Saturday, June 19, 2004

NYT Edition

Okay, I can no longer ignore it - David Brookes is truly living in an alternate reality from the rest of us. Today he writes:

There's a reason Carter, Reagan and George W. Bush all turned, in different ways, against this approach. They understood that democracy advances security, kowtowing to dictators does not. Most of all, they didn't want to conduct a foreign policy that would make them feel ashamed.
Hello?? Reagan never met a dictator he didn't love, just love - all the pseudo-military gold braid and pomp and circumstances. Bush goes him one better; he not only protects and defends the supreme imperial dictatorship of Saud, he has said over and over that he wants to be a dictator. Sheesh, David, what's going ON in your world??

Meanwhile, the NYT Editorial board finally utters the words they should have started saying two years ago, to wit: "Show Us the Proof"

When the commission studying the 9/11 terrorist attacks refuted the Bush administration's claims of a connection between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden, we suggested that President Bush apologize for using these claims to help win Americans' support for the invasion of Iraq. We did not really expect that to happen. But we were surprised by the depth and ferocity of the administration's capacity for denial. President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have not only brushed aside the panel's findings and questioned its expertise, but they are also trying to rewrite history.

Mr. Bush said the 9/11 panel had actually confirmed his contention that there were "ties" between Iraq and Al Qaeda. He said his administration had never connected Saddam Hussein to 9/11. Both statements are wrong.


When it comes to 9/11, someone in the Bush administration has indeed drawn the connection to Iraq: the vice president. Mr. Cheney has repeatedly referred to reports that Mohamed Atta met in Prague in April 2001 with an Iraqi intelligence agent. He told Tim Russert of NBC on Dec. 9, 2001, that this report has "been pretty well confirmed." If so, no one seems to have informed the C.I.A., the Czech government or the 9/11 commission, which said it did not appear to be true. Yet Mr. Cheney cited it, again, on Thursday night on CNBC.

Mr. Cheney said he had lots of documents to prove his claims. We have heard that before, but Mr. Cheney always seems too pressed for time or too concerned about secrets to share them. Last September, Mr. Cheney's adviser, Mary Matalin, explained to The Washington Post that Mr. Cheney had access to lots of secret stuff. She said he had to "tiptoe through the land mines of what's sayable and not sayable" to the public, but that "his job is to connect the dots."

The message, if we hear it properly, is that when it comes to this critical issue, the vice president is not prepared to offer any evidence beyond the flimsy-to-nonexistent arguments he has used in the past, but he wants us to trust him when he says there's more behind the screen. So far, when it comes to Iraq, blind faith in this administration has been a losing strategy.

Nice of them to finally admit it, but wouldn't it have been nice if they'd seen the light back when it might have mattered?

Finally, a Letter to the Editor that's too good not to quote in its entirety:

To the Editor:

Re "Account Recalls Cheney as a Swift and Steady Hand" (news article, June 18):

The country is under attack, and the vice president urges the president not to return to Washington. The vice president issues the order to the military to send attack planes to shoot down civilian aircraft — indeed, directs the whole operation from his bunker under the White House while the president is flying from one place to another, a cellphone call away.

I am trying to picture Bill Clinton letting Al Gore take over; George H. W. Bush letting Dan Quayle take over; Jimmy Carter letting Walter F. Mondale take over; Richard M. Nixon letting Gerald R. Ford or Spiro T. Agnew take over; John F. Kennedy letting Lyndon B. Johnson take over — I go all the way back to Harry S. Truman and Franklin D. Roosevelt and try to imagine any vice president taking over under the same circumstances. I can't.

The whole story reads like "Seven Days in May." America, we have a problem.


Say it, sister.


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