Lies and Cover-Ups are not “Being in Denial”
Foleygate, Ricegate and Insurgencygate
The right wing of the Republican Party has a problem with the truth. The American press corps has an addiction to euphemisms.
Bob Woodward called his book “State of Denial.” The press around the book raises the question of whether President George W. Bush and his highest officials–Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Condi Rice– are unable to face the truth (“in denial”).
Yet the sort of anecdote Woodward tells, and the new information surfacing on Tenet’s briefing of Rice and Hastert’s inaction on Foley– all these do not point to denial or lack of realism. They point to lying and to deliberately spinning and misleading the US public.
I don’t understand why US reporters and editors won’t call a spade a spade.
This is the exchange on Larry King Live with Woodward on Monday:
‘ WOODWARD: Well, the evidence going way, way back is that there is a kind of denial. Let me give you an example and there are dozens in the book. November 11, 2003, now this is six months, eight months after the invasion the top CIA man, a guy named Rob Rischer (ph), who is head of the division for the Near East for the Middle East for the CIA, this is one of these operatives you never hear about or see, been to Iraq, went to the seven bases we had and he came back and briefed President Bush and the NSC. And, he said there’s an insurgency out there. Don Rumsfeld, who was there said, “Well, I’m not sure I agree with you.” The CIA man gets out The Pentagon’s manual which says, look, an insurgency is defined this way, popular support, ability to strike at will, ability to move at will, and says it meets all of these criteria. President Bush says “Well, I don’t think we’re there yet and I don’t want any of my cabinet officers saying there’s an insurgency. I don’t want to read about it in “The New York Times.”
KING: Is this…
WOODWARD: Now what is that? Now, what you also find in the research at that time, the month before, attacks zoomed up, insurgent attacks on our forces and Iraqis to 1,000 in the month of October, 2003. Now that’s 30 attacks a day. That’s one an hour. Now, imagine if there was — in this country if there were attacks one an hour, you’d say something’s going on and the concern should not be what’s “The New York Times” going to say? The concern should be how do we deal with this?
KING: Is this devious or incompetent?
WOODWARD: You know, again, I’m not judging, no evidence that it’s devious. Bush is an optimist. What it is, it’s inattentiveness. They thought this was going to be easy. They thought, as Cheney…
KING: You quote him from this show.
WOODWARD: …saying yes.
KING: The insurgency is over.
WOODWARD: Yes. ‘
Well, it is just obviously devious. He said, “I don’t want to read about it in the New York Times.” That translates as, I don’t want my critics on the left to have the ammunition that an acknowledgment of an insurgency would give them. He didn’t say, “My definition of an insurgency is X and what you’re describing doesn’t fit it.” His reply was not substantive, it was instrumental. Like everything else in this administration, they say what will get them their way, not what is true and honest.
But Rob Richer (it is on p. 266) was giving him a professional’s estimation. Even Paul Bremer agreed with him on this occasion, and if Bush couldn’t trust Bremer’s estimation of what was going on, he should have fired him. That toady Gen. Myers intervened with some silly list of things that had gone well, as if that were germane to the question of whether there was an insurgency.
Bush covered Richer’s briefing up, and he covered it up from us. For political reasons. He lied.
Woodward’s outrage comes from his recognition that Bush’s cold shoulder to Richer had policy implications. If you can’t announce that there is an insurgency, then you cannot order an effective counter-insurgency policy. The failure of the Bush administration all along in Iraq to publicly acknowledge how bad the situation was has cost thousands of US soldiers’ their lives. They died because Bush was treading water instead of coming on television and saying, there is an insurgency, and here are the five practical things we are going to do to combat it.
He came on television and told everybody that things are just fine over there. He shares a profound culpability for all those horrible deaths and maimings of Americans in uniform, over 20,000 by now.
Then there is the issue of the Tenet-Rice meeting in which the CIA director warned Condi Rice in July of 2001 that the chatter was off the charts and he feared an attack on the US by al-Qaeda. Woodward says that Rice brushed him and Cofer Black off. Rice and the White House had never told the 9/11 Commission about this meeting, and some are beginning to think it was deliberately covered up.
Rice at first responded This way:
‘ “What I am quite certain of is that I would remember if I was told, as this account apparently says, that there was about to be an attack in the United States, and the idea that I would somehow have ignored that I find incomprehensible . . .”
Yeah, so do we.
The State Department acknowledged the meeting:
‘ The State Department confirmed that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met with Central Intelligence Agency Director George Tenet about the threat posed by al-Qaeda two months before the Sept. 11 attacks.’
Now, remember when Bill Clinton said he had left a comprehensive plan for fighting al-Qaeda to the Bush Administration. What was Condi’s petulant answer? That Clinton had left no plans and she and Bush had done as much to fight al-Qaeda as Clinton. Yeah, sure.
Maybe she just forgot about the Clinton plans, the way she “forgot” about the Director of the CIA informing her that his hair was on fire and he was sure that the United States was about to be attacked by al-Qaeda.
Bush lied about there being no insurgency. Rice and others covered up the meeting with Tenet and even denied it when Woodward’s book came out.
It seems increasingly clear that the lewd email messages of Congressman Foley to a page were also covered up by Republicans on the Hill:
‘ The House leadership consistently hid this case from the public for partisan purposes. In late 2005, Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL), chairman of the House Page Board, “was notified by the then Clerk of the House, who manages the Page Program, that he had been told by Congressman Rodney Alexander (R-LA) about an email exchange between Congressman Foley and a former House Page.” Shimkus interviewed Foley and told him “to cease all contact with this former house page.” But Shimkus never informed Rep. Dale Kildee (D-MI), the only Democrat on the House page board. Today, Hastert held a meeting “to review ways to protect pages,” but once again, Kildee was not invited. ‘
Why wasn’t Kildee invited?
The United States has a one-party state. The presidency, the vice presidency, the cabinet, the House of Representatives, the Senate, the Supreme Court– are all and have for some time been in the hands of the same party. Not only that, but the most extreme factions within the Republican Party: the theocrats, the Neoconservative ex-Trotskiyites, the John Yoo Torture Apologists, the Grover Norquist advocates of Mr. Scrooge plutocracy, the corrupt Abramoffist lobbyists and Delayist horse thieves–they are ascendant. Parties don’t investigate themselves. They are about power, interests, and money. They are about winning. They aren’t a charity.
The American public has been unwise to allow this one party state to grow up, which is chipping away at our liberties as Americans and creating a new monarchy and a new aristocracy. It works by lies and cover-ups.
Another four years of the one-party state, and the Republic will be finished, if it is not already.