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"The decisions [in the White House] did not get made that should have been. They didn't get made in a timely fashion, and the differences were argued out endlessly.… At the end of the day, you have to hold the president responsible.… I don't think he realized the extent of the opposition within his own administration, and the disloyalty."
"I'm getting damn tired of being described as an architect of the war. I was in favor of bringing down Saddam. Nobody said, 'Go design the campaign to do that.' I had no responsibility for that."
"I always believed as a speechwriter that if you could persuade the president to commit himself to certain words, he would feel himself committed to the ideas that underlay those words. And the big shock to me has been that although the president said the words, he just did not absorb the ideas. And that is the root of, maybe, everything."
"The most dispiriting and awful moment of the whole administration was the day that Bush gave the Presidential Medal of Freedom to [former CIA director] George Tenet, General Tommy Franks, and [Coalition Provisional Authority chief] Jerry [Paul] Bremer - three of the most incompetent people who've ever served in such key spots. And they get the highest civilian honor a president can bestow on anyone! That was the day I checked out of this administration. It was then I thought, There's no seriousness here, these are not serious people. If he had been serious, the president would have realized that those three are each directly responsible for the disaster of Iraq."
"Ask yourself who the most powerful people in the White House are. They are women who are in love with the president: Laura [Bush], Condi, Harriet Miers, and Karen Hughes."
"[Bush] doesn't in fact seem to be a man of principle who's steadfastly pursuing what he thinks is the right course. He talks about it, but the policy doesn't track with the rhetoric, and that's what creates the incoherence that causes us problems around the world and at home. It also creates the sense that you can take him on with impunity."
"I wouldn't be surprised if what we end up drifting toward is some sort of withdrawal on some sort of timetable and leaving the place in a pretty ghastly mess.... I do think it's going to end up encouraging various strands of Islamism, both Shia and Sunni, and probably will bring de-stabilization of some regimes of a more traditional kind, which already have their problems.... The best news is that the United States remains a healthy, vibrant, vigorous society. So in a real pinch, we can still pull ourselves together. Unfortunately, it will probably take another big hit. And a very different quality of leadership. Maybe we'll get it."
This is why I spent the last couple of days focused so heavily on Michael Ledeen's weekend lie in National Review that he "opposed the military invasion of Iraq before it took place" even though he repeatedly wrote and said the exact opposite. It's not because Ledeen himself matters per se, but because this straightforward incident illustrates the dynamic so perfectly.
Ledeen has no compunction at all about blatantly lying even in the face of a literal wave of conclusive evidence showing that he is lying - and his National Review editors such as Rich Lowry are content to remain silent about it because it's not news to them that their magazine is printing demonstrable falsehoods. It doesn't even warrant a response, let alone a correction, retraction or apology. That's because lying has become not only a perfectly acceptable tactic, but one that is central to their movement. Lying is not something they do sometimes It is who they are. Lying is a central and consciously adopted part of their ideology.
The grandfather of neoconservatism, Irving Kristol, long ago explained the "justification" for lying in an interview with Reason's Ronald Bailey (h/t Mona):
"There are different kinds of truths for different kinds of people ... There are truths appropriate for children; truths that are appropriate for students; truths that are appropriate for educated adults; and truths that are appropriate for highly educated adults, and the notion that there should be one set of truths available to everyone is a modern democratic fallacy. It doesn't work."
It is from that rotted Stalinist root that the right-wing Ideology of Lying emerged, as embodied by the now-infamous warning issued to Ron Suskind by a Bush "senior advisor" after Suskind wrote an article about Karen Hughes which displeased the Leader: "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality - judiciously, as you will - we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out."
Originally posted by forestlady
Now, taken with this new info, I'm wondering this: Does Bush know something we don't? i.e. is he afraid of being brought to justice over his war crimes becauase he thinks the Dems will take the House or Senate in the election? Either way, it seems that the rats are deserting the sinking ship rapidly. I wouldn't be surprised if the 2006 ended up not being rigged, if indeed Bush has no support. There are so many implications to this, but one thing is sure, the ship of state has made a U-turn and is now back peddling.
So many Republican candidates have been distancing themselves from the White House, on Iraq, in particular, that Bush himself was finally forced to abandon his three-year-old "stay-the-course" mantra last week.
Worse, some of the neo-conservatives' former allies have publicly turned on them with a vengeance. Former Secretary of State Al Haig, a strong supporter of going to war in Iraq, shocked many here two weeks ago when he told a widely-viewed CNN Sunday talk show that the war had been "driven by the so-called neo-cons that hijacked my party..."
He referred by name to Richard Perle of the American Enterprise Institute and the Pentagon's Defence Policy Board and former Deputy Defence Secretary (now World Bank President) Paul Wolfowitz, as well as the editorial-page writers of the Wall Street Journal.
"Iran and Turkey, both powerful neighbours of Iraq, must be involved in the process to help Iraq's security situation improve and its democratic process and economy develop," Chalabi told the Associated Press from his home in London last weekend.
Yet, Chalabi's view that gaining Iran's cooperation -- through either direct talks or in the context of regional negotiations -- in stabilising Iraq is a sine qua non for U.S. disengagement is increasingly accepted among the policy elite here. They include senior Republicans, such as former deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Dick Lugar, as well as top Democratic lawmakers, most recently the front-runner for the party's 2006 presidential nomination, New York Sen. Hillary Clinton.
"I believe in talking to your enemies," he said last month after meetings with Damascus' foreign minister and Tehran's U.N. ambassador who reports directly to Iran's Supreme Leader, Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Baker's words and activities set off a storm of protest by Perle's associates at the American Enterprise Institute, notably Michael Ledeen, who called the former secretary's approach "active appeasement", and Michael Rubin, who warned that "Baker's cold realist calculations may surrender Iraq to Iranian suzerainty."
an American withdrawal that leaves Iraq as an anarchic "failed state"—is not yet inevitable but is becoming more likely. "And then," says Perle, "you'll get all the mayhem that the world is capable of creating."
Their dismay extends beyond the tactical issues of whether America did right or wrong, to the underlying question of whether exporting democracy is something America knows how to do.