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DC Cockfight! Politics in the Raw

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posted on Jan, 24 2007 @ 09:16 PM
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We are privileged to witness history in the making. Unclear even today why the US leadership submitted to a compelling necessity to bring war to the oldest city on earth, Baghdad, we are witnessing the anguish implicit in ending such a great undertaking. It will remain for observers more remote in both time and space than we, to decide why. As I write the Scooter Libby trial enters its 3rd day. I bring that up because it can serve as an example of the convoluted world that exists in our nation’s capital.

As our casualties in Iraq closed in on the 3,000 mark, and our costs in Iraq reached $2 billion a week, the public’s support began to wane. Many of our allies in the Coalition had withdrawn. The Spanish. The Japanese who apparently were paying a weekly bribe to the insurgents to leave them alone. The Filipinos who went home to fight terrorism there. Tony Blair, Bush43's alter ego, has lost his PM job because of Iraq. The Brits are talking about going home by mid-summer. It seemed to more and more American’s the conflict had devolved into a struggle between Shia and Sunni and had not much to do with al Qaeda or terrorism. Our 2 primary reasons justifying our continued sacrifices in Iraq.

President Bush has oft repeated his goal in Iraq is to establish 1) a viable democracy that was 2) free of foreign influence and that 3) offered no sanctuary to international terrorists. The underpinning of that accomplishment - democracy - seems to be a concept more familiar and welcome here than desired or endorsed there. Voting does not a democracy make. Excuse my Yiddish.

President Bush has watched his approval rating fall from 84% in January, 2002, to 36% in January, 2007. Falling every year. Because of the war in Iraq. Ever alert to adverse news, Bush has from the start of the Iraq War banned photographs or tv coverage of our KIAs being returned to Dover AFB in flag draped aluminum coffins. Our compliant - or is it complicit - news media say not a word! Who boasts "All the news that's fit to print?" Bush only mentions the dead US soldiers in passing commentary, as to say, “I feel for them.” Not overly believable. Just the PC thing to say. He never mentions the dead Iraqi. The UN has estimated 600,000 have died in the Iraq war or as a direct consequence of the war. We call that "collateral damage." Their dead.

Then came November 7.

Bush has long since forgotten the Senate was in the Democrats hands most of the 107th Congress. 2001-2003. Interesting story in itself. The Senate was 50-50 on January 3, 2001. VP Gore cast his vote with the Democrats to organize the Senate. On January 20, VP Cheney took over. He cast his vote with the Republicans to organize the Senate. On June 6, 2001, Senator Jim Jeffords of Vermont left the Republican Party and became an Independent but voting with the Democrats, again putting the Democrats back in control of the Senate until the 108th Congress. The Republicans have controlled congress since then. Until November 7, 2006.

Today, for example, (Jan. 24) the Senate declined to approve the House bill to raise the minimum wage. The Republicans want to attach tax cuts for small businesses to the wage hike bill. To avoid unpleasantries, the Democratic leadership (50 to 49 with one Democrat out sick) has agreed that unless they can get 60 votes, the required 3/5th majority to impose cloture, i.e., stop debate, they will not attempt to approve controversial measurers. Each of the bills passed in the “first 100 hours” of work by the House Democrats may suffer a similar fate in the Senate. Q. Can the Dems get votes November 4, 2008, by pointing to GOP obstruction?

President Bush’s father instigated the Iraq Study Group. He either hand picked or exercised a veto over the 10 old, steady, predicable members. He also arranged for the staff and financing. After 6 months, the ISG made its report. They were honest, they realized what all of us know, there is no good way out of this quagmire.

This is somewhat reminiscent of Chandler Harris’ folk story, Tar Baby, and Bush43 is Br’er Rabbit. But in the story, Br’er Rabbit got away from the fox, running off into the briar patch. Bush43 will not get away from Iraq. He is already in the briar patch.

The ISG laid out a plan, 3 major points and 76 other recommendations. The Report got a lot of generally favorable or just plainly resigned commentary. It was designed to give President Bush a way out of Iraq. Cover. The Dems would have to “share blame” for getting out. A lesson how to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. But for reasons best known to Bush43, he rejected that golden parachute out of hand.

Instead with deliberate and calculated hubris, he opted to raise the ante, as if we’re in a poker game. 21,000 more solders to Iraq, despite serious doubts expressed by many generals, both active and retired. It is not so much IF it works - the escalation - as it is CAN it work? And if it does work by our standards, what will we have to show for it? And if it does not work, what do we say to the loved ones of those who will surely die in Iraq except, “sorry about that.”


Foot Note 1. Lewis “Scooter” Libby was the Chief of Staff for VP Cheney. Libby was also legally designated an Assistant to the President. At least two benefits of such designation include a higher salary and a daily limo ride to and from work. A few days after the Novak article, someone realized it was a violation of the law to knowingly “out” a secret CIA agent. That law carried criminal penalties. The Bush Administration is the closest controlled administration ever in Washington. Leak-proof.

The Attorney General designated Chicago’s US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald to head the investigation. Noted for his dogged thoroughness in the performance of his job, Fitzgerald seated a Grand Jury to hear evidence as it was developed. I have not seen speculation who the Bush insiders thought they were going to catch, but it surely was not Scooter Libby. It soon became talk of the town that the leak must have come from Karl Rove, Bush’s #1 political adviser and the reputed genius who energized the ‘Born Agains’ to win for Bush the Republican nomination in 2000. Not known for his scruples, it seemed logical Rove was Novak’s source. A pay back to Joe Wilson and not to be lost on others of like mind. Karl Rove admitted to Fitzgerald’s investigators that he knew about Plame but denied telling anyone before Novak’s story. Novak finally revealed his source was Richard Armitage.

To make a long story short, Libby had testified under oath before the Grand Jury that he did not know Valerie Plame was a CIA agent in the July, 2003, time frame. He asserted he had learned of her status in the same Novak article that most of us first heard it. Later, Fitzgerald learned from the real source, then Deputy Sec of State Richard Armitage, that he had disclosed the fact to Libby prior to critical July 6, 2003 publication date of Novak’s story. Libby was indicted, not for outing Plame, but for lying to the Grand Jury. A federal crime punishable with up to 3 years in prison plus a hefty fine. If Libby had said, “I plead the 5th Amendment,” or if he had said, “I cannot remember” when I learned of her status. But he was dead ceratin he did not know. Fitzgerald played the Grand Jury tape of Libby;s denial in the opening statement to the jury.

Foot Note 2. Valerie Plame b. 1963 in Anchorage, was outed as a secret CIA agent by columnist Robert Novak on July 13, 2003, following a July 6 Op-Ed in the NYTimes by her husband and former Ambassador Joe Wilson, highly critical of one central reason offered by President Bush for taking war to Iraq. The US claimed Iraq was buying refined uranium - yellow cake - from Niger as part of a bomb making program. The IAEA rejected the claim when it found the papers referred to by Secretary Powell were forgeries. Powell relied on those papers in his February speech before the United Nations. [Powell has since apologized to the American people for that speech.] Valerie’s legal name is Valerie P. Wilson and she goes by that name.


[edit on 1/24/2007 by donwhite]




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