Monday, September 10, 2007

Can Any "Surge" Help a Corrupt Government/Rehabbing Condi Rice--or Her Image

Reporters always kvetch about their scoops that do not receive sufficient attention. Well, I feel like griping today. The piece I posted last week about former Judge Radhi al-Radhi, the forced-out anticorruption chief in Iraq who told me that the government of Nouri al-Maliki is so corrupt it ought to be abolished, did not get the pop I had imagined it would. As the world was waiting for General David Petraeus to report to Congress, wasn't it highly relevant that Radhi was saying that Iraqi government is utterly hapless, riddled with corruption, and little more than a collection of pocket-lining thugs? After all, the point of the so-called surge is to provide the Iraqi government breathing space so it can engage in national reconciliation and self-improvement. But if the Maliki government is not much more than a cesspool of sleaze, that overall strategy doesn't look too hot. As Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker appear before multiple congressional committees this week, I hope some lawmakers ask them to respond to Radhi's pronouncements. The question is rather important: what can the U.S. government and military can do, if the Iraqi government is too corrupt to govern? If the answer is not obvious to you, look up "Diem and Vietnam" at Wikipedia. It's deja vu all over again.

REHABBING RICE. My old college pal, Glenn Kessler, now an accomplished reporter for The Washington Post has just published a book on Condoleezza Rice called The Confidante: Condoleezza Rice and the Creation of the Bush Legacy. The book has garnered positive reviews. In it, one of Rice's friends sums her up this way: "Condi is the least reflective person I know." No wonder she has gotten along so well with George W. Bush. How unfortunate for the nation that at this point in time its national security is within the hands of people who cannot think deeply about the critical actions they take. Kessler also notes that Rice "believes that the mistakes the Bush administration has made will be forgotten as long as the big picture -- such as transforming the Middle East -- is viewed as acceptable by historians.'' Talk about self-delusion.

The book is replete with fly-on-the-wall scenes that show how Washington operates. Here's one example. The setup: it's early 2005, and Rice has only recently become Secretary of State. Her image is severely tarnished by the Iraq war and the WMD fiasco. Still, there's a lot of buzz about her--including talk (fair or not) about her choice of footwear. A photo of her wearing long, black leather boots has created a stir (at least among people who care about such things). And her handlers are doing all they can to bolster (that is, rehab) her image. Kessler picks up the story:

The boots photograph appeared in the press on February 25; Rice had only arrived at the State Department on January 27. The transformation was nearly complete, but [image maker and senior advisor Jim] Wilkinson had one more trick up his sleeve.

On March 11, Rice sat down for an interview with the editorial board of The Washington Times. Wilkinson slipped a note to the editorial page editor, Tony Blankley, whom he had known for years, when they both worked on Capitol Hill for the Republican House leadership. The note suggested the Times ask her if she would consider running for president. It was an audacious proposal. She had only been on the job a month. But such speculation helped bolster the idea that Rice was a strong leader.

As it happened, then White House reporter Bill Sammon was already prepared to ask what he called the "fun political stuff." Rice exclaimed "jeez" before she gave a classic non-answer.

"I never wanted to run for anything. I don't think I even ran for class anything when I was in school," Rice said. "However, I have enormous respect for people who do run for office. It's really hard for me to imagine myself in that role."

Her remarks generated banner headlines and immediate speculation about a "Condi versus Hillary" race in 2008.

Wilkinson could rest easy: A star was born.

So a Rice image-maker gets a conservative newspaper to ask a question that he knows will lead to hype helpful for his boss. Such is how bigtime spinners orchestrate news in Washington.

BOBBY AND J. EDGAR AND ME I reviewed Burton Hersh's new book on RFK and J. Edgar Hoover-- Bobby and J. Edgar: The Historic Face-Off Between the Kennedys and J. Edgar Hoover that Transformed America --for the latest issue of The New York Times Book Review and gave the book a thumb's down. It was sloppily researched and written, and Hersh failed to escape the gravitational pull of unproven conspiracy theories involving RFK, JFK, Marilyn Monroe, the Mafia and more. You can read the full review here.

Posted by David Corn at September 10, 2007 11:16 AM


capt said...

Mr. David Corn,

"scoops that do not receive sufficient attention"

I agree - so many pieces of meaningful information and excellents scoops are just drowned out under the din of celeb gossip and complete BS.

Other than just scoops being under the radar - how about others going to print days later with basically the same content pretending it is firsthand reporting? THAT has been really bugging me.

Keep up the good work and when you have something important SCREAM it from the rooftops until someone notices.

We really need your voice out there and you will be heard. I think more and more people from the Reich-wing are getting informed enough to read you.



capt said...

US loner helps bin Laden to taunt Bush

A Californian heavy metal fan, who converted to Islam and became the first American to be charged with treason in half a century, has been fingered as the author of Osama bin Laden's latest video lecture - which left the terror chief sounding like an anti-globalisation protester.

The al-Qaeda leader's first video message for three years featured a bizarre rant against America, with references to global warming, "insane taxes", the US mortgage market meltdown and rising interest rates.

American spy chiefs were quick to name Adam Gadahn, the head of al-Qaeda's English language media operations, as the author of large sections of bin Laden's broadcast.

Last October, the 28-year-old "loner" became the first American charged with treason since 1952, for appearing in a succession of al-Qaeda videos under the guise of "Azzam The American", in which he condemned globalisation and made American cultural references.

He was charged in his absence, as he is thought to be near to bin Laden, almost certainly in the tribal areas of Pakistan.

Gadahn, who as a teenager reviewed albums for a metal music magazine, moved to Pakistan in 1998 and became an associate of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the architect of the 9/11 attacks. In 2004, the FBI named him as one of seven al-Qaeda operatives planning attacks in the US.

The bin Laden video, timed to coincide with the sixth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, shows the terror chief, his beard dyed black, condemning the "unjust" Iraq war and calling on Americans to "embrace Islam".

What surprised analysts was his use of the language of Left-wing protesters, which showed detailed knowledge of the economic travails of middle America.

Bin Laden referred to "the reeling of many of you under the burden of interest-related debts, insane taxes and real estate mortgage" and blamed "global warming and its woes" on "emissions of the factories the major corporations".

A former senior US intelligence official said: "It has Adam Gadahn written all over it." Mike Baker, a former CIA covert operations officer, said the tape left bin Laden with "the title of biggest gas bag in the terrorist world".


Gerald said...

bin Laden will never go away as long as the Nazis are in power.

General Betrayus does not care about the American people and the American soldiers. Betrayus will not betray Hitler Bush.

Gerald said...

Troop Blogs

Troop blogs, I believe, are therapeutic for our soldiers. I know that my posts are therapeutic for me.

Gerald said...

Please help with some answers!

Why does a woman work ten years to change a man's habits and then complain that he is not the man she married?

Gerald said...

Pigs of War
by Cindy Sheehan
“I believe it is imperative that we never lose our voice of dissent, regardless of political pressure. As Martin Luther King, Jr said: ‘there comes a time when silence is betrayal’…However, it is unforgivable that Congress has been unwilling to examine these matters or take action to prevent these circumstances [executive branch crimes] from occurring again.”

-Congressman John Conyers (D-MI) Introduction to Constitution in Crisis, 2006

Pigs of War come in both political colors of red and blue. We are all unfortunately very familiar with the red pigs. The pigs of war who manipulated, cherry-picked, stove-piped and manufactured intelligence to suggest to the world that Saddam had mushroom cloud producing WMD and something to do with the tragic events of 9-11 that occurred six years ago now.

Many blue politicians are pigs of war and they willingly went along with the deceptions and even parroted red pig talking points whenever they got a chance but now claim that the “fiendishly clever” George fooled them into believing the nearly unbelievable. I don’t know about you, but I take small comfort in that excuse. When we have a system of government where our supposed public servants can profit off of war along with the corporations that pad their bank accounts both blue and red pigs benefit and young people needlessly lose their lives sometimes killing other humans in the process.

Our troops and the people of Iraq are the ones getting trapped between our pusillanimous politicians. These dear human beings become ciphers in purely political calculations from Congress and only an exercise in abstraction from pundits, poets, publishers and the majority of the average American who has not been personally touched by this excremental occupation. In Iraq, every citizen has been personally touched and the American occupation is a living, fire-breathing, palpable entity that has intruded its imperialistic self into every aspect of their daily lives.

How do I know that Congress is playing politics with human hearts? All one has to do is observe the lack of action on the part of the red and blue pigs to come to this sad but inevitable conclusion. Apparently, MAJORITY Leader, Harry Reid (D-NV) has spent more time over his summer recess trying to convince red pigs to go against George’s war plan than he spent trying to coalesce his blue caucus into something that would not resemble the red pigs so closely that the blur becomes purple. He and Speaker Pelosi (D-CA) have already decided that they do not have enough votes to end the occupation just as they decided that impeachment was “off the table” even before they were elected! So they will happily hand over to George more of your tax money and China’s money to continue the killing fields in Iraq. Why are they so miserly with democracy, but generous with our treasury and with our dear human treasure?I got two very overt answers to this question one day in Congress this past spring when I was on the Hill. In one of my meetings with Congressman Conyers, he told me that it was more important to put a Democrat back in the White House in ‘08 than it was to “end the war.” After I recovered from my shock, I knew it was confirmed that partisan politics is exactly what is killing our children and the innocent civilians in Iraq. My next stop was in a Congresswoman’s office who has always been 100% correct about the war. She is a lovely woman with a lovely heart and does not in anyway qualify (and there are a few dozen others who do not) as a blue pig. She had tears in her eyes when she told me: “Cindy, when I go to Speaker’s meetings and we talk about the war, all the talk is about politics and not one of them mentions the heartbreak that will occur if we don’t pull our troops out, now.” People are dying for two diverse but equally deadly political agendas. The red pigs want to keep the war going because they feed out of the trough of carnage and the blue pigs want to keep it going for votes! Either way is reprehensible.

There is a lot of chatter about the “Petraeus” (written and produced by the White House ) report. Will the general recommend drawing down troops—even if he does, three-five thousand doesn’t even bring the number down to pre-surge levels—and the report says, in direct contradiction to the GAO report on the surge, that sectarian violence in Iraq is down 75%, without saying that the red pigs have re-defined the term “sectarian violence.” All I know is that the report will paint a rosier picture than what really exists on the ground in Iraq and like Ron Paul said the other day in the Fox News “Leader of the Red Pigs Wannabe” debate: “How can anyone believe anything they say?”

The blue pigs won’t believe the report, but they will expediently go along with the red pig request to further fund the disaster because they believe that it will mean political victory in ‘08.

It is up to we the people to care more about humanity and democracy than either the reds or the blues and it is mandatory that we mount campaigns to defeat the pigs and their masters: the war machine.

Twenty-one families here in America and dozens more in Iraq have felt the sting of the lethal politics of war just since the beginning of September, and the beat goes on.

What if instead of pigs of war in our government, we had elected officials who put humanity before politics and people before profits? Maybe the horrible twin tragedies of the Bush Regime and 9-11 would have never occurred within our borders and the rest of the world could look up to the USA with respect as a true leader in world peace instead of glaring at our shocking and awful quest for empire off the backs of the many who benefit the pocketbooks of the few? It’s not to late, but we are getting there.

Silence is betrayal and the silence of a host of blue pigs is the biggest betrayal of all.

capt said...


"Why does a woman work ten years to change a man's habits"

Tens years? THAT has to be some kind of a record.

My better half is just scratching the surface and we are well past the decade mark. (true)


Gerald said...

I had a chance to listen to John Dean on the Diane Rehm show and he was great. John Dean is a former Nazi who served under Hitler Nixon.

Gerald said...

Capt, I do not mind that my wife works daily to change my habits. My biggest fear is that once I pass through the vale in the natural world into the supernatural world, my wife will say that is her happiest day of her life.

My barber has two Muslim aunts who proclaimed to the world that the passing of their husbands of 40+ years was their happiest day of their life.

Gerald said...

I am not proud of it but I am at times called Mr. Inappropriate Times. I belch; I fart; I pick my nose; and I scratch my behind at the beat of my drummer and not someone else's drummer.

capt said...

US surge has failed - Iraqi poll

About 70% of Iraqis believe security has deteriorated in the area covered by the US military "surge" of the past six months, an opinion poll suggests.

The survey by the BBC, ABC News and NHK of more than 2,000 people across Iraq also suggests that nearly 60% see attacks on US-led forces as justified.

This rises to 93% among Sunni Muslims compared to 50% for Shia.

The findings come as the top US commander in Iraq, Gen David Petraeus, prepares to address Congress.

He and US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker are due to testify about the effects of the surge and the current situation in Iraq.

The poll suggests that the overall mood in Iraq is as negative as it has been since the US-led invasion in 2003, says BBC world affairs correspondent Nick Childs.


*****end of clip*****

The nation of Iraq is moving toward self-rule, and Iraqis and Americans will see evidence in the months to come. On June 30th, when the flag of free Iraq is raised, Iraqi officials will assume full responsibility for the ministries of government. On that day, the transitional administrative law, including a bill of rights that is unprecedented in the Arab world, will take full effect.

The United States, and all the nations of our coalition, will establish normal diplomatic relations with the Iraqi government. An American embassy will open, and an American ambassador will be posted. (Bush in April 2004)


Carey said...

Mr. Corn,

At the end of last week there were some minor discussions on the impotence of the Maliki government. And their soiled allegiances. Nothing came of it, though, as you've also experienced.

And lo, and behold, what is the combined "Petreus" and Crocker Report? It's a systematic shifting of the Iraq debate from the withdrawal of troops to maintaining surge levels. What will emerge from today is a completion of that shift slowly taking place over the summer.

I have a really ominous feeling things are about to blow. Petreus trumped up the Iran threat today. Combine that with the 9/11 anniversary and we've got serious problems.

Remember to breathe everyone. It's going to be a real stresser of a fall.

capt said...

"I have a really ominous feeling things are about to blow."

I think you are both right and correct.

"Remember to breathe everyone."

That would be us conspiring so every other person should breathe in while the other breathes out. Just to be safe.

Tee Hee!


capt said...

What is just slaying me is the discussion of the surge at all - it failed. The numbers prove it failed. Instead of talking about the failure of Bush from the get go, the discussion seems more like "did the surge work."

Furthermore, the idea that our military actions are being dictated by military leadership when America's military is under civilian leadership per the GD constitution.

Bush is responsible for the abject failure to spread democracy and freedom, he is responsible for the largest refugee crisis in many years as millions of Iraqis flee the violence HE started by the illegal and unwise war of aggression.

It is actually so insane I can't . . . there are no words . . .




capt said...

Breathe capt!

Good advice - thanks


capt said...

I’ve heard about the full page ad from - some people are calling it outrageous?

Outrageous is Bush and Cheney LYING us into a fucking quagmire. Failing to achieve even ONE of the goals stated BEFORE the invasion.

Outrageous is the outing of a CIA agent (or any employee of the government) to “push-back” against the truth that the Niger doc’s were a very poor forgery.

Outrageous is the half a TRILLION dollars spent on an occupation that is (in their eyes) never-ending when the lies they told spoke of weeks and months not years, spoke of hundreds of millions not hundreds of BILLIONS.

Outrageous is the loss of thousands of our troop and tens if not hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi or collateral deaths.

Outrageous is the idea that the mountain of treasure and the piles of dead bodies somehow justifies more to justify more because we need more to justify the mistake. On paper (before the invasion) this much money and these many lives would have had Iraq selling extra electricity to their neighbors as people from all factions and religions walk down peaceful streets paved with US dollars.

Outrageous is the way this maladministration has consistently cooked the books, lied about the lies and feign any memory of their previous lies and justifications.

The NYT’s ad is not outrageous not by a long shot. We need to ATTACK the liars and rub their collective noses in their lies and compel these idiots to act in accordance with the laws of the USA and our constitution. We are responsible for the whole thing - all of us - and it is up to us because nobody else is doing it.


capt said...

US surge has failed - Iraqi pollJane Wyman dead at 93

WOW! 93 - No one can say she was robbed.


capt said...

Bush not trusted to end Iraq war: poll

ONLY 5 per cent of Americans say they trust the Bush Administration to resolve the Iraq conflict, says a poll published on the eve of the American commander's appearances before Congress.

General David Petraeus was due to give testimony on progress in Iraq early today, Sydney time, to a joint hearing of the House Armed Services and Foreign Affairs committees and to the Senate tomorrow.

The New York Times reported yesterday that General Petraeus had recommended that decisions on the contentious issue of reducing the main body of American troops in Iraq be put off for six months.


capt said...

"War is the tool of small-minded scoundrels who worship the death of others on the altar of their greed."
~ John Cory

David B. Benson said...

Liberals smarter than conservatives.

On Scientific American today...

capt said...

Tomorrow the government watchdogs will decide if the Janet Jackson breast shot was in violation of decency - so a trip down mammary lane:

Thin Line

Cry us a river. In a lame-ass attempt to convince folks that she cares about something other than lining the pockets of pharmaceutical companies at the expense of America's senior citizens and under the guise of extending "a prescription drug benefit" to the very people that are actually getting screwed by inflated drug costs, Rep. Heather Wilson (R-N.M., unfortunately) literally cried foul on Wednesday as a House Telecommunications Committee spent two hours chastising Viacom president Mel Karmazin over this year's Super Bowl halftime festivities.

Listening to KUNM last Wednesday night, we were baffled by a deep-voiced woman who sounded on the verge of tears. "You knew what you were doing," she said, her voice shaking. She went on to say that the "shock and indecency" would "move market share and line [executives'] pockets." We were left wondering who this tearful woman was: a grandmother who doesn't own a TV? An overly-dramatic soap-opera actress? Tipper Gore? Before we could speculate further, KUNM's report identified the overwrought voice as that of Wilson.

Reading that Wilson delivered her speech with her "voice cracking," as reported in Thursday's Journal , doesn't really begin to describe how distraught (and bizarre) she sounded. Luckily, thanks to your friends here at the Alibi , you can listen for yourself HERE.

For a politician whose voting record clearly defines the self-serving interests of corporate America (Viacom is one of her campaign contributors for Chrissakes, to the tune of $4,500 since 1997) to get teary eyed and ridiculously dramatic over a risque halftime show—it was just a breast , after all, and 52 percent of us, including Wilson, have them—and not over the fact that she's repeatedly voted against the interests of New Mexican children and families she's constantly feigning concern about is insulting to every resident of the state she supposedly represents. Shut up, Heather. And do some good in Washington for a change! And besides, with American soldiers still dying in Iraq, aren't there bigger issues to cry about?


*****end of clip*****

Keep in mind Heather and Pete were the ones calling the NM US Attorney to bring bogus charges against Democrats.

NM also had our votes manipulated and some gross irregularities occurred and when we tried to force a recount they decided to charge $100k then when they had the money to pay the $100k they changed the charge for the recount to over a million - completely stopping a recount.


capt said...

"Liberals smarter than conservatives"

I thought that went without saying.



David B. Benson said...

TNYT today has an editorial observation by Adam Cohen entitled The Strange Case of an Imprisoned Alabama Governor.

The gist is that former governor Don Siegelman was prosecuted simply because he was a Democrat and popular. He is currently serving a seven year sentence.

Then there is also Georgia Thompson who was wrongly convicted by the Justice Department, but had her conviction overturned by an appeals court.

"It's too early to say that her case and Mr. Siegelman's were brought simply to elect Republican governors, but there is certainly evidence that they may have been."

The article concludes with "... Congress must provide the scrutiny" [of the Justice Department].

capt said...


I have been listening to some stuff on the radio about that.

Too bad it isn't 20 years ago - the MSM would have covered it back then.


Carey said...

Finally, what a relief. I've had connection problems. All during this incredible show put on by Petraeus, I kept thinking, "I've been spelling his name wrong, damn it!"

So far this has been alarmingly frank in it's towing of the Bush line. Petraeus has been downright disingenuous, not once, or twice, but repeatedly. He is putting on an effin performance for God's sake. Is he not aware his words will go down in history as evidence he's simply towing the Bush line and nothing more? His reputation will be shot in due time.

capt said...


These guys are EXPERT at weasel words.

Notice he always said "military benchmarks" (some of which already can be claimed as achieved) without a mention of the lacking political benchmarks (which will not ever be met).



capt said...

"The idea of creating systems designed to threaten, coerce, and kill, and to imbue such agencies with principled legitimacy, and not expect them to lead to wars, genocides, and other tyrannical practices, expresses an innocence we can no longer afford to indulge." - Butler D. Shaffer Professor, Southwestern University School of Law June 9, 2003

If a war be undertaken for the most righteous end, before the resources of peace have been tried and proved vain to secure it, that war has no defense, it is a national crime.": Charles Eliot Norton - (1827-1908) American educator, writer, and editor who founded the Nation (1865)

"To act without clear understanding, to form habits without investigation, to follow a path all one's life without knowing where it really leads -- such is the behavior of the multitude.": - Mencius - [Mengzi Meng-tse] (c.371 - c.288 B.C.) Chinese Confucian philosopher

"Tolerance implies a respect for another person, not because he is wrong or even because he is right, but because he is human." - John Cogley Source: Commonwealth, 24 April 1959


"Not to forgive is to be imprisoned by the past, by old grievances that do not permit life to proceed with new business. Not to forgive is to yield oneself to another's control... to be locked into a sequence of act and response, of outrage and revenge, tit for tat, escalating always. The present is endlessly overwhelmed and devoured by the past. Forgiveness frees the forgiver. It extracts the forgiver from someone else's nightmare.": - Lance Morrow


"To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never, to forget. " - Arundhati Roy


Thanks ICH Newsletter!

capt said...

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