With sharks circling around embattled Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward, the Post editorial board tried to distract its readers this morning with a few choice red herrings:
It's not in the public interest for reporters to be forced to reveal their confidential sources in cases such as this. That's why Post reporter Bob Woodward should not be vilified for protecting the identity of his source in this complex affair.
Woodward isn't being criticized for protecting the identity of his source; Woodward is being criticized for not being forthcoming that he had a source who'd informed him of Valerie Plame Wilson's CIA employment to his editor, Len Downie Jr. Woodward wasn't protecting his source by not disclosing this, because, according to Downie, "all of our reporters must tell an editor the names of any confidential sources for information or quotations in stories we publish. In addition, reporters must tell an appropriate editor about anything that occurs in their reporting that could be important to the newspaper, as this information was."
Since Post reporters have to disclose their sources to their editors and inform them of issues arising from their reporting that my be important to the paper, and since Woodward has apologized to Downie for failing to do just that, it's pretty clear that there was no "public interest" Woodward was serving by his failure.
But the Woodward flap has significance beyond The Post's newsroom. The longtime Post reporter disclosed this week that, while conducting research for a book, he received information from an administration official about Ms. Plame before her identity was revealed by Robert D. Novak in a July 2003 column. That information was potentially relevant to Fitzgerald's investigation and to a news story that has been extensively covered in this and other papers. Mr. Woodward said he told one Post reporter at the time what he had learned but did not disclose the source. Mr. Woodward recently testified to the prosecutor, with the source's permission and after the source had spoken with Mr. Fitzgerald, but still (again according to his agreement) has not publicly identified the source.
No, the information was specifically relevant to the investigation, that's why Woodward was deposed by Fitzgerald, who has been investigating whether or not a crime was committed in the disclosure to Novak that Plame worked for the CIA. In his announcement of the indictment of Scooter Libby, former Chief of Staff to Vice President Richard Cheney, Fitzgerald said that "Mr. Libby was the first official known to have told a reporter when he talked to Judith Miller in June of 2003 about Valerie Wilson."
Woodward knew well before the Libby indictment that his information was relevant to the Fitzgerald investigation, that's why he said he "hunkered down" because he "didn't want anything out there that was going to get (himself) subpoenaed" by Fitzgerald. That's why he didn't disclose the information to Downie, who says "once the relevance of his conversation became clear because of the controversy over the Novak column, Bob should have told me about his conversation."
The relevance of Woodward's conversation to Fitzgerald's investigation was "clear," not a potentiality. Even Downie knows it. Even Woodward knows it.
The paper's editorial writer wants to play coy, but the Washington Post editorial board ought to be aware of these facts; they were reported in the Washington Post. If the members of the board don't have a subscriptions, the WP has a site online. Or perhaps their Media Reporter Howard Kurtz can keep the board abreast of what their own paper is printing.
Captain Ed has his own observations about the WP editorial and the consequent Woodwardgate fallout.
DOWNIE: Chris, at the time that this conversation took place back in June of 2003, Bob was conducting a series of interviews with this and other sources for his book, “Plan of Attack.” …And this came up as a small business of banter within a much longer interview about other things. Later on, when the leaks investigation began… he became concerned about protecting that source and also concerned about whether or not he, himself, might be subpoenaed in that investigation. And that‘s why he didn‘t tell me at that time. I‘ve told him, however, that those were not sufficient reasons to not bring me into his confidence. But he should have told me about it and that‘s why he has apologized today.
TRANSLATION: Not wanting to be overshadowed by the New York Times, we granted Woodward the same run-amok unaccountability that Judy Miller enjoyed. Woodward pissed all over us. We enjoyed that too.
Is there a national hotline for battered editor syndrome?
WASHINGTON, Nov. 17 - The executive editor of The Washington Post said on Thursday that if other reporters at the newspaper independently discovered the identity of Bob Woodward's confidential source in the C.I.A. leak case, the newspaper might decide to publish the source's name.
Mr. Woodward, an assistant managing editor at the newspaper and best-selling author, apologized on Wednesday for failing for two years to tell his Post bosses that he had learned from a government official about the C.I.A. officer Valerie Wilson. He testified under oath on Monday in the leak case after receiving permission to do so from his source, but the source has so far refused to permit Mr. Woodward to name him publicly.
"Each reporter is bound only by his own promises of confidentiality," The Post's executive editor, Leonard Downie Jr., said.
"Both values are legitimate - the public's need to know about the conduct of government officials, and the confidentiality of sources," said Bob Steele, who teaches ethics at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies. "But they're in conflict."
What about the third value: the public's need to know about the conduct of members of the press? Or is the Fourth Estate above all that? Many minutes of many lives were wasted on the Valerie Plame non-scandal, and Bob Woodward had it in his power to prevent that.
Of course, so did his still-cowering, still-anonymous source, whose career will be justifiably ruined when his identity is disclosed.
Should Woodward get off the hook, or get the hook?
Patrick Fitzgerald has to be embarrassed. His statement at his press conference that Libby was the first administration official who identified Plame has been effectively refuted by Woodward's (reluctant) testimony. On Fox News Channel last night, Brit Hume interviewed former U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Joseph diGenova, who said that under Justice Department guidelines Fitzgerald must consider dropping the indictment of Libby.
It is now clear that Mr. Libby's allegation by his lawyers that his memory was simply faulty makes a lot more sense now that we know that Bob Woodward was in fact the first person to receive that information not from Mr. Libby but from another, apparently former, government official," diGenova said. Former Justice Department official Victoria Toensing, diGenova's wife and law partner, said, "He has been investigating a very simple factual scenario, and he has missed this crucial fact. It makes you cry out for asking, 'Well, what else did he not know; what else did he not do?'"
"It certainly gives the appearance of a conflict of interest. He was taking an advocacy position when he was a party to it," Wilson said.
Hm. So you can't take an advocacy position when you're a party to a situation. Like, say, going on a quasi fact-finding mission and reporting one thing to the CIA while reporting the exact opposite to the press? And writing a book about it. And getting your spy wife photographed for Vanity Fair. And giving interview to anyone with a camera and a microphone.
Let's unpack this, as the post-modernists say.
Woodward's story kneecaps one of Wilson's central claims-that the Bush administration outed his wife to intimidate and punish him. Woodward says that it was mentioned by an ex-administration official in a casual, offhand way.
That's it? The passion in the blogoshpere is "mainly on the left?" How was that survey conducted? Kurtz's excerpts are exclusively on the left. Why? Is there no noteworthy passion from blogs and the right? In any case, why is blogger "passion" the determining factor for inclusion in the round-up and how does Kurtz qualify "passion" in the first place?
Kurtz' heavily slanted blog round up follows an oldstream media collection on "how the papers are playing it," which posts excerpts from the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal (no link), and the Baltimore Sun.
So Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post, reporting to Washington Post readers about a legal and journalism scandal involving Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward, shines a little light on the matter with reactions from six lefty blogs, three lefty newspapers, and one newspaper on the right.
Way to present the big picure, Howie!
Nine on the left vs. one on the right, and only one of the ten blogposts and newspaper stories didn't have an active link. Guess which one.
You can judge the passion levels for yourselves, but here's some balance from blogs on the right, something Washington Post Media Reporter Kurtz neglected to cover in his coverage of the media's reactions to Woodwardgate:
Those of us who feel that we have not begun to get to the bottom of the Wilson/Plame affair will have to chew over today's Washington Post story by Jim VandeHei and Carol Leonig: "Woodward was told of Plame more than two years ago."
...I don't understand the position of those, like Deborah Orin in today's New York Post, that Woodward's testimony is a bombshell that imperils Fitzgerald's case against Libby...
The problem with this theory is that Libby is charged with perjury, not "outing" Ms. Plame. The indictment alleges that he lied to the grand jury about his conversations wih Tim Russert and Judy Miller. The subject matter of the alleged lie is how he learned about Plame's relationship with Joe Wilson and her role at the CIA. I don't see how anything he did or didn't say to Woodward, or any conversation Woodward had with a third party, can help Libby. If anything, Woodward's testimony reinforces what a needless tragedy it was if Libby really did lie to the grand jury.
Woodward also testified that he never discussed Plame with Libby or Karl Rove. That answers the question that would have come up, which is whether the two officials may have heard Plame's status from Woodward instead of other government officials. It doesn't exactly excuplate either, especially Libby of perjury and obstruction, but it does make the indictment look even more foolish if the CIA itself outed Plame to Woodward, one of the most famous journalists in America. Woodward's story shows that the leak did not come from some back-door effort to punish Wilson or his wife for their efforts to discredit Bush and the war effort.
For two years we've heard the MSM obsessing that outing covert CIA operative Valerie Plame via conservative columnist Robert Novak was part of the "Bush Lied/Kids Died" fraud that got the U.S. into the war in Iraq and that anybody who leaked Plame's status to the media should go to jail, as well as the journalists who published the information.
And now along comes Bob Woodward of The Washington Post revealing that he was told of Plame a month before the Novak column appeared. As Captain's Quarters' Ed Morrissey puts it, the Woodward revelation means Plamegate is essentially all over
As noted by Libby's counsel, that does not jibe well with the assertion made by Mr. Fitzgerald at his press conference that "In fact, Mr. Libby was the first official known to have told a reporter when he talked to Judith Miller in June of 2003 about Valerie Wilson." (Give Fitzgerald props for qualifying this with "known to", but check (f) in the ERRATA).
This disclosure by Woodward raises many questions, starting with, why is he only coming forward now, and why is the "senior Administration official" only coming forward now [Note - it seems to be an "Administration official" in Woodward's statement].
During the prelude to the 2003 invasion of Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein from power and enforce regime change, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton declared on the Senate floor that if Saddam Hussein didn't fully comply with weapons inspections, then we could attack him with legitimacy.
Unfortunately, Terrence Jeffrey gets it all right while completely missing the point when he asks the rhetorical question, Did Hillary lie America in war? Jeffrey answers no, because:
Sen. Clinton got her bad intelligence the same place President Bush got his: the CIA. Specifically, from George Tenet, the man President Clinton appointed director of central intelligence (DCI).
The entire chain of custody on the intelligence Sen. Clinton used in her Oct. 10, 2002, Senate floor speech ran through Democratic politicians back to a Democrat-appointed DCI.
In 2002, Democrats controlled the Senate, and Democratic Sen. Bob Graham of Florida chaired the intelligence committee. On Sept. 9, 2002, Democratic Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois, a member of the intelligence committee, wrote Clinton-appointed Tenet asking for a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iraq's WMD programs.
That's all very interesting as sideshows go, but Jeffrey is unwittingly assisting the the Democrats who are determined to keep us looking at men as thin as straw, instead directing our eyes to the center ring.
We did not go to war in Iraq because of bad intelligence. It was not our responsibility to prove anything with regard to Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction programs; it was Hussein's responsibility to reaffirm unconditionally Iraq's full compliance with international treaties it had signed against the proliferation of chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons, and to submit existing stockpiles, subsystems, and components for removal and destruction under international supervision. Iraq was bound by a number of U.N. resolutions to do this and failed every time, most disastrously with the final ultimatum, passed unanimously by the Security Council, U.N. Resolution 1441, on November 8, 2002, as called for by President Bush and urged by Senator Clinton.
In her same Senate Floor Speech referenced by Jeffrey, less than a month earlier, Senator Clinton said:
If we get the resolution that President Bush seeks, and if Saddam complies, disarmament can proceed and the threat can be eliminated. Regime change will, of course, take longer but we must still work for it, nurturing all reasonable forces of opposition.
If we get the resolution and Saddam does not comply, then we can attack him with far more support and legitimacy than we would have otherwise.
We got the resolution. Saddam did not comply. We went to war with legitimacy.
Does the issue of intelligence appear in the Iraq War logic chain? Take your time.
Senator Clinton went on to say:
Over eleven years have passed since the UN called on Saddam Hussein to rid himself of weapons of mass destruction as a condition of returning to the world community. Time and time again he has frustrated and denied these conditions. This matter cannot be left hanging forever with consequences we would all live to regret. War can yet be avoided, but our responsibility to global security and to the integrity of United Nations resolutions protecting it cannot. I urge the President to spare no effort to secure a clear, unambiguous demand by the United Nations for unlimited inspections.
Again and again, consistent with longstanding U.S. and U.N. policy, the point was made by Senator Clinton that the Bush Administration should have been making for the past year and a half. The Iraq War happened and Saddam Hussein was removed with legitimacy because he did not fully comply with U.N. Resolution 1441.
I'll give props to Hillary, though. She knows when to speak up and when to keep her head ducked. Right now, while all her comrades are making targets of themselves, she's staying out of the way. She said the right things in 2002, and she KNOWS she said the right things. She knows she played the right hand. She's not about to go on record as flip-flopping on something as important as this, or be seen as undermining the military or the effort. Artillary Hillary is the persona she has chosen and she's sticking to it. And I can respect that. I'll still never vote for her, but I can respect that she's playing her cards well.
A big thanks to Instapundit for yesterday's deluge. When I got home last night the bandwidth had been bled out of my logo and I had to upload it again. At one point the traffic was so heavy my blogger editing software seemed to go haywire, so that as I tried to add a little acknowledgement to Glenn at the top of the thread--and the preview looked cool--when I published the entire post disappeared. Dang! I was taking more than a hit a second at that moment. I think it took me about seven bumpy minutes to reconstruct and republish the post. Yee haw!
Excerpt: So I asked the posters 4 questions. I will give you the obvious answers at the end but as usual my fellow Democrats disapointed me with their partisan hackery, complete lack of understanding, and no regard for right and wrong.
Excerpt: Since I've been pretty hard on him lately, I should point out that President Bush has given a fairly good, strong speech about the advance of liberty in Asia as he prepares to meet with China's leadership later this week.
Excerpt: A new book written by John Gibson of the Fox Channel, clearly documents the liberal attack on this traditional holiday, and exposes secularists' true agenda, to wipe out Christianity. CitizenLink talked with Gibson last week about the book...
Excerpt: Crank up the way back machine Mr. Peabody and let's go back to December 16, 1998. William Jefferson Clinton is in office in the middle of a scandal about sex with an intern. Clinton has been caught lying about an inappropriate (read sexual) re...
Excerpt: I have tried to think about the kind of person Jack Idema must be. I have never met him yet many bloggers, including yours truly, are taking a great deal of time trying to help him. As Americans we generally tend to help our own people even if we do...
Excerpt: Steve Harrison cannot decide if he wants to run for the state Senate again or the U.S. Senate. If he is bored with the Legislature, a shot at Byrd might make sense. Oh, not that he is going to beat him. But a good clean, Christian campaign that shows...
Excerpt: Rename DC: This from AP via TBO: Back in the 1950s, Hot Springs, N.M., was renamed Truth or Consequences, N.M., after a popular quiz show. During the dot-com boom of 2000, Halfway, Ore., agreed to become Half.com for a year. This week, Clark, Texas, mo...
Excerpt: There comes a point in the career of a Secretary of State when she or he wishes to score quickie Brownie points by brokering the Israeli-Palestinian agreement that will lead to 1,000 years of peace and prosperity. These deals last about as long as a ...
Excerpt: THE Promise scholarship program is the redheaded stepchild of state government. What was lauded last year as a breakthrough for the state now may be ruined in the name of cost containment.
Lincoln County Democrat Lloyd Jackson came up with the idea ...
Excerpt: I want to know: Whose rights have these dissenters ever stood for? What part of "all men are created equal" do they not understand? Are they racists who believe they are better than their brown-skinned brothers in Iraq?
As a condition for ending the conflict, the United Nations imposed a number of requirements on Iraq, among them disarmament of all weapons of mass destruction, stocks used to make such weapons, and laboratories necessary to do the work. Saddam Hussein agreed, and an inspection system was set up to ensure compliance. And though he repeatedly lied, delayed, and obstructed the inspections work, the inspectors found and destroyed far more weapons of mass destruction capability than were destroyed in the Gulf War, including thousands of chemical weapons, large volumes of chemical and biological stocks, a number of missiles and warheads, a major lab equipped to produce anthrax and other bio-weapons, as well as substantial nuclear facilities.
In the case of Iraq, recent comments indicate that one or two Security Council members might never approve force against Saddam Hussein until he has actually used chemical, biological, or God forbid, nuclear weapons.
So, Mr. President, the question is how do we do our best to both defuse the real threat that Saddam Hussein poses to his people, to the region, including Israel, to the United States, to the world, and at the same time, work to maximize our international support and strengthen the United Nations?
While there is no perfect approach to this thorny dilemma, and while people of good faith and high intelligence can reach diametrically opposed conclusions, I believe the best course is to go to the UN for a strong resolution that scraps the 1998 restrictions on inspections and calls for complete, unlimited inspections with cooperation expected and demanded from Iraq. I know that the Administration wants more, including an explicit authorization to use force, but we may not be able to secure that now, perhaps even later. But if we get a clear requirement for unfettered inspections, I believe the authority to use force to enforce that mandate is inherent in the original 1991 UN resolution, as President Clinton recognized when he launched Operation Desert Fox in 1998.
The UN resolution referred to by Senator Clinton is 687, under which Iraq was to reaffirm unconditionally its full compliance with international treaties it had signed against the proliferation of chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons, and to submit existing stockpiles, subsystems, and components for removal and destruction under international supervision.
Senator Clinton's declaration mas made in the context of a speech given by President Bush on September 12, 2002, one year and one day after the worst terror attacks in history, before the United Nations General Assembly. President Bush sought just such a resolution for the "unfettered inspections" advocated by Senator Clinton, citing in particular Iraq's violations of U.N. Resolutions 686, 687(!), and 688, which were the terms for the cessation of hostilities in the first Gulf War. Then the President issued this challenge to the United Nations:
My nation will work with the U.N. Security Council to meet our common challenge. If Iraq's regime defies us again, the world must move deliberately, decisively to hold Iraq to account. We will work with the U.N. Security Council for the necessary resolutions. But the purposes of the United States should not be doubted. The Security Council resolutions will be enforced -- the just demands of peace and security will be met -- or action will be unavoidable. And a regime that has lost its legitimacy will also lose its power.
Events can turn in one of two ways: If we fail to act in the face of danger, the people of Iraq will continue to live in brutal submission. The regime will have new power to bully and dominate and conquer its neighbors, condemning the Middle East to more years of bloodshed and fear. The regime will remain unstable -- the region will remain unstable, with little hope of freedom, and isolated from the progress of our times. With every step the Iraqi regime takes toward gaining and deploying the most terrible weapons, our own options to confront that regime will narrow. And if an emboldened regime were to supply these weapons to terrorist allies, then the attacks of September the 11th would be a prelude to far greater horrors.
There could be no question that without Iraqi compliance with the aforementioned resolutions--particularly 687, cited by both President Bush and Senator Clinton--military consequences would follow.
On November 8, 2002, the U.N. responded with Resolution 1441, which cited the three resolutions discussed by President Bush, as well as eight others that Saddam Hussein's Iraq had violated:
The Security Council,
Recalling all its previous relevant resolutions, in particular its resolutions 661 (1990) of 6 August 1990, 678 (1990) of 29 November 1990, 686 (1991) of 2 March 1991, 687 (1991) of 3 April 1991, 688 (1991) of 5 April 1991, 707 (1991) of 15 August 1991, 715 (1991) of 11 October 1991, 986 (1995) of 14 April 1995, and 1284 (1999) of 17 December 1999, and all the relevant statements of its President,
Recalling also its resolution 1382 (2001) of 29 November 2001 and its intention to implement it fully,
Recognizing the threat Iraqís non-compliance with Council resolutions and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and long-range missiles poses to international peace and security,
Recalling that its resolution 678 (1990) authorized Member States to use all necessary means to uphold and implement its resolution 660 (1990) of 2 August 1990 and all relevant resolutions subsequent to resolution 660 (1990) and to restore international peace and security in the area,
1. Decides that Iraq has been and remains in material breach of its obligations under relevant resolutions, including resolution 687 (1991), in particular through Iraq's failure to cooperate with United Nations inspectors and the IAEA, and to complete the actions required under paragraphs 8 to 13 of resolution 687 (1991);
2. Decides, while acknowledging paragraph 1 above, to afford Iraq, by this resolution, a final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations under relevant resolutions of the Council; and accordingly decides to set up an enhanced inspection regime with the aim of bringing to full and verified completion the disarmament process established by resolution 687 (1991) and subsequent resolutions of the Council;
3. Decides that, in order to begin to comply with its disarmament obligations, in addition to submitting the required biannual declarations, the Government of Iraq shall provide to UNMOVIC, the IAEA, and the Council, not later than 30 days from the date of this resolution, a currently accurate, full, and complete declaration of all aspects of its programmes to develop chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles, and other delivery systems such as unmanned aerial vehicles and dispersal systems designed for use on aircraft, including any holdings and precise locations of such weapons, components, sub-components, stocks of agents, and related material and equipment, the locations and work of its research, development and production facilities, as well as all other chemical, biological, and nuclear programmes, including any which it claims are for purposes not related to weapon production or material;
4. Decides that false statements or omissions in the declarations submitted by Iraq pursuant to this resolution and failure by Iraq at any time to comply with, and cooperate fully in the implementation of, this resolution shall constitute a further material breach of Iraq's obligations and will be reported to the Council for assessment in accordance with paragraphs 11 and 12 below;
11. Directs the Executive Chairman of UNMOVIC and the Director-General of the IAEA to report immediately to the Council any interference by Iraq with inspection activities, as well as any failure by Iraq to comply with its disarmament obligations, including its obligations regarding inspections under this resolution;
12. Decides to convene immediately upon receipt of a report in accordance with paragraphs 4 or 11 above, in order to consider the situation and the need for full compliance with all of the relevant Council resolutions in order to secure international peace and security;
13. Recalls, in that context, that the Council has repeatedly warned Iraq that it will face serious consequences as a result of its continued violations of its obligations;
14. Decides to remain seized of the matter.
This is as uneqivocal a declaration as can be imagined. "Full compliance with all relevant Council resolutions" was required. "Any interference by Iraq" was to be reported "immediately to the Council." Senator Clinton's conditions for "unfettered inspections" had been met, and the authority to use force in Iraq that had existed since 1991 was in effect. According the January 27, 2003 report to the United Nations by Executive Chairman of UNMOVIC, Dr. Hans Blix, Iraq was not in full compliance. The Blix Report has been questioned by no one; there is no specter of faulty intelligence to dispute it. The Iraqi government of Saddam Hussein had violated yet another U.N. resolution, squandering its "final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations" and avoid the "serious consequences as a result of its continued violations of its obligations." The U.S. invasion of Iraq to enforce 1441, 687, and numerous other U.N. resolutions, was thereby fully and legally justified under international law.
Sidebar: Operation Desert Fox occurred after the passage of the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998, which called for regime change against the government of Saddam Hussein. President Bill Clinton said of the results of Operation Desert Fox, on July 27, 2003:
"When I left office, there was a substantial amount of biological and chemical material unaccounted for. That is, at the end of the first Gulf War, we knew what he had. We knew what was destroyed in all the inspection processes and that was a lot. And then we bombed with the British for four days in 1998. We might have gotten it all; we might have gotten half of it; we might have gotten none of it. But we didn't know."
Around the blogoshpere on Democrat revisionism on Iraq:
When you watch this incredibly good RNC web video you might ask how on earth the Democrats ever thought they would get away with accusing the President of lying and misleading the country into the war in Iraq. I would answer that with the following...
2. They knew they had control of the MSM and that most reporters are too lazy to check previous statements of Democrats and their memories are too short to remember those statements, unless, of course, they would be harmful to Republicans. (Update: Some readers have argued that reporters are not so much lazy as agenda-driven. I think it is both, and would agree that agenda often is the overriding factor.)
No one believed then or since that any US action including Operation Desert Fox in December 1998 completely destroyed Saddam's WMD programs. So if the Democrats believed in those weapons back then, why are they claiming to have been fooled by Bush into believing in them in 2002 and 2003? Well, it's obviously politics at work--the leftwing base of the Democrat party has pulled even its national security hawks to the left, where conspiracy theories rule. And the biggest conspiracy theory that the left loves concerns the war, and how Bush LIED us into it.
So Google it. Prove for yourself that he didn't, and indeed couldn't have. Tell your wavering friends to Google Clinton Iraq 1998. If you have Bush-hating friends, make them do that search and then watch their world crumble around them.
We have a group of people in the Senate (both Republlicans and Dems) who went to prestigious schools and have led impressive careers. Each member ran a successful campaign in order to convince their peers that they were a good representative for their state (or somebody else's state in the case of Hillary Clinton). Therefore, it is hard to believe that these bright, intelligent people still don't understand the administration's policy in Iraq. It is impossible to imagine that these intellectuals need the Iraq policy explained to them. After all, Bush has explained to them time and time again that we are there until the Iraqi's can handle things themselves. What part of the President's speech when he said, "as Iraqis stand up, we will stand down" does the Senate not get?
RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman will host a blogger conference call later today to discuss the newly released GOP web video "Democrats: Dishonest on Iraq" (aka Bush Fights Back - Round 3).
The video offers a high-production value, nicely-scored montage of notable Democrats (Madeleine Albright, Bill Clinton, Howard Dean, Sandy Berger, Nancy Pelosi, Jay Rockefeller, Joe Biden, Harry Reid, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, and Evan Bayh) in their erstwhile pre-war zeal for taking action against Saddam Hussein. It ends with a clip from Bush's speech from Tobyhanna last Friday - that long-awaited day when the President finally called out his critics on their brazen hypocrisy, fair-weather policymaking, and revisionist rhetoric.
Just watched a Time correspondent on FOX tell FOXNews' Bill Hemmer that this pushback by the President isn't working (quite the quick diagnosis, that) and isn't likely to work because-here's the irony-the President's problems aren't with the Democrats, but rather with the American people, who now believe that the mess in Iraq wasn't worth the effort in blood and treasure, and that the President misled us into that war.
This, I suspect, will the be the canned answer from the legacy media, who will now pretend to step back and look at the political situation dispassionately. But what was left unsaid was precisely how and why the "American people" now believe such things-none of which are true.
Now there is widespread condemnation of Zarqawi's terror in Jordan. There is even a fear that the name of Islam will suffer. Unfortunately, however, it is only because Zarqawi was foolish enough to massacre Jordanian civilians, and not confine his massacres to Iraqis and non-Arabs. What has aroused Arab voices against Zarqawi has nothing to do with the immorality of blowing up people celebrating at a wedding -- it has to do with the immorality of blowing up Muslims celebrating at a wedding.
Perhaps what bothers much of the pan-Arabic world about the Amman bombings is that the solution to the atrocity isn't so obviously that "Israel should show restraint and give up more land," as it seems to be when Muslim Arabs blow up Jews or Christians.
Last week Zarqawi boasted the Jordanian hotels were bombed because "they were bases used to fight Islam and support the Crusader presence in Mesopotamia and the Arabian Peninsula --- as well as the Jewish presence in Palestine."
Jordanians who applauded Hamas or Hezbollah but now denounce Zarqawi are only angry because their lives mean as little to him as a Jew's does to them.
"It has been an honor and source of personal satisfaction for me to serve in the office of the Solicitor General during President Reagan's administration and to help to advance legal positions in which I personally believe very strongly," he wrote.
"I am particularly proud of my contributions in recent cases in which the government has argued in the Supreme Court that racial and ethnic quotas should not be allowed and that the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion."
Although Judge Alito's conservatism has not been particularly evident in his legal rulings, it was abundantly clear in his job application 20 years ago.
"I believe very strongly in limited government, federalism, free enterprise, the supremacy of the elected branches of government, the need for a strong defense and effective law enforcement, and the legitimacy of a government role in protecting traditional values," he wrote.
"In the field of law, I disagree strenuously with the usurpation by the judiciary of decision-making authority that should be exercised by the branches of government responsible to the electorate," he added.
This document raises the stakes dramatically for the left, because while the twenty-year old job application says nothing about how Judge Alito would rule as Justice Alito, it does present the first ever case of a nominee with a decisive declaration on the subject of Roe. If Judge Alito is confirmed with such a declaration in his past, it will be a significent alteration in assumed dynamics of SCOTUS nominations.
I think this clearly vindicates those of us who led the anti-Miers fight. Yes, it was 20 years ago, and yes it doesn't mean that Alito's views haven't changed, but nobody ever found such an unequivocal statement of commitment to conservative values uttered or penned by Harriet Miers. Only by standing up to Bush and the party loyalists were conservatives able to get a judge who gives us a shot at advancing movement concerns. It would be nice if the Bush loyalitsts who so regularly bashed us anti-Miers types, but are now delighted by Alito's statement, would at least admit that we had a point even if they're still unwilling to admit that we were right.
Around the the blogosphere on Judge Alito's personal opinion that the Constitution doesn't protect any "right" to abortion:
Although this position is obviously correct to those people who have actually read the constitution and have yet to find a right to abortion written there, this statement will anger those who are okay with judicial activism as long as it imposes liberal laws on the citizens of this country.
Just when the anti-Alito forces began to cast their nets elsewhere in hope of landing an issue, it looks like abortion may come back to the center of the debate. The Washington Times reports that Alito's application to join the Reagan administration explicitly states an opposition to abortion and Roe v Wade, creating the opening Democrats need to open that line of questioning at his confirmation hearing:
I say this is good that it came out... I'd like to see this discussed during Alito's hearings... Perhaps now we can have the debate about the need for conservatives on the Supreme Court, and about the Constitutionality of abortion.
Jurisprudence is the buzz word. Just note, these are his personal opinions. Not that it matters, I predict you will soon be hearing a lot of whining from the left. Don't count out that ugly fight. We may just see the left try and use that filibuster stuff just yet. Women's rights is what we will hear a lot of crying about. Be ready for Kennedy to start screaming, and liberal activist groups to go nuts.
This uproar that's about to happen by the abortion happy special interest groups is probably why Bush wanted confirmation hearings by the end of the year. Now that they've been pushed back until January, Alito is going to face two months of constant badgering from groups with a lot of money that don't represent very many people. (See MoveOn.org, NARAL, DNC, etc).
Abdolkarim Nabil Seliman, the Egyptian blogger who was detained after criticizing Islam following the October 22nd Muslim riots against Coptic Christians in Alexandria, has been released according to a post on his blog. An English translation of the Arabic, via the Committee to Protect Bloggers
"(I have been released) after 18 days, six of them spent at Alexandria State Securit office of AlFarana, and 12 in Tora Farm Prison in Cairo. I am fine now and cannot but thank everyone who stood next to me, either friends or people who have never known me, but are my brothers in humanity even though we may not necessarily agree intellectually. I am deeply thankful for them and wish them the best. I promise to write soon about my stay at the Tora Farm Prison and the people I met there."
In it he announced that he was released yesterday by the Police after spending 18 days under arrest, 6 of which he was arrested by National Security and 12 of which he spent in the Torah priosn. His post is brief, in which he only thanked the people who stood by him and promises to write about what happend to him in prison later on.
Let's just hope it's really him and not someone who is impersonating him. I guess we will find out once the Big Media gets ahold of this. For now I will take it to be true, and I am happy for him that he got released. Maybe this will end the "who's next" sepculation game that the egyptian bloggers have been playing for the past 2 weeks or so.