Monday, October 31, 2005

Exciting new talking point! It's Plame fault she was outed

The "she was asking for it" defense. I hear she was wearing a low-cut dress and snappy shoes, too.

New York Sun: [Via Power Menage]

If Ms. Plame didn't want her identity out, she shouldn't have gotten her husband a secret mission and then allowed him to wage a public campaign against the president's foreign policy.


Assuming that Valerie Plame was some sort of genuinely covert operative -- something that's not actually quite clear from the indictment -- the chain of events looks pretty damning: Wilson was sent to Africa on an investigative mission regarding nuclear weapons, but never asked to sign any sort of secrecy agreement(!). Wilson returns, reports, then publishes an oped in the New York Times (!!) about his mission. This pretty much ensures that people will start asking why he was sent, which leads to the fact that his wife arranged it. Once Wilson's oped appeared, Plame's covert status was in serious danger.

I think this line of argument is reasonable, provided you assume the SuperPatriots in charge of our country are inclined to break the law, potentially endanger our intelligence assets and out the identity of a CIA agent.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 8:28 AM

Sunday, October 30, 2005

The new talking point

Isn't the "Not quite as bad as Watergate" defense a pretty low threshold for determining the severity of a scandal?

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 11:35 AM

Lies, and other words chosen not so carefully

Power Line carries the writings of a pro-Israeli group called IRIS, which accuses the NYT (where I, full disclosure, occassionally draw a freelance paycheck) of 'anti-Israel falsehoods' regarding the situation in Jersusalem during the first Gulf War. The Times's Steve Erlanger quotes the 93-year-old owner of the American Colony as saying the following:

During the first Gulf war in 1991, she remembers, the Israelis, under the threat of Saddam Hussein's chemical weapons and Scuds, handed out gas masks, but only to the guests, not to the Palestinian staff of the hotel.

To which IRIS retorts: "Here are the facts"
During the Gulf War in 1991, Israel distributed gas masks to every Israeli citizen [i.e. Jewish and Arab] but not to the local Arab population of the West Bank and Gaza. After a petition to the Supreme Court, the court ordered the army to distribute gas masks to the local population, as well.

Gee, that looks pretty bad for the NYT, doesn't it (we'll leave aside the fact that it took a Supreme Court dictate to ensure that all the citizens under Israel's rule were protected). Well, actually, what are we talking about here? It seems that IRIS and Power Line, in a zealous campaign to identify anti-Israeli intentionality at the NYT, essentially dispute the memory of a first-hand witness to history and call her a liar, even though, I'm willing to bet, neither Power Line nor the writers for "IRIS" were in the American Colony when the events took place. And, surprise, IRIS and Power Line truncate the graf from the NYT's story in order to distort. Here it is in full:
During the first Gulf war in 1991, she remembers, the Israelis, under the threat of Saddam Hussein's chemical weapons and Scuds, handed out gas masks, but only to the guests, not to the Palestinian staff of the hotel. "But we diddled them," Vester said with pride. "We made an imaginary list of hotel guests. I mean two can play at that game. It was shocking, really."

In other words, Vester, the owner of the hotel, said she saw for herself that her Palestinian staff were not getting gas masks from the government -- so she concocted fake lists of guests to insure that her staff got the masks. Maybe she was making the whole scenario up, I don't know, but I do know that Power Line and IRIS can't dispute it with the "evidence" they've mustered.

Oh, and here's a Washington Post article I dug up from October, 1990. Gen. Yitzhak Mordechai was the commander for all of central Israel at the time:
Mordechai said the army's operation amounted to transferring chemical-warfare equipment "from central storage to home storage" and was not an emergency procedure. For that reason, he said, the army would not now distribute masks and other equipment to the 1.7 million Palestinians living in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Military officials said last week that Palestinians would be given masks but would be charged the equivalent of $ 20 for them. Israel does not now have enough masks for the Palestinians but plans to import new supplies from Europe, the officials said.

"In this still-not-emergency situation we are not doing anything" in terms of providing masks to Palestinians, Mordechai said.

I'll leave it to the reader to digest those astonishing quotes. The point then, is this: the government of Israel did not want to distribute gas masks to Palesitinians in Gaza and the West Bank, and only under force of a court order did so. Moreover, a witness (and she doesn't appear to be alone, I've read other accounts in my research) to history said that even then, masks were not distributed.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 8:35 AM

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Yup, that crazy

Great moments in delusion, courtesty of Cliff May:
There were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The mystery is what Saddam Hussein did with them.

Oh shit, that totally reminds me, I have a million dollars somewhere in my bedroom, I just have to look harder for it.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 3:32 PM

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


On the Daily Show last night, Jon Stewart had Bill Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard, as his guest, and lordy did Stewart take a baseball bat to Kristol's head. It was not pretty. Here's the set-up -- they're talking about the rationale for war in Iraq:

KRISTOL: It was reasonable to worry and I think it was right to say you couldn't let him (Saddam) there to have or redevelop weapons of mass destruction.

STEWART: And so, to have weapons inspectors maybe, to look around, would’ve been a good move.

KRISTOL: Well it was a good move.

STEWART: And then they could look around and be like (lifts coffee cup, looks under) 'No.' (lifts book).

KRISTOL: Well the weapons inspectors themselves said that Saddam wasn’t fully complying... Could we have kept 150,000 troops there forever? So the weapons inspectors could have finished ---

STEWART: You’re right. That would have cost us an awful lot of money.

Yow. Yow. Video here. The exchange comes near the end of the interview. Yow.

LATER: Did you note how confident Kristol appeared in predicting that Miers would withdraw her nomination in two weeks? That was intriguing.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 1:53 PM

Monday, October 24, 2005

Exposing a CIA no big deal compared to lying about hummers

It's takes a certain kind of silliness, a certain kind of shameless clownery, to suggest that lying about blowjobs was worse -- far worse -- than exposing the identity of a CIA agent.

Read this entire Byron York piece -- and the flawed premise on which it rests -- to get the full flavor.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 1:01 PM

Friday, October 21, 2005

GAO: Iraq hampered Guard's response to Katrina

Interesting little article here regarding a Government Accountability Office report on the National Guard's ability to respond during Katrina. In a word? Bad. Why? Iraq:

Army National Guard units have run into problems responding to domestic disasters like Hurricane Katrina because much of their equipment is in Iraq, according to a report released Thursday by the Government Accountability Office and Guard officials.


Guard officials believe the response to Hurricane Katrina "was more complicated because significant quantities of critical equipment such as satellite communications equipment, radios, trucks, helicopters and night-vision goggles were deployed to Iraq," the report said.

Lt. Gen. H Steven Blum acknowledged in his prepared remarks to the committee that current equipment levels "permit a response to domestic contingencies that falls short of our objectives."

As an example, Mark Allen, a spokesman for the National Guard Bureau, said that some units deployed during Hurricane Katrina last month were unable to communicate by radio with active-duty soldiers because their tactical radios had been given to other Guard units headed for Iraq.

That sound you heard is Taranto sobbing.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 7:45 AM

Thursday, October 13, 2005

On Iraq and Miers and Staying the Course

Well, I guess it was inevitable that the comparison be made between Iraq and Harriet Miers, but leave it to Hugh Hewitt to spin it worshipful for The Sun King:

Given the president's refusal to depart from his original plan for Iraq in the face of so many voices demanding so many different things from him, it is more amusing than anything else to read in John Fund's piece this morning that:

Several large GOP donors in Texas have met to discuss spending large sums to run ads calling on Ms. Miers to withdraw.

I asked Justice Hecht about this yesterday:

HH: Any doubt in your mind that she will persevere through to those hearings, and then on to confirmation?

NH: None.

HH: I want to repeat that, because of course, a lot of people, including some friends of mine, have said she would do the president a favor by withdrawing. I disagree with that calculation, but I just want to get your practical sense. Any possibility of that happening?

NH: Absolutely not. And the president has given no indication that he wants her to. He seems even more determined than ever.

I think there is near zero chance of Harriet Miers withdrawing her nomination or of the president asking her to do so. I think there is near zero chance of her being defeated in the Committee or on the floor.

Alas, Hugh leaves out one crucial point. Attacking the president's Supreme Court nominee in a time of war only emboldens the terrorists.

All joking aside, there is something of an interesting point here. "He seems even more determined than ever." I believe it. It's not in Bush's fiber to admit error, to second-guess, to cut losses and run in the face of overwhelming opposition (see Bolton, John). It's part of his self-deluding mythology. He's the gut-instinct president. He's the leader who will not waver. And it doesn't matter who is doing the criticizing-- Democrat, Republican, Zooastrian. The more everyone says he is wrong, the more he believes he is right. It's something of a pathology, though, not, as Hewitt implies, the manly-man trait of a Great Leader.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 9:26 AM

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

It would be irresponsible not to speculate

Because, apparently every crime now is a terrorist act.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 9:44 AM

Monday, October 10, 2005

We're winning!!!!

There are so many kooky ideas in this Victor Throgmorten Higgenbottom Davis Hanson story it's hard to know where to begin. You should really read the whole thing, as they say. Case in point -- dragging out the "silent majority" is a sign of desperation. It has the added benefit of being completely undisprovable. Still, I think this passage, confusing cause and effect is the winner:

It is easy to be pessimistic about Iraq, given the media's constant barrage of bad news. But why then are there not millions in the street as in the fashion of Vietnam-era moratoria? Why doesn't the Senate move to cut off funds? Why don't the Democrats bring forth another George McGovern?

Don't you see? Things are going well in Iraq because people are not burning enough Dubya dolls. Makes sense. If you're insane.

Of course, there is a non-stupidhead explanation as to why there isn't more rioting. The draft, and the lack thereof.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 12:24 PM

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Dumbass of the Day

I'm going to say this with as much restraint and respect as possible.

Michelle Malkin is a silly little clown.

Harsh? We don't think so.

In summarizing a hideous beating of a drunken man by New Orleans police, and linking to the photos from the video, Michelle adds this gem:

Take anything reported by AP with a grain of salt, of course.

Hey, you never know. Maybe AP made it all up. Perhaps they staged the entire incident -- hiring actors and whatnot. Like the moon landing. Still, I sure am glad we have an honest broker of information like Michelle Malkin around to make sure we don't fall for this hoax-in-the-making.

UPDATE: The video is here. But I implore you, gentle readers, to treat it with a healthy degree of skepticism. It may have been a mass delusion.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 10:49 PM

He lives in California

Mark T. Sheehan, who writes letters to The New York Times, has a great idea:

Why not ban all packages, backpacks, briefcases, baby carriages and anything else from the subway unless they are first inspected by the police?

Sure, it would be a terrible nuisance for riders, who would find the delay not worth the package (baby carriages excepted), and for the police, who would have to conduct searches amid a barrage of invective.

But it just might pose a bigger problem for a suicide bomber, by making him or her much easier to spot.

Mark T. Sheehan
Pleasant Hill, Calif., Oct. 7, 2005

And after we're done with that plan, we can start inspecting all the cars in California before they get on the 101. That should stop all those VBIEDs. Though I suspect there might be a slight barrage of invective. And gunplay.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 3:15 PM

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Banana Republic, Yay!

A Power Liner lets us know what's really important to him:

I doubt that she cares much how the Washington Post or the liberal Washington social establishment views about her. Nor is she likely to be influenced by the liberal Justices, particularly the ones who voted against Bush in Bush v. Gore. Whatever kind of conservative Miers is now, if any, she's likely to remain.

Yeah, you certainly don't want Miers to be influenced by judges who voted against that humdinger of a decision. And that's important, because when we need to install the next president by judicial fiat, we'll know which side she's on.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 4:20 PM

We should lynch reporters

You link to it, you applaud it, you own it. InstaPundit links to a talented scribe who calls himself "The Gun Guy." Here's what that enlightened chap wrote after posting an extended rant about reporters "aiding and abetting the enemy."
Rope. Tree. Journalist. Some assembly required.

Ha-ha. Let's hang reporters. Funny stuff, no? Since he doesn't say otherwise, I can only assume that Prof. Reynolds agrees.

Maybe the kooks weren't joking about targeting journalists.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 3:07 PM

Please don't read this blog post

Jeff Jarvis, a former newspaperman, creates these following heds for three consecutive blog posts:

Advertising 2.0: An agenda for the Web 2.0 workshop

Recovery 2.0: An agenda?

Web .9

Now, I know this is shoptalk from a blogging conference, but jeez, who ever read below a headline that breathlessly announced "Web .9"?

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 7:34 AM

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