Still Pissed Off About the Hawley-Smoot Tariff

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Time to Get My Fisk On

Senator Reid has a lengthy statement on his blog about the Libby indictment. As he has apparently chosen not to allow comments on that post, I'll have to bring the fisk over here.

"National Security Must Come Before Politics"

I completely agree. But as the CIA was clearly more interested in manipulating intelligence and sending an unqualified crony to Iraq than in protecting our national security, I salute the efforts of Libby and whoever else game Americans the information we needed to counter Wilson's lies.

"This past weekend, we witnessed the indictment of the I. Lewis Libby, the Vice President’s Chief of Staff and a senior Advisor to President Bush. Libby is the first sitting White House staffer to be indicted in 135 years. This indictment raises very serious charges. It asserts this Administration engaged in actions that both harmed our national security and are morally repugnant."

Harmed our national security how, exactly? By "outing" a CIA officer whose identity was well known around Washington? That's a pretty flexible standard, Senator. Morally repugnant? You think that presenting the truth to the American people, in order to counter lies told by a partisan operative to hurt a sitting President in a time of war is morally repugnant? Perhaps in your world political expediency involves higher moral truths than telling the truth, but I hope that's not a widely shared point of view. Very serious charges? The indictment says nothing more than that Libby lied to investigators when no underlying crime was committed. Incidentally, I note that Senator Reid was instrumental in securing federal funds for a couple of Nevadans who then stole it. If such tenuous ties are all it takes for "very serious charges," Senator Reid ought to shut up about crimes committed by other people.

"The decision to place U.S. soldiers in harm’s way is the most significant responsibility the Constitution invests in the Congress."

I wasn't aware that the Constitution had any such hierarchy. Duly noted.

"The Libby indictment provides a window into what this is really about: how the Administration manufactured and manipulated intelligence in order to sell the war in Iraq and attempted to destroy those who dared to challenge its actions."

The Libby indictment shows no such thing. While the line is oft-repeated that the White House attacked Wilson (via Plame) for daring to challenge it, the fact of the matter is that Joe Wilson lied to the American public, repeatedly, and the White House called him on it. Again, maybe Reid doesn't think telling the truth is as important as other values...

"As a result of its improper conduct, a cloud now hangs over this Administration."

I never saw any similar rhetoric when Clinton suborned perjury to protect himself against a sexual assault case.

"This cloud is further darkened by the Administration’s mistakes in prisoner abuse scandal..."

Speaking of politics versus national security, I'm glad you brought this one up. Given that the Abu Ghraib prisoners were subjected to far better treatment than, say, Nick Berg, and given the deaths of U.S. soldiers that came about as a result of the relentless politicization of Abu Ghraib, it's hard to take seriously Reid's statements about putting soldiers in harm's way. You don't send troops into war and then supply the enemy with ammo, sir. Unless there are votes to be had, that is.

"...Hurricane Katrina..."

Pray tell, how do you feel about Governor Blanco's performance during that disaster? And how would you feel if President Bush were to unilaterally seize control of, say, Nevada in the event of a disaster? That's what I thought.

"...and the cronyism..."

This is my absolute favorite. While the cronyism charges certainly appear to be valid for FEMA director Michael Brown, they are equally valid for Harriet Meirs, who has no constitutional law experience, and whose dismal responses to questionaires and personal interviews strongly suggest she got tapped for one reason only: her friendship with the President. But wait a minute. Didn't Harry Reid recommend Meirs? Oh, I see -- cronyism is just fine when approved by Democrats. That explains Jim McGreevey's decision to appoint his unqualified lover to a DHS post, and Reid's failure to speak out against such an eggregious violation of our national security.

"...and corruption in numerous agencies."

Right. I've heard the charges for a while now, and they all appear as thin as Reid's own connections to embezzlers. Consistency remains the hobgoblin of small minds.

"And, unfortunately, it must be said that a cloud also hangs over this Republican-controlled Congress for its unwillingness to hold this Republican Administration accountable for its misdeeds on all of these issues."

If true, Clinton should have gotten the boot under a Republican-controlled Congress. But he wasn't. Did you complain about that, Harry?

"Let’s take a look back at how we got here with respect to Iraq Mr. President. The record will show that within hours of the terrorist attacks on 9/11, senior officials in this Administration recognized these attacks could be used as a pretext to invade Iraq."

It's not a good idea to have Michael Moore ghost-write your blog, Senator.

"The record will also show that in the months and years after 9/11, the Administration engaged in a pattern of manipulation of the facts and retribution against anyone who got in its way as it made the case for attacking Iraq."

Once again: making truthful statements about partisan hacks like Wilson = retribution. Got it.

"There are numerous examples of how the Administration misstated and manipulated the facts as it made the case for war. Administration statements on Saddam’s alleged nuclear weapons capabilities and ties with Al Qaeda represent the best examples of how it consistently and repeatedly manipulated the facts."

Hey Harry, remember that time the 9/11 Commission found evidence of contacts between Saddam and al-Qaeda? (More on that). Yeah, good times.

"The American people were warned time and again by the President, the Vice President, and the current Secretary of State about Saddam’s nuclear weapons capabilities. The Vice President said Iraq 'has reconstituted its nuclear weapons.' Playing upon the fears of Americans after September 11, these officials and others raised the specter that, left unchecked, Saddam could soon attack America with nuclear weapons."

In any case, now we know for certain that he never will attack America, or any of our allies, with nuclear weapons. I am happy to know that. If Senator Reid is not, or if his satisfaction that a genocidal maniac has been toppled is outweighed by his sadness that no more Kurds will be fed, screaming, into industrial plastic shredders, then he has no business telling Americans what to think.

"Obviously we know now their nuclear claims were wholly inaccurate. But more troubling is the fact that a lot of intelligence experts were telling the Administration then that its claims about Saddam’s nuclear capabilities were false."

Getting a little repetitive, here. I might have to start exerpting.

"The situation was very similar with respect to Saddam’s links to Al Qaeda. The Vice President told the American people, 'We know he’s out trying once again to produce nuclear weapons and we know he has a longstanding relationship with various terrorist groups including the Al Qaeda organization.' The Administration’s assertions on this score have been totally discredited."


"But again, the Administration went ahead with these assertions in spite of the fact that the government’s top experts did not agree with these claims."

CIA's Clinton-era holdovers weren't the only people writing reports, I hope you realize. Labelling the nay-sayers only as "top experts" is a bit disingenuous. The implication that Wilson himself, a former diplomat with no intelligence-gathering experience whatsoever, is a "top expert" is an utterly indefensible misrepresentation.


"Time and time again, this Republican-controlled Congress has consistently chosen to put its political interests ahead of our national security."

Unlike the Democrats, who seem to think bombing a Sudanese asprin factory in order to distract from scandal is perfectly acceptable. Unlike the Democrats, whose constant railing against the Iraq war puts our troops in far more danger than is necessary. Unlike Democrats, who feel it is appropriate for a governor to nominate his lover to head up the state DHS office in return for, um, "favors."

"They have repeatedly chosen to protect the Republican Administration rather than get to the bottom of what happened and why."

CYA is standard operating procedure. I don't like it, but I also don't try to pretend one side is guiltless while the other is not. I've never read a statement by Reid, for example, wondering why Ted Kennedy was more interested in protecting his political career than he was in rescuing Mary Jo Kopechne.

"There is also another disturbing pattern here, namely about how the Administration responded to those who challenged its assertions."

Yeah, yeah, it's no fair to tell the truth to counter lies spread by a partisan operative to undermine foreign policy. I think we've covered that.

"Time and again this Administration has actively sought to attack and undercut those who dared to raise questions about its preferred course."

I wonder what Ken Starr would think about this statement.

[Snip some more. Cripes, what a gasbag this guy is.]

"This behavior is unacceptable. The toll in Iraq is as staggering as it is solemn. More than 2,000 Americans have lost their lives. Over 90 Americans have paid the ultimate sacrifice this month alone – the fourth deadliest month since the war began. More than 15,000 have been wounded. More than 150,000 remain in harm’s way. Enormous sacrifices have been and continue to be made."

I notice you fail to mention that Kurds are no longer being fed into plastic shredders, Shi'ites are no longer subject to gas-attac reprisals, Saddam is no longer sending money to Palestinian suicide bombers, the U.S. long ago restored electricity to pre-war levels, Iraqis recently ratified a Constitution, Iraqis have successfully voted in national refereda -- twice -- Ayman al-Zawahiri admitted in a captured communication that al-Qaeda is losing, Sunnis are entering the political process... And that's just Iraq. The international repercussions have been astounding, as well, with Libya abandoning WMD programs, Lebanon organizing a peaceful revolution, Egypt liberalizing its election process, Iranian women organizing public protests without wearing their veils, peaceful revolution in Kyrgyzstan, peaceful revolution in Mauritania, 25 million Afghans getting the chance to vote for the first time in history...

But whatever. What's the use of facts, when you've got political points to score? If Reid's view of the death toll is at all consistent, we never should have invaded Germany to stop the Nazis, and we certainly had no business in Japan. But how many millions of deaths were prevented by the sacrifice of our brave men and women? And how much freedom has been spread through the efforts of selfless Americans who thought liberty is better than peace?


Okay, I'm spent. He can only repeat the same insane drivel so long before I have to leave it with "see above." The supreme irony is Senator Reid's anxiousness to politicize the indictment to attack a man who told the truth, and to defend a man who repeatedly lied to the American public about intelligence gathering.