-up to the war, which began a month after Meyer left the job. Meyer paints a critical picture of Blair as a leader who wasted his considerable clout as the United States' key ally in the effort to remove Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.
By Farah Stockman and Thanassis Cambanis
The Boston Globe
Washington debate reported over idea of 'regime change.'
Washington - The United States has cut off nearly all contact with the Syrian government as the Bush administration steps up a campaign to weaken and isolate President Bashar Assad's government, according to U.S. and Syrian officials.
The United States has halted high-level diplomatic meetings, limited military coordination on Syria's border with Iraq and ended dialogue with Syria's Finance Ministry on amending its banking laws to block terrorist financing. In recent months, as distrust between the two countries widened, the United States also declined a proposal from Syria to revive intelligence cooperation with Syria, according to Syria's ambassador to the United States, Imad Moustapha, and a U.S. official.
By Walter Pincus, The Washington Post
Democrats on intelligence panel want right to question top policymakers.
Democrats on the Senate intelligence committee want the right to interview top policymakers or speechwriters as part of the inquiry into whether the Bush administration exaggerated or misused intelligence in the run-up to the Iraq war, Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), the panel's vice chairman, said yesterday.
Rockefeller raised the possibility of issuing subpoenas, and outlined a more wide-ranging approach than the one described by Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), who said the work would center on comparing public statements by administration officials to intelligence reports circulating at the time. Rockefeller, Roberts and four other senators are to meet today to work out a schedule and process for the committee's review.
Wasington - U.S. intelligence czar John Negroponte is declining to support Vice President Dick Cheney's effort to exempt the CIA from law banning mistreatment of detainees.
"It's above my pay grade," he told a secret briefing for Senators last month, Time Magazine reported Sunday, adding that Negroponte then "artfully dodged another question about whether the harsher interrogation tactics Cheney wants the agency to be free to use actually produce valuable intelligence."
GOP Sen. John McCain of Arizona has attached an amendment to the Defense Authorization bill which would specifically incorporate the Geneva Conventions' ban on cruel and degrading treatment of prisoners into U.S. law. But the vice-president and - according to Time magazine - Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Stephen Cambone, have been lobbying against it on Capitol Hill, and the White House has threatened to veto the bill if the language is included.
Wingnuts Declare War on CIA to Retaliate, Defend Against, Take the Offensive in TreasonGate Charges...
Coordinated Fatwa on Intel Agency Declared by Rightwing Columnists, Bloggers, Talk Radio and Congress...
Over the last 48 hours or so, the newest front of attack by the Republican Attack Dogs on behalf of the Bush Administration has become quite clear.
To defend against the indefensible leaking of the identify of a covert CIA operative in the TreasonGate affair, it is now clear that the Rightwing has begun an offensive to try and attack the CIA in order to define them as a "rogue agency" who was out to get the Bushies from the get-go.
The insinuation has been made quite clear over the last few days with a coordinated lock-step efforts via newspapers, blogs, talk radio and congressional action to attempt to discredit the CIA. The latest strategy is now seen dropping unsupported accusations across the media spectrum to the effect that the intelligence agency's assignment of Ambassador Joseph Wilson to look into the now-discredited Iraq/Niger/uranium claims were all part of a long-term insidious scheme to try and discredit the Bush Administration.
By Congressman John Conyers, HuffingtonPost.com
This week, infamous intelligence fabricator Ahmed Chalabi, will be visiting Washington. I have heard rumors that he will be staying in a luxurious bloc of eight suites at the Ritz Carlton hotel and that he has meetings arranged with high ranking Administration officials, including Secretary of State Rice.
This is a man who was reportedly the source for much of the cooked up and fraudulent intelligence foisted on the American people to justify going to war with Iraq.
That fraud has now resulted in the death of over 2,000 American soldiers. This is a man who has been accused of passing U.S. intelligence secrets to Iran. This week, he is being greeted as an esteemed dignatary by Secretary of State Rice. That is a disgrace.
Today, Congressman John Conyers, Jr., Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, Congressman Maurice Hinchey and other Members will send the attached letter to Mr. Ahmed Chalabi asking for a meeting to discuss his role in manipulating the intelligence that led to war with Iraq. The current list of signers (18 in all) is attached below and will be updated later today.
November 8, 2005
Deputy Prime Minister Ahmed Chalabi
Iraqi National Congress
c/o The Ritz-Carlton Georgetown
3100 South Street, NW
Washington, DC 20007
Dear Mr. Deputy Prime Minister:
In the months leading up to the present conflict in Iraq, information from your close circle of associates was a key element in the Bush Administration's effort to convince the public of the need to go to war. As one of the leading Members of the Iraqi National Congress, you were responsible for providing a major portion of the information the Bush Administration used to persuade Members of Congress and the American people that a war with Iraq was neccessary.
* U.S. Broadcast Exclusive - "Fallujah: The Hidden Massacre" on the U.S. Use
of Napalm-Like White Phosphorus Bombs *
Democracy Now! airs an exclusive excerpt of "Fallujah: The Hidden Massacre,"
featuring interviews with U.S. soldiers, Iraqi doctors and international
journalists on the U.S. attack on Fallujah. Produced by Italian state
broadcaster RAI TV, the documentary charges U.S. warplanes illegally dropped
white phosphorous incendiary bombs on civilian populations, burning the skin
off Iraqi victims. One U.S. soldier charges this amounts to the U.S. using
chemical weapons against the Iraqi people.
By John Byrne, RAW STORY
Senior Republicans are pushing for an investigation into who revealed the existence of secret CIA prisons overseas for "high-value" al Qaeda suspects to the Washington Post, RAW STORY can confirm.
The Post reported on the existence of secret U.S. prisons in Eastern Europe Nov 3. The Bush administration has not commented on the report.
The letter follows.
November 8, 2005
Honorable Peter Hoekstra
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
United States House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515
Honorable Pat Roberts
Select Committee on Intelligence
By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t | Perspective
The President of the United States and the Secretary of Defense would not assert as plainly and bluntly as they have that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction if it was not true, and if they did not have a solid basis for saying it.
- Ari Fleischer, 12/4/2002
Find a defender of the White House on your television these days, and you are likely to hear them blame Bill Clinton for Iraq. Yes, you read that right. The talking point du jour lately has focused on comments made by Clinton from the mid-to-late 1990s to the effect that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and was a threat. The pretzel logic here, of course, is straightforward: this Democratic president thought the stuff was there, and that justifies the claims made by the Bush crew over the last few years about Iraqi weapons.
This Sunday on CNN Late Edition, Wolf Blitzer asked U.K. Defense Minister John Reid about the Downing Street Memo.
CNN LATE EDITION WITH WOLF BLITZER 11:00 AM EST
November 6, 2005 Sunday
BLITZER: Mr. Secretary, with all due respect, you say there was no debate about that going into the war, but there was what has now famously been called the Downing Street Memo, which came out on July 23, 2002, almost a year before the war, in which your government was told this, "There was a perceptible shift in attitude, referring to what's going on in the Bush administration in Washington. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence of facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the U.N. route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action."
By American Progress Action Fund
Ahmed Chalabi, the "guileful politician" whom the White House used to mislead the nation into the Iraq war, "resurfaces in Washington this week, at an embarrassing moment for the Bush administration." He is due to meet Condoleezza Rice at the State Department tomorrow and Treasury Secretary John Snow today. During the course of his stay, Chalabi is also expected to see National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and "possibly the vice-president, Dick Cheney." Chalabi returns to Washington with a sordid history. He is currently under investigation by the FBI for passing U.S. intelligence secrets to Iran and is widely viewed as having provided much of the misleading and false intelligence in the lead-up to the Iraq war. On Wednesday, Chalabi will deliver an address at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). "I understand why Ahmed Chalabi wants to see Condoleezza Rice, it is not entirely clear to me why Condoleezza Rice wants to see Ahmed Chalabi," said Danielle Pletka, an AEI scholar with close ties to the administration. (Others at AEI are still defending Chalabi.) By now, it is evident to most that the Bush administration made a mistake in trusting Chalabi before the Iraq war; it appears the administration is ready and willing to make the same mistake again. Here's a look at the rap sheet on Chalabi.
“I can’t substantiate [Chalabi’s] claims. He makes new ones every year.
By Kevin Zeese, www.democracyrising.org
While Cindy Sheehan has deservedly gotten a lot of attention for reawakening the anti-war movement with her allies from veteran and military family organizations, the especially interesting thing about the opposition to the Iraq War is that it includes former military leaders, former national security and intelligence officials as well as foreign service officers. The Iraq War that is opposed by those who generally support U.S. foreign and military affairs.
In fact, in March 2003, shortly before the war began hundreds of retired military officers wrote President Bush requesting a meeting before a final decision was made to invade. They expressed grave concerns about a war with Iraq. Their letter foretold the future, saying:
By Peter Popham, The Independent (UK)
Powerful new evidence emerged yesterday that the United States dropped massive quantities of white phosphorus on the Iraqi city of Fallujah during the attack on the city in November 2004, killing insurgents and civilians with the appalling burns that are the signature of this weapon.
Ever since the assault, which went unreported by any Western journalists, rumours have swirled that the Americans used chemical weapons on the city.
On 10 November last year, the Islam Online website wrote: "US troops are reportedly using chemical weapons and poisonous gas in its large-scale offensive on the Iraqi resistance bastion of Fallujah, a grim reminder of Saddam Hussein's alleged gassing of the Kurds in 1988."
Five US soldiers in Iraq have been charged with abusing detainees, the US military has said.
The soldiers are accused of punching and kicking detainees who were awaiting transfer to prison on 7 September, the military said in a statement.
The names and ranks of the five soldiers have not been made public.
It comes on the same day US President George W Bush defended his government's treatment of detainees, and insisted: "We do not torture".
He was responding to allegations in the Washington Post that the CIA ran secret jails in eastern Europe to hold high-profile terror suspects following the 11 September attacks.
By Linwood Barclay, www.opednews.com
Here's an idea, and I can't believe I'm the first to come up with this modest proposal, but why doesn't the U.S. government just go ahead and torture Lewis "Scooter" Libby? And not just for that ridiculous name.
Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald has laid five charges against Libby related to the investigation into how an undercover CIA operative's identity was leaked to the press. One can only imagine how long it's going to take for Fitzgerald to lay out the evidence, to put witnesses on the stand, to build a case against Libby, and find out whether he lied to cover up for his actions or those of others at the White House.