Nasty Letters To Crooked Politicians

As we enter a new era of politics, we hope to see that Obama has the courage to fight the policies that Progressives hate. Will he have the fortitude to turn the economic future of America to help the working man? Or will he turn out to be just a pawn of big money, as he seems to be right now.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Arianna Huffington's Blog:

The New York Times Falls off the Wagon
Posted August 22, 2005 at 7:20 p.m. EDT

It's hard to believe, but the New York Times is back on Chalabi. Not unlike Courtney Love, the paper of record swears it's going to go straight, stop using, be responsible, really change this time, and then it happens again. For whatever reason, the paper falls off the wagon. It's an addiction. And addicts embarrass themselves again and again. And you feel stupid for ever having given them the benefit of the doubt.

And they try to hide it. Just look at the August 22 above-the-fold, front-page story on Iraq's constitution. It's headlined "Leaders in Iraq Report Progress on Constitution."

Who are those "leaders"? Once again, Ahmad Chalabi and an American official speaking "on condition of anonymity." And Chalabi is simply identified as "the deputy prime minister."

The deputy prime minister? That's it? That's like doing a piece on the energy bill and citing one of your main sources as "Ken Lay, a prominent Houston businessman."

They could at least have added a sentence from their own newspaper of May 26, 2004: "[Chalabi] became a favorite of hard-liners within the Bush administration and a paid broker of information from Iraqi exiles, until his payments were cut off."

Or, here are a few other descriptions they could have used:

Ahmad Chalabi, who used the United States to try to regain power in Iraq and then bragged "we are heroes in error."

Ahmad Chalabi, the man who bamboozled the Pentagon while pocketing $340,000 a month from the US government.

Ahmad Chalabi, who introduced Curveball, another phony source on WMD, to the intelligence community, and whose chief aide was Curveball's brother.

Ahmad Chalabi, who tried to sabotage the efforts by the United Nations to put in place an interim government in Iraq.

Ahmad Chalabi, who gave faulty intelligence to Times reporter Judith Miller in an attempt to mislead the American people and thus make it easier for the Bush Administration to invade Iraq.

Adding any one of these descriptions would have meant leveling with the Times readers in a way that simply describing Chalabi as the "deputy prime minister" did not.

It's not surprising that the LA Times story from the same day, which did not use Chalabi as a source, turned out to be a much more accurate prediction of what happened.


At least we know it wasn't Judy Miller's fault. The one good thing about prison is that it gives you a great alibi.

The Times will have to bottom out before it decides to go straight. It's not as if we're not rooting for them. I mean, I really believed they were sincere when they said, in their war-reporting mea culpa:

The problematic articles varied in authorship and subject matter, but many shared a common feature. They depended at least in part on information from a circle of Iraqi informants, defectors and exiles bent on "regime change" in Iraq, people whose credibility has come under increasing public debate in recent weeks. (The most prominent of the anti-Saddam campaigners, Ahmad Chalabi, has been named as anoccasional source in Times articles since at least 1991, and has introduced reporters to other exiles. He became a favorite of hard-liners within the Bush administration and a paid broker of information from Iraqi exiles, until his payments were cut off last week.)

And the mea culpa ended with:

We consider the story of Iraq's weapons, and of the pattern of misinformation, to be unfinished business. And we fully intend to continue aggressive reporting aimed at setting the record straight.

They probably meant it at the time. But the question is: how many chances do they get?

And this one:

It All Goes Back to Casey
Posted August 24, 2005 at 4:09 a.m. EDT

I met Cindy Sheehan on Sunday afternoon while her mother was still in the intensive care unit. Listening to her, I just wanted my teenage daughters to meet her. Because it's never too early to teach young women fearlessness. And despite everything Cindy Sheehan has been through in the last year and a half, including weeks of sliming and smearing and swift-boating by Bush's attack machine, what she exudes, above all, is fearlessness. Fearlessness and authenticity.

With her was her sister Dede, eleven months younger and, as Cindy put it, "Casey's second mom."

"The fun mom," bantered Dede.

"Well I was fun too," Cindy shot back. "You were just the funnest one."

Somehow whatever we were talking about, the conversation would always steer back to Casey. Never more chillingly than when Cindy described that night in April 2004 when she and her husband were watching CNN and the news from Iraq came on about a Humvee burning... eight soldiers killed.

"I just knew at that moment," she told me, "that one of them was Casey. My husband got angry with me. 'You can't do that to yourself every time there is news of a dead soldier in Iraq,' he said. 'There are a hundred and thirty thousand American soldiers there, so what are the chances?' Still, I knew. After a while I just went out walking with my dogs, crying all the way. On the way back, as I turned the corner, I could see three Army officers in my living room. They were waiting for me. Casey had designated me 'first of kin,' so I was the one to whom they had to give the news of his death. I just collapsed on the floor."

It's that unfathomable pain that, through the months that followed, she turned into a take-no-prisoners stand. And it's that pain that continues to fuel her determination -- no matter what's thrown at her. The more unreal and disconnected Bush becomes, the more real and engaged Cindy is.

And instead of just summoning the small amount of courage it would take to meet with her and answer her questions, the president retreats to his fraudulent allusions to a link between Al Qaeda and Iraq as the justification for the war. (This will culminate next month in the "Freedom Walk," Bush's plan to commemorate those who died on Sept. 11th by using them in a political stunt to save his sagging presidency.)

And now there is Bush's newest fabrication about the Iraqi constitution, or at least the latest draft of a draft of a constitution:

Q If [the constitution] is rooted in Islam, as it seems it will there still the possibility of honoring the rights of women?

THE PRESIDENT: I talked to Condi, and there is not -- as I understand it, the way the constitution is written is that women have got rights, inherent rights recognized in the constitution, and that the constitution talks about not "the religion," but "a religion."

In fact, that's not at all what Article 2 Para. 1 says: "Islam is the official religion of state, and is a fundamental source for legislation."

So is this version of Islamic theocracy what we are fighting for? Is this the "noble cause" Cindy's son died for?

Cindy Sheehan, in personifying the human cost of the war, has exposed the fault lines in the administration's policies. Her real concern for the troops highlights the president's lack of concern, and her sacrifice makes nonsense of Bush's questioning the patriotism of anybody who disagrees with him. Editor and Publisher reported on Tuesday:

Meeting briefly with reporters Monday aboard Air Force One, Trent Duffy, a White House spokesman subbing for Scott McClellan, said that President Bush believes that those who want the U.S. to begin to change course in Iraq do not want America to win the overall "war on terror."

Cindy Sheehan returned to Crawford as the smear machine moved into overdrive. Its talking points are now in the mouths of supposedly neutral anchors. Example: Norah O'Donnell subbing for Chris Matthews, on Hardball , referred to those at Camp Casey as "anti-war extremists."

Welcome back to Crawford, Cindy.

© 2005, LLC


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