From the King Of Blogging, Sean Conners. Various articles and op/ed's on just about anything from A to Z. Politics, religion, entertainment and whatever else seems interesting at the moment. Members and non-members alike are welcomed to participate in th
Like many other bloggers, I can be a cable news junkie sometimes. unlike some, I try to get a good mix of views in. I'll catch some stories from conservatives like Wolf Blitzer, Joe Scarborough, Tucker Carlson and even Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity. I also will catch some Olbermann and fellow libertarian Bill Maher for some more progressive viewpoints. But traditionally, my favorite news show over the last decade has been Chris Matthew's "Hardball."

Matthews interviews with a polite, yet aggresive style most of the time. Tho, like all reporters, sometimes gets a little soft on occasion, like in 2002 when the drumbeat for the Iraq war was happening. But then, just about ALL the press acted like a bunch of administration spokespeople then. America was still in the "give the president our confidence" mode and the media reflected that sentiment, for better or worse.

But by the summer of 2003, Chris and his staff seemed to get their sea legs back. He began asking the tough questions again, and got back to not letting his guests just recite memorized talking points and pre-drawn spins.

And in July of 2003, Chris began looking beneath the surface in the matter of the "16 words." The now infamous, and bogus claim that Saddam Hussein was secretly trying to buy yellowcake from the African nation of Niger. As more and more people questioned the validity of that statement, Matthews started digging into the "who knew what and when did they know it" possibilities. On July 8th, Andrea Mitchell, a hardball and NBC correspondent, got the ball rolling.

Meanwhile, the White House played it cool. They insisted the claims, while inaccurate, were thoroughly vetted, they had no previous knowledge of the facts being erroneous, and that the issue of some former Ambassador going to investigate the claims were of little importance, barely even a sidenote. As Andrea Mitchell reported on July 8th, 2003 on the MSNBC show when she got the ball rolling as new facts were beginning to come to light...

ANDREA MITCHELL NBC CORRESPONDENT (voice over): With the president in Africa, the White House finally admitted that Saddam Hussein probably did not try to buy uranium from Niger to build nuclear weapons as the administration had charged before the war. But the admission came after the president had left for Africa last night. After press spokesman, Ari Fleischer, had told reporters earlier in the day, quote, "there is zero, nada, nothing new here", and only after former CIA envoy, Joseph Wilson, who discovered the charge was bogus a year ago went public. [/]

MITCHELL: Was this the politicization of intelligence in order to justify a war?

JOSEPH WILSON, FORMER CIA ENVOY: Either the administration had some information that it has not shared with the public, or, yes, they were using the selective use of facts and intelligence to bolster a decision in a case that had already been made.


Turns out, both were accurate. We know now that the administration did indeed both use intelligence selectively and had lots of info it never shared with the public or Congress. And you don't have to watch Hardball to know that, The Council On Foreign Relations reached the same conclusions, as have many others, many of which could never be accused of being anything "of the left."

In July of 2006, The Council published the following summary on the subject of prewar intelligence, it can be found here...Link Their summary? "During the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, writes the intelligence community's former senior analyst for the Middle East, the Bush administration disregarded the community's expertise, politicized the intelligence process, and selected unrepresentative raw intelligence to make its public case."

But back to 2003.

Matthews spoke to Republican Congressman Kurt Weldon and asked Weldon about the possibilities that The administration had the information that Wilson found and ignored it as they had already made up their minds to take our nation to war in Iraq, no matter what....

MATTHEWS: ... I agree with you completely about that question, about the occupation. I think it`s a very aggravating situation over there, and very questionable how long we are going to stay, et cetera. But I want to get back to this. Last year the CIA sent -- the Central Intelligence Agency sent ambassador Joseph Wilson to Niger to investigate whether that country sold uranium to Iraq.

He, the former ambassador, concluded it was highly doubtful that such a transaction had taken place. And he told Andrea Mitchell on your "MEET THE PRESS" that he was, quote, "absolutely convinced that Dick Cheney`s office, the vice president`s office was aware of his report before the State of the Union Address."

I want to ask you, Congressman Weldon, does it disturb you? The possibility that the vice president of the United States, his office, learned that this uranium information wasn`t accurate, that Saddam Hussein did not try to buy uranium from Africa, and yet they let the president go ahead and say that in his State of the Union Address? Does that bother you?

WELDON: It bothers me that our president used information in his speech to the nation and the world that was not based upon solid evidence and was not backed up and corroborated by our intelligence agency. That bothers me.

MATTHEWS: Why would the vice president`s office, Scooter Libby or whoever is running that office -- why would they send a CIA effort down in Niger to verify something, find out there wasn`t a uranium sale, and then not follow-up by putting that information -- or correcting that information -- in the president`s State of the Union? If they went to the trouble to sending Joe Wilson all the way to Africa to find out whether that country had ever sold uranium to Saddam Hussein, why wouldn`t they follow-up on that?

WELDON: Well, that`s a question that needs to be answered. I don`t know the answer to that. I know Scooter Libby, and I would say this is a legitimate question that many of us have been raising about the specifics in the president`s speech and whether or not it was -- we were able to verify the information relative to the attempted purchase of uranium.

MATTHEWS: Gentlemen, let`s listen to -- Congressman Emanuel too. Let`s listen to what the former ambassador, Joe Wilson, said on "MEET THE PRESS " on this very subject.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILSON: And my judgment on this is that if they were referring to Niger when they were referring to uranium sales from Africa to Iraq, that information was erroneous and that they knew about it well ahead of both the publication of the British white paper and the president`s State of the Union Address.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Congressman Weldon, it is now in mid-July. This occurred in mid-January. Does it bother you it took the White House until the president was out of the country and to have someone release this information on background without direct attribution to some official at the White House. It looks to me like they tried to bury this bad information today.

WELDON: Well, that may be the case, and if that`s the case, that`s wrong. The facts are that we need to get to the bottom of what actually happened, when the White House knew the factual information, what involvement the vice president`s office had, and as a member of the Armed Services Committee and vice chairman of that committee, that`s a question I`m pursuing right now


Later in the broadcast, in another interview, Matthews said this...

MATTHEWS: Well, let`s talk about a big head. And former ambassador, Joe Wilson, said that this was cleared by the vice president`s office. They are the ones who sent him to Africa to find out whether it was true or not, whether it was action -- there was traffic in nuclear materials between the country of Niger and the country of Saddam Hussein`s Iraq. He came back and said there was nothing going on like that six months before the speech. Doesn`t the vice president`s office hold the greatest culpability here for not acting on that truth?

Then he closed his broadcast that night withthis statement....

MATTHEWS: I want to stick with -- Just to recap, here`s what we know. Joe Wilson, a former ambassador in the United States government, was sent to Niger to establish there whether there was in fact an arms deal for nuclear materials between Saddam Hussein and the government of Niger.

He came back and reported back to the CIA at the behest of the vice president`s office, that there was no such deal. That office of the vice president, whoever is in there, Scooter Libby on down, or the vice president himself, never told the president that there was nothing to that, that that was a dry hole story. And yet, the president went on television, telling the American people it was true. Somebody`s to blame here, and it`s a very high level and it`s not speculating.


No, it wasn't. It was "dead on balls" accurate. And despite their outer facade, the administration was squirming behind the scenes. despite their claims to the contrary, we now know, via, the "Scooter Libby Perjury and Obstruction of Justice" trial, that Matthews and Wilson were right all along. The claims were bogus that the President made in the State of the Union. The Vice President's office did ask the CIA to send someone and investigate the claim. The CIA did report back the findings. And the Vice President was "obsessed" as the evidence is showing and insiders are reproting, with discrediting the administration critic, by any means possible.



So what? May be the response.



But those are the same folks who feel some religious-like obligation to defend this administration no matter what. to the rest of us, it is not only a shame and travesty, but possibly a damn good reason to remove Dick Cheney from office.



As the Wilson trip and outing of his wife, the former CIA agent, Valarie Plaime were being looked into, the President declared that any involved with this leak, would "no longer be in his administration." Well, regardless of how you see the overt criminal acts of the vice president's office, and what can be proven "beyond a reasonable doubt" is not the standard here. If we don't hold the vice president and his office to that higher standard, then exactly who can be? We know now that Dick Cheney has spent his tenure in the White House doing everything he can to gin up this war, discredit any who opposed it, regardless of the facts and has abused his powers of office without question in my mind. Not all of that is "provable" in a criminal court, but I don't need it to be. Dick Cheney is a threat to our National Security in my view. His ideologies are radical and reckless. His secret ways and setting up his own intelligence apparatus to sell his radical and reckless views have done nothing but harm this nation. We can argue about the President's own culpability over the past years, but one thing is for sure, Dick must go!



The Libby trial, every day, shows just how obsessed the vice president was with discrediting Wilson by insinuating "nepotism" and just plain denying he ordered the trip in the 1st place. And now, the vice president is continuing to lie, deny and hide behind thin "legalisms" that his people concoct to stall and delawy the American people from knowing the truth. Followers of the trial now are surmizing that Cheney won't even testify in the trial, as advertized by the defense in opening statements, because most likely he will harm the case and will either incriminate himself or more likely need to "plead the 5th" to avoid such self incrimination. this is much more serious than a blowjob, or even lying about a blowjob. The vice president is drunk with power, feels he can "shoot off" any bogus claims that serve his purpose, and then hide behind his desk while his underlings go out and smear any who oppose him or even question him.



during th e2000 campaign, the then candidate Cheney asked the American people to reject the democrat's methods of offering ""more lectures, and legalisms, and carefully worded denials. We offer another way, a better way, and a stiff dose of truth." Turns out, Cheney was not interested in truth at all, at least when it came to pre war intelligence. He was only interested in going to war, come hell or highwater. And since the beginning of this war, Cheney and his cronies have only offered lectures, legalisms and oh, so carefully worded denials. That is, when he isn't hiding behind his desk, office and team of lawyers. Or in this case, allowing his chief of staff to be impaled on a sword to save his own neck.



If the President is ever going to get people back on his side, or in my case, on his side for the 1st time concerning this war, he should ask for Cheney's resignation. it is obvious that he was very much involved, if not obsessed with discrediting all war critics, especially Wilson, who had the facts on his side. Every day now, we learn more and more about the misleading that the vice president's office was directly engaged in and responsible for. And for his manipulation of the facts and efforts to distort them and hide them where the American people were concerned is a crime against this nation, at the very least. It is time to replace Dick Cheney with someone who will restore some credibility to the office and to our nation.










"

Comments (Page 1)
on Feb 08, 2007
!
on Feb 08, 2007

Sean, you may want to add a close italics tag...

Starting a war and continuing it depends on winning hearts and minds - at home.
This way, even evidence that contradicts bogus claims made by sleazy elected officials fails to sway true believers. Here's an example:

It's been shown that Iraq has no WMD's - so why are we there?

It's disgusting, but very interesting, the way this Administration has managed it's war propaganda and melded it with it's domestic agenda to create a teflon defense in the minds of the thirty some odd percent of the populace who still find it's leadership satisfactory.

It really is too bad that some true believers won't wake up until long after the damage becomes irreversible (see:present).

Repulsive.
on Feb 08, 2007
"It's been shown that Iraq has no WMD's - so why are we there?"


For the reasons the Congress lined out in their support for the President to go to war. Nothing in it says that Iraq definitely did this or that. The President said, openly, that there was no sure knowledge that Iraq had done anything. Bush said, simply, that the dangers of assuming the best were far greater than assuming the worst.

Re: the blog and Wilson revisionism, it's wrong. Wilson's report had no such conclusions,and as a matter of fact Wilson was told directly that Nigerian officials had been approached twice, in 1998, and 1999. Wilson and some in the CIA decided to disregard this, and the decision was criticized by the congressional commission that investigated it. His opportunistic conclusion was no more verified that Bush's, just as Wilson's assertion that he had seen the forged documents before he went to the press. In reality, there was no way he could have, and he admitted that before a congressional inquiry.

He said that he'd been mistaken. The investigation also found that his assertion that his "report" had been and end-all proposition was also debunked, because there were those in the intelligence community that felt his trip BOLSTERED the idea. Wilson DID find that the Nigerians HAD said they'd been approached by Hussein's regime.

No one bothers to notice that Wilson stepped directly from this CIA job into a job on the Kerry campaign. No one bothers to remember that Wilson was found to have NOT told the truth to the press, and even under oath. People don't care, because they will nod along with anyone that offers a picture they agree with.
on Feb 08, 2007
Does anyone bother to remember that Clinton undertook operation "Desert Fox" when Hussein expelled the inspectors, coincidentally at the same time the accusation states that Iraq was trying to find a source of Uranium? Was Clinton just trying to shift his own scandals to page 2?
on Feb 08, 2007
excellent article.

wilson isn't the issue here. cheney is.

His secret ways and setting up his own intelligence apparatus to sell his radical and reckless views have done nothing but harm this nation.


he--and his cronies--have been doing exactly that for all of the more than 30 years he (and they) managed to insinuate themselves into our governmental agencies. it was dangerously wrong and unamerican in the mid-70s; if anything, it's even moreso today.

on Feb 08, 2007
Was it Cheney's apparatus that led Clinton to believe that Hussein had a WMD program in 1998? For that administration to say that it was a big enough threat to act militarily? I'm confused how it was good for Clinton to assume the worst in 1998, but irresponsible for Bush to do so in 2002. Was Clinton a neo-con, or was he 'wagging the dog' to cover his own impeachment?

on Feb 08, 2007
I failed to delete that line, it was going to be the first in some satirical dialogue, but at the last moment I decided not to include the extraneous shtuff.

The reasons why boil down to this (from Wikipedia)...

* Iraq's noncompliance with the conditions of the 1991 cease fire, including interference with weapons inspectors
* Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction, and programs to develop such weapons, posed a "threat to the national security of the United States and international peace and security in the Persian Gulf region"
* Iraq's "brutal repression of its civilian population"
* Iraq's "capability and willingness to use weapons of mass destruction against other nations and its own people"
* Iraq's hostility towards the United States as demonstrated by the 1993 assassination attempt of former President George H. W. Bush, and firing on coalition aircraft enforcing the no-fly zones following the 1991 Gulf War
* Members of al-Qaida were "known to be in Iraq"
* Iraq's "continu[ing] to aid and harbor other international terrorist organizations," including anti-United States terrorist organizations
* Fear that Iraq would provide weapons of mass destruction to terrorists for use against the United States
* The efforts by the Congress and the President to fight the 9/11 terrorists and those who aided or harbored them
* The authorization by the Constitution and the Congress for the President to fight anti-United States terrorism

The resolution itself:[link]http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=107_cong_public_laws&docid=f:publ243.107[/I]

If one were to take a poll of Americans and ask them which of these concerns in the resolution resounded with them the most, they would probably mention those I've put in bold type. Thus the question - why are we there if no WMDS? The 'Coalition of the Willing' would have had a nearly exhaustive path to existence without the reasons of WMDs (slyly insinuated by the Administration) and the supposed links to Al Qaeda (not proven to be true). I think the subject has been beat to death, which is why I didn't even attempt to write satire around it. Please ignore the stray line.

I'd like to give you my take on the yellow cake situation, but it will have to wait until tomorrow.

Was Clinton a neo-con?

He was the best Republican president we've had! More on that and Cheney's Halliburton adventures in the nineties later...
on Feb 08, 2007
Members of Al Qaeda WERE known to be in Iraq, and that is indisputable. The point of distention is whether or not they were working with Hussein. Again, in 1998 it was good enough to say that it wasn't worth being wrong. In 2003, evidently it was, at least in terms of political rhetoric.

"Thus the question - why are we there if no WMDS?"


For the other reasons you didn't put in bold. The same reasons Clinton forged the Iraq Liberation Act, and determined regime change in Iraq. You differ with the means, sure, but if you are differing with the reasons, well, you aren't just pointing fingers at Bush.
on Feb 09, 2007

Mathews, unfortunatley, is an idiot.

The problem with Wilson, as most people are aware at this point thinsk to a bi-partisan investigation, is that he was full of crap.

And for a reminder of the "16 words":

"The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."

Which is absolutely correct. Even if Saddam wasn't trying to obtain uranium (and he was), it's still correct because this is a report from the British government.

 

on Feb 09, 2007

One other point:

I have never met someone who was against us going into Iraq who would have been satisfied had we found a warehouse full of mustard gas.

The problem with the anti-war left is how dishonest it's been from the start.  They never cared about WMDs any more than I cared about WMDs.  I didn't support us going into Iraq because of WMDs and those who were against the war didn't care either and if we had found them, they would have simply found a different reason.

Most people are against us being there now (including myself) because of Bush's incompotence in handling the post-Saddam phase. 

I was on board for removing Saddam. But I could care less if the Iraqi people have a stable democracy. I wuold have been perfectly happy with some blood-thirsty dictator who was friendly to the US. 

on Feb 09, 2007
Does anyone bother to remember that Clinton undertook operation "Desert Fox" when Hussein expelled the inspectors,


according to richard butler, who headed unscom's inspection team at the time, inspectors were not expelled by hussein in november 1998. they left iraq at the suggestion of us ambassador peter burleigh.

I'm confused how it was good for Clinton to assume the worst in 1998, but irresponsible for Bush to do so in 2002.


2002 or 2003? either way, bush had much more (and much more substantial) information regarding iraq's capabilities and intentions. based on what little we now know bush knew when he ordered the invasion, i'm not convinced a four-day bombfest ala desert fox would have been a wise, much less responsible, choice.
on Feb 09, 2007
For the reasons the Congress lined out in their support for the President to go to war. Nothing in it says that Iraq definitely did this or that. The President said, openly, that there was no sure knowledge that Iraq had done anything. Bush said, simply, that the dangers of assuming the best were far greater than assuming the worst.


cmon baker, you are better than this. don't try to play lawyer with everything that has happened and been said by this administration. i'm not even gonna waste my time parroting the many, many quotes that came out of this administration and it's portable punditry.

Re: the blog and Wilson revisionism, it's wrong. Wilson's report had no such conclusions,and as a matter of fact Wilson was told directly that Nigerian officials had been approached twice, in 1998, and 1999. Wilson and some in the CIA decided to disregard this, and the decision was criticized by the congressional commission that investigated it. His opportunistic conclusion was no more verified that Bush's, just as Wilson's assertion that he had seen the forged documents before he went to the press. In reality, there was no way he could have, and he admitted that before a congressional inquiry.

He said that he'd been mistaken. The investigation also found that his assertion that his "report" had been and end-all proposition was also debunked, because there were those in the intelligence community that felt his trip BOLSTERED the idea. Wilson DID find that the Nigerians HAD said they'd been approached by Hussein's regime.

No one bothers to notice that Wilson stepped directly from this CIA job into a job on the Kerry campaign. No one bothers to remember that Wilson was found to have NOT told the truth to the press, and even under oath. People don't care, because they will nod along with anyone that offers a picture they agree with.


baker,,,again,,,cmon....actually, whether or not joe wilson was 100% accurate (and he was accurate at least in the sense that the documents that were the "evidence" were completely forged and false).

what you present is a red herring. this is about the concerted effort that came out of the administration, most evidently, from the vice president's office. their mission was to smear anyone who could threaten their bloodlust to invade iraq.

did cheney's office (who in fact DID order the CIA to investigate the claim) go after wilson's findings? NO. they went after his wife, outed her (ruining her career, and arguably commiting a crime in the process) and denied ever requesting the report. they put out talking points, and did everything they could to discredit the report WITHOUT ever arguing his conclusions except for the nitpicking that the pundits have taken up posthumously.

fact is that the president did finally admit the "16 words" were false and had no place in the speech. now we are learning, they in fact, did know that when they put the words in.

as a matter of fact Wilson was told directly that Nigerian officials had been approached twice, in 1998, and 1999.


this is a distortion. the nigerians and the iraqi's did discuss increased trade as recently as 1999. but there is no evidence it had ANYTHING to do with uranium.

poo-poo joe wilson all ya want. this is about the administration and their manipulation of the facts to mislead this nation into war.



on Feb 09, 2007
wilson isn't the issue here. cheney is.


EXACTLY! but expect the red herrings and strawmen to continue. the more they can twist it into a debate about joe wilson, the less they have to defend darth cheney.
on Feb 09, 2007
Was it Cheney's apparatus that led Clinton to believe that Hussein had a WMD program in 1998? For that administration to say that it was a big enough threat to act militarily? I'm confused how it was good for Clinton to assume the worst in 1998, but irresponsible for Bush to do so in 2002. Was Clinton a neo-con, or was he 'wagging the dog' to cover his own impeachment?


more red herrings....cmon baker...
on Feb 09, 2007
Members of Al Qaeda WERE known to be in Iraq, and that is indisputable


there are al queda members in virtually EVERY COUNTRY...that is irrelevant. if that was the standard, we'd have to invade everyone pretty much.
Meta
Views
» 825
Comments
» 23
Category
Sponsored Links