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Wednesday, October 12, 2005

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Abbas-Ali Abadani

Gary Kamiya's review of George Packer's new book, over at Salon, is excellent.

Much of what it presents is not new, but it's still good of him (and by extension Packer) to compile it all in one place. Besides it never hurts to repeat certain facts and truths over and over again, especially when so many folks are constantly attempting to shove them down the memory hole.

http://www.salon.com/books/review/2005/10/07/packer/

A long read, but well worth it.

reg

"I understand that Penn Kemble is looking for a new intern/gofer/shoeshine boy. You might want to give him a call."

I thought Penn Kemble WAS the gofer/shoeshine boy.

"...a dispute between the Gambinos and the Luccheses"

Sort of like when Mark Felt was pissed at Nixon ? I see no more irony - at least no shameful irony, which is your implication - in "being on the side of the CIA" in this one than "being on the side of the FBI" during Watergate. Did you sit that one out so as not to sully yourself with the stench of bureaucrats or internecine feuds ?

Difference between the Clinton Scandals and the current investigations of Bush and Company is that (a) this stuff that has serious abuse of power and/or corruption written all over it and (b) the majority of Americans seem to increasingly agree with "the left" that Bush and the GOPers are lousy leaders who've done the country a terrible disservice. Bringing to the public's attention a dishonest scam to drag the country into a needless war, among other misuse and abuse of office by top GOPers, isn't akin to a fishing expedition over old, failed real estate deals or sexual peccadilos. Not even close...

Freddy the Pig

"I see no more irony - at least no shameful irony, which is your implication - in "being on the side of the CIA" in this one than "being on the side of the FBI" during Watergate."

Well, than that makes two cases where you're letting your dislike of a president blind you to quite possibly a greater menace to democracy in the form of an entrenched bureaucracy, isn't it? I mean, there you're really making a moral choice between two paranoid schemers guilty of illegal, politically-motivated break-ins (who both got pardons, incidentally). I admire the consistency across decades, but...

"Did you sit that one out so as not to sully yourself with the stench of bureaucrats or internecine feuds ?"

Uh, I'm not sure it really mattered which side of that I came down on when I was 10, even if it does matter, which it basically doesn't, which side I come down on now....

reg

"a greater menace to democracy in the form of an entrenched bureaucracy,"

In the context of the Bush presidency and the aggressive deceit/criminal negligence that has consistentlycharacterized their Iraq policy, I have to say that your assertion is - not to put too fine a point on it - nuts (and in the mold of '60s New Left antt-establishment cliches used as ass-cover for shameful actual alliances and deadly dreadful miscalculations - Hitchens is the current master of this crap.) Missing the point on the scale of reductively equating Nixon and Felt to dismiss Watergate... Poltical scandals at this level almost inevitably requre leverage from insiders who may well be unsavory and to some degree opportunistic. It might also be nice if you gave some concrete reason I'm supposed to consider Valerie Plame a danger to the Republic. I'm not the kind of left-wing (or is it right-wing? or both?) crank who assumes somebody is scum just because they are career civil servants in the State Department or CIA.

marky48

Thanks Micahel. No http:// in the typekey profile. It has two good links there now.

richard lo cicero

I would just like to remind everybody here that the statute in question was passed during the Reagan era after a CIA Staion Chief was Assinated in Greece following his name being Printed in COVERT ACTION INFORMATION BULLETIN. The Plame affair started when people at the CIA were incensed over Novak's column and sent a referral to the Criminal Division of the DOJ. I bet Rove and Company either forgot about that law or didn't know about it in the first place.

richard lo cicero

I would just like to remind everybody here that the statute in question was passed during the Reagan era after a CIA Staion Chief was Assinated in Greece following his name being Printed in COVERT ACTION INFORMATION BULLETIN. The Plame affair started when people at the CIA were incensed over Novak's column and sent a referral to the Criminal Division of the DOJ. I bet Rove and Company either forgot about that law or didn't know about it in the first place.

reg

The law itself may be overkill from a civil libertarian perspective (although given it's specific genesis, it's not what I'd consider draconian if applied to government officials in possession of classified information at the level of identities of covert CIA agents), but in this case what we saw was a cabal at the pinnacle of power attempting to professionally destroy and discredit a career civil servant (actually two) they believed had outed their own deliberate lies and disinformation to the press and the public. For a certain "leftist" who shall remain nameless to invoke the specter of Phillip Agee or any other "whistleblower", no less, in active defense of Karl Rove and Scooter Libby is not merely ironic, but grotesque.

Abbas-Ali Abadani

Ha ha ha. Boy, it's a small world. Freddy and Roger L. Simon -- twins separated at birth?

http://www.antiwar.com/blog/comments.php?id=P2426_0_1_0

reg

The funny thing about that is that Roger L. Simon fancies himself cobbling together a "news outlet" that will have everything going for it as an alternative to the "MSM" that Wikipedia, which he derides, has as an alternative to standard references...except, of course, the ability of people outside his small circle to edit or update it for accuracy and transparency.

Actually, there's something even funnier about that. Which is that Roger's lips are pressed rather indelicately against the execrable and unhinged Mr. Ledeen's asshole, partnered in some project to exploit the latter's copious artistry as a purveyor of fictions.

Michael Turner

Yes, I really wonder what Ledeen and Simon are up to with that screenplay. Could it be some low-budget hagiography of Ahmed Chalabi, rather like Robert Altman's revisioning of Nixon in "Secret Honor", only without the irony?

Freddy the Pig

Ha! That's pretty funny. Of course, two people couldn't both feel that way about Wikipedia (which I just corrected something on last night-- no, no, it had to do with The Simpsons) without conspiring.

Anyway, so how about Judith Miller's piece in the NYT? If it accurately reflects her testimony-- and hard to imagine how it wouldn't without landing her in more trouble with Patrick Fitzgerald-- then, alas, looks like no frog-marching for Scooter Libby, let alone Rove, Cheney, etc. Again, we don't know what we don't know, but based on what we do know, looks like Fitzgerald was squeezing her for info on other issues and the outing-Plame case remains unmade. The dreams of Rove-haters will go unrequited, I think it's clear now.

Michael Turner

Freddus Porcinus Rex, getting tedious again: "Putting the Left on the side of the CIA in this deal is, shall we say, an historical irony. I would think some folks, rather than embracing Saint Valerie, might be better off looking at it as equivalent to a dispute between the Gambinos and the Luccheses. Their principles would take a little less battering, anyway."

With the difference that we're not talking about crime families, but about organizations that, ultimately, are accountable to the people as sovereign. It's a key organizing principle of our democracy that it substantially neutralizes the will to power by pitting the politically ambitious against the politically ambitious, with a free press and the court system providing the gladiatorial arenas. It doesn't work very well, but I'm glad it works at all. It doesn't put me or anybody else on "the CIA's side." It doesn't make Valerie Plame a "saint."

Principles? I'm not opposed, in principle, to the CIA. I oppose abuses of power, whether they are perpetrated by the CIA or by the directorate of the Strategic Helium Reserve.

Freddy the Pig

I am always surprised at these people who find it necessary to demean other commenters, as if that somehow helps a weak argument. Yes, I suppose rationality is tedious next to a vivid world of conspiratorial fantasizing, Michael Turner. You go right ahead and keep fantasizing, but it won't affect Patrick Fitzgerald bringing an indictment or, as I suspect, not doing so.

Freddy the Pig

Most things about this case are eye-glazers; here's a pretty clear set of speculations on the latest Miller info, by someone who rates the chances of Libby's and Rove's indictments as fairly high. It also talks more about the CIA as a player in this internecine fight, not an innocent bystander as so many want to believe. Maybe some of you like foreign policy being made by an organization that is not, despite what Michael Turner apparently misunderstands, accountable to the people in any direct and easily implemented way. I tend to think that's the job of the elected branches, myself, and don't like a Joe Wilson running his own foreign policy any more than I do an Oliver North.

http://justoneminute.typepad.com/main/2005/10/rove_on_the_bub.html

reg

"the CIA as a player in this internecine fight, not an innocent bystander"

Who the hell would want a CIA that's "an innocent bystander" when it comes to responding to political manipulation and fabrication of intelligence and, as in so many fights, internecine one's can have right sides and wrong sides.

reg

Come to think of it, who would want a CIA that was an innocent bystander when it came to basics like protecting the identity of their operatives ?

reg

"I don't like Joe Wilson running his own foreign policy any more than Oliver North"

You are rapidly becoming the master of false analogies...

The "Oliver North" in this drama isn't Joe Wilson but Doug Feith. I'm assuming that, had you not been seven or eight years old at the time, you'd have also objected to
Daniel Ellsberg "running his own foreign policy" by challenging the duly elected public servants of the Nixon administration. If there's a thread of consistency here, it's about people who want to shed more light on what the government is up to versus machiavellian types who want to limit public knowledge of government distortions and dubious decisions. If you think the public would have been best served by a continuing coverup of the "WMD" distortions and manipulation, frankly I could give a fuck about your bullshit civics lessons because they're worthless.

Freddy the Pig

Lack of response to your childish obscenities should not be construed as concession on my part.

reg

Lack of response to the essence of my post could, however, be construed as not having a convincing counter argument.

tom riddle

The difference between Ellsberg and Wilson is that one got the truth published in the New York Times, and the other got some lies published in it.

reg

I think you've got Wilson confused with Judith Miller...

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