July 3, 2007

"The farce is over. It has no significance."

David Brooks recounts Plamegate. (TimesSelect link.) He calls Joe Wilson
a strutting little peacock," a "charming P.T. Barnum," and "an inveterate huckster," who only got attention because of Dick Cheney's "unfailing talent for vindictive self-destruction."
Scooter Libby emerged as the least absurd character in the entire drama, and yet he was the one who committed a crime. President Bush entered the stage like a character from another world, a world in which things make sense.

His decision to commute Libby’s sentence but not erase his conviction was exactly right. It punishes him for his perjury, but not for the phantasmagorical political farce that grew to surround him. It takes away his career, but not his family.

102 comments:

SteveR said...

Before the thread gets polluted, I'll just say that reasonable people can see how this was a farce, just as reasonable people could see how the Clinton impeachment was a farce.

Now I did say reasonable and we'll see how long that lasts.

Doyle said...

David Brooks' writing is a farce of no significance.

The Drill SGT said...

I think it is a fair summary. The only thing I would have added to the piece would be a comparision to Sandy Bergler, and that fact that Sandy not only harmed national security (if you believe the 9/11 commision analysis helped national security, then destroying info so they would not get the facts, harms their work), but lied in multiple statements to various parties. He got a $50k fine and gave up his law license rather than answer questions. Libby got a $250k fine and will lose his law license.

enough.

Steve S said...

Comparisons to Sandy Berger are invalid, as Berger reached a plea agreement, and Libby did not. It is customary for those who plead guilt to receive a lesser sentence than they would if they were convicted.

Fritz said...

Stever,
Of course the Clinton impeachment was a farce; self inflicted by both Clinton & Republicans. President Bush is constantly accused of violating civil liberties of people he has no direct involvement with (GWOT), but President Clinton had direct involvement with the civil rights of Paula Jones. Had the Court allowed the Jones suit to go forward, things might have been different. I think Fitzgerald erred when it became clear that Libby etal were not guilty of the underlying crime and didn't offer Libby a reasonable plea bargain. President Bush was right, “(Libby) was handed a harsh sentence based in part on allegations never presented to the jury.” The "cloud over the office of the Vice President" hyperbole was pure nonsense. Libby acted to protect himself from a crime he didn't commit, just like Clinton.

Sloanasaurus said...

Libby was convicted under what was really a political trial. The Pardon power was granted for these types of trials. It is unfortunate that Bush did not issue a full pardon complete with a disapproval of the Fitzgerald and the trial in general.

Troy said...

ACtually the stats are roughly same between plea bargained sentences and convictions (with some differences reagarding type of offense, offender history, etc.).

Libby shouldn't have lied (I don't think he did, but the jury thought otherwise so we'll go with that) but Fitz shouldn't have brought this case to begin with. The power of a prosecutor to destroy has been on display both in the Duke non-rape and in the Fitz non-leak, except there was a leak and he was not under investaigation at all. Patrick Fitzgerald is a petty partisan little man and should be disbarred -- especially for pursuing this without pursuing the one who admitted to doing the actual leaking -- Richard Armitage.

Brroks is correct -- punishment because lying shouldn't be rewarded, but no prison to recognize Fitz's political witch hunt. I just wish Bush had acknowledged the political nature of the the prosecution to justify the political nature of the commutation.

John Stodder said...

In thinking over the Libby matter, the one area where I believe Bush is on less than solid ground is with regard to his overall neglect of the pardon/commutation power. His refusal to entertain the requests of less prominent people does make this act look less legitimate.

In Judge Walton's court, Libby got a raw deal, but he's scarcely the only person who has received this kind of treatment in the federal justice system, nor anywhere near the most heart-rending case.

Bush would be wise to assign someone to review the thousands of requests for pardons and commutations he gets every year. It is part of his constitutional role to serve as a check on the excesses of the judicial system. The fact that so few presidents have used this power in a forward fashion doesn't mean Bush couldn't make a start. Clinton obviously soiled the pardon process with his pay for play approach to it, but Bush (or some future president) could resurrect it as an area of principled leadership.

Gahrie said...

What puzzles me most about this case is how the Left is so adamant that outing Plame was a crime, but they never even mention the name of the person who actually did it. (Armitage) Where is the outrage that Armitage was never charged or tried?

MadisonMan said...

Where is the outrage that Armitage was never charged or tried?

As noted in the earlier thread, it's unclear that Armitage knew of Plame's covert status. You can only be prosecuted if you knowingly out a covert. That means you have to know the covert is covert.

steve simels said...

What's truly amazing is that nobody here has yet stated a truth so obvious that even garden slugs get it:

That Bush commuted the sentence to keep Libby from ratting him, Cheney and Rove out.

This is an obstruction of justice conducted in plain sight by a criminal enterprise.

steve simels said...

What's truly amazing is that nobody here has yet stated a truth so obvious that even garden slugs get it:

That Bush commuted the sentence to keep Libby from ratting him, Cheney and Rove out.

This is an obstruction of justice conducted in plain sight by a criminal enterprise.

Fritz said...

Sloanasaurus,
I hate when fellow conservatives make partisan arguments. Libby lied.

Troy,
Why should the President defend Libby? He called him a liar and placed the burden of his deeds on him. President Bush is not pleased with Libby's actions, it has brought unnecessary political damage to his Administration.

Tim said...

"Libby was convicted under what was really a political trial. The Pardon power was granted for these types of trials. It is unfortunate that Bush did not issue a full pardon complete with a disapproval of the Fitzgerald and the trial in general."

The president has not taken the pardon option off the table - I suspect he'll let Libby's appeal proceed, and depending upon the status of that, wouldn't be surprised if he issues a pardon sometime between Election Day '08 and Inauguration Day '09.

Prediction: Dem candidates will strive to outdo each other in issuing strenuous promises to their primary voters that they, unlike their prospective Republican opposition, will unleash the dogs of special prosecutor investigations of the (soon to be) Bush Administration.

No such promises for fighting militant Islamic fascist terrorists who seek to kill Americans will be made with the same vigor from any Democrat, however.

Fritz said...

Steve Simels you win the coveted Niccolo Award of the day. Rat out Bush for what, that Joe Wilson is a fraud? I guess you and the NY Times consider a response to an allegation constitutes a crime.

Simon said...

I think John Stodder's comment's exactly right; I think it's unfortunate that the D.C. circuit declined to allow bail pending appeal, given that there are serious structural issues to consider in said appeal. The sentence was lamentable; the need to commute it is lamentable; the act of commuting it is lamentable. Really a clusterf*ck all around.

With regard to Steve Simels theory that "Bush commuted the sentence to keep Libby from ratting him, Cheney and Rove out," one would have thought if that was the motivation it would have provoked a pardon the moment the indictment came down. It's not clear to me what motivation Steve thinks Libby would have to "rat out" the administration at this point, having already been convicted and missed the opportunity to trade information for liberty. (This assumes arguendo Steve's premise that there is something to "rat out" the administration on.)

Zeb Quinn said...

They don't care about Armitage. What they really hoped and prayed for was that it was Karl Rove who did it. Remember how giddy about it they were each time he got called back into the grand jury, gleeful at their imagined prospect of the Rovester being frog-marched off to jail?

Scooter going to jail for saying he thought he heard about Plame from Russert is the best they could do.

hdhouse said...

And Gathrie, continuing to be banal, spewed:"Where is the outrage that Armitage was never charged or tried?"

This total non-understanding of the facts of the case continues to baffle me. Armitage, when he realized what he said to Novak went immediately to Powell who call in counsel and they immediately call the Justice Department who immediately sent the FBI to interview him. He, in essence, went to the prosecutor's office and told the truth.

Now we have Libby....the other side of the coin... Libby lied.

Gathrie, I guess in your book, if someone from the FBI or a prosecutor in front of a grand jury asks you a question, it is ok to lie. Right?

If you answer either yes or no, how will I know you are telling the truth? You condon selective lying...so how can I believe you.

The Drill SGT said...

Bush would be wise to assign someone to review the thousands of requests for pardons and commutations he gets every year. It is part of his constitutional role to serve as a check on the excesses of the judicial system. The fact that so few presidents have used this power in a forward fashion doesn't mean Bush couldn't make a start. Clinton obviously soiled the pardon process with his pay for play approach to it, but Bush (or some future president) could resurrect it as an area of principled leadership.

JS, while I agree completely, believe it or not, there is a whole branch at DoJ that reviews pardon requests, prepares files and send lists to the WH or used to anyway.

AlphaLiberal said...

Brooks' column indulges in so much name-calling for such a genteel man. It's pretty clear he can't marshal arguments for his partisan position so he must marshal bile. What a vapid column full of the partisan snark Althouse criticizes - only when coming from Democrats.

Missed in all of this is the central point: Bush lied about efforts by Saddam Hussein trying to get uranium from Africa. Brooks artfully dodges by this point, prefering to heap calumny on the former Ambassador bereft of logic and overstuffed with snark and ad hominem.
---
Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame are patriotic, law-abiding Americans.

Here's their site for the legal fund. I urge you all to make the largest donation you can afford to help this effort to hold a rogue Presidency (and Vice) in check and to account.

You can think of it as your patriotic act for the 4th of July.

Happy Independence (from crooks) Day!

P. Rich said...

This was an I-recall-he-said:no-I-didn't sideshow in front of a DC jury, with the dissenter a well-know liberal media pundit who we know beyond a shadow of a doubt never forgets or misrepresents anything, and a relative unknown gleefully media-tied to Cheney/Bush/Rove/The Devil. Facts were either indeterminate or inconsequential to the outcome. Last I heard, Russert may be running for Pope.

Roger said...

It would have been so simple for the administration to hold a press conference, take on Wilson's allegations point by point, and have done with it. Instead they chose the inside the beltway approach of leaking to selected reporters. Absolutely stupid.

It did serve to lay bare the relationships between policy makers and their reporter conduits who apparently have a totally incestuous relationship: they leak for access and scoops.

The whole thing was, IMO, a colossal waste of taxpayer money, just as was the Clinton impeachment.

Roger said...

Alpha Liberal: you may be convinced that Bush lied when he uttered those sixteen words, to wit" The British Government has learned...." Factcheck.org, however has a different take on it, and marshalls considerable more evidence than you do in your unsupported assertion; see here: http://www.factcheck.org/article222.html

TMink said...

Steve, I would have thought that Scooter would have rolled to avoid the prison time. The timing does not seem to suport your assessment. Please comment.

Trey

George said...

To me, the proof lies in the fact that the man holding the umbrella opened it at exactly the precise moment the president's motorcade passed by. That plus the fact that Oswald's height increased by 1.5 inches between 1962 and 1963 means that there must have been a duplicate somehow substituted, perhaps during his visit to Mexico City.

John Stodder said...

there is a whole branch at DoJ that reviews pardon requests

But the DOJ is an interested party. It is their prosecutors who are responsible for many of the injustices that the pardon/commute power of the president needs to address.

The DOJ is perfectly happy to point out mistaken prosecutions of the Ford years, because all those AUSAs are retired or dead, as are most of the defendants. But no organization can fully police itself when careers are on the line. The pardon review process ought to be inside the WH, away from DOJ.

There has to be a golden mean in between Clinton using the pardon process to fund his presidential library and Bush letting DOJ tell him about all their mistakes, all none of them.

Saul said...

Clinton deserved to be impeached. He lied under oath, and he excersized extremely poor judgment on multiple occasions. He (a) should never have had sex with an intern in the middle of a sexual harassment case; and (b) if he couldn't control himself, he simply should have refused to answer the question, rather than lying (and then stalled the whole process with appeals up to the U.S. Supreme Court).

Libby lied and was convicted. So what. It is Bush's perogative to pardon whomever he chooses. The entire Libby episode is much ado about nothing. Whether the broader issue, trying to undermine Wilson was of substance is of no consequence. That matter was not pursued by the prosecutor, so the prosecutor simply took what he could get, and Bush responded in kind.

End of story.

AlphaLiberal said...

roger, thanks for that substantive rebuttal. I visited the link you provided and found the following logical flaws:

- They quote the British (Blair) government. The same government found to have engaged in similar deception. Kind of like asking Bonnie if Clyde was innocent.

-From your link:
"the Senate report makes clear that US intelligence analysts have come to doubt whether Iraq was even trying to buy the stuff. In fact, both the White House and the CIA long ago conceded that the 16 words shouldn’t have been part of Bush’s speech."

Factcheck sees this evidence and then gives bush the benefit of the doubt. They ignore other accounts of "the intelligence being fixed," which ironically also came from within the British (Blair) government.

Me, I don't give Bush the benefit of the doubt. He lost that a long time back.

AlphaLiberal said...

Well, before I get back to work I think we can agree on one thing:
Bush was wrong (lied) when he said "I'm a uniter not a divider."

Robert Cook said...

I'm not Steve Simels, but I'll bite: Libby didn't roll over to obtain a lighter punishment because he had almost certainly already been assured by Cheney that, if convicted of the charges against him, he would be taken care of and never have to serve time in prison. The fix was in from the start.

Also, as to Armitage's status as the "real" leaker, as I pointed out on the previous thread, a commenter on another blog discerningly pointed out that Armitage was not authorized to know Plame's status, and thus the actual, original leaker was the person who told Armitage she was C.I.A. There is still an undiscovered "first" leaker--probably Rove or Cheney--but that person did not leak directly to the press, but to an unauthorized underling who they knew would pass along the information.

AlphaLiberal said...

Meet Victor Rita, a 25-year military veteran (including Vietnam and in Operation Desert Storm) and former civilian federal employee. He was given a 33-month sentence for perjury and making false statements.

Will the Republicans take up his case next for a sentence too long, on similar charges to Scooter? Come on, all you conservatives! Time to be consistent! Remove the stain from your name!

I'm looking forward to the all the Republicans who oppose long sentences for perjury etc to rush to this man's defense.

Or is the conservative battle against "long" prison sentences only for convicted Republicans?

Internet Ronin said...

Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame are patriotic, law-abiding Americans.

Probably.

Here's their site for the legal fund. I urge you all to make the largest donation you can afford to help this effort to hold a rogue Presidency (and Vice) in check and to account.

Not if my life depended. Wilson is a liar who has retailed almost as many versions of his story as Baskin-Robbins has ice cream flavors. With that in mind, I'd be very surprised if any money given to Wilson for legal fees was actually spent on legal fees.

Libby got what he deserved when he was convicted. Wilson has made a mint with his lies and has yet to get his comeuppence. Good thing those lies aren't being made under oath.

A pox on all their houses, as they say.

SteveR said...

Simels is busy working with Jesse Jackson Jr. to get those impeachment proceedings going. Go Steve Go, your country needs you. No time to complain, time to get moving.

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Thorley Winston said...

Prediction: Dem candidates will strive to outdo each other in issuing strenuous promises to their primary voters that they, unlike their prospective Republican opposition, will unleash the dogs of special prosecutor investigations of the (soon to be) Bush Administration.

No such promises for fighting militant Islamic fascist terrorists who seek to kill Americans will be made with the same vigor from any Democrat, however.


Agreed and while Democrats continue to run against Bush in 2008, it will make it that much easier for the actual Republican candidate to win.

Thorley Winston said...

It would have been so simple for the administration to hold a press conference, take on Wilson's allegations point by point, and have done with it. Instead they chose the inside the beltway approach of leaking to selected reporters. Absolutely stupid.

I disagree; having someone who actually represents the administration answering the charges only validates them. The effect of that would be to tie the President to this nonsense and drag it out even further. Commuting the sentence and issuing a brief statement while making no commitments one way or the other as to future actions is probably a better way of killing the story. By next week, it will be pretty much forgotten.

AlphaLiberal said...

“I have nothing but contempt and anger for those who betray the trust by exposing the name of our sources. They are, in my view, the most insidious of traitors.”

From Poppa Bush

Here's a nice video compilation of the misleading statements, hypocrisies and lies from Republicans in this matter. Please share widely.

For something that Ann Althouse and David Brooks say signifies nothing, it's odd how hard the Bush-Cheney Administration has worked to undermine, delay and obfuscate the investigation of a leak of a CIA agent's identity.

Simon said...

John Stodder said...
"[Although there may be a whole branch at DoJ that reviews pardon requests,] the DOJ is an interested party. It is their prosecutors who are responsible for many of the injustices that the pardon/commute power of the president needs to address."

All true, but the DoJ works for the President. Thus, the prosecutors work for the DoJ, but also they work for the President. Thus, an office independent of the DoJ would still not ultimately be independent from the prosecutors' ultimately boss: the President him or herself.

Too many jims said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Exalted said...

Sloanasaurus said...
Libby was convicted under what was really a political trial. The Pardon power was granted for these types of trials. It is unfortunate that Bush did not issue a full pardon complete with a disapproval of the Fitzgerald and the trial in general


you're just a clown. everybody involved was a republican. what do you gain from such bull?

Too many jims said...

Simon said...
With regard to Steve Simels theory that "Bush commuted the sentence to keep Libby from ratting him, Cheney and Rove out," one would have thought if that was the motivation it would have provoked a pardon the moment the indictment came down.


Actually a commutation is better at keeping Libby quiet than a pardon would be. Say, for instance, that Libby was called to testify in front of a congressional committee investigating the handling of the Plame matter by the Vice President's office. Since the sentence has only been commuted, the conviction stands and it is being appealed. Accordingly, with the commutation Libby still would be able to assert 5th amendment privileges with regard to certain questions that he would not be able to assert if he had been pardoned. Then again he is such a degenerate liar that I don't know why anyone would expect him to tell the truth.

Cedarford said...

John Stodder had a couple of good posts.

He is right that because Bush is so stingy with pardons because he relies on DOJ lawyers to tell him other DOJ lawyers did nothing bad enough to pardon anyone over - his pardon of Libby makes it look like only Ruling Elites will ever get a Bush Pardon. The 1st thing I thought of when I heard Libby had received commutation was "What about the two Border Patrol agents??"

Stodder is right. There has to be a good middle ground between Clinton selling pardons for quid pro quo and Bush using his power as infrequently as his Veto power - despite evidence of lots of Fitzgeralds and Nifongs out there - the Innocence Project results on false rape convictions and murders by juries that swallow whatever prosecutors feed them..

Robert Crook Also, as to Armitage's status as the "real" leaker, as I pointed out on the previous thread, a commenter on another blog discerningly pointed out that Armitage was not authorized to know Plame's status, and thus the actual, original leaker was the person who told Armitage she was C.I.A. There is still an undiscovered "first" leaker--probably Rove or Cheney--but that person did not leak directly to the press, but to an unauthorized underling who they knew would pass along the information.

Why would anyone bother to investigate why some of Plames neighbors knew she was CIA? Why would anyone wish to investigate who on the Georgetown cocktail circuit 1st heard on the "hush-hush" from Joe Wilson back in the Clinton days that his wife was a beautiful hot spy? Andrea Mitchell said Plame's CIA employment was "insider's knowledge" back in 2001 in Georgetown elites..

Besides if Fitz the runaway prosecutor has subpeona'd all Plame's neighbors and the Georgetown Elites and embassy folks as to how they knew -

He knew who the likely original source of Armitage and Mitchell's and other's "Plame is CIA" rumors.

Joe Wilson.

Bragging to this person or that about how his blonde trophy wife and mother was not only haught, haught, haught...but could shoot a gun and did secret missions..

Fitz had no interest nailing Wilson as part of his political ambitions.

Justin said...

steve simels said...

That Bush commuted the sentence to keep Libby from ratting him, Cheney and Rove out.

I may be wrong here, but doesn't the President have the authority to declassify this kind of information? So, even if President Bush himself called Robert Novak and told him that Plame worked for the CIA, it wouldn't have been a crime.

I guess that still leaves room for "ratting ... Cheney and Rove out", but certainly not Bush. And even so, if Cheney/Rove revealed the information on the President's orders, wouldn't that still make it legal?

Or am I wrong? I'm no lawyer.

Smilin' Jack said...

steve simels said...
What's truly amazing is that nobody here has yet stated a truth so obvious that even garden slugs get it:

That Bush commuted the sentence to keep Libby from ratting him, Cheney and Rove out.


What even plankton like you should understand, Steve, is that Bushco insidiousness is much, much deeper than that. If Libby had had anything on Bush or Cheney or the Big Fish himself, he would have turned in a second...the prosecution was so eager to get Bushco they would have given him complete immunity for anything, and he would have been permanent guest of honor at every Dem conclave from here to eternity. The commutation was just a sop to the dimwitted Republican base...by letting the felony conviction stand Bush sent the far more important message: "See? You know Libby's a lying, conniving snake just like everyone in my rotten administration, so the fact that he didn't turn on us means he had nothing to turn with! We're innocent!" What you've failed to grasp, Steve, is that even when Bush is innocent, he's diabolically innocent.

dave™© said...

What's truly amazing is that nobody here has yet stated a truth so obvious that even garden slugs get it: That Bush commuted the sentence to keep Libby from ratting him, Cheney and Rove out.

There goes that mean Mr. Simels, trying to take away the children's Kool-Aid again.

dave™© said...

Speaking of obvious, is there anything more obvious than the "Law Perfesser" kissing Bobo Brooks' ass in hopes that her "career" as a Times columnist might magically be resurrected?

Two words, lady: pa-thetic!

downtownlad said...

It's very simple.

Bush lied about WMD's.

Wilson knew the truth and tried to warn the American people.

Bush and Cheney used Scooter Libby to slander Wilson and destroyed his wife's career as an act of revenge. Scooter lied and obstructed justice to cover up that fact.

Almost 4000 Americans have died and close to a trillion dollars will be spent on a pointless war.

Joe said...

I don't think Bush would have done anything until after the appeal, if even then, had the judge allowed Libby to appeal without having to go to jail in the meantime. Surely the Judge is smart enough to have figured this out. Is it not plausible, then, that he slammed Libby precisely to force Bush to pardon or commute (with the nice side effect of not risking being overturned on appeal, assuming Libby drops the whole thing.)

(PS. I think Libby should have served some time. Everything else aside, he did lie [and for no reason, but stupidity is not a crime]. Couldn't Bush have reduced his sentence or is that an option? Perhaps wait until he was in jail six months, then commute it?)

downtownlad said...

Can we please stop the lie that Libby just lied.

He obstructed justice as well.

Joe said...

downtownlad, Wilson didn't "know" the truth. He lied. He twisted what Iraq was doing in Congo and made hay about it.

(Do you really think Iraq was there to set up a tourist trade or something? If it quacks like a duck and all that.)

Joe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
downtownlad said...

Really Joe? Care to provide one iota of evidence that Iraq was getting Yellowcake from Niger?

You can't.

Even the CIA and State Department thought the claims wre "highly dubious" PRIOR to the Bush's State of the Union Address.

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1005234-3,00.html

But they claimed it anyway. To beat the drum for war. Lots of people (including me) believe them at the time.

But only fools like you still believe it.

downtownlad said...

The notion that Libby obstructed justice is simply ludicrous. - Joe

And exactly why should I believe you over a jury????

Joe said...

downtownlad,

The notion that Libby obstructed justice is simply ludicrous since Fitzgerald DID NOTHING ELSE. This is the one truly farcical part of the case and where the Jury was hopelessly mistaken.

You simply cannot obstruct justice if justice wasn't actually obstructed.

To put it another way, had Libby told the truth, Fitz would have done nothing at all except waste a lot of money. He already knew who leaked and knew that leak wasn't prosecutable, so he turned the entire thing into a perjury sting operation and Libby fell for it.

One thing that annoys me is that this may prevent the constitutionality of Fitzgerald's appointment and actions being tested in court. I think he acted outside the law.

Mindsteps said...

If I were to speculate, I do not believe that Bush had to struggle to much to commute Libby's sentence and will likely pardon him if S.L. loses on appeal. Bush seems to have a track record where loyalty trumps competence or honesty.

While the matter may represent a 'phantasmagorical political farce', according to Brooks, it is embedded in the profound context of a war, and the factors that led up to it. I am a pretty typical citizen, so I do not have any special knowledge that sets me apart. However, as a citizen, I feel that much of the information I have received from the Bush administration (and others for that matter), from the get go, has been significantly distorted, either unintentionally, willfully, or both. In any endeavor, and especially one so difficult as the situation in Iraq, the chances seem slim that anything positive can emerge from such a poorly conceived view of reality.

Joe said...

Really Joe? Care to provide one iota of evidence that Iraq was getting Yellowcake from Niger?

Sigh. I didn't say that. Iraq went to Niger (not Congo as I said previously) on a trade mission to purchase uranium. As of Wilson's trip they had not made a purchase--no wonder since Iraq's new nuclear program was not at the stage where they required it. However, to pretend Iraq went to Niger for other purposes is to look at the sun and say it's the moon.

B said...

dtl asked:

And exactly why should I believe you over a jury????

Well, let's see if that can be answered, d.

#1) Do you believe that OJ did NOT kill Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman?

dave™© said...

Iraq went to Niger (not Congo as I said previously) on a trade mission to purchase uranium. As of Wilson's trip they had not made a purchase--no wonder since Iraq's new nuclear program was not at the stage where they required it.

Did Rush tell you that or did you read it in the latest Tom Clancy?

I'm betting Rush, since reading seems pretty much beyond your intelligence level.

This site really has become quite the hangout for brownshirts to stupid to post at Free Republic...

Joe said...

Another point, we have discovered WMD's in Iraq. Not in the quantities we feared, but close to a thousand munitions isn't nothing. Furthermore, there are materials we know Iraq had but which still aren't accounted for.

In addition, WMDs were only a portion of the argument for invading Iraq. I believed at the time they were being overemphasized since there were many other reasons to get rid of Saddam. Ironically, those liberals that support the UN should have been glad that Bush tried to give teeth to the seemingly endless stream of resolutions. I find it no coincidence that Iran can ignore the UN with impunity.

(Do note, however, that even at the time, I thought tripartition and vacating Baghdad immediately was the best option. Frankly, had we done nothing but get Saddam out of power and secured Kurdish territory, it would have been fine with me.

One mistake critics are making is assuming that when Saddam eventually died, there would be a peaceful transition. Based on history, I'm pretty sure the liberals would have started whining about genocide and how Bush should have done something.)

downtownlad said...

You're mistaken Joe.

The purpose of the Iraqi trip to Niger was "expanding commercial relations".

That's it. Now you can interpret it however you want. But that's about the extent of the evidence.

Hardly the basis for a war if you ask me. Wilson himself summed it up quite nicely:

"At that meeting, uranium was not discussed. It would be a tragedy to think that we went to war over a conversation in which uranium was not discussed because the Niger official was sufficiently sophisticated to think that perhaps he might have wanted to discuss uranium at some later date."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellowcake_forgery#_note-6

downtownlad said...

#1) Do you believe that OJ did NOT kill Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman? - B

Wow B, you really don't understand how are justice system works, do you? The bar to find someone "guilty" is quite high. I do believe that OJ was "not guilty", but I don't believe he was innocent. In other words, yes he killed her, but the prosecution did not make it's case. When there is a probability of doubt, you find someone "not guilty."

Now with Scooter Libby, the same standards applied. Scooter had one of the best law firms on the street, Paul Weiss defending him. Yet he was STILL found guilty.

That evidence must have been pretty darn convincing.

Joe said...

dave,

Fact: Iraq sent a trade mission to Niger.

Fact: Saddam had restarted his nuclear program.

Fact: Niger's main export is uranium.

Logically, it is just as wrong to state Iraq attempted to purchase uranium as to state that Iraq's trade mission was for entirely non-nuclear purposes.

(PS. I don't listen to Rush or any conservative radio show host. Pretty much can't stand the lot of them and O'Reilly as well. I have no clue what he, or O'Reilly, has said about this. I just read a wide range of material and use my brain to make the logical connections.)

Seven Machos said...

What does Niger produce "commercially" Downtown?

Niger is one of the poorest countries in the world, ranking last on the United Nations Development Fund index of human development. It is a landlocked, Sub-Saharan nation, whose economy centers on subsistence crops, livestock, and some of the world's largest uranium deposits.

Sometimes, this is just too easy. Like the time you called wikipedia the gold standard in truthfulness. Shouldn't you try to be just slightly circumspect when throwing around the crap you make up?

downtownlad said...

Seven/Joe,

Do you realize that Iraq never made any request for yellowcake to anyone at any time? Never.

But you want to read innuendo into a trade trip and justify a war because of it.

Pretty lame.

But we shouldn't be surprised, since the neo-cons are now trying to do the same with Iran and Venezuela.

Hey - if we've messed up one war, let's start another two to distract attention from it.

Joe said...

dtl,

You are a fool. Who the hell goes to Niger to expand trade relations? Nobody except those interested in buying uranium. Niger officials are smart enough to use double speak with Iraq and to lie to a putz like Joe Wilson.

(Let's go one step further. Joe Wilson did not testify as to his claims under oath and neither have the Niger official HE talked to nor have the Niger officials Iraqis talked to. Joe Wilson had every reason to lie and even if he didn't, the Niger official he talked to sure as hell did [though it's possible other Niger officials made sure Wilson met with people with plausible deniability.])

Seven Machos said...

I hear gay people are harassed in Iran, Downtown, sometimes even more than in the United States. I hear that a Muslim kid can blithely turn to a gay kid in a Tehran middle school and say, "Allah hates you, queer."

Don't you think we should use our military to stop that?

downtownlad said...

Another point, we have discovered WMD's in Iraq. Not in the quantities we feared, but close to a thousand munitions isn't nothing. Furthermore, there are materials we know Iraq had but which still aren't accounted for.

I guess there are two points you are trying to make here.

1) You're incredibly gullible and believe those false stories from FOX news about WMD's having been found.

2) You think the Bush Administration is incompetent, because they let Iraq shuttle WMD's out of Iraq. Wasn't that what we went to Iraq to stop????

Seven Machos said...

WMD shells were found in not insubstantial quantities in Iraq after our occupation, Downtown. I read about it in official State Department cables, at the State Department.

How did Fox News infiltrate the State Department?

Joe said...

DTL,

You are a fool. Iraq didn't make a request because they weren't at the stage where they had to be so overt.

Have you never negotiated a raise without having anyone actually say the word or anything remotely similar? Or talk to a vendor about a contract while talking about something entirely different? Maybe you haven't, but I have. (I suck at it, but I have.) This is what politics is.

downtownlad said...

Joe - Wilson was stationed in Niger and he had numerous contacts there. He knows a 1000 times more about the situation than you ever will.

Oh - And the State Department and CIA agreed with his assessments.

And Seven - Gay people are much more worse off in Iraq now than they were before the war, in terms of being prosecuted, killed, etc.

And when gay people try to get asylum in this country from Iran, it is the Bush Administration who is sending them back to their certain death. It is the Bush Administration who was SILENT when gay youth were hung last summer.

So please - don't give me your crocodile tears.

Joe said...

Another point. Iraq had plenty of time to remove material from the country. We know they did with money, moving other material isn't hard at all. There is substantial evidence that material was moved to Syria. (We also know Saddam buried military material.)

You also can't get around the inspector's reports and how they couldn't account for some material (this, if you recall, was a cause of much of the tension--it wasn't the inspectors simply going on random fishing expeditions, but largely looking for material they knew Iraq had.) It's also important to note that most the inspectors opposed the invasion because they believed they would find the material in due time, not that they would find nothing!

That stuff went somewhere.

The only thing with a chance to prevent this would have been a surprise attack. I'm all for surprise attacks, but I gather you're not.

Joe said...

DTL,

Joe Wilson was never put under oath. He has every reason to lie. Niger officials have even more reasons to lie. They haven't been put under oath either (and threw a fit when that was threatened.)

Niger's only export of significance is uranium. You simply cannot get around that. No country deals with Niger seriously for any other reason.

(Your naivete is startling. Do you really believe that the Niger government is going to tell a fop like Joe Wilson their secrets? The guy was a two-bit diplomat like everyone who gets sent to backwater places like Niger.)

downtownlad said...

So why did we go to war Joe? You're basically saying that our whole justification was a miserable failure, because now Syria is armed with these WMD's.

But I guess you want to go to war with Syria too. And when we don't find the WMD's there, you'll say they went to Iran. And when we go to war with Iran and don't find the WMD's, you'll say they went to Sudan.

Etc., etc., etc.

There's absolutely zero evidence that Iraq sent WMD's to Syria. In fact, there is zero evidence that Iraq had WMD's when we went to war with them. But I guess it makes a nice fairy tale.

I'm surprised the neocons don't just say that we went to Iraq, because they were responsible for the Anthrax attacks in the United States. I always thought that would have made a nice conspiracy theory. I mean it's not as if the truth really matters.

downtownlad said...

And why would Joe Wilson lie?

Your government tells you that they think Saddam is trying to buy yellowcake from Niger, to start a nuclear program, to use against countries like the United States.

Your claim is that Wilson DID discover that evidence. But instead of bringing that evidence back, which would make him a hero in the intelligence community, you accuse him of LYING about that information.

If so - that's treason and Joe Wilson should be put to death.

Funny - if there was any evidence that Joe Wilson lied, we would have heard about it already. And Bush would have had him executed.

Joe said...

DTL,

Bush went to war with Iraq because Iraq had constantly violated resolutions of the UN Security council. The full speech is here:

Bush Speech to UN

(Note: You are the one making the statement that we went to war with Iraq solely over WMDs. I claim we did not, thus that provides no reason to go to war with Syria [though there may be other reasons to do so.])

AlphaLiberal said...

Joe Wilson didn't lie. Her certainly wasn't convictived of lying. You guys keep repeating that over and over like the claim that he said Cheney sent him. False. Or like your false claim that Plame was not covert.

The claim, as stated by the ad hominest Brooks, is that "Mr. Wilson claimed that his wife had nothing to do with his trip to investigate Iraqi purchases in Niger."

Wilson has been trying to talk down the right wing lie that he said Cheney sent him. I ask the conservatives accusing a private citizen of being a liar to prove it. Give us the quote, the data the link to back it up.

Otherwise, I say you're just repeating what you've been told and bearing false witness in the process.

(Thanks for swatting down the right wing fantasyland, downtownlad).

Seven Machos said...

Downtown -- Why are you buying the Bush administration's WMD rationale for the war? That's what's naive.

We are in Iraq to be next to Iran and to have an army in the Middle East but not in Saudi Arabia.

A dozen tin pot dictatorships would have done. We chose Iraq.

Seven Machos said...

Tell us that MSNBC said Valerie Plame was covert one more time, dude. Then it will convince everyone.

Because everyone knows that MSNBC is an oracle of fact and accuracy. Just like CBS.

Joe said...

DLT,

I did not claim that Wilson discovered anything. I claimed that there is no reason to believe a word he says one way or the other. Furthermore, I pointed out that assuming Wilson is telling the truth as he knows it, there is no reason to believe Niger officials are telling the truth and many reasons to believe they aren't. (He didn't do any "spy" work; he simply asked questions.)

(Do you believe assistants to the Vice-President are the only government officials in the world who lie? However backwater Niger may be, you don't get into power in a place like that by being stupid. And tying yourself obviously to a pariah regime like Iraq before 2002 would have been VERY stupid.)

Simon said...

downtownlad said...
"And when gay people try to get asylum in this country from Iran, it is the Bush Administration who is sending them back to their certain death. It is the Bush Administration who was SILENT when gay youth were hung last summer."

If those allegations are true - and I have no idea if they are or not, you follow this stuff more closely than to I - I condemn it without hesitation or reservation.

Naked Lunch said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Naked Lunch said...

Sad to see so many monumental suckers that still to this day back a small core of crooks that don't give a flying fuck about you, me, or their own country. You are not one of "them" - you will never will be one of "them" - and right now they are tossing down a cocktail and laughing at how easy this was, and how stupid you are for arguing in their favor when they would throw you overboard in a NY minute. Dumb dumb and dumber.

EnigmatiCore said...

"And why would Joe Wilson lie?"

The same reasons that many people involved in politics lie. Partisanship and personal gain.

Duh.

Seven Machos said...

Naked -- Every rich person I know is a hardcore Democrat. Every poor person I know is a hardcore Democrat. It's the bourgeoisie that is Republican.

There's a reason the hard left has always hated the bourgeoisie

B said...

dtl,

Let's come back down to earth for a minute.

I do understand the justice system, as you full well know.

The thing though is you, d.

You, d, used a statement about a jury's choice (the Libby jury) as though they found the absolute truth. You asked (again):

And exactly why should I believe you over a jury????

Joe said Libby didn't lie.

dtl says yes, Libby lied, because the jury convicted him of lying. (Again, your words above, not anyone elses).

So, if that's your standard - the jury's findings as to whether someone did what he or she was accused of, then you are on both sides of the hypocrisy train my friend.

Which, of course makes your entire argument suspect . . . (which it may or may not be)

Why do I get the feeling that being caught with your pants down doesn't bother you too much . . .

LoafingOaf said...

Since most commenters around here thought Paris Hilton deserved 3 1/2 weeks for a minor, misdemeanor traffic offense, I'd say a lawyer in the White House who commits a felony probably deserves some time, too.

But I was reserving judgment on Scooter Libby till I saw how his appeal played out, given the politics behind the case and the problems with the prosecutor and the trial.

Sloanasaurus said...

Or like your false claim that Plame was not covert.

Plame was not covert under the statute. That MSNBC article only states that a CIA document said she was "covert." However, the CIA document was using a plain meaning of the word rather than the statutory meaning.

The statute says that covert means you have been on a foreign assignment within the last 5 years. Plame wasn't. Therefore, she was not covert, which is why Fitzgerald had no basis to prosecute anyone for the leak.

MSNBC put out that misleading report knowing that idiots like you would perpetuate the lie by constantly citing the article.

Sloanasaurus said...

So why did we go to war Joe? You're basically saying that our whole justification was a miserable failure, because now Syria is armed with these WMD's.

Saddam himself was the WMD. We went to war to take him out. We did. Now we are embroiled in a battle with terrorists there for good or ill. Perhaps we are fighting the war that we would have fought in Afghanistan against the terrorists now in Iraq.

Gahrie said...

Wilson has been trying to talk down the right wing lie that he said Cheney sent him.

And OJ is still looking for the murderer.

Sloanasaurus said...

Really Joe? Care to provide one iota of evidence that Iraq was getting Yellowcake from Niger?

The British said they had evidence that he attempted to buy uranium from Niger in recent history.

Iraq purchased uranium from Niger in the 1980s. Unfortunately his 2nd attempt at a nuclear program was discovered in 1996 after the defection of his son in law. Niger seems like a logical place for him to purchase Uranium again.

Most lefties imply from their criticism of not finding any WMD that Saddam was intending to come clean. Why is that not naive?

hdhouse said...

Seven Machos said...
WMD shells were found in not insubstantial quantities in Iraq after our occupation, Downtown. I read about it in official State Department cables, at the State Department."

Was that before or after GWB brought you over the oval office to hear your views and give the private briefing to Dick and Condi?

You read official cables at the State Department and talk about them here? You read official cables? You read....

Do you fly too? do you have a little blue body suit with a red cape? Does the S on the front stand for shithead?

hdhouse said...

Sloanasaurus said...
"Most lefties imply from their criticism of not finding any WMD that Saddam was intending to come clean. Why is that not naive? "

No butthead, most lefties imply that there weren't any WMDs period. Which there weren't. Something that Bush et al were repeatedly told.

You are a tiresum clown. You bring nothing to the table, particularly facts. If you are an in-house attorney you must have photos of the CEO with a goat because if you are half as "opinion clouding facts" there as you are here your contributions there will doom the enterprise.

I really mean it Sloanasaurus you are way over the edge toward lame.

Jay Livingston said...

The Drill SGT said...

Bush would be wise to assign someone to review the thousands of requests for pardons and commutations he gets every year. It is part of his constitutional role to serve as a check on the excesses of the judicial system.

When Bush was governor of Texas, he had someone review commutation and pardon in death penalty cases. The reviews invariably downplayed mitigating and exculpatory factors. Bush, who claimed that these decisions were the most difficult aspect of his job, typically spent about fifteen minutes -- repeat fifteen minutes -- on a case. And as we know, he never commuted a death sentence.

The person who prepared the summaries was Alberto Gonzales.

The Drill SGT said...

actually The Drill SGT DIDN'T say that...

John Stodder did :)

john_m_burt said...

Why would anyone think that Libby has lost his career? Past Republican Presidents have not been shy about hiring convicted felons for sensitive jobs.

I'm sure Libby will be part of the next Republican administration. Judging by the last few of those, that may mean he'll be working for the last U.S. President ever.

The Exalted said...

probably some of the dumbest, least intellectually honest people on the internets are here, in this chat, repeatedly spewing the same absurd lies over the plame affair.

david brooks gets his little spot in the ny times for his lies, that i can understand. but what do you get?

Sloanasaurus said...

You are a tiresum clown. You bring nothing to the table, particularly facts. you must have photos of the CEO with a goat because if you are half as "opinion clouding facts" there as you are here your contributions there will doom the enterprise.

Dude, chill out. This is a blog not a match. Your posts are nothing more than personal threats. They don't get you anywhere.

My point was that it would be naive to think that even if Saddam had no WMD as of 2003, that he did not intend to start mass producing them soon after the sanctions were lifted - especially in the face of a Nuclear Iran.

Saddam wasn't a threat necessarily because of the weapons we thought he had, he was a threat because of the probability of what he would do in the future. He was a threat particularly because of the nuclear weapons that he desired to build and the fact that he had the wealth, the power, and the means to do it.

The preemption doctrine was applied to Saddam and the doctrine said attack. There really is not other individual in the word who qualified more than Saddam. He had previously waged aggressive war against most of his neighbors. He ruled a totalitarian state with total impunity. He had the wealth to pursue his evil fantasies.

None of the other dictators around the world have all of the same assets or track record. For example, Kim Il has no money. Power in Iran is shared, etc...

Mr.Murder said...

Bush Sr. gave Ambassador WIlson the highest decoration any civilian can be awarded for his standing to Saddam when he was at charge with the Iraq embassy. That should higlight the man's character and standing in and of itself.

So that's a farce?

Pre-emptive wars are themselves war crimes.

Saddam had no capability and was far removed from ever being able to develop such a capacity without the IAEA knowing it and having means to prevent it.

It's why Bush kicked the inspectors out, they'd proven already the man had no capacity. Had there been any serious consideration of his capability the staging points for the invasion would not have been so transparently central.

If you think anyone has weapons you don't place all assets where a first strike could take them out within expected range of delivery capability.

Saying he would have come up with that later is also bull, that would be trying to prove a negative, or a specious example of assuming conclusions not evidenced. Perhaps the Roberts court can make a reference to it and that would serve as your validation...

hdhouse said...

so sloanasaurus...you stop lying and i'll stop ripping you apart. fair?

your posts continue to make no sense. preemptive war and the bush doctrine...gosh all for it as long as bush tells the truth and doesn't manufacture "evidence" to support whatever OTHER agenda he has. but he can't lie. he just can't.

why do you support someone who lies to you? why is that sloanasaurus?

Mindsteps said...

What seems amazing to me is the certainty people have about things they have little to no direct knowledge of. The Plame matter was an insignificant farce, the prosecutor was overzealous, the prosecutor should have dropped the investigation, Wilson is a total fabricator, Plame was or was not covert, Libby was protecting his boss, Cheney had our best interests at heart when he asserted executive privilege regarding his meetings with energy executives, Armitage should have been charged, Iraq had no WMD's, Iraq move the WMD's to Syria, Niger was preparing to sell uranium to Iraq....

So many people, each with a monopoly on the truth, saying so many contradictory things about, what seems to be, a very buttoned up administration. Am I the only idiot confused about the truth? Am I the only idiot that wants to know more details about how our elected and unelected leaders actually function on their jobs in all three branches of the federal government (not to mention the state and local level)? Am I the only idiot that believes that information important to the operation of our government is unavailable or obscured? Am I the only idiot that believes that this is a problem no matter what party is in power?

So many confident people, certain in their knowledge, telling me that one side is predominantly good and the other side is predominanntly bad. So many columnists, pundits, bloggers, and commentators seem so snug and comfortable with their knowledge of people and things viewed so indirectly and from afar. I am trying so hard to be a believer in one side or the other, I am trying to have faith in you'all, or at least some of you. But I am failing miserably. I just don't feel like I have enough information, even now, to confidently know what the hell was really going on with Plame, Wilson, Libby, Rove, Fitzgerald, the reporters, Cheney, Bush, and ultimately....Iraq.

Patrick said...

"Libby got a $250k fine and will lose his law license."

I keep hearing that Libby is being punished because he will "lose his law license." Is this for certain? Last I checked, at least in the two states where I'm a member of the bar, a felony conviction does not trigger an automatic suspension, let alone a disbarment. The profession of law is only loosely regulated by the courts, and the various state bar organizations have their own discretion as far as disciplining their members

Sloanasaurus said...

your posts continue to make no sense.

Don't bother reading them. You obviously can't handle it.

Mr.Murder said...

Sloanasaurus said... None of the other dictators around the world have all of the same assets or track record. For example, Kim Il has no money. Power in Iran is shared, etc...
-

That's why Sloanasssoreus trumptets the 'axis of evil' speeches so much!