Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Help EDUCATE Larry Craig!

I wrote a letter to our public servant Larry Craig, asking him to clarify his position on the issue of impeaching Bush and to provide an explanation for his position. His response to me makes it clear that he is:
  • drinking the "Kool-Aid".
  • living in a bubble.
  • as unethical and immoral as the rest of the Bush Administration.
  • or all of the above.

According to his letter, it is "clear" to him that he and I have a "fundamental political difference".

DUH!!! I believe in honesty and accountability in politics. I want my politicians to be ethical and moral. I want my representatives to keep their eye on the ball and not be distracted by partisan politics. I want my politicians to represent all of the American citizens, not just those with deep pockets. Craig may SAY those he represents those values, but it is "clear" to me that what he SAYS and what he DOES are not the same thing.

Craig wrote that I want to have Bush impeached because I "disagree with his politics" and not because I have "clear evidence that he lied or manipulated intelligence... or that the President has commited other crimes."

Yes, I disagree with Bush's politics... just like I disagree with Craig's politics. But I'm not asking for Craig's removal from office, only Bush's.

I don't know where Craig has been for the last year or so, but pretty much the rest of the world disagrees with Craig. Of course, I personally do not have "clear evidence"... and it would help all of us if this administration would stop interfering with investigations and would provide a straight answer now and then... and stop distracting the country with "The sky is falling" threats and attacks on our patriotism when we expect accountability and honesty! Is that too much to ask??

Craig finishes up his letter by clarifying that he does not "work for the President". If he wishes to represent Idaho and it's best interests, like he claims to do, then he needs to evaluate his voting record and decisions.

I would like to encourage you, dear Reader, to help Senator Craig escape his bubble and wake up from his KoolAid-induced coma. (We cannot do anything about his morals and ethics.) Contact Senator Craig and educate him about which crimes Bush has committed.


Diana Rowe Pauls said...

My responses to Craig (#1):

I personally do not have "clear evidence" that Bush lied, manipulated intelligence, or committed other crimes, but there is plenty of discussion that suggests that Bush is NOT being honest or direct with America...

Q&A on Bush's decision to leak intelligence data By Jonathan S. Landay Knight Ridder Newspapers
WASHINGTON - Here are some questions and answers about the latest developments in the controversy over President Bush's decision to leak parts of the major prewar U.S. intelligence assessment of Iraq's alleged illegal weapons programs.

Q. How did the latest chapter in the controversy begin?
A. It erupted with the filing of a brief in U.S. federal court on Wednesday by Patrick Fitzgerald, the federal prosecutor pursuing perjury and obstruction of justice charges against Vice President Dick Cheney's former top aide, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby. Libby was indicted on Oct. 28, 2005, on five counts of lying to the FBI, obstructing justice and lying to a grand jury that was investigating who disclosed the identity of Valerie Plame, an undercover CIA officer. Plame's identity was leaked to journalists after her husband, retired Ambassador Joseph Wilson, accused Bush of misleading the nation in his January 2003 State of the Union address by accusing Iraq of trying to buy uranium ore from the African nation of Niger. Some intelligence officials had urged the White House not to use the allegation, because the evidence was weak, while others said it was OK to use. The charge turned out to be based on crudely forged documents, and the Bush administration has since acknowledged that it shouldn't have been made.

Q. What does the leak of the CIA agent's name have to do with the leak that Libby claims he was authorized by the president to make?

A. Bush has denounced the leak that revealed Plame's name and that she was an undercover CIA officer, and the identity of that leaker has never been revealed. Libby leaked information contending that Iraq was trying to procure uranium in Africa to counter Wilson's charge that the administration was exaggerating the intelligence on this very point. Wilson visited Niger at the CIA's request and said he found no evidence that Iraq was trying to buy uranium in Niger.

Q. What was significant about Fitzgerald's latest federal court filing?

A. Fitzgerald's 39-page brief indicates that Bush and Cheney authorized the selected leaks of classified information to make their case for invading Iraq. Fitzgerald disclosed that Libby told the grand jury that Bush and Cheney authorized him to leak the key conclusions of the top-secret prewar U.S. intelligence assessment to former New York Times reporter Judith Miller on July 8, 2003. Libby was quoted in Fitzgerald's filing as saying the White House viewed the key judgments of the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate as being "pretty definitive" in refuting Wilson's charges that Bush had misrepresented the intelligence on Iraq's alleged pursuit of uranium in Niger.

Q. Is that correct?
A. No. The NIE's key judgments, made public by the White House days after they were leaked to Miller, said nothing about the alleged Niger uranium deal. The only reference to Iraq's alleged bid to buy uranium is buried in the still-classified body of the NIE, and the State Department's intelligence bureau disputed the claim, according to a July 2004 report by the Senate Intelligence Committee. Shortly before the 2003 invasion, the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency determined the uranium allegation was based on crudely forged documents, and the CIA concurred. The Bush administration has acknowledged that the claim shouldn't have been made. Bush has condemned leaks of classified information about secret U.S. prisons abroad and a wiretap program instituted without court approval and has called for leakers to be prosecuted. Criminal investigations are under way into the leaks that the CIA has allegedly held accused terrorists in the secret prisons overseas and that Bush authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans without warrants.

Q. What does the White House say about Libby's revelation?

A. Bush confirmed on Monday that he authorized the release of the NIE's key judgments to counter charges that he manipulated intelligence to justify the invasion of Iraq. "I wanted people to see what some of those statements were based on. I wanted people to see the truth," he told a questioner after a speech in Washington. The release of the key judgments, however, raised further questions about Bush's case for war. The judgments showed that the State Department's intelligence bureau disputed a charge that Iraq had imported aluminum tubes for its nuclear program. In another dissent, the Air Force refused to endorse an allegation that Iraq could use unmanned aircraft to attack its neighbors, U.S. forces or the U.S. homeland with biological or chemical weapons. Nevertheless, Bush and top aides made those allegations part of their case against Iraq. The IAEA later concluded that the tubes were for ground-to-ground rockets.

Q. Does Bush have the legal authority to declassify documents or to authorize others to do that?

A. Yes. Bush and Cheney have the authority to declassify secret information, so the release of the NIE's key judgments was legal.

Diana Rowe Pauls said...

response #2
Still no "clear evidence that he lied or manipulated intelligence... or that the President has commited other crimes" but more things to think about...

From Lewis Lapham's essay, "The Case for Impeachment".

"The nearly complete silence raised the question as to what it was the congressman had in mind, and to whom did he think he was speaking? In time of war few propositions would seem as futile as the attempt to impeach a president whose political party controls the Congress; as the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee stationed on Capitol Hill for the last forty years, Representative Conyers presumably knew that to expect the Republican caucus in the House to take note of his invitation, much less arm it with the power of subpoena, was to expect a miracle of democratic transformation and rebirth not unlike the one looked for by President Bush under the prayer rugs in Baghdad. Unless the congressman intended some sort of symbolic gesture, self-serving and harmless, what did he hope to prove or to gain? He answered the question in early January, on the phone from Detroit during the congressional winter recess.

"To take away the excuse," he said, "that we didn't know." So that two or four or ten years from now, if somebody should ask, "Where were you, Conyers, and where was the United States Congress?" when the Bush Administration declared the Constitution inoperative and revoked the license of parliamentary government, none of the company now present can plead ignorance or temporary insanity, can say that "somehow it escaped our notice" that the President was setting himself up as a supreme leader exempt from the rule of law."

Diana Rowe Pauls said...

Response to Craig #3:

If there is no "clear evidence that he lied or manipulated intelligence... or that the President has commited other crimes", then how do you explain the following?

Which turned out to be the purpose of his House Resolution 635-not a high-minded tilting at windmills but the production of a report, 182 pages, 1,022 footnotes, assembled by Conyers's staff during the six months prior to its presentation to Congress, that describes the Bush Administration's invasion of Iraq as the perpetration of a crime against the American people. It is a fair description. Drawing on evidence furnished over the last four years by a sizable crowd of credible witnesses-government officials both extant and former, journalists, military officers, politicians, diplomats domestic and foreign-the authors of the report find a conspiracy to commit fraud, the administration talking out of all sides of its lying mouth, secretly planning a frivolous and unnecessary war while at the same time pretending in its public statements that nothing was further from the truth.[1] The result has proved tragic, but on reading through the report's corroborating testimony I sometimes could counter its inducements to mute rage with the thought that if the would-be lords of the flies weren't in the business of killing people, they would be seen as a troupe of off-Broadway comedians in a third-rate theater of the absurd. Entitled "The Constitution in Crisis; The Downing Street Minutes and Deception, Manipulation, Torture, Retribution, and Coverups in the Iraq War," the Conyers report examines the administration's chronic abuse of power from more angles than can be explored within the compass of a single essay. The nature of the administration's criminal DNA and modus operandi, however, shows up in a usefully robust specimen of its characteristic dishonesty.

* * *

That President George W. Bush comes to power with the intention of invading Iraq is a fact not open to dispute. Pleased with the image of himself as a military hero, and having spoken, more than once, about seeking revenge on Saddam Hussein for the tyrant's alleged attempt to "kill my Dad," he appoints to high office in his administration a cadre of warrior intellectuals, chief among them Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, known to be eager for the glories of imperial conquest.[2] At the first meeting of the new National Security Council on January 30, 2001, most of the people in the room discuss the possibility of preemptive blitzkrieg against Baghdad.[3] In March the Pentagon circulates a document entitled "Foreign Suitors for Iraqi Oil Field Contracts"; the supporting maps indicate the properties of interest to various European governments and American corporations. Six months later, early in the afternoon of September 11, the smoke still rising from the Pentagon's western facade, Secretary Rumsfeld tells his staff to fetch intelligence briefings (the "best info fast...go massive; sweep it all up; things related and not") that will justify an attack on Iraq. By chance the next day in the White House basement, Richard A. Clarke, national coordinator for security and counterterrorism, encounters President Bush, who tells him to "see if Saddam did this." Nine days later, at a private dinner upstairs in the White House, the President informs his guest, the British prime minister, Tony Blair, that "when we have dealt with Afghanistan, we must come back to Iraq."

By November 13, 2001, the Taliban have been rousted out of Kabul in Afghanistan, but our intelligence agencies have yet to discover proofs of Saddam Hussein's acquaintance with Al Qaeda.[4] President Bush isn't convinced. On November 21, at the end of a National Security Council meeting, he says to Secretary Rumsfeld, "What have you got in terms of plans for Iraq?...I want you to get on it. I want you to keep it secret."

The Conyers report doesn't return to the President's focus on Iraq until March 2002, when it finds him peering into the office of Condoleezza Rice, the national security advisor, to say, "Fuck Saddam. We're taking him out." At a Senate Republican Policy lunch that same month on Capitol Hill, Vice President Dick Cheney informs the assembled company that it is no longer a question of if the United States will attack Iraq, it's only a question of when. The vice president doesn't bring up the question of why, the answer to which is a work in progress. By now the administration knows, or at least has reason to know, that Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington, that Iraq doesn't possess weapons of mass destruction sufficiently ominous to warrant concern, that the regime destined to be changed poses no imminent threat, certainly not to the United States, probably not to any country defended by more than four batteries of light artillery. Such at least is the conclusion of the British intelligence agencies that can find no credible evidence to support the theory of Saddam's connection to Al Qaeda or international terrorism; "even the best survey of WMD programs will not show much advance in recent years on the nuclear, missile and CW/BW weapons fronts..." A series of notes and memoranda passing back and forth between the British Cabinet Office in London and its correspondents in Washington during the spring and summer of 2002 address the problem of inventing a pretext for a war so fondly desired by the Bush Administration that Sir Richard Dearlove, head of Britain's MI-6, finds the interested parties in Washington fixing "the intelligence and the facts...around the policy." The American enthusiasm for regime change, "undimmed" in the mind of Condoleezza Rice, presents complications.

Although Blair has told Bush, probably in the autumn of 2001, that Britain will join the American military putsch in Iraq, he needs "legal justification" for the maneuver-something noble and inspiring to say to Parliament and the British public. No justification "currently exists." Neither Britain nor the United States is being attacked by Iraq, which eliminates the excuse of self-defense; nor is the Iraqi government currently sponsoring a program of genocide. Which leaves as the only option the "wrong-footing" of Saddam. If under the auspices of the United Nations he can be presented with an ultimatum requiring him to show that Iraq possesses weapons that don't exist, his refusal to comply can be taken as proof that he does, in fact, possess such weapons.[5]

Over the next few months, while the British government continues to look for ways to "wrong-foot" Saddam and suborn the U.N., various operatives loyal to Vice President Cheney and Secretary Rumsfeld bend to the task of fixing the facts, distributing alms to dubious Iraqi informants in return for map coordinates of Saddam's monstrous weapons, proofs of stored poisons, of mobile chemical laboratories, of unmanned vehicles capable of bringing missiles to Jerusalem.[6]

By early August the Bush Administration has sufficient confidence in its doomsday story to sell it to the American public. Instructed to come up with awesome text and shocking images, the White House Iraq Group hits upon the phrase "mushroom cloud" and prepares a White Paper describing the "grave and gathering danger" posed by Iraq's nuclear arsenal.[7] The objective is three-fold-to magnify the fear of Saddam Hussein, to present President Bush as the Christian savior of the American people, a man of conscience who never in life would lead the country into an unjust war, and to provide a platform of star-spangled patriotism for Republican candidates in the November congressional elections.[8]

* * *

The Conyers report doesn't lack for further instances of the administration's misconduct, all of them noted in the press over the last three years-misuse of government funds, violation of the Geneva Conventions, holding without trial and subjecting to torture individuals arbitrarily designated as "enemy combatants," etc.-but conspiracy to commit fraud would seem reason enough to warrant the President's impeachment. Before reading the report, I wouldn't have expected to find myself thinking that such a course of action was either likely or possible; after reading the report, I don't know why we would run the risk of not impeaching the man. We have before us in the White House a thief who steals the country's good name and reputation for his private interest and personal use; a liar who seeks to instill in the American people a state of fear; a televangelist who engages the United States in a never-ending crusade against all the world's evil, a wastrel who squanders a vast sum of the nation's wealth on what turns out to be a recruiting drive certain to multiply the host of our enemies. In a word, a criminal-known to be armed and shown to be dangerous. Under the three-strike rule available to the courts in California, judges sentence people to life in jail for having stolen from Wal-Mart a set of golf clubs or a child's tricycle. Who then calls strikes on President Bush, and how many more does he get before being sent down on waivers to one of the Texas Prison Leagues?

* * *

The above is a brief excerpt from the complete essay, available in the March 2006 issue of Harper's Magazine.

For footnotes and sources, go to The Case For Impeachment.