DETROIT — George W. Bush doesn’t like to play hurt but he has no choice. Every week now, he’s getting clobbered. His Nixonian administration can only struggle to stop the bleeding, bandage the wounds and pray that the twin enemies of truth and time will stop. The Busheviks are in full retreat. Events, largely of their own creation, are overwhelming them. The self-inflicted assault is endless.
The president’s “brain,” his political “genius,” good ole “Turd Blossom” himself, Karl Rove, is a desperate man, crawling and begging as he tries to escape indictment on federal felony charges. Bush, the cowboy president, is all hat, no horse; Rove, his ramrod, is now all turd, no blossom.
Initially, Rove lied to FBI agents about his role in identifying and outing CIA officer Valerie Plame. This week, he’ll make his fourth visit to the grand jury, trying to explain why he lied when he was first questioned about his role in exposing Plame.
Publicly, Rove denied he had “any knowledge” about the leak and White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan scoffed that “it is a ridiculous suggestion” to say Rove was in any way involved in the scandal. Lies. All lies.
Rove, along with Vice President Cheney’s chief of staff, Lewis “Scooter” Libby, undertook that vindictive mission to please their bosses. Bush and Cheney cannot be indicted, only impeached. Treason seems like a pretty good article of impeachment. They had motive and opportunity and unleashed their minions to commit the treachery.
Plame’s husband, former ambassador Joseph Wilson, exposed a vital lie Bush and Cheney successfully used — that Saddam Hussein was shopping for enriched uranium in Niger. That false claim was essential in buttressing the lie that Saddam had a nuclear weapons program, and gave Condoleezza Rice her memorable lie-line, “We don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.”
The Niger myth was no footnote in the Bush-Cheney book of pre-war fabrications. It was central to the whole campaign to dupe the American people into believing Iraq was an imminent threat and war was the only way George W. Bush could protect us.
It’s hard to imagine such supreme cynicism in an ostensibly free nation. But it is a measure of the vile people who sell such lies, and when exposed they will stop at nothing to punish those who dare speak the truth.
Larry Johnson, a former CIA intelligence analyst and State Department counterterrorism expert, was a colleague of Valerie Plame’s. He says she was courageous and dedicated and willing to assume all the risks of an officer under non-official cover. Her specialty was the priority issue of weapons of mass destruction.
Johnson says that the real objective was not so much retaliation, “but rather to issue a stark warning to others privy to administration lies on the war not to speak out. Administration officials felt they needed to provide an object lesson of what truth tellers can expect in the way of swift retaliation.”
But those loyal to the lies are forever protected. Just ask former CIA director George Tenet. Congress requested that the agency’s inspector general review the pre-9/11 intelligence failures. That report concluded that Tenet and several others should undergo an accountability review of their job performance.
Last week, CIA Director Porter Goss said no way.
“After great consideration of this report and its conclusions, I will not convene an accountability board to judge the performance of any individual CIA officers,” Goss proclaimed.
Tenet, who also claimed finding evidence of Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction would be a “slam-dunk,” is again protected, escaping any accountably for the serial intelligence failures on his watch at the CIA.
Goss is a former Republican congressman from Florida who did a brief stint with the CIA decades ago. He is thoroughly political and yet another shining example of Bush’s fear of professionalism and reliance on hackocracy.
Goss also said little if any of the inspector general’s report would be made public, saying this is not the time to reveal how intelligence is collected and analyzed. In fact, now is the perfect time to do that, so we know the mistakes and don’t repeat them.
Plame’s top priority — weapons intelligence work — made no difference to the Busheviks when it came time to use her to send the message that speaking the truth and exposing lies will be dealt with severely.
Larry Johnson understands why Rove and Libby exposed Plame.
“Thus, it was made abundantly clear to all, including potential intelligence sources abroad, that even when priority-one intelligence targets are involved, Bush administration officials will not shrink from exposing such sources for petty political purpose. The harm to the CIA and its efforts to recruit spies willing to take risks to provide intelligence is immense,” Johnson says.
The uranium-buying hoax was developed around documents provided by a shady Italian spy to U.S. and British intelligence. The documents were forgeries, and not very good ones at that. But they were good enough for Dick Cheney, who wildly claimed he now had the smoking gun proving Saddam’s evil intentions.
Cheney was so passionate about the Niger-uranium hoax Johnson believes he may have been involved in fostering the forged documents. Johnson smells a Cheney operation and says he does not “rule out the possibility that he and his chief of staff Lewis Libby may have had a hand in commissioning the forgery, as a way to come up with an ‘intelligence report’ with ‘mushroom cloud’ written all over it, in order to deceive Congress into approving an unnecessary war.”
Mohamed ElBaradei, director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, investigated the Niger claim at the time and saw right through the hoax.
“The IAEA has concluded, with the concurrence of outside experts, that these documents which formed the basis for the reports of recent uranium transactions between Iraq and Niger are not in fact authentic,” ElBaradei said.
Cheney and the other Busheviks despised ElBaradei for not buying the lie. They had his phone tapped, looking for dirt, and tried repeatedly to get him fired from his post. They failed. Last week the IAEA and ElBaradei won the Nobel Peace Prize.
The Nobel committee praised ElBaradei for his work on nuclear non-proliferation, noting, “At a time when disarmament efforts appear deadlocked, where there is a danger that nuclear arms will spread both to state and terrorist groups, and when nuclear power again appears to be playing an increasingly significant role, IAEA’s work is of incalculable importance.” How delicious.
Bush made a speech last Thursday, which the White House billed as a major statement about Iraq and the war on terror. Bush, who has actually made good speeches — at his first inaugural and at the National Cathedral following the 9/11 attacks — delivered a thoroughly awful one before the National Endowment for Democracy.
He repeated the same old refrains about “evil” and the “global campaign of freedom” locked in deadly embrace with the “global campaign of fear.” He assured that, in Iraq, “progress isn’t easy, but it is steady.” He forgot to mention the daily death toll and how his experiment in nation-building is “hard work.”
He wrapped every terrorist act of the last 20 years into a neat package, pinning the dirty deeds on “evil Islamic radicalism,” “militant Jihadism,” or “Islamo-fascism.” Take your pick. Then he tried to make a ridiculous parallel between the “murderous ideology of the Islamic radicals” and communism. Like the commies, Bush argued, “our new enemies” are pursuing totalitarian aims and “have endless ambitions of imperial domination” seeking to “make everyone powerless except themselves.”
Bush wants us to imagine bin Laden is Stalin and al-Qaeda is the Soviet army. Such pure crap. The Soviets had the biggest army on earth and a huge arsenal of nukes to go with it.
Our courageous “war president” promises to lead the Christian armies to triumph, declaring, “We will never back down, never give in, and never accept anything less than complete victory.” What does “victory” mean? Getting the lights on in Baghdad? The garbage picked up? An end to the daily violence that our army of occupation will never be able to stop?
Bush made several references to Osama bin Laden, an interesting shift since mentioning his name was verboten on the campaign trail a year ago. The president got personal in an unrealized, self-reflective way. He didn’t have a clue how ironic his words were, since he was simply mouthing what a speechwriter prepared for him.
Bush said Islamic radicalism is “elitist” and led by a “self-appointed vanguard” that presumes to speak for the masses. He chided bin Laden for telling Muslims “what is good for them.” Then courageous George said, “And what this man who grew up in wealth and privilege considers good for poor Muslims is that they become killers and suicide bombers. He assures them that his is the road to paradise though he never offers to go along for the ride.” Bush paused, got the scripted applause, and then did his silly smirk, so pleased with himself.
Bin Laden is a murderous bastard, but a coward he is not. He gained his following with the courage and perseverance he displayed when he organized resistance against the Soviet forces, which invaded and occupied Afghanistan in the 1980s. Wealth and privilege was his, but he lived among the suffering and sacrificed his own comfort for the cause.
At the time, Ronald Reagan’s CIA supported bin Laden, along with Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, then waging war with Iran. When it suited our global purposes, the United States formed a coalition with “evil Islamic radicalism.”
As least we know God is on our side these days. George W. Bush assured Palestinian leaders he got the OK from the deity to invade Iraq. In a major three-part series the BBC will air his week, Nabil Shaath, the Palestinian foreign minister, describes the first meeting he had with Bush.
He quotes President Bush as saying, “I’m driven with a mission from God. God would tell me, ‘George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan.’ And I did, and then God would tell me, ‘George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq.’ And I did. And now, again, I feel God’s words coming to me, ‘Go get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security, and get peace in the Middle East.’ And by God, I’m gonna do it.”
White House spokesman Scott McClellan denied that Bush ever said that, which means he did. In fact, if God is talking to Bush, let’s hope he’s listening.
The single most important move we could make to defuse al-Qaeda terrorism is to pressure Israel to cooperate in the creation of a viable Palestinian state. Not an isolated Gaza and a little chunk of the West Bank, but a real nation in accord with UN resolutions. Instead of spending $5 billion a month in a futile attempt to pacify Iraq, use that money to build an economy for the long-suffering people of Palestine.
George W. Bush claims he still has political capital. As his empire crumbles, perhaps he should use that capital for something noble, practical and a tribute to freedom.
The creation of the state of Palestine, with real hope, could be one shining moment in George W. Bush’s otherwise failed presidency.