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The Case for Censure

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The Washington Post recently analyzed an accusation in the testimony of “Scooter” Libby, which alleged that the President authorized V. P. Dick Cheney to disclose evidence from a classified National Intelligence Estimate to the press in support of the march to war. Much of the initial analysis focused on the fact that none of the testimony revealed indicates that Libby was authorized to reveal Valerie Plame’s identity; in fact, it is clearly stated that “There was no indication in the filing that either Bush or Cheney authorized Libby to disclose Valerie Plame’s CIA identity.”

Much of the controversy has been the question of whether the information authorized for release by Bush qualifies as a “leak.” Signs point to this NOT being a leak; though the right to declassify is still debate fodder, I’m going under the assumption that he HAS this right. But the Post article identifies much more insidious information:

One striking feature of that decision — unremarked until now, in part because Fitzgerald did not mention it — is that the evidence Cheney and Libby selected to share with reporters had been disproved months before. United Nations inspectors had exposed the main evidence for the uranium charge as crude forgeries in March 2003…

Unknown to the reporters, the uranium claim lay deeper inside the estimate, where it said a fresh supply of uranium ore would “shorten the time Baghdad needs to produce nuclear weapons.” But it also said U.S. intelligence did not know the status of Iraq’s procurement efforts, “cannot confirm” any success and had “inconclusive” evidence about Iraq’s domestic uranium operations.

As if this weren’t enough, the Washington Post followed up the story of the Libby testimony with another front page story, this one concerning the mobile “biological laboratories” captured by the U.S. in May 2003, about which the President declared “We have found the weapons of mass destruction.” The back-story is a whopper:

But even as Bush spoke, U.S. intelligence officials possessed powerful evidence that it was not true. A secret fact-finding mission to Iraq — not made public until now — had already concluded that the trailers had nothing to do with biological weapons. Leaders of the Pentagon-sponsored mission transmitted their unanimous findings to Washington in a field report on May 27, 2003, two days before the president’s statement.

In a sign that this controversy is becoming far more than a partisan exercise, even Republican Senator Arlen Specter — chairman of the Judiciary Committee — is now calling for the President and Vice President to come clean on exactly what was said and done regarding the information cleared for release. Meanwhile, with our troops tied up in something approaching civil war, plans are being made to bomb Iran. Can we believe our government’s case this time, or are they crying wolf?

Presenting information that indicates inconclusive evidence as part of the rationale for going to war, without volunteering the fact that it’s inconclusive, is deceptive beyond question. Relying on evidence known to be false when proclaiming success is essentially lying. If the analyses in the Post are correct, and the information obtained from Libby is correct, in the name of democracy this demands a response. An investigation should be launched to confirm what was known about these pieces of “evidence” when, and any other related information. Further, the President should be censured–not for the questionably legal wiretapping (sorry – “Terrorist Surveillance”) program as Senator Feingold has proposed, but for willfully choosing to present only PART of the truth — and spreading untruth — for political gain.

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About JP

  • Nancy

    I’m beginning to think the ones who should be censured are Babs & GH Bush. 4 sons, not one of whom would know how to tell the truth if it leaped up & bit him in the balls. 4 sons, all of whom think nothing of lying at the drop of a hat, for any reason they deem fit – and lying, and lying, even when there’s no need for it. 4 sons, and every single one of them a pathological liar & cheat with an arrogant assumption that they are above the law no matter what they do. Yeah, I do think the parents should be held responsible to some degree; if these were just personality disorders, it would only affect one, not all 4.

  • http://jonsobel.com Jon Sobel

    With these insane plans to attack Iran, it’s now even clearer that under Bush & Co. the US has become a rogue state. Once these bums are thrown out, there’s going to be a hell of a damage control job to do. I sure hope we get a chance to start sooner than January 2009.

  • Nancy

    I said in another thread posting W is insane. He’s a runaway ego – like a 3 year old who doesn’t differentiate between sandbox games & reality. He thinks going to war is going to jack his ratings back up & restore his ‘legacy’ of being a War Prez – something he desperately wanted in order to be equal to Poppy Bush; and he’s encourged in this by true maniacs like Cheney, whose tool he is, and Rumsfield, who seems to think he’s the reincarnation of McArthur. The only way out that I can see for our/the global salvation is that the Dems – or somebody – gain control this year of congress, gather their group cojones, and start serious impeachment/removal proceedings against W & the entire BushCo insane asylum.

  • http://www.socalpundit.com Kevin D. Korenthal

    Damn what a load of crap this commentary is! The fact of the matter is that Saddam’s intelligence agency (I.I.S.) did attempt to acquire enriched Uranium from Niger Africa. We know this because Joseph Wilson (husband of rightfully outed CIA analyst Valarie Plame) told the Select Intelligence Panel, after his trip there, that the Niger government was sticking to the story that an asset from I.I.S. sought to have a trade relationship with Niger and that that relationship was commonly agreed to involve Niger’s number 1 export, Uranium.

    All the other crap arguments about what the U.S. government may or may not have known about Saddam’s nuclear capabilities is irrelevant.

  • http://jpsgoddamnblog.blogspot.com JP

    Kevin, I’m not sure what “facts” you’re quoting, but what was known and what was said is critically important. How exactly do you justify the claim “rightfully outed”?

  • http://absent-mind.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    JP, this has got to be a case of two minds thinking alike. Sometime today, just after you subimtted this, I’d also written and submitted an article about Bush spokesman Scott McClellan declaring that the White house wasn’t an intelligence gathering agency, which is more or less the title of my post, which hasn’t appeared here yet.

    I based mine an AP article and some coverage on CNN. I PROMISE I didn’t copy your homework. Mine just goes after the “no intelligence” angle in the white house.

    Just so there’s no misunderstand between us.
    Jet

  • Bliffle

    “…I’m beginning to think the ones who should be censured are Babs & GH Bush. ..”

    Yeah, there’s something wacky going on in that family. I’ve expressed my respect for Bush Sr.’s actions as pres 41, so that leaves Babs as the source of wierdness. Well, to me at least. Unless it’s atavistic, which I’ve seen in my own family and those of my wives.

  • http://jpsgoddamnblog.blogspot.com JP

    Jet – Ha! No harm done, thanks for the note though!

    Bliffle (and Nancy)- interesting thought, esp. since rumor has it Sr. warned W that it wouldn’t be as easy as W thought. Makes ya wonder….

  • Nancy

    There’s a rather ironic ad on radio, in which Babs claims her family title is “the Enforcer”, however, from what I’ve read about the family, neither Babs nor Herbie enforced anything whatsoever, including requiring any of the 4 sons to face up to the consequences of whatever they did or said. Instead, they’ve been bailing out all 4 of them, pretty much since birth or shortly after. As a result, all 4 have a sense of extreme entitlement, total lack of responsibility, utter disregard for reality (“reality is what I say it is”), and a marked tendency to indulge in behavior that is usually characteristic of juveniles, such as the compulsive lying, cheating, etc. – traits most adults grow out of long before. Basically, all 4 are sociopaths: they lack any kind of real empathy with anything except their own wants, altho they can talk a good game & fool most into believing the ‘compassionate’ BS. When Dubya made the comment about “do you think I’d have those kids over there [Iraq] for one second longer…” etc. I had to reply, absolutely, I do. I don’t think W spends a nanosecond or would hesitate even that long to keep troops over there in harm’s way, even if it means their injury or death, if he thinks it would help his plans – and I mean his personal plans of being War Prez, his ego plans, because that’s what this whole debacle ultimately is in aid of. And now he’s willing to expand the situation of peril he created & actuated into Iran, having learned nothing whatsoever from Iraq. After all, why should he? HE isn’t in peril over there; none of HIS family are serving over there, so hey, why not; after all, he’s the Prez, he’s above the law, he can do what he wants, he says. Which thought process is, of course, the thinking of a sociopath.

  • Bliffle

    “…rumor has it Sr. warned W that it wouldn’t be as easy as W thought….”

    Not just rumors. Several sources have documented that.

  • Maurice

    I am currently reading the listed book. It makes Tommy Franks and Rumsfeld look very good.

  • Bliffle

    Trouble with Franks and Rumsfeld is that neither has strategy credentials. Like their boss. Rumsfeld was just a jet jockey and Franks got his degree in Bus. Ad. from a minor league state U. None of them actually led men into battle or planned an invasion. Rumsfelds “transformation” of the DoD is just to put more modern gadgets into the hands of tacticians.

    We gotta stop appointing rank amateurs to important state positions if we want to improve results. OJT only goes so far. And that isn’t far enough, apparently.

  • Maurice

    If you guys would actually read the book instead of speculating you would be impressed with the level of care and thought by all parties involved with the planning stages of this war. The patience exhibited by Franks is worth noting considering he was actively fighting one war while preparing for another.

    I highly recommend this book. Especially since we know how it turns out. Some of the people appear to be capable of very long range thought. Rumsfeld, Franks and Ms. Rice are most outstanding.

  • http://impeachforpeace.org Jodin

    Impeach Bush yourself! That’s right. This is much more than just a petition.
    There’s a little known and rarely used clause of the in the rules for the House of Representatives which sets forth the various ways in which a president can be impeached. Only the House Judiciary Committee puts together the Articles of Impeachment, but before that happens, someone has to initiate the process.
    That’s where we come in. One of the ways to get impeachment going is for individual citizens like you and me to submit a memorial. ImpeachforPeace.org has created a new memorial based on one which was successful in impeaching a federal official in the past. You can find it on their website as a PDF.
    You can initiate the impeachment process yourself by downloading the memorial, filling in the relevant information in the blanks (your name, state, etc.), and sending it in.
    impeachforpeace.com
    More information on the precedent for submitting an impeachment memorial, and the House Rules on this procedure, can also be found at the above address.
    If you have any doubts that Bush has committed crimes warranting impeachment, read this page:

    If you’re concerned that impeachment might not be the best strategy at this point, read the bottom of this page:
    It just takes a minute to save our democracy.

  • Blue Meanie

    Nice idea, Jodin. And thank you for all the fun links.

    But it’s going to take a lot more than a minute to save our republic this time.

    A whole lot more.