Friday, October 03, 2003

Coming up empty

From the Washington Post:

“After searching for nearly six months, U.S. forces and CIA experts have found no chemical or biological weapons in Iraq and have determined that Iraq's nuclear program was in only "the very most rudimentary" state, the Bush administration's chief investigator formally told Congress yesterday.”

Six months is twice as long as Bush allowed the U.N. inspectors to have before he rushed headlong into this war. But Bush wants to give this group an additonal six months and $600 million to continue this snipe hunt.
Meanwhile our soldiers are continuing to be shot at and killed at an alarming rate - nearly two a day - and U.S. taxpayers are being asked to foot an additional $87 billion tab for “reconstruction” in addition to nearly that much that has already been spent.

“Before the war, the administration said Iraq had a well-developed nuclear program that presented a threat to the United States.”

And shortly after the war Bush claimed that these trailers were evidence that Iraq had a mobile bio-weapons lab. Proof of WMDs, he claimed at the time. That partly explains why so many people seem to believe that we have already found WMDs in Iraq - especially folks who get their information from Fox News.

Thursday, October 02, 2003

Bad day for Dittoheads

First the news that Rush Limbaugh has resigned his sports commentary job at ESPN over racially charged comments he made about Eagles QB Donovan McNabb.

And now this...

"Talk-radio titan Rush Limbaugh is being investigated for allegedly buying thousands of addictive painkillers from a black-market drug ring.
The moralizing motormouth was turned in by his former housekeeper - who says she was Limbaugh's pill supplier for four years."

"... The drugs Rush Limbaugh is accused of abusing are legal only with a doctor's prescription. All are habit-forming.

* Hydrocodone

Anti-cough agent and painkiller similar to morphine. Side effects include anxiety, poor mental performance..."

I think this really explains a lot.

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Scandal summary

The Washington Post has an editorial today that helpfully summarizes the CIA leak scandal that is currently haunting the Bush administration for anyone who is still not up to speed on the topic.

One thing the editorial makes clear is that the case actually involves two leaks - the first being the one that outed Ambassador Joseph Wilson's wife as a covert CIA operative and the second being a White House whistleblower who ratted on the ones who did the inital leaking.

"What sets this case apart is that it was a Bush administration official who turned (anonymously) on other Bush administration comrades. We know this because on Sunday Post writers Mike Allen and Dana Priest reported that "a senior administration official said that before Novak's column ran, two top White House officials called at least six Washington journalists and disclosed the identity and occupation of Wilson's wife." The senior Bush administration official told The Post, "Clearly, it was meant purely and simply for revenge." Asked about the motive for disclosing the behavior of other administration officials, the purported whistleblower said the leaks were "wrong and a huge miscalculation, because they were irrelevant and did nothing to diminish Wilson's credibility."

I would be interested to know which of the two sets of leakers Bush is more interested in plugging up at this point.

The Post also makes clear that the story is not about to go away any time soon.

"The expanding probe, which promptly shifted to a full investigation after an initial review..."

In other words, we are already well beyond the point where this could all be explained away as no big deal. If, as some conservative bloggers have tried to argue, Valerie Plame was not an undercover agent but just an analyst and therefore no crime was committed by publicizing her name - then that would have been found out during the initial review period.

I can accept that the Justice Department will need some time to conduct a thorough investigation, but if it begins to appear that they are dragging their feet - as appears to be the case with the Enron probe - then expect lots more carping from Bush critics that an independent counsel be appointed. They can't just sit on this scandal and hope that people forget about it until after Bush is safely re-elected to a second term.

Monday, September 29, 2003

Time to bring back the independent counsel

I turn now to my favorite source for hard-hitting news - The Wall Street Journal (9/29/03 pgs. A3-A7):

"The investigation could prove explosive no matter how it unfolds, because the probe will be up to the administration's own Justice Department to investigate the allegations. If charges are brought against the source of the leak, it could indicate that the administration sought to silence critics of its decision to go to war. If no charges are filed, questions could arise as to whether the department pursued the case aggresively, and lead to calls for an independent inquiry."

My conservative friends would not tolerate Janet Reno investigating Bill Clinton, so they can hardly expect me to accept that John Ashcroft will be adequate in investigating this scandal.

My only concern though is one of fairness (and balance). Who could we select as an independent counsel who would be as rabidly partisan in conducting this investigation of the Bush administration as Ken Starr was in investigating the Clinton administration?
Suggestions are welcome. Maybe Alan Dershowitz? Michael Moore?

Sunday, September 28, 2003

A vengeful White House

Was the Bush White House being vengeful when it outed Ambassador Joseph Wilson's wife as a CIA agent?
This issue which is now under investigation has the potential to be a bigger scandal than anything that ever occurred during the 8 years that Clinton was in office.

But with Bush, it is becoming difficult to pick out the biggest scandal.
Is it Bush's ties to Ken Lay and Enron? Is it the huge tax cuts for the wealthy that were supposed to jumpstart our economy and instead have drained our budget surplus and replaced it with a mounting budget deficit? Is it Bush's disastrous handling of the economy that has led to the most job losses under any president since Herbert Hoover? Or is it the lies and deceptions the administration used to railroad the nation into supporting a pre-emptive invasion of Iraq?