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January 30, 2004
I've resisted superficial comparisons to the tech bubble, but honestly--$40 million (give or take) for Iowa and New Hampshire? Talk about a burn rate...
Thanks to everyone...
...who contributed to my impromptu fundraiser for my out-of-work pal in San Francisco. We raised enough to get the landlord off his back for now, and that's no small thing. I hope I'll have good news to report on the job front as well--I will post an update when I know anything. As promised, I've gone through and picked out ten contributors at random who will be receiving signed prints within the next week.
Surely even supporters of the Iraq war must be dismayed by the administration's reaction to David Kay's recent statements. Iraq, he now admits, didn't have W.M.D., or even active programs to produce such weapons. Those much-ridiculed U.N. inspectors were right. (But Hans Blix appears to have gone down the memory hole. On Tuesday Mr. Bush declared that the war was justified — under U.N. Resolution 1441, no less — because Saddam "did not let us in.")
A little trip down memory lane...
Alternate title: Fun with Google.
January 29, 2004
This is old ground for readers of this site, but the Center for American Progress has what should be the final word on whether or not Americans were led to believe the threat from Iraq was "imminent."
It's another good litmus test: anyone who keeps whining that "Bush never specifically used the word 'imminent'" is really not worth taking seriously in any way.
Not tossing rose petals quite yet
From the Miami Herlad:
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Whispers of "revolution" are growing louder in Baghdad this month at teahouses, public protests and tribal meetings as Iraqis point to the past as an omen for the future.
Quite an exoneration
From Yahoo News:
LONDON (AFP) - British Prime Minister Tony Blair was directly involved in talks that led to the naming of David Kelly as the source of a BBC report alleging that intelligence on Iraq was "sexed up," the judge who conducted an inquiry into Kelly's suicide revealed.
Okay, let's review. Blair was directly involved in the decision to release Kelly's name, but only because it was the "sensible" thing to do. And, as discussed yesterday, the WMD report was--to paraphrase Lord Hutton ever so slightly--"sexed up"--but only subconsciously, so no one's really to blame.
All right, then.
Where do you think they learned evil biology?
At Evil University, of course.
Palast on Hutton
Based on the Blair government's claim, headlines pumped the war hysteria: SADDAM COULD HAVE NUCLEAR BOMB IN YEAR, screeched the London Times. BRITS 45 MINS FROM DOOM, shrieked the Sun newspaper.
January 28, 2004
Despite the bad news he is forced to deliver, Kay appears to be a team player, and as such, is trying to blame the whole mystery-of-the-missing-WMD thing on the CIA, as well as those crafty Iraqi scientists who lied to Saddam as they frittered away copious amounts of research money on hookers, whiskey and bling bling, or whatever it is they are supposed to have done.
Somewhere, I have a bunch of photos I took in London of signs politely and verbosely requesting the viewer's compliance. For instance, where a sign in America might simply command you to "keep off the grass," the British version was more likely to read something like: "If it's not too much bother, we would terribly appreciate your choosing to walk around the grass rather than on it, for you see, we are trying to seed a new lawn, and are ever so grateful for your cooperation." (I'm paraphrasing, but not by much.)
I was reminded of this as I read summaries of the Hutton report, which purportedly clears Blair of the charges of "sexing up" British intelligence (and in which the BBC comes off pretty badly)...specifically when I read this paragraph:
However, (Hutton) did wonder whether the "desire of the prime minister to have a dossier which, while consistent with the available intelligence, was as strong as possible in relation to the threat posed by Saddam Hussein's WMD, may have subconsciously influenced Mr Scarlett and the other members of the JIC to make the wording of the dossier somewhat stronger than it would have been if it had been contained in a normal JIC assessment".
Harrumph. Quite right, old chap.
In any event, I'm guessing that any time David Kay is brought up, our conservative friends will quickly start discussing the Hutton report instead. So keep in mind that Hutton is focused on the suicide of Dr. David Kelly, and whether Blair believed what he was saying, while Kay is discussing the actual lack of WMDs in Iraq--i.e., whether or not the primary justification for war has turned out to have any basis in reality.
It's an important distinction, and I suspect a lot of people are going to try to blur it.
...a related cartoon from last summer.
(Edited for clairty.)
Politicizing national security
Karl Rove wants the Iraqis to cobble together some form of self-rule by summer--doesn't matter what, just throw something together with duct tape and chewing gum, the important thing is for Bush to be able to claim in the summer of '04 that Iraq has been handed over to the Iraqis and we'll be pulling our troops out of there just any damn day now. "Claim" being the operative word here.
On a similar note, the Bushies want the 9/11 commission to wrap it up and hand over their report and clear out their desks well before the Presidential campaign shifts into high gear, and without looking at too much, you know, evidence:
The independent commission investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks announced on Tuesday that it was seeking an extension of its deadline to complete the investigation until at least July, raising the prospect of a public fight with the White House and a final report delivered in the heat of the presidential campaign.
Few entities in nature have a stronger instinct for self-preservation than a sitting presidential administration. I understand that. What I don't understand is how anyone, anywhere on the political spectrum, can look on these blatantly self-serving maneuvers with anything other than a mixture of contempt and derision.
Despite John Kerry's win in New Hampshire (pop: 1,275,000), it's probably a bit early to annoit him as the inevitable Democratic candidate for President of the United States of America (pop: 292,470,677). But whoever the candidate turns out to be, I hope he drives these two points home repeatedly until it is impossible to turn on the tv or glance at a newspaper without contemplating George Bush's sheer incompetence and venality--and wondering what, exactly, he's trying to hide.
January 27, 2004
Yet another worm out there
As always, treat attachments with extreme suspicion.
This has been a public service announcement from your friends at thismodernworld.com.
Axis of evil science
I had the news on while I was doing a couple of other things ("multitasking," the kids call it) and I thought I heard something about "evil chemistry," but missed the story. Fortunately South Knox Bubba made the catch:
"Weapons of mass destruction including evil chemistry and evil biology are all matters of great concern, not only to the United States but also to the world community. They were the subject of U.N. resolutions," Ashcroft said.
January 26, 2004
Bob's back in Los Angeles, where I assume he is not enjoying the same sort of, um, invigorating weather as those of us fortunate enough to reside in the Northeast. His final two entries are here and here.
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