Friday, July 15, 2005

Smokin' em out

Dan Schorr demonstrates the primary value of the First Amendment. First, a set up courtesy of mrc.org:

Newsweek’s Evan Thomas: “Is this attack [on public broadcasting’s budget] going to make NPR a little less liberal?”
NPR legal correspondent Nina Totenberg: “I don’t think we’re liberal to begin with and I think if you would listen, Evan, you would know that.”
Thomas: “I do listen to you and you’re not that liberal, but you’re a little bit liberal.”
Totenberg: “No, I don’t think so. I don’t think that’s a fair criticism, I really don’t — any more than, any more than you would say that Newsweek is liberal.”
Thomas: “I think Newsweek is a little liberal.” — Exchange on the June 26 Inside Washington.

And now, courtesy of Free Republic, Dan Schorr's take on the vital importance of Karl Rove:

Rove leak is just part of larger scandal
Let me remind you that the underlying issue in the Karl Rove controversy is not a leak, but a war and how America was misled into that war.
In 2002 President Bush, having decided to invade Iraq, was casting about for a casus belli. The weapons of mass destruction theme was not yielding very much until a dubious Italian intelligence report, based partly on forged documents (it later turned out), provided reason to speculate that Iraq might be trying to buy so-called yellowcake uranium from the African country of Niger. It did not seem to matter that the CIA advised that the Italian information was "fragmentary and lacked detail."
Prodded by Vice President Dick Cheney and in the hope of getting more conclusive information, the CIA sent Joseph Wilson, an old Africa hand, to Niger to investigate. Mr. Wilson spent eight days talking to everyone in Niger possibly involved and came back to report no sign of an Iraqi bid for uranium and, anyway, Niger's uranium was committed to other countries for many years to come.
No news is bad news for an administration gearing up for war. Ignoring Wilson's report, Cheney talked on TV about Iraq's nuclear potential. And the president himself, in his 2003 State of the Union address no less, pronounced: "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."
Wilson declined to maintain a discreet silence. He told various people that the president was at least mistaken, at most telling an untruth. Finally Wilson directly challenged the administration with a July 6, 2003 New York Times op-ed headlined, "What I didn't find in Africa," and making clear his belief that the president deliberately manipulated intelligence in order to justify an invasion.
One can imagine the fury in the White House. We now know from the e-mail traffic of Time's correspondent Matt Cooper that five days after the op-ed appeared, he advised his bureau chief of a supersecret conversation with Karl Rove who alerted him to the fact that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA and may have recommended him for the Niger assignment. Three days later, Bob Novak's column appeared giving Wilson's wife's name, Valerie Plame, and the fact she was an undercover CIA officer. Mr. Novak has yet to say, in public, whether Mr. Rove was his source. Enough is known to surmise that the leaks of Rove, or others deputized by him, amounted to retaliation against someone who had the temerity to challenge the president of the United States when he was striving to find some plausible reason for invading Iraq.
The role of Rove and associates added up to a small incident in a very large scandal - the effort to delude America into thinking it faced a threat dire enough to justify a war.
• Daniel Schorr is the senior news analyst at National Public Radio.


Dan, beautifully said. Crystal clear. Logical. Just one problem: No one agrees with you except your colleagues at NPR, Janeane Garofalo, and, give or take, 25 percent of the American population (the other 22 percent or so who would vote for Kerry don't agree with Dan, either, but they hate Republicans enough that they'll go with it). Anyway, cheers, you liberal, you.

Meanwhile, for any adults in the room, here's nice discussion from Douglas Feith, also courtesy Free Republic. (Don't get suckered by the AP's biased headline. Read the whole article, which is an excellent statement of support for the war and a fair criticism of Bush.)

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