Monday, June 30

Or Maybe Bush's Codpiece Is A Charm Against Falling Objects

CROOKS and Liars, via aimai:
NBC’s David Gregory chimes in at the end of the segment and drops a question on [Obama’s Senior Foreign Policy Advisor Susan] Rice that was pulled directly from Karl Rove’s playbook:

Gregory: “Hello, Susan.  While we are talking about the prospect of nuclear terrorism, which is what is behind the concerns of North Korea and Iran.  I have a broader question for you and really for Senator Obama.  Why is it, does he believe that America has not been attacked in  this country by terrorists since  9/11?  And does George W. Bush, President Bush deserve credit for that?”
Rice: “I think what we have to acknowledge, David, that we haven’t been attacked but we are nonetheless less safe as a sequence of the policies of this  administration has pursued.  Our standing in the world is at an all-time low.  Al Qaeda is more dangerous now in Afghanistan and Pakistan than it has been.  Our intelligence community is warning they are reconstituting and more deadly to U.S. forces than Iraq.”

Of course, Gregory is incorrect, there HAS been a deadly terrorist attack in the U.S. since 9/11 — the anthrax attacks that killed 5 Americans ring a bell to you? It’s interesting that so many seem to forget this factoid. Speaking of anthrax and Bush failures, you’ll be happy to learn that $5.8 million of your tax dollars were just awarded to Steven Hatfill in his lawsuit against the Bush Justice Department. Hatfill is an Army scientist who was deemed a “Person of Interest” in the anthrax attacks, but was eventually ruled out as a suspect in the Bush administration’s botched investigation. Hatfill’s lawyer placed partial blame on the media for not questioning the Bush administration’s motives in targeting him and for reporting leaked disinformation they could not substantiate.

It occurred to me that this would make a good one of those blog-tag pyramid things: get five people to answer Gregory's question, and they each get five more, and so on, but then I realized I've have to do some work.

Instead, let's just mouth off about it, which should be enough to put the whole canard to rest anyway, the internets being our avenue of self-correction. Yes, it's true that Gregory's question was DOA, which the Hatfill deal, announced the same day, underlines. It's also true that Hatfill--how many of the Press gaggle could have ID'd him before last Friday?  How many now?--reminds us that for dampened-pants America and her Press, the anthrax attacks stopped being terrorism once it became apparent that Saddam Hussein hadn't personally posted the letters (it took Judy Miller and the WaPo a bit longer, but then, it took them a few extra months to actually give up on the Hussein angle, too).

[Excuse the indulgence, but this is one of those stories I'd be willing to undergo fifteen years of dialysis for just to live long enough to hear whatever fraction of the truth eventually gets released. I realize the FBI is hampered, post-Hoover, by its inability to close cases by simply gunning down suspects and calling it a shootout, but I find it very difficult to accept that they seriously entertained the notion that there was a foreign source for the attacks after the first of those risible DEATH TO AMERICA DEATH TO ISRAEL ALLAH IS GREAT letters turned up, unless they suspected a blind (and a good one; remember the misspelling of "penacilin"?). Five years later they'd announce (to the WaPo!) that the previous description of the anthrax as "weaponized" was in error; instead, the unknown perp had just meticulously removed all the stems and seeds. This was curious, seeing as how the Gee must have been the source of the original misinformation, and seeing as how, to the unlettered internet loudmouth the procedure for identifying the weaponizing agent looks pretty straightforward. Not to mention the fact that the two reporters write
Such processing or additives might have suggested that the maker had access to the recipes of biological weapons made by the United States in the 1950s and 1960s.

betraying--or portraying--an innocence of the Army's own admission that the process had continued for decades after Nixon "ended" it. ]

I do apologize for the above; the closer you get to these spooks the more likely you are to inhale something, and it always makes you sound like it was nitrous. At any rate, if Senator Obama announces he'll appoint Glenn Greenwald or Joe Conason to head a blue-ribbon panel he's got my vote. 

Okay, so it's also the case that the "no domestic attack" bit is a canard. The Bush administration, and the American citizens which voted it back into office in 2004, expressly threw caution, international law, and rational practice to the winds in taking "the fight" to "the terrorists", so the subsequent attacks in Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, and Spain, e.g., are to some extent their failures, just as some internet nit-picker might note the 9/11 attacks had been preceded by a warning about some guy named bin-Laden. I am, for example, unaware of a single military historian who claims that Eisenhower's great achievement was that he didn't let the Battle of the Bulge happen twice.

No, if Gregory is justified in asking the question of Rice in terms of Obama's response to a trope, he's clearly off-base in suggesting it as a fact requiring some sort of counter (enough so that one imagines, given his unfortunate and untimely death at his desk, hearing the whole of Inside Washington lionize him for his meticulous preparation). And this is the thing that struck me on further reflection: the self-satisfied assumption of al-Qaeda and International Terror, Inc., as Determined To Attack U.S. on a regular, if not daily, basis, until the whole place is a pile of bricks and twisted steel. Where the hell does that come from, and how does it wind up in the mouth of a "newsman"? It's a surrender to the comforts of hyperreality. It demonstrates a complete lack of appreciation for how complicated the attacks of 9/11 were, how unexpected their physical results (it took considerable study just to explain how the Towers fell; try to convince an engineer the result could have been anticipated), and how successful their political aim--it's terror, Dave!--considering that pants-pissing over possible attacks or negotiatin' with terrists is still a Republican (and H. Clintonian!) rallying point. Future attacks there may be, god help us all, and it's also possible that the Islamic division of SPECTRE would blow shit up inside our borders on a daily, even hourly basis, if it could. But if we got our heads out of comic books, spy thrillers, and our own asses we might at least analyze the threat in a reasonable fashion. Though that would sorta take the advertising quotient and sales potential out of the thing, not something we're especially known for doing.


Kathy Rogers said...

You had me at "removed all the stems and seeds."

Kathy said...

I love "a second Battle of the Bulge". You're in prime form today! Keep sluggin'

LittlePig said...

"Well, David, either the anthrax attack was sponsored by al-Queda, in which case your argument fails, or it wasn't, in which case given that there was eight years between the WTC attacks, we won't really know if the Bush Administration approach has been AT LEAST as effective as the Clinton Administration's approach until next year in 2009.

Either way, Bush comes up as less effective a terrorist fighter than President Clinton".

Sure, there's buried assumptions in that one, too, but I wish that would get thrown out there nonetheless. The default defensive answers get really old.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Gregory is flashing back on this:

According to Israeli security sources… [Mohammed] Atta was handed a vacuum flask of anthrax by his Iraqi contact. From Prague, it is believed Atta flew to Newark. From New Jersey, letters laced with anthrax were sent to broadcasters and politicians in New York.

This was according to the London Telegraph and the London Times (Daniel McGrory, “Hijacker ’Given Anthrax Flask by Iraqi Agent,’” The Times [London], October 27, 2001).

Rightwingsnarkle said...

Maybe David G should just stick with his Today Show gig.