Sunday, January 6, 2008

The Tide Continues To Swell

The calls for impeachment are growing. Here's some excerpts of what George McGovern wrote today in the Washington Post:

How could a once-admired, great nation fall into such a quagmire of killing, immorality and lawlessness?

It happened in part because the Bush-Cheney team repeatedly deceived Congress, the press and the public into believing that Saddam Hussein had nuclear arms and other horrifying banned weapons that were an "imminent threat" to the United States. The administration also led the public to believe that Iraq was involved in the 9/11 attacks -- another blatant falsehood. Many times in recent years, I have recalled Jefferson's observation: "Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just."


Although the president was advised by the intelligence agencies last August that Iran had no program to develop nuclear weapons, he continued to lie to the country and the world. This is the same strategy of deception that brought us into war in the Arabian Desert and could lead us into an unjustified invasion of Iran. I can say with some professional knowledge and experience that if Bush invades yet another Muslim oil state, it would mark the end of U.S. influence in the crucial Middle East for decades.

Ironically, while Bush and Cheney made counterterrorism the battle cry of their administration, their policies -- especially the war in Iraq -- have increased the terrorist threat and reduced the security of the United States. Consider the difference between the policies of the first President Bush and those of his son. When the Iraqi army marched into Kuwait in August 1990, President George H.W. Bush gathered the support of the entire world, including the United Nations, the European Union and most of the Arab League, to quickly expel Iraqi forces from Kuwait. The Saudis and Japanese paid most of the cost. Instead of getting bogged down in a costly occupation, the administration established a policy of containing the Baathist regime with international arms inspectors, no-fly zones and economic sanctions. Iraq was left as a stable country with little or no capacity to threaten others.

Today, after five years of clumsy, mistaken policies and U.S. military occupation, Iraq has become a breeding ground of terrorism and bloody civil strife. It is no secret that former president Bush, his secretary of state, James A. Baker III, and his national security adviser, Gen. Brent Scowcroft, all opposed the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq.

In addition to the shocking breakdown of presidential legal and moral responsibility, there is the scandalous neglect and mishandling of the Hurricane Katrina catastrophe. The veteran CNN commentator Jack Cafferty condenses it to a sentence: "I have never ever seen anything as badly bungled and poorly handled as this situation in New Orleans." Any impeachment proceeding must include a careful and critical look at the collapse of presidential leadership in response to perhaps the worst natural disaster in U.S. history.

Can you believe that Fred Hiatt actually let this one through? I am heartened by this.

By the way at the time of this posting, 181,472 people have signed Wexler's hearing petition.


Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Obstruction of Justice

What an impressive first solid news day of 2008!

Here's what started it all off. An op-ed at the New York Times by bi-partisan chairmen of the 9/11 commision, Messrs. Kean and Hamilton.

Heralding what might be a sea change, a tide, breaking upon The Villagers shores, that has the potential to bring much needed change to our beloved country, Kean and Hamilton summarize what they asked for, and what the response was:

So, in October 2003, we sent another wave of questions to the C.I.A.’s general counsel. One set posed dozens of specific questions about the reports, including those about Abu Zubaydah. A second set, even more important in our view, asked for details about the translation process in the interrogations; the background of the interrogators; the way the interrogators handled inconsistencies in the detainees’ stories; the particular questions that had been asked to elicit reported information; the way interrogators had followed up on certain lines of questioning; the context of the interrogations so we could assess the credibility and demeanor of the detainees when they made the reported statements; and the views or assessments of the interrogators themselves.

The general counsel responded in writing with non-specific replies. The agency did not disclose that any interrogations had ever been recorded or that it had held any further relevant information, in any form. Not satisfied with this response, we decided that we needed to question the detainees directly, including Abu Zubaydah and a few other key captives.

In a lunch meeting on Dec. 23, 2003, George Tenet, the C.I.A. director, told us point blank that we would have no such access. During the meeting, we emphasized to him that the C.I.A. should provide any documents responsive to our requests, even if the commission had not specifically asked for them. Mr. Tenet replied by alluding to several documents he thought would be helpful to us, but neither he, nor anyone else in the meeting, mentioned videotapes.
Basically, Kean and Hamilton got what we all KNOW we've been getting - short shrift. Glenzilla, Marcy and looseheadprop all have more, and most excellent writing about today's events, culminating in Mukasey appointing a special prosecutor. John Conyers is a little unhappy with that, since he, like us, wants a REAL independent prosecutor.

I can hardly amplify what those above mentioned and esteemed bloggers have to say. What I can do is take us into a little view of how this all really got started, by Mr. John Kiriakou. He was the "former" CIA agent who told us all about Abu Zubayed and his waterboarding and that it was all wrong in retrospect:

Part 2 of that interview is here and I encourage you to watch it.

The point of all this is that:
A - The CIA's agents are by no means angels in this matter
B - The CIA is not going to be burned by this president
C - The wheels of justice are in motion
D - These "wheels" are less likely to come "off the track" as the maladministration's power only wanes.
Frankly, I find it fitting that it is torture that will undo these malfeasants. The twisted decisions, torturous and heinous behaviours are finally coming home to roost. I hope. I'm betting there will be a little back-and-forth since Conyers has expressed misgivings about the true independence of such counsel, and mirabile dictu may Congress seize upon this moment.

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