View Full Version : Bernstein on Plame...PBS.org

Gayle in MD
02-15-2007, 12:56 AM
I saw the first installment of the new PBS "Frontline" Documentary about The Press,: Secrets, Sources and Spin and this White House, and also the Plame outing. It is a very interesting, in depth documentary, and I highly recommend it. There is a good deal of information on PBS.org, and particularly about the Plame outing.

I think Carl Bernstein sums up this presidency pretty well in his statements about the Vice President's outing of Valarie Plame, a covert CIA Operative, and the MO of this White House, and this presidency.

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I think what we're talking about with the Bush administration is a far different matter in which disinformation, misinformation and unwillingness to tell the truth -- a willingness to lie both in the Oval Office, in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, in the office of the vice president, the vice president himself -- is something that I have never witnessed before on this scale.

The lying in the Nixon White House had most often to do with covering up Watergate, with the Nixon administration's illegal activities. Here, in this presidency, there is an unwillingness to be truthful, both contextually and in terms of basic facts that ought to be of great concern to people of all ideologies. ...

This president has a record of dishonesty and obfuscation that is Nixonian in character in its willingness to manipulate the press, to manipulate the truth. We have gone to war on the basis of misinformation, disinformation and knowing lies from top to bottom.

That is an astonishing fact. That's what this story is about: the willingness of the president and the vice president and the people around them to try to undermine people who have effectively opposed them by telling the truth. It happened with [Sen.] John McCain in South Carolina. It happened with [Sen.] John Kerry. It's happened with [Sen.] Max Cleland in Georgia. It's happened with many other people. That's the real story, and that's the story that [the press] should have been writing. ...

It's very difficult, as a reporter, to get across that when you say, "This is a presidency of great dishonesty," that this is not a matter of opinion. This is demonstrable fact. If you go back and look at the president's statements, you look at the statements of the vice president, you look at the statements of Condoleezza Rice, you go through the record, you look at what [counterterrorism expert] Richard Clarke has written, you look at what we know -- it's demonstrable.

It's fact. Now, how do you quantify it? That's a different question.
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Gayle in Md.

02-15-2007, 01:32 PM
This is way off from the thread...but the mention of Bernstein, brought to mind "Mo" Bernstein, a Dentist that was on the Golden Gate Bridge Board. they met once a month and took down a nice salary for that....I was not sure how dental school prepared one for such a position....another guy's expertise was that he had leases on parking garages in SF....i could see the tie-in there, as the bridge sometimes resembled a parking lot during the commute hours.
I wanted to get on the board, and imagined the monthly business to be "what color should we paint the bridge this time?"....after a lengthy discussion we would settle on International orange, bill the taxpayers for a power lunch and we could go home and prepare for next month's meeting...

02-15-2007, 10:56 PM
When did we ever get a straight story from DC?

Gayle in MD
02-16-2007, 07:51 AM
Respectfully, we have gotten many many straight stories from D.C., and particularly regarding the lead up to this war. Unfortunately, those who tried to warn us, were painted as terrorist lovers. It didn't matter to this administration that those who were demonized were dedicated employees of our various national security agencies, decorated war veterans, even former POW's who were members of their own party. The tone of the Rovarian political tactics has created a tremendous chasm and division among Americans, which they continue to stealthily fuel, at every level, with lies which are accepted by many Americans, too lazy, and/or partisan to take the effort to study for accurate information. This is exactly what Rovarian style politics depends upon, and the methods including "Religious code words" come straight out of Leo Straus.

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John Brady Keisling, a veteran and much-decorated U.S. foreign service officer who resigned over the deceptions of the war, believes that the president himself was "easy to convince." Keisling sees Bush as "a politician who badly wants to appear strong, but in reality is very weak," and therefore "Blindly believed Rumsfeld's assurances that the occupation of Iraq would pay for itself." Again, this is ultimately unknowable, but it so happens that the man whom Donald Rumsfeld and Paul wolfowitz chose to provide their president with exactly the kind of intelligence they needed to justify an invasion, Abram M. Shulsky, is, like Wolfowitz and many other neoconservatives, an admirer of tyhe movement's founding father, the late political philosopher and refugee from Nazi Germany Leo Strauss. Together with PNAC (Project For New American Century) head Garyl Schmitt, Shulsky authored an essay published in 1999 entitled "Leo Strauss and the World of Intelligence (By Which We Do Not Mean Nous)." In it, the authors argue that Strauss's idea of hidden meaning "alerts one to the possibility that political life may be closely linked to deception. Indeed, it suggests that deception is the norm in political life, and the hope, to say nothing of the expectation, of establishing a politics that can dispense with it is the exception."

Robert Pippin, the chairman of the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago and a critic of Strauss, said, "Strauss believed that good statesmen have powers of judgment and must rely on an inner circle. The persoon who whispers in the ear of the king is more important than the King. If you have that talent, what you do or say in public cannot be held accountable in the same way." NYU law professor Stephen Holmes added, "They believe that your enemy is deceiving you, and you have to pretend to agree, but secretly you follow your own views." He continued, "The whole story is complicated by Strauss's idea - actuall6y Plato's - that philosophers need totell noble lies not only to the people at large but also to powerful politicians." Even Strauss's admirers do not hesitate to grant this essential point with regard to the founding father of neoconservatism, Joseph Cropsey, Strauss's close friend and collegue at the University of Chicago as well as the editor of his work, explains that in Straussian thought, a degree of public deception is considered absolutely necessary. "That people in government have to be discreet in what they say publicly is so obvious-'If I tell you the truth I can't but help the enemy."

The neoconservatives who provided the intellectual stimulus for the Bush administration's foreign policies had an armada of what they believed to be good reasons to promote within the administration an invasion of Iraq. Their formal reasoning was laid out consistently and without apology in such documents as the Libby-Wolfowitz 1992 srategy document, authored for Dick Cheney and George H.W. Bush; the 1996 Perle-Feith study for Benjamin Netanyahu; the Kristol-Kagan 1996 "Toward a Neo-Reagonite Foreign Policy" essay; the Wolfowitz-Rumsfeld-Perle-Feith letter calling for an invasion published the same year; and the PNAC "Rebuilding America's Defenses" policy statement published in 2000, signed by Wolfowitz, Libby Bolton, and others. This strategic kibitzing was finally codified as official U.S. government policy in September 2002, with the release of "National Security Strategy of the United States," which adopted many of the strategic imperatives and policy priorties for which the neocons had been agitating, even echoing the above documents' language and emphases. It's hard to know how seriously to take a strategy that commits the United States to 'rid the world of evil," but of course, with good Straussians, we can neither credit nor discount formal policy statements, as they may contain nothint more than "Noble Lies."

But an invasion of Iraq presented any number of opportunities and potential benefits from an ideological perspective that could not be honestly and openly identified in official policy documents. It removed a significant threat to Israel and once all went according to plan, would also help to demoralize the Palestinians and force them to accept their lot in life as an occupied people with reduced resistance. This was explicit in the Perle-Feith document prepared for Netanyahu and was undoubtedly implicit in the planning for the Iraq war. The war also provided the United States with an occasion to show the Arab world that is was wuilling to respond accordingly if they behaved offensively. Dismissing Bush administration rhetoric as offered "for PR reasons' in a column entitled "Because We Could," prowar columnist Friedman posits this as the "real" reason for the war.

"After 9/11 America needed to hit someone in the ARab-Muslim world," he writes. Olivier Roy, a specialist on the Islamic world at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientiifique, described this argument as follows:

"The rationale for the military campaign in Iraq was not that Iraq was the biggest threat but, on the contrary, that it was the weakest and hence the easiest to take care of. The invasion was largely aimed at demonstrating America's political will and commitment to go to war. Reshaping the Middle Ease does not mean changing borders, but rather threatening existing regimes through military pressure and destabilizing them with calls for democratization. After Baghdad's fall, Teheran, Demascus and Riyadh should understand that America is back."

This rationale is consistent with Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith's argument that Iraq itself was never really so critical an issue. "Can you imagine what our enemies think of us right now?" asked Feith. "The deterrent value of what we've accomplished far overshadows the direct results."

Then there's the oil. It's not merely a matter of Bush and Cheney distributing favors to their former crinies, friends, and business associates in the energy industry, though they were no doubt pleased to be able to do so. Rivals did not even bother bidding after the Cheney home team, Halliburton, won the lion's share of a billion-dollar rebuilding contract for the Iraqi oil industry in what looked to many to be a nakedly rigged process. And this practice was hardly an isolated one. The United States's takeover of Iraq also had the effect of vastly reducing the power and influence or the Saudis-whom, as we have seen, the Bushes appear to find quite sympathetic, but the neocons find repugnant-to keep our foreign policy, as it were, over a barrel. In May 2w003 crude oil imports to the United States reached a record high for the third straight month, at just more than 320 million barrels. According to Vice President Cheney's National Energy )Policy Development Group, U.S. oil production is expected to fall by 12 percent druing the coming two decades. The Saudis, meanwhile, are currently understood to be in possession of about 250 billion barrels, or a quarter of the world's oil reserves. Given America's apparently incurable oil dependency-and the Bush administration's aversion to conservation-the Saudis therefore enjoy enormous political influence over Washington, despite the blind eye they have traditionally turned toward anti-American terrorism and their apparent role in encouraging bin Ladenism and Arab hatred for both the United States and Israel. It is hardly good policy for the world's most powerful nation to ally its fate to a deeply corrupt and reactionary, theocratic "royal family" like that in power in the Saudi Kingdom. Moreover, US troops protecting Saudi Arabia are understood by all to be one of the primary motvations for bin Laden's jjhad. Paul Wolfowitz himself termed them to be "a huge recruiting device for al Qaeda," and their removal, therefore, according to Wolfowitz, would be a "Huge improvement" over the previous situation. We have a new ally in the Middle East and one that is secular, modern and pro-free market," announced Francis Brooke, an American political advisor to Ahmad Chalabi. "It is time to replace the Saudis with the Iraqis."

With its 112 billion barrels in proven reserves and a potential for anywhere from 200 billion to 300 billion barrels, Iraq just happens to be the only nation on earth graced with a supply of oil reserves coparable to=and possibly even in excess of-those in Saudi Arabia.

From ..."The Book On Bush, How George W. (Mis)leads America
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jAnyone who doesn't acknowledge that this war was all about Oil, isn't really paying attention. And, Anyone wh9o beleives that because George Bush has been inspired by God, or for himanitarian pruposes, simply doesn't recognize the most dishonest man, and the most dishonest of all administraions in history, considering, they have built they're policym, intentionally on deceit, lies, and absolutely no value on human life.

The neocons have planned this war for over a decade. They have not only lied to the patriotic Americans, but they have used our National tregedy, to instill fear in Americans, in order to launch the most deceitful campaign against our best interest, ever launched against America, and beleive they are being correct, and justified, when they lie to us.

Gayle in Md.
It was all about the Oil...