Thursday, February 01, 2007

The Clinton Administration's Top Yenta Has Something to Say About Libby & Cheney

At, Sidney Blumenthal writes, "How Libby became Cheney's bitch pawn."

Ok, try as I might to hide it, I'm not a big Sidney Blumenthal fan. It may be why I find his contribution to the Libby trial gabfest so deliciously ironic:
"The vice president knew the intelligence for the Iraq war was cooked. So he launched his aide to smear the man who took the information public."

Isn't that exactly what Sidney did to the women in boss Bill Clinton's life? Characterizing them as "bimbos," "trailer park trash," and "crazed stalkers" for key members of the media? To hear Sidney tell it, poor Bill was an innocent victim of "Girls Gone Wild."

But that was then, this is now, and while what Sidney Blumenthal has to say about the Cheney-Libby-Wilson-Plame affair has merit, I can't help but wonder where Sidney has been all these years. Come to think of it, where have all of the Democrats been?

Sidney isn't saying anything new or that hasn't been known and written about (by me and many others) since the story first broke over three years ago. But even more importantly than where have Sidney and Democrats been, where are the Democrats now?

Yes, Bush and Cheney pulled a scam on the American people that escaped the notice of the Republican-controlled Congress. But there is more than enough blame to go around for failing to smell the fishy intelligence that Cheney and Bush based taking the nation to war.

The intelligence was cooked, but where were our Democrats in exposing that fact?

Yes, Bush and Cheney made getting to the facts difficult and confusing, but not impossible. The same classified intelligence that Bush saw was made available to all members of Congress, according to Bob Woodward in "State of Denial." Very few members of Congress took advantage of that opportunity, according to Woodward, and actually went to the secured room where the intelligence was available. I'd like to know which ones did and which ones didn't. I'd like to know why they didn't and why they haven't been confronted in their home districts with that revelation.

I also find it impossible to believe that Hillary Clinton wasn't aware of the facts before she voted yes to authorize Bush to use military force in Iraq. As a former president, her husband gets daily classified intelligence briefings. Would Bill Clinton have let his wife cast the most important vote of her short Senate life without the benefit of that intelligence and his counsel?

I didn't get to see any classified information, yet what I did see (news in alternative media, UN weapons' inspectors' interviews, reports, broadcasting from international news organizations, etc.) led me to distrust the Bush-Cheney basis for a preemptive war. I was hardly alone in that distrust. While mainstream media in the U.S. was beating the drums for war, hiring retired generals, preparing martial art and music, alternative media provided forums for those who had been in positions to know the truth of Saddam Hussein's WMD capabilities.

Those who have followed alternative media are about three years ahead of where mainstream media is today. We knew that once Bush started the war, WMD wouldn't be found and a civil war was inevitable. We knew that as the war got out of control, all calls for reevaluating U.S. involvement in Iraq would be met with "Maybe we shouldn't have gone in, but we're there now." We knew that Bush wouldn't be pulling American troops out of Iraq, that he never had any intention of leaving Iraq as a sovereign nation (as evidenced by the U.S. dictating to the Iraqis the terms of their constitution and the building of permanent U.S. military bases in Iraq), and that his plan is to expand the war to Iran and Syria.

Why weren't Democrats asking questions?

Democrats have failed the American people almost as badly as Bush-Cheney and the GOP have. As the minority party, their power was in asking questions that would have framed Bush's true intentions for all to see. Democrats should have been asking the questions that the media weren't.

And now, on the eve of yet another "war of choice," the majority party Democrats have fallen silent again.

There seems to be a casual 'gentlemen's agreement' around this upcoming non-binding resolution. Senate Republicans (I've taken to calling them 'Reluctantcans') don't really want to be bothered with this headache, and are approaching it as something of an ultimatum to Bush: Bush's 'surge' would be his last chance to make good in Iraq. But Republicans are stuck on how much time they will give him, and therein lies the slippery slope: "Another 3-months 6-months 18-months, oh what the hell, we'll be in another campaign season soon enough and nobody wants to talk about bringing troops home in a campaign season....Bush will be gone in two years, let's just let it ride and the next president will figure it out."

Republicans are living in a dream world and hoping for a miracle that is never going to happen. Each day that they delay acting like clear-thinking non-partisan adults, bringing the troops home, is another day closer to Bush's certain escalation and expansion of the war to Iran, Syria and beyond. Bush has been planning this war with Iran for years, another fact from Woodward's book.

If a non-binding resolution is the best we can hope for from any of our Senators and Congressmen and -women, to keep Bush-Cheney from escalating and expanding this war throughout the region, we had better start looking now for new candidates in both parties for 2008.

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