I'd hardly call Clinton 'teflon' given that he did get impeached for Whitewater....
No, he didn't. He was impeached for a string of legal improprieties stemming from the Paula Jones case. Here's some information on the matter.
While Kenneth Starr repeatedly used the investigation of Whitewater as a premise for expanding the scope of authority he had as independent counsel, Starr never made one allegation on point. Whitewater was the scope of his investigation, which led him to confront Monica Lewinsky, who in turn was sought as a non-material witness in the Paula Jones case to help validate her allegations, which had already been rejected by summary judgment.
Clinton's improprieties notwithstanding, you won't find a more zealous, wide-ranging, and tenuous investigation of any sitting President ever in the history of our government. A lot of people fell on their own swords over trying to bring Clinton down. [ June 23, 2004: Message edited by: Michael Ernest ]
Make visible what, without you, might perhaps never have been seen. - Robert Bresson
The inability to find something means that something does not exist.
I think you're applying the wrong logic here. The inability to find something person A said was there makes others wonder on what foundation person A made such a claim. Given the costs in human life of armed invasion, one has every reason to inquire whether person A lied, was misinformed, or possibly deceived. If person A is the executive leader of the most powerful country in the world, it's not hard to see that these remaining possibilities are politically unattractive, so it's not unreasonable to feel there may be no clear response coming to the question well, where are they, then?
That the decision to go to war was purely based on WMDs when it in fact very clearly was not.
The decision to go to war itself, in all its suggested complexity, is not at issue. Creating public support for that decision is. If the public was misled into supporting war, then the public has every right to call its leadership to account on the points that gave them cause to support it. This administration made no small appeal to the public and to the world that Iraq was an imminent threat, and the alleged stockpiling of WMDs was a key point to that appeal.
It is also a matter of record that various key White House people have expressed hapless ignorance on matters of national security the rest of us might think would be among their daily briefing responsibilities. It is a matter of record that various members of the Bush administration routinely discredited knowledgeable people who said WMDs were not to be found in Iraq. They did not contradict these people with facts or evidence. What could have been answered quite handily with a satellite photo or the like was in fact handled with questioning the character and motives of those who testified.
On posting etiquette:
Some time we ago advocated the rather lame rheotorical device of qualifying strong statements, e.g., "it's black and white to me." I'd like to think it's clear when each of us spouts an opinion that it is in fact our viewpoint. Narrowing it down explicitly, however, seems to defuse any potential flaming. Let's try to stick to that device if we're going to get into very controversial topics. [ June 23, 2004: Message edited by: Michael Ernest ]
The answer is, none, as far as I can tell. Usually when people say "Bush lied about X" what they mean is 'I saw a headline portraying Bush as saying something simplistic about X that turned out to be wrong' - but if they'd bothered to carefully read what he actually said, they would have found out the fault was with the press for oversimplifying.
I'm not asking you to buy anything, but just wander over to the bookstore and find John Dean's new book on Bush. Read Appendix 1, it's short. It's just a sample, but Dean is very thorough and diligent and careful and well researched. He documents EVERY point he makes.
So we can spend time splitting hairs and arguing semantics, but I'd contend that if you really come at the situation with an open mind the evidence is overwhelming.
We can all argue about whether Fox is better than CBS or the BBC, blah,blah.
Or, we can refer to sources that actually back up and document what they say.
Yes, I've been hijacked, but my opinion is that overall, given the topic, we've mostly handled ourselves pretty well
Spot false dilemmas now, ask me how!
(If you're not on the edge, you're taking up too much room.)
Joined: Mar 04, 2004
Thanks, Ernest, for the links. I'm not ready to pay money for them, but I read what was publicly available.
Please forgive me if I don't put too much credence in a second hand account in an editorial from a newspaper that has had to admit to major factual errors twice in as many years.
I'll believe the Washington Post article's claim that Rice didn't personally read the NIE. Apropos of that:
Regarding your statement about lack of evidence: yes, but it seems incomprehensible to me that the White House would not avail itself of all the available intelligence on a topic before deciding to declare war.
If people were complaining that the administration was overly credulous about limited evidence supporting what they wanted to believe (or perhaps just what Rumsfeld or Cheney wanted to believe) before the war, I would probably agree. It's the accusations of lying that I think are overblown.
And I think the administration has gotten better about being properly skeptical, as witness the fact that they haven't made a big point, or really any point, about the nerve gas shell, the mustard gas that was found before that, or the chemical processing trailer found during the war - though I have to say, apropos of the original point, that Reagan would probably have found a way to use this limited evidence to bring the press over to his side.
Bert, the fact that you're urging me to take John Dean as an objective source just shows how big a disconnect there is between where people stand and where they think they stand. The New York Times is not a centrist paper. Fox network is not a centrist network. They are on opposite sides of the center.
I don't think Bert is saying Dean is objective; I think he's saying Dean has taken no small amount of time and effort to document his position with credible evidence. That is, incidentally, my take as well on Dean's book. You can argue with him on the merits of his own case, but to dismiss his work as the opinions of a disgruntled someone with an axe to grind is just another way of saying you didn't read his book or never intended to. He's got his s* together. [ June 23, 2004: Message edited by: Michael Ernest ]
Originally posted by Michael Ernest: You can argue with him on the merits of his own case, but to dismiss his work as the opinions of a disgruntled someone with an axe to grind is just another way of saying you didn't read his book or never intended to. He's got his s* together.
Will you then read Sean Hannity's "Deliver us From Evil"??
Will you then read Sean Hannity's "Deliver us From Evil"??
Oh god, please. I would no sooner read Sean Hannity because I have read John Dean than I would read Dr. Phil because I have read C.J. Jung. Honestly, can't you suggest someone equivalent to Dean in stature, experience, credibility, intellect and of an opposing viewpoint?
Joined: Nov 09, 2000
Originally posted by Michael Ernest: Oh god, please. I would no sooner read Sean Hannity because I have read John Dean than I would read Dr. Phil because I have read C.J. Jung. Honestly, can't you suggest someone equivalent to Dean in stature, experience, credibility, intellect and of an opposing viewpoint?
For the sake of argument, name a conservative who you feel would be equivalent in stature, experience, credibility, and intellect to Dean?
Let's give Paul a shot here first. This challenge is more about comparing sources than it is about saying who's good enough for whom to read.
Joined: Mar 04, 2004
I don't think Bert is saying Dean is objective; I think he's saying Dean has taken no small amount of time and effort to document his position with credible evidence.
Okay, that's a valid point. Plus, I found out that I can browse Appendix I without leaving my desk, at Amazon, saving me a trip to a physical bookstore. So I read it.
I like the fact that John Dean uses actual quotes from Bush, as opposed to paraphrases. He also uses a reasonable number of quotes from likely source material, which is good since I'd be too lazy to track down all the documents independently to verify them. So yes, that's all better than I expected.
However, I have to say that in every case, I think that Bush's take on the quoted source material seems a better summary than Dean's apparent take on it. In fact, after reading that appendix, I have greater respect for Bush's treatment of the source material than I had before.
Most of Dean's criticisms in that appendix boil down to "Bush left out some of the specific qualifiers in the original material". However, Dean ignores all the qualifiers that Bush put in that are not in the original source material. Here's an example:
Dean quotes Bush as saying, "Our intelligence sources tell us that [Saddam Hussein] has attempted to purchase high strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production."
This seems to have been based on a CIA statement that "All intelligence experts agree that Iraq is seeking nuclear weapons and that these tubes could be used in a centrifuge enrichment program. Most intelligence specialists assess this to be the intended use, but some believe that these tubes are probably intended for conventional weapons programs."
Dean criticizes Bush for leaving out the minority opinion about conventional weapons use. I think that Bush, by saying "suitable for nuclear weapons" rather than "for nuclear weapons", summarizes the CIA statement accurately - yes, he leaves out that minority opinion, but he also leaves out the majority opinion that nuclear weapons are the "intended use".
In another case, Dean criticizes Bush for leaving out the "probably" with regard to exactly which poison gases Iraq was producing but ignores the fact that the Bush statement is a much softer "has the material to produce", as compared to the CIA's "has begun renewed production of chemical warfare agents".
Okay, Bush didn't use exactly the same qualifying words that the CIA did, he used different ones. I don't see that as a problem.
Finally, let's take the case where Bush cites "U.S. intelligence sources" as saying Iraq has 30,000 weapons "capable of delivering chemical agents". Dean says the closest source he can find is a U.N. report that indicates approximately 15,000 filled weapons were left undestroyed. Dean's conclusion: "Where did Bush's number come from? It is difficult not to believe it was invented."
Maybe difficult for Dean. Me, I'd take Bush's statement at face value, and accept the possibility that Bush's number was actually based on "U.S. intelligence sources", as he said, that have probably not been declassified and are thus not available to either Dean or myself. This possibility seems quite probable now, given the fact that we found some shiny new artillery shells designed to carry nerve gas. It seems to me quite likely that unfilled new production shells are exactly what Bush had in mind when he said "capable of delivering chemical agents".
In fact, I don't see how one can reach the conclusions that John Dean does unless one is coming in with a prejudice against Bush. Reading Dean's quotes from the source material would have left me much more worried about Iraq than I actually was at the time. In fact, after reading that appendix, I think the only way to attack the case for Iraq's pursuit of WMD before the war is to criticize the accuracy of the CIA and UN source material.
One can of course attack the war on other bases - for example, one might not think that chemical weapons are enough of a threat to go to war over. I sometimes get the feeling that that's what most of the antiwar folks really think, and I don't understand why they don't just come out and say it (though admittedly some, like Howard Dean, do). [ June 23, 2004: Message edited by: Warren Dew ]