April 01, 2004

Questions to Ask Condoleezza Rice

Q: You stated that the proposals for attacking Al Qaeda that Richard Clarke submitted to you in January 2001 were a "laundry list," and that it took eight months of work to turn that "laundry list" into a coherent plan. Isn't that claim false? Wasn't the plan the NSC Principals discussed on September 4 in its essentials the same plan that Richard Clarke had proposed on January 25?

Follow Up Q: In retrospect, don't you deeply regret that you did not give Richard Clarke the NSC Principals meeting he asked for at the very start of the administration?

Follow Up Q: Why have you worked so hard to exaggerate the differences between what Clarke proposed on January 25 and what the NSC Principals discussed on September 4?

Q: Do you regret requiring that Richard Clarke report to the NSC Deputies committee rather than chairing the NSC Principals committee? Didn't this greatly slow down policy development? Wouldn't things have been better if you had let Clarke do what he wanted to do--play the same role he played in the Clinton administration?

Follow Up Q: What benefit was gained from forcing Richard Clarke to jump through bureaucratic hoops set for him by people like Wolfowitz who believed that Saddam Hussein was a much more important foreign policy concern than Osama bin Laden?

Q: You have stated that in the summer of 2001 the Bush administration was at "battle stations". When the Clinton administration was at battle stations in the run-up to January 1, 2000, the NSC staff led by Richard Clarke shook the trees by having daily cabinet-level meetings on the terrorist threat, and demanding that cabinet officers probe deeply into their organizations looking for important but unrecognized information. There was no corresponding effort in the summer of 2001, was there?

Follow Up Q: When you say that the Bush administration was at "battle stations" before 911, aren't you misleading people who know what Richard Clarke's idea of "battle stations" is?

Follow Up Q: Do you regret not giving Richard Clarke the authority in the summer of 2001 to do what he wanted to do--to "shake the trees" of the departments in an attempt to uncover information of unrecognized importance?

Q: Richard Cheney has claimed that before September 11, 2001, Richard Clarke was "out of the loop" on important counterterrorism matters. What important matters relevant to counterterrorism was Richard Clarke--the administration's counterterrorism coordinator--not informed of before September 11?

Follow Up Q: Whose policy decision was it that the counterterrorism coordinator would not be allowed to coordinate--would not be informed of--important aspects of counterterrorism?

Follow Up Q: [If Rice backs Cheney] Wasn't this keeping the counterterrorism coordinator from having the information he needed to do his job a really stupid idea?

Follow Up Q: [If Rice contradicts Cheney] So you are saying that Richard Cheney is not trustworthy?

Q: Richard Clarke's counterterrorism proposals were taken to the NSC Principals on September 4, 2001. But isn't it correct that there was no agreement on how to fund Clarke's proposals reached at that meeting?

Follow Up Q: When--if 9/11 had not happened--would the next NSC Principals' meeting on this issue have been scheduled?

Q: In May 2001, George W. Bush asked for a plan to destroy Al Qaeda. Richard Clarke told you he could have such a plan ready on two days. Was there any reason not to rapidly satisfy Bush's request?

Q: Why does George W. Bush believe that Saddam Hussein played a role in the attacks of September 11, 2001?

Follow Up Q: Did you attempt to disabuse George W. Bush of this belief?

Follow Up Q: Why not?

Q: George W. Bush's belief that Saddam Hussein was responsible for 911 has had important consequences. In early 2002, to prepare for the war in Iraq, important elite American combat units were withdrawn from Afghanistan. Didn't this have a significant impact retarding out hunt for members of Al Qaeda?

Follow Up Q: If these units weren't important, why were they sent to Afghanistan in the first place?

Follow Up Q: Aren't the steps we are taking now along the Afghan-Pakistan border steps that we should have taken in the spring of 2002--steps that we would have taken in spring 2002 if not for the administration's focus on Iraq?

Posted by DeLong at April 1, 2004 06:27 AM | TrackBack | | Other weblogs commenting on this post
Comments

my questions for Condisliar-Shrub-Cheney:

1. Were you aware of any warnings from the FBI, CIA and foreign services prior to 911?

2. Who at the WH was supposed to receive,process and act on the terra warnings ?

3. Do you have notes/recordings of meetings on those terra meetings you were supposed to chair and/or coordinate?

4. Were Cheney involved and/or chaired terra meetings during summer 2001?

5.Where was Shrub ? Was Shrub briefed ?

6. Clarked said Tenet repeatedly briefed/warned Shrub, did you sit in on those meetings?

7. Did you personally warn Willie Brown not to fly on 911 ?

8. Were you aware that Asscroft had stopped flying before 911 ?

Too many questions.....

Posted by: john on March 30, 2004 07:06 PM

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This site is not "too partisan." Those who would destroy the reputation of an honorable civil servant are too partisan. Those who would deny established facts to support the appearance of infallibility of an administration are too partisan. Those who would expose classified information of the United States in an effort to smear or otherwise hurt their political opponents are too partisan.

It is long past time for fence-sitters to bemoan "partisanship" when liberty is at stake. If an elected administration can mislead the country to war, can expose intelligence assets of the United States, and can hide the truth behind one of the greatest governmental failures in American history, then we are no longer a democracy. We are an autocracy with elective window dressing. I'm terribly sorry if it offends the tender sensibilities of so-called centrists to suggest that people who have publicly made demonstrably false statements about substantive issues of national security are liars. But if you will not defend your own liberty, your own right to self-government, then we will. And stand aside.

Posted by: JRoth on March 30, 2004 07:10 PM

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Brad,

Your questions are an interesting essay, but not how one should ask questions.

You start far away from the subject.

How do you organize your work? How do you decide which projects are most important? How do you keep you files organized to reflect such? Then, eventually you ask, How was info on AQ filed.

Posted by: Moe Levine on March 30, 2004 07:18 PM

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Question for 'PM', regarding partisanship.

One party is in power. They control the White House, the Congress, and (arguably) the Court.

How do you propose to function in this liberal democracy (to be critically engaged) and *not* appear partisan?

Posted by: murph the surf on March 30, 2004 08:06 PM

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Questions about post 9/11 military deployments are outside this commission's purview.

Posted by: CMike on March 30, 2004 09:07 PM

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Q: Others have testified that the urgency of addressing the Al Qaeda problem was made clear to you. What actions did you take to address that urgent problem?

Q: Both Clarke and Tenet communicated that urgency to their superiors, and yet according to Bob Woodward, President Bush said he wasn't focused on that problem. Why did President Bush not believe the problem was urgent?

Follow-up: As National Security Advisor, wasn't
it your job to get President Bush focused on the threat your subordinates and the CIA described as "urgent?"

Q: An FBI agent in Phoenix told his superiors he was concerned that terrorists could hijack a commercial plane and use it as missile. The plot of a Tom Clancy best-seller
had terrorists hijacking a plane and using it as a missile. You've said nobody could've imagined such a scenario. Is it your testimony
that you were never informed such a possibility existed before 9-11?

Posted by: Odin on March 30, 2004 11:16 PM

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It would seem that some of these questions will be asked (or near enough):
http://www.upi.com/view.cfm?StoryID=20040330-073213-8223r

Posted by: Håkon on March 30, 2004 11:18 PM

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"The chair recognizes [unintelligible, background noises]."

“Dr. Rice…

President Bush by his own admission does not read newspapers or follow the news. Instead, he relies entirely on information and analyses provided by members of his staff. For foreign policy and security matters, the staff member he relies on is you.

We all recall the blank, bewildered look on his face that morning in the elementary school when Andrew Card whispered in his ear that a second plane had hit the World Trade Center. From that instant on through the rest of that horrible day, the President clearly did not know what to do with himself, sending Air Force One about the country in purposeless meanders, delivering what can only through an extreme act of charity be called a weak Presidential appeal for calm and unity, hiding in a hole in Nebraska—all whilst local and state officials in New York and Virginia were able to stay above ground, leading the fight to contain horrible disasters.

Which brings me to my question…

If the president and the White House were engaged in as serious an effort to counter the threat of nihilistic Islamic terror as you have claimed in private before this panel and in public before seemingly every television screen and microphone in America, why then did the President of the United States behave like a clueless, timid, simpering dolt on 9/11?…And before you respond, Dr. Rice, remember--so help you God--you are under oath.”

Posted by: MTC on March 30, 2004 11:48 PM

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"The chair recognizes [unintelligible, background noises]."

“Dr. Rice…

President Bush by his own admission does not read newspapers or follow the news. Instead, he relies entirely on information and analyses provided by members of his staff. For foreign policy and security matters, the staff member he relies on is you.

We all recall the blank, bewildered look on his face that morning in the elementary school when Andrew Card whispered in his ear that a second plane had hit the World Trade Center. From that instant on through the rest of that horrible day, the President clearly did not know what to do with himself, sending Air Force One about the country in purposeless meanders, delivering what can only through an extreme act of charity be called a weak Presidential appeal for calm and unity, hiding in a hole in Nebraska—all whilst local and state officials in New York and Virginia were able to stay above ground, leading the fight to contain horrible disasters.

Which brings me to my question…

If the president and the White House were engaged in as serious an effort to counter the threat of nihilistic Islamic terror as you have claimed in private before this panel and in public before seemingly every television screen and microphone in America, why then did the President of the United States behave like a clueless, timid, simpering dolt on 9/11?…And before you respond, Dr. Rice, remember--so help you God--you are under oath.”

Posted by: MTC on March 30, 2004 11:49 PM

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Apologies to all about the double post. The screen stayed up for so long I thought I had missed the button.

Posted by: MTC on March 30, 2004 11:59 PM

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Another Q.
Donald Rumsfeld, in testimony here, gave us a number of good reasons why a serious effort to eliminate el-Qaeda would not have been politically feasible before 9/11. Were not these reasons obvious from the start of the Bush administration? Why did you not advise the President that Clarke’s strategy of forceful containment was the only realistic one, unless a major attack took place on American soil?

Posted by: James on March 31, 2004 12:08 AM

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How about this admittedly trick question:

Is it the job of the National Security Advisor to protect the president?

tjallen

Posted by: tjallen on March 31, 2004 04:40 AM

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Brad's questions are excellent because they go realistically to the heart of the policy process at the White House. I fear the Commission members will not be as penetrating when they question Rice next week.

I might add:

Q: When did the Administration first begin to formulate genuine homeland security initiatives? Was homeland security--as opposed to striking Al Qaeda overseas--an "important" or "urgent" matter prior to 9-11?

Posted by: Jim Harris on March 31, 2004 04:50 AM

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Q: Were you at the Situation Room meeting on 9/12 when President Bush pressed Richard Clarke to find a link between the attacks and Iraq?

Various follow-ups are possible since she's on the record that the President wasn't there, it didn't happen, and yet there are several other witnesses to the meeting, and one published account of her being there. So, if not during her testimony, then later after others are questioned a very obvious lie or possible perjury will emerge.

She'll have more 'splainin' to do.

Posted by: dennisS on March 31, 2004 06:32 AM

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Q: Was there any discussion of tightening airport security pre 9/11? If so, why was nothing put into effect?

Posted by: Bob H on March 31, 2004 06:46 AM

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On question strategy I agree with Moe Levine -- and add one small point: a follow-up question necessarily depends upon the reply to the question being followed up. I shiver in embarrassment for the stupid journalist you see on TV from time to time who starts out "I have a question and a follow-up." How the hell does the fool know he has a follow-up before the first question has been answered? What more effiecient way of announcing one's stupidity, dishonesty, or both, in one simple gambit?

It follows that an interrogator, as opposed to a questioner, has to have a follow-up ready for every possible reply to the initial probe.

Posted by: David Lloyd-Jones on March 31, 2004 07:33 AM

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Funny how Bush's weblog makes no mention of Ms Rice preferring to continue discrediting Clarke.
http://www.georgewbush.com/blog/archives/week_2004_03_28.html#000765
"March 31, 2004

"Bush Attack Fatigue" Sets In

Writing in the New York Post, John Podhoretz notes that something interesting happened last week to the long line of attacks on President Bush: they stopped working. More and more, people see Richard Clarke's stories as just the latest in a series of partisan attempts to smear the President -- and Podhoretz says Americans have had enough:

The assaults against the president have been so constant for so many months - on every subject under the sun from his handling of the economy to the war in Iraq and now to the War on Terror - that a law of diminishing returns has set in. The people willing to believe the worst of George W. Bush have already gotten the message. The people who like him have tuned out the liberal criticism. And everybody else is just sick of the negativity.
Clarke's effort to recast the events before and after 9/11 in a fashion almost entirely unfavorable to the president has made him famous and rich. He has been embraced by the Michael Moore-Al Franken crowd, and has been canonized by a liberal media that has basically decided it will do whatever it can to prevent Bush's re-election. ...

The hysterical tone of Clarke's "Against All Enemies" and his absurd claim that he fears the White House is seeking to "destroy" him - this from a man who stands to make as much as $5 million to $10 million on this book alone - means that he has surrendered the possibility of talking to the great American middle.

Ordinary Americans of all political leanings remember vividly the days after 9/11 (it was, after all, only 31 months ago) and formed a pretty solid opinion of Bush's handling of the matter that won't be shaken so easily by Clarke's score-settling and profiteering. "

Posted by: PhilD on March 31, 2004 07:33 AM

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"How the hell does the fool know he has a follow-up before the first question has been answered? What more effiecient way of announcing one's stupidity, dishonesty, or both, in one simple gambit?"

Probably because he's been at this long enough that he can predict the answer that the first question is going to elicit.

Posted by: J. Michael Neal on March 31, 2004 07:51 AM

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"I have a question and a follow-up."

This is a necessary evil in a press conference so that the journalist is given the opportunity to ask a second question after the first answer is complete. Failure to do this means that another journalist will get the next question.

Posted by: x on March 31, 2004 08:13 AM

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The Podhoretz article is very interesting. After Clarke was finally able to speak out I thought it likely Bush's approval ratings would plummet to near nothing instead he gets a bounce!

All the stuff about "canonized", "hysterical", and the "vivid" memory of a "solid" Bush performance is laughable but he has an explanation for the bounce which I can accept.

However, my suggestion for the liberal critics is to pile on more. The GOP has been using scorched earth tactics for so long, the latest being the trashing of Richard Clarke, that I've given up hoping they'll ever again have any interest whatsoever in any kind of post-election reconciliation. I think Democrats should stop caring about reconciliation too and act as if it's winner take all. Let the other side and their friends know the criticism doesn't stop just because they got tired.

Posted by: dennisS on March 31, 2004 09:37 AM

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One party is in power. They control the White House, the Congress, and (arguably) the Court.

Don't forget the Fed.

Posted by: goethean on March 31, 2004 09:59 AM

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Were you consulted about the decision to airlift members of the bin Laden family back to Saudi Arabia immediately after 9/11, before they could be questioned by the FBI? Who made this decision and why?

Posted by: wvmcl on March 31, 2004 11:14 AM

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How do you get these questions into the commision's hands?

Posted by: jim on March 31, 2004 12:22 PM

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I think x has the right idea. Reasonably, reporters would have a number of questions in mind for policy makers at press conferences, questions which could be asked in an interview. However, a press conference is nothing like an interview. Developing a thread of ideas, a discussion with the policy maker, is impossible. The follow-up question is as close as reporters are likely to come. Fact is, those who govern us go to extraordinary lengths to look good, which often means extraordinary efforts at keeping control of information that ought to be available to the public.

I'm not wild about the job that the White House press corp has done, but press conferences would be aimless free-for-alls without follow-up questions. Pretty close even with 'em.

Posted by: K Harris on March 31, 2004 12:38 PM

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"When--if 9/11 had not happened--would the next NSC Principals' meeting on this issue have been scheduled?"

Fantastic question, one I would love to know the answer to -- yet arguably irrelevant to finding out what actually happened. Plus, all the "don't you regret..." questions.

Posted by: Grumpy on March 31, 2004 01:45 PM

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This is really a brilliant piece of analysis! A joy to read! Thanks very much for your website. this article clarifies for laypeople such as myself the specific issues which define the incoherence of the Bush "policy" on terrorism.

Posted by: David Ross on March 31, 2004 05:33 PM

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Firing squad or gas chamber?

I can dream, can't I?

Posted by: rps on March 31, 2004 07:10 PM

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Sorry for the long quote but this is absolutely spot-on.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A40697-2004Mar31.html

On Sept. 11, 2001, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice was scheduled to outline a Bush administration policy that would address "the threats and problems of today and the day after, not the world of yesterday" -- but the focus was largely on missile defense, not terrorism from Islamic radicals.
...
The address was designed to promote missile defense as the cornerstone of a new national security strategy, and contained no mention of al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden or Islamic extremist groups, according to former U.S. officials who have seen the text.
...
After his first meeting with NATO heads of state in Brussels in June 2001, Bush outlined the five top defense issues discussed with the closest U.S. allies. Missile defense was at the top of the list, followed by developing a NATO relationship with Russia, working in common purpose with Europe, increased defense spending in NATO countries, and enlarging the alliance to include former East European countries. The only reference to extremists was in Macedonia, where Bush said regional forces were seeking to subvert a new democracy.

Posted by: bubba on March 31, 2004 10:46 PM

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The policy toward al Qaeda (or lack thereof) seems obvious. What I would like to know is Iraq policy. The Bush administration has obvious strategy and goals, but they have not yet told us, the American people what they are.

Q What is our global policy for the middle east and terrorism? What was our Iraq policy on Sept 10, 2001? How has our Iraq policy changed? What will Iraq and the ME look like in 2010? WIll there be US bases there? Will Iran and surrounding countries be destabilized?

Posted by: bakho on April 1, 2004 05:40 AM

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Condi the great, who will be both the first female president and the first black president, will be the last to testify (the strongest position) and is about to consumate the brilliant 2004 rope-a-dope Republican strategy with the KO punch on security.

My Democrat friends, it'll be all downhill for you from here.

Adrian CRW (Certified Right Winger)

Posted by: Adrian Spidle on April 1, 2004 06:50 AM

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Question: What was on the roof of the Colony Beach and Tennis Resort on Longboat Key, Florida on the morning of September 11th, 2001?

Follow up question: Why?

Posted by: Niall on April 1, 2004 07:09 AM

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OLD VERSION:

The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long,
building his house and laying up supplies for the winter. The
grasshopper thinks he's a fool and laughs and dances and plays
the summer away. Come winter, the ant is warm and well fed. The
grasshopper has no food or shelter, so he dies out in the cold.

MORAL OF THE STORY: Be responsible for yourself!


MODERN VERSION:

The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building
his house and laying up supplies for the winter. The grasshopper
thinks he's a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.
Come winter, the shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and
demands to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well
fed while others are cold and starving.

CBS, NBC, and ABC show up to provide pictures of the shivering
grasshopper next to a video of the ant in his comfortable home with
table filled with food. America is stunned by the sharp contrast.
How can this be, that in a country of such wealth, this poor
grasshopper is allowed to suffer so?

Kermit the Frog appears on Oprah with the grasshopper, and
everybody cries when they sing, "It's Not Easy Being Green."

Jesse Jackson stages a demonstration in front of the ant's house
where the news stations film the group singing, "We shall overcome."
Jesse then has the group kneel down to pray to God for the
grasshopper's sake.

Tom Daschle & John Kerry exclaim in an interview with Peter Jennings
that the ant has gotten rich off the back of the grasshopper, and
both call for an immediate tax hike on the ant to make him pay his
"fair share."

Finally, the EEOC drafts the "Economic Equity and Anti-Grasshopper
Act," retroactive to the beginning of the summer. The ant is fined for
failing to hire a proportionate number of green bugs and, having
nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, his home is confiscated by
the government.

Hillary gets her old law firm to represent the grasshopper in a
defamation suit against the ant, and the case is tried before a panel
of federal judges that Bill appointed from a list of single-parent
welfare recipients.

The ant loses the case.

The story ends as we see the grasshopper finishing up the last bits of
the ant's food while the government house he is in, which just happens
to be the ant's old house, crumbles around him because he doesn't
maintain it.

The ant has disappeared in the snow.

The grasshopper is found dead in a drug related incident and the house,
now abandoned, is taken over by a gang of spiders who terrorize the
once peaceful neighborhood.

MORAL OF THE STORY: Vote Republican

Posted by: Adrian Spidle on April 1, 2004 07:22 AM

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I'm a little baffled as to why PM's essentially harmless comments (suggesting this site is too partisan - hence my non sequitur comments way up there) were deleted, while Spidle's asinine, off-topic, and, arguably, racist fable is still here. But perhaps our host is still abed in the far West.

Posted by: JRoth on April 1, 2004 07:34 AM

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wvmcl: I'm afraid that on Richard Clarke made the decision to let the Saudis fly when the USA was a no fly zone and to let them leave the country without being interviewed by the FBI. He decided that after consulting the FBI where someone said they had no questions to ask. A bit odd to consider that decisive given Clarke's view of the FBI. I have lost the link, but I think I am paraphrasing something he said this week.

By the way, my current ambition is to be president of the Richard Clarke fan club, although I doubt that I will be able to beat out the competition.

Posted by: Robert Waldmann on April 1, 2004 08:07 AM

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Oh yeah and another one. Why did shrub fly around the country instead of coming back to the White House ? Clarke writes that he, the head of the secret service, and Cheney all insisted, and that Bush returned sooner than Clarke thought wise.

Someone has an explanation http://www.j-bradford-delong.net/movable_type/2004_archives/000523.htmlof why Bush didn't return to the White House which might not be as crazy as it sounds.

Posted by: Robert Waldmann on April 1, 2004 08:11 AM

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(nitpick)
"May 01, 2004" ?? WTF happened to April? And why isn't it warmer yet??
(/nitpick)

Posted by: RT on April 1, 2004 08:44 AM

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Off-topic

I'd love to see Brad respond to the ideas summarized by EDM's Texeira on dealing with long term job trends-particularly on fair trade.

Would Brad support enforceable additions to trade agreements that would require our trading partners to allow labor unionizing?

Posted by: CalDem on April 1, 2004 09:38 AM

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DennisS, don't despair over one Gallup poll. You can read Ruy Texeira for a detailed analysis, but in brief: there's a bedrock 35% of Bush supporters who will not be moved no matter what (just as there's a bedrock 30% of Kerry supporters). The election is over the other 35%, and as poll after poll indicates, self-described independents are increasingly down on Bush, and the Clarke testimony is one more piece of information for them in considering whether to allow this group to continue to occupy the White House. In the case of the most recent polls, the decline in approval for Bush on terrorism almost assuredly represents those independent voters, who, over time, are breaking through of the myths that the idiot Podhoretz (who himself hopes to make millions on his idiotic tome about the greatness of george bush) has helped to formulate.

Adrian Spindle, it turns out, is as foolish as podhoretz. Rice lies under pressure; we have plenty of evidence of that. She will desperately try to spin reality, but some of the Dem members of the panel actually have a clue, and are likely to resist the spinning and the falsehoods she will try to get by with.

Posted by: howard on April 1, 2004 10:32 AM

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Adrian's anthropomorphic view of ants leave out a few tidbits.

With ants, the females do all the work. (typical GOP paternalism)

Ants are carnivorous and insectivorous. The grasshopper would not be left shivering in the cold the ants would eat him. (What is there here to admire, Adrian? Help me out.)

Ever wonder what happened to all those dead insects after flying around your porch light last night? Eaten by the ants. (nothing like preying on the misfortune of others)

Ants raid nests of other ant species and make them into slaves. (slavery is illegal in the US but the GOP can still support slave wages over a living wage)

Ants will sting and bite other insects and animals. Livestock especially newborn tethered in a field can be killed by fire ants. (But hey, the ants are happy, why should they care about the livestock?? Hey it's my car. Why should it matter if I'm driving drunk?)

Ants can make large holes in the ground without regard to livestock breaking their legs. (unfortunately ants are not subject to consumer product safety laws)

Finally, ants invade homes and raid the hard won food and resources of average working people. (Yep, the GOP is similar to ants).

Posted by: bakho on April 1, 2004 11:00 AM

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"Finally, ants invade homes and raid the hard won food and resources of average working people. (Yep, the GOP is similar to ants).

Posted by bakho"

Tell me bakho, given what you say; would you rather be an ant or a grasshopper or other dead bug? Or, as a typical liberal, do you think you can change the ant by apologizing to him?

Adrian CRW

Posted by: Adrian Spidle on April 1, 2004 11:08 AM

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Hmmm, on April 1 a May 1-dated re-post of an existing thread. Could be an April Fools joke. Then, a completely off-topic ant-grasshopper parable. Another joke? Hackers? Or, is Adrian sending coded signals to the terrorists? Will the driver of this bus please get on the mic and calm the passengers.

Howard, thanks for *your* calming words regarding Texeira's demographic studies. It's always useful to recall his findings. On the other hand I still think that when the other side starts puling over how "mean" Bush's critics have become then it's time to dial the criticism up a notch.

It will be interesting to see how close the commission comes to asking one or more of these questions. My guess is, pretty close on several questions for the good reason that the BLOGs are a nicely functioning grapevine.

Posted by: dennisS on April 1, 2004 11:30 AM

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So in Adrian's view, just trying to understand here, being a grasping bully is the right answer? Emulating the cupidious ant is the only means of getting ahead, so why not cheer for it?

But about the Rice testimony -- is there any chance that at least part of the reason the White House didn't want her testifying is that she folds up under pressure? As Howard notes, she has not been able enough at answering under pressure to avoid screw-ups. At least seasoned pros (like Clarke) know when to shut up and take a little beating, to avoid a bigger beating later on.

Posted by: K Harris on April 1, 2004 11:38 AM

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E. O Wilson has some great books on ants, by the way. Including a description of the evolutionary benefit of cooperation for those female worker ants, who don't themselves reproduce (pass on their genes).

Adrian's fable is just a reminder of the unthinking right wing mindset. Wealthy people are that way only due to hard labor, the poor are poor because they don't work hard. In short, Adrian is either clueless or a troll.

Posted by: vsa on April 1, 2004 11:53 AM

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"Adrian's fable is just a reminder of the unthinking right wing mindset. Wealthy people are that way only due to hard labor, the poor are poor because they don't work hard. In short, Adrian is either clueless or a troll.

Posted by vsa"

Or else I'm a right wing genius trying to show you left wing children that the first step to protecting America is to kill our enemies, not apologize to them.

Adrian CRW

Posted by: Adrian Spidle on April 1, 2004 12:02 PM

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Well, Adrian, i think we can, based on the available evidence, we can write off any prospect that you are a genius.

DennisS, believe me, i'm all for calling the backbone administration on what it is: a lying, ideologically blinkered, fact-free group of thugs.

Posted by: howard on April 1, 2004 12:10 PM

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>>first step to protecting America is to kill our enemies>>

Yet another reason putting the war on terror on hold to pursue a misguided adventure in Iraq was a bad idea.

Posted by: richard on April 1, 2004 12:10 PM

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Bad date on the post, J. Bradford!

Posted by: globecanvas on April 1, 2004 06:43 PM

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Adrian,

I would settle for being the guy that makes the little cans of bait that keep the ants from raiding houses. Let the GOP ants play in the sandbox all they want but don't let them overrun your home.

And Adrian, in case you haven't noticed, Mr Bush is creating new enemies faster than he is killing the old one. I am told that the hippies used to visit Afghanistan on vacations in the 1960s. Not much chance of vacationing there today, is there?

Posted by: bakho on April 1, 2004 07:39 PM

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Ge,, Adrian, that's strange. I had no idea that Bill Gates works as hard for each dollar he makes as the average American making, say, $40,000 a year -- that is, that Gates works approximately 10,000 times harder each day than that guy. (And that, by the same token, the average millionnaire works 25 times harder each day than Mr. $40,000.) Will wonders never cease?

This guy is enough to make one nostalgic for Patrick Sullivan. (Speaking of which, where are you on this thread, Pat?)

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on April 1, 2004 08:11 PM

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Responding to trolls just encourages them. Fables of ants and grasshoppers, lions and lambs etc are valuable insights - in the kindergarden.

Posted by: bubba on April 1, 2004 09:02 PM

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MTC, I agree with what you say about Bush. One article I read (there were several different versions of what Bush was doing when the planes hit the WTC towers) indicated Bush spent his time on the plane to Nebraska calling Cheney. No doubt to have what was going on explained to him and be told what to think and feel. But as far as Guiliani being out there--he was actually on his way to hide--his hiding place was (if I remember correctly) underneath one of the WTC towers. Oops! But that's why he was in the area. And as for Bush's "wonderful" handling or response to 09/11--does that include his refusal to release a significant portion of funds promised to NYC? And his repeated decreases in funding for firefighting and police preparedness while boasting of his prowess as a "wartime" president? And even though there have been quite a few statements regarding the need for better protection from hacking (since alot of essential services--sewage plants, etc., are partially run by software/computers now)--his administration after--as usual--tentatively proposing better safeguards--immediately backed down when the businesses et al who would have to do it started whining.

I think most of the questions suggested for Condi Rice are good. But my impression is she will have no problem lying if so schooled by Cheney, et al, and she doesn't have to actually answer questions. She has to say something but doesn't have to truly answer a question. I question whether the panel has the guts and persistence to really push her. Too bad they can't use the services of some attorney famous for his/her cross examining skills--someone who wouldn't be unduly impressed by her status. And why has no one commented on the ridiculous bargain that Bush/Cheney have driven? If they and Condi testify, no one else can be questioned and if I understand correctly, Ms. Rice cannot be called back for questioning in the event that more information is leaked or revealed. For example--the translator who worked for the FBI for awhile is under a gag order, and has been unable to obtain various documents under the FOI Act (Freedom of Information Act). That national security exemption of the FOI Act is getting a real workout under the Bushies. They seem to see classifying documents in perpetuity as an important element of shielding themselves from any kind of criticism or questioning. However, she seemed pretty sure there was plenty of evidence of intelligence that a serious incident involving planes was planned. And then there's Kwaitokowski (may not be spelled correctly)--she seems to have some valuable insights to offer regarding the Bushite determination to ignore everything except what fit into their bizarre ideology(ies). I would truly enjoy seeing those two women used witnesses to impeach Ms. Rice's (and Bush's and Cheney's) should they choose to lie, or do their best to avoid answering directly. But I think it more likely they will be handled with kid gloves. Funny how Cheney, Bush et al get treated like such fragile flowers while the GOP went after Clinton tooth and nail from the time he took office--could be that the GOP might employ a double standard now could it?

Posted by: shogg on April 1, 2004 11:25 PM

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MTC, I agree with what you say about Bush. One article I read (there were several different versions of what Bush was doing when the planes hit the WTC towers) indicated Bush spent his time on the plane to Nebraska calling Cheney. No doubt to have what was going on explained to him and be told what to think and feel. But as far as Guiliani being out there--he was actually on his way to hide--his hiding place was (if I remember correctly) underneath one of the WTC towers. Oops! But that's why he was in the area.

To respond to another poster: Bush's "wonderful" handling or response to 09/11--does that include his refusal to release a significant portion of funds promised to NYC? And his repeated decreases in funding for firefighting and police preparedness while boasting of his prowess as a "wartime" president and how much "safer" we are now? Are GOP expectations of Bush so low that if he manages to say something coherent he gets mega points--even if what he actually does is quite different? And even though there have been quite a few statements (from security experts, etc.) regarding the need for better protection from hacking (since alot of essential services--sewage plants, etc., are at least partially controlled by software/computers now)--his administration after--as usual--tentatively proposing better safeguards--immediately backed down when the businesses et al who would have to do it started whining. And then there's his desire (can't remember if he actually got regs drafted and passed or what) to have construction of additional nuclear power plants encouraged--by having the taxpayers assume the risk---i.e., taxpayers get to subsidize the insurance the plants have to have, if not pay for all of it. And that's of course after quite a few news articles (post 09/11) have stated just how many plants are meeting even minimal security requirements. I guess as long as there isn't one built near Crawford, TX, it's ok with Bush. This is one guy or administration whose main expertise is spending other people's (non-wealthy) money. I guess if you think that kind of behavior is good, then you think Bush is a good Prez, even if he was appointed, not elected. But then again, perhaps if you're a diehard Bush GOP, you think the voting franchise should've stayed limited to owners of property of a certain value (say $3,000,000?), and exclude women, and make Bork's "original intent" argument, after all, the Framers originally restricted the franchise in that way.

I think most of the questions suggested for Condi Rice are good. But my impression is she will have no problem lying if so schooled by Cheney, et al, and she doesn't have to actually answer questions. She may have to respond but not truly answer a question. I question whether the panel has the guts and persistence to really push her. Too bad they can't use the services of some attorney famous for his/her cross examining skills--someone who wouldn't be unduly impressed by her status. And why has no one commented on the ridiculous bargain that Bush/Cheney have driven? If they and Condi testify, no one else can be questioned and if I understand correctly, Ms. Rice cannot be called back for questioning in the event that more information is leaked or revealed. For example--the translator who worked for the FBI for awhile is under a gag order, and has been unable to obtain various documents under the FOI Act (Freedom of Information Act). However, she seemed pretty sure there was plenty of evidence of intelligence indicating a serious incident involving planes was planned--and this intelligence was received some time before 09/11 and during the period leading up to 09/11. And then there's Kwaitokowski (may not be spelled correctly--I thinks she's a ret. Lt. Col.)--she seems to have some valuable insights to offer regarding the Bushite determination to ignore everything except what fit into their bizarre ideology(ies). I would truly enjoy seeing those two women used as witnesses to impeach Ms. Rice's (and Bush's and Cheney's) should they choose to lie, or do their best to avoid answering directly. But I think it more likely they will be handled with kid gloves. Funny how Cheney, Bush et al get treated like such fragile flowers while the GOP went after Clinton tooth and nail from the time he took office--couldn't be that the GOP might employ a double standard now could it?

Posted by: shogg on April 1, 2004 11:41 PM

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http://news.independent.co.uk/world/americas/story.jsp?story=507514

Posted by: steve jennings on April 2, 2004 12:13 AM

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Ask Condi why with the terrorist warnings and BushCo's emphasis on WMD's, why our nuclear power plants and internment graveyards weren't guarded and still aren't to this day, leaking radiation downwind and downriver for the next 200,000 years.
http://www.mindfully.org/Nucs/2004/Hanford-Lack-Safety20feb04.htm
http://www.heartofamericanorthwest.org/ newsreleases/release010600.html
http://www.gristmagazine.com/gist/gist031300.stm
http://www.radioactivist.org/hanfordreports.html

Here's America's future ... a look at Chernobyl:
http://www.angelfire.com/extreme4/kiddofspeed/chapter1.html
This photo tour is way cool....

Posted by: Bela Lugosi on April 2, 2004 12:55 AM

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A. Actually, the power point presentation Clarke gave us---which was very similar to a presentation given to the Clinton administration in October 1998, mind you--was not the same thing as the final plan. The final plan was detailed, and his presentation was not. As Clarke noted in 2002, the reason the Clinton administration couldn't decide on these things is that they were very complicated. Reaching consensus on these issues took some time, in part because Senate Democrats did everything they could to slow appointments to the administration.

A . No regrets. Dick communicated with the principals effectively.

A. Is that a concession that there are differences to be exaggerated?

A. It might have been better for Dick's ego. Is this all about Dick's ego?

A. Is that question a suggestion that Wolfowitz was without influence at the WH? Now that's a new angle...

A. There was a corresponding effort in 2001, led by Dick Clarke. That Dick Clarke had to do that is reflects a failure to implement procedures providing for proper flow of information. The threat, we know now, is constant, and a move to "battle stations" is a poor leadership technique. In any event, it is the approach we used in 2001.

A. See previous answer.

A. See previous answer.

A. Hasn't this been done to death? Dick Clarke coordinated counterterror efforts. He did not participate in president's daily briefing by the CIA and FBI. He was not involved in the planning for Iraq.

A. See previous answer.

A. What a ridiculous question.

A. I'll have to check the record.

A. Very soon. How about that for conjecture?

A. That's not what Clarke said.

A. The president doesn't believe that. That's just a silly left wing lie.
A. See previous answer.
A. See previous answer. Anyone who would waste three questions on an obvious lie...

A. A question built on a lie...

A. How to begin...

A. Not at all.

Posted by: Thomas on April 2, 2004 08:21 AM

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If Condi gets these batting practice fastballs next week, she'll Barry Bonds them into the bay.

John Kerry's worst nightmare will come to pass; an attractive, intelligent, articulate, black woman, who is Geo. W. Bush's friend, getting a spotlight shone on her for all the country to see. The Dems better hope that Ben Veniste (and his smirk) calls in sick.

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on April 2, 2004 08:29 AM

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I hope such questions are asked -- if so, Condi is in BIG trouble...her performance could break Mr. Bush's chance at re-election.

Posted by: bushgirlsgonewild on April 2, 2004 03:42 PM

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I think the needed the past week to prep her for it. Personally I'd prefer to watch Dick Cheney answer all of George Bush's questions.

"Mr. President do you stand by Dick Cheney's answer?"

"I do, it went down exactly like he said."

Posted by: Jason on April 2, 2004 04:20 PM

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"If Condi gets these batting practice fastballs next week, she'll Barry Bonds them into the bay.

"John Kerry's worst nightmare will come to pass; an attractive, intelligent, articulate, black woman, who is Geo. W. Bush's friend, getting a spotlight shone on her for all the country to see. The Dems better hope that Ben Veniste (and his smirk) calls in sick."

Which, of course, raises the little question of why the White House had to be dragged kicking and screaming into letting her testify. Are we seriously supposed to believe that, if this administration thought her public testimony would strengthen Bush politically, they wouldn't have jumped at the opportunity to let her give it -- let alone not have resisted her testifying under oath at all, even privately?

One would definitely swear they're hiding something. I suspect the delay was to let them try to get their revised story straight.

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on April 2, 2004 10:33 PM

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"Which, of course, raises the little question of why the White House had to be dragged kicking and screaming into letting her testify. Are we seriously supposed to believe that, if this administration thought her public testimony would strengthen Bush politically, they wouldn't have jumped at the opportunity to let her give it -- let alone not have resisted her testifying under oath at all, even privately?"

As usual, you are misunderestimating Bush. Condi would have been one among several witnesses last week. Next week she'll the whole show. She can destroy Richard Clarke by reading his own words into the record.

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on April 3, 2004 08:20 AM

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Ah. So Bush's people were just deliberately delaying Rice's testimony so that she'll be "the whole show" and get more public attention, rather than to get their new story lined up straight so that their own initial glaring (and very well-documented) mutual contradictions in this matter didn't trip them up? Right.

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on April 3, 2004 01:02 PM

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"So Bush's people were just deliberately delaying Rice's testimony so that she'll be 'the whole show' and get more public attention, rather than to get their new story lined up straight so that their own initial glaring (and very well-documented) mutual contradictions in this matter didn't trip them up? Right."

This, of course, is also why Bush and Cheney have insisted on being interviewed together by the Commission, rather than separately -- as is the standard procedure with witnesses during any investigation, for obvious reasons. (It will be interesting to see if Bush can talk while Cheney is sipping water.)

That being said, there ARE two major contradictions in Clarke's own account. One of them -- remarked on repeatedly by conservatives, and also mentioned in the 2002 "Time" article -- is the fact that, contrary to his statements in his book and during his testimony, he apparently spent most of his tenure under Clinton in a state of continuous fury that THEY were also not doing enough about Al Qaida. (Of course, part of his rage at the Bushites may have been based on the fact that the Clintonites had finally decided to take action just before the 2000 election, and then Bush backtracked on this again.)

The second and more serious contradiction has been dug up not by conservatives, but by the New Republic ( http://www.tnr.com/easterbrook.mhtml?pid=1508 ). Clarke resigned from the Administration a month before the start of the Iraq war, and immediately hired on as a consultant to ABC News. He then gave several interviews to ABC in which he speculated in great detail on the likely strategy and course of the war, without ever uttering a peep (there's that word again) about his supposedly furious opposition to it -- at a time when such publicly expressed views on his part might have had a real and major impact on the odds that we would actually get into it.

So the evidence is indeed that Clarke is not telling anything like the whole truth -- but then, neither are the Bushites. They are certainly working frantically to cover up SOMETHING about their pre-9-11 behavior -- and the evidence from other sources that before the attack they were overly obsessed instead with government-sponsored terrorism, and with Iraq in particular, is overwhelming. (See Fareed Zakaria.) I suspect that their current frantic alibi efforts are motivated by the fact that one of Bush's major campaign themes is not just that he was as much concerned with terrorism as Clinton, but that he was MORE concerned with it than Clinton. The idea that Republicans are always better than Democrats at dealing with military threats is, after all, now the mainstay of Republican election efforts. He certainly won't be able to win this election on domestic issues.

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on April 3, 2004 03:19 PM

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" So Bush's people were just deliberately delaying Rice's testimony..."

As always, you've put the cart before the horse. Bush is simply playing the cards he's been dealt, in this case the big smirking joker dealt by Richard ben Veniste during the hearing two weeks ago.

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on April 4, 2004 11:12 AM

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*sigh*

(1) See http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4660588/ for what really forced Rice to testify.

(2) She has apparently insisted on the right to see all the Committee's questions IN ADVANCE, so that she and the Administration will have a chance to rehearse their answers. Curious; Clarke didn't get that.

(3) Regarding lists of potentially embarrassing questions that the Committee could ask her, see Patrick Bergen (of "Holy War, Inc.", one of the most respected books on Al Qaida) and Scott Armstrong (founder of the National Security Archive):
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/04/04/opinion/04BERG.html
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/04/04/opinion/04ARMS.html

(4) Walter Pincus and Dana Milbank -- two of the shrewdest political repoters in Washington -- just did a front-pager for the Washington Post concluding that testimony from other sources does support most of Clarke's major claims (although it disproves several of his lesser ones, which they list):
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A48455-2004Apr3.html

In particular, there seems to be no significant clash between Clarke's 2002 Congressional testimony and his tesimony last month before the Commission: "...a review of dozens of declassified citations from Clarke's 2002 testimony provides no evidence of contradiction, and White House officials familiar with the testimony agree that any differences are matters of emphasis, not fact. Indeed, the declassified 838-page report of the 2002 congressional inquiry includes many passages that appear to bolster the arguments Clarke has made."

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on April 4, 2004 02:36 PM

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" The photo, from a Nov. 22, 1945, New York Times story, showed Adm. William D. Leahy, chief of staff to Presidents Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman, appearing before a special congressional panel investigating the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. PRESIDENT'S CHIEF OF STAFF TESTIFIES read the headline over the snapshot of Leahy's very public testimony. The point was clear: the White House could no longer get away with the claim that Rice's appearance would be a profound breach of precedent."

The above is risible. Rice is the SITTING Nat'l Security Adviser, to the SITTING President. Leahy had been CHIEF OF STAFF. FDR was dead in November 1945. And WWII was OVER.

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on April 4, 2004 03:44 PM

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Really? According to Newsweek, the Commission's historian (who, by the way, is one of Rice's former associates and Bush's advisors) didn't consider it risible. Neither did the White House, apparently.

As for Ben Veniste being the only Commission member who wanted her to testify: really. Kean and Lehman were griping publicly about her refusal to do so at all. As Lehman said in perplexity: it made it look exactly as though the White House had something to hide. Fancy that.

And as for your baroque theory that the White House initially refused to let her testify just in order to delay her appearance so that she would actually have a bigger audience: they could have agreed immediately that she would appear, and then simply insisted on a specific delayed date of their choosing, thereby getting the best of both worlds. The Commission certainly would not have objected to that. Your apologia are getting more and more tortured. Which, of course, is exactly what one expects from a defense attorney.

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on April 4, 2004 05:36 PM

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Leahy was Chief of Staff until 1949.

Posted by: Niall on April 5, 2004 02:15 AM

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Ask Condoleeza Rice if she and the President believes as Jefferson said "The American Government is of the people by the people and for the people. "

Posted by: ROBERT BAER on April 7, 2004 02:04 PM

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Ask Condoleeza Rice if she and the President believes as Jefferson said "The American Government is of the people by the people and for the people. "

Posted by: ROBERT BAER on April 7, 2004 02:04 PM

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Dear Condoleezza Rice:

The War on Terrorism will not be won by guns alone; but it will be won on our knees.

“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal; but they are mighty through God, for the pulling down of strongholds, mighty in the Holy Ghost’ II Corinthians 10:4

I take authority over you, Spirit of Judgment, in me, or in anyone within the confines of my voice; because you, Judgment, are the Root of all evil, since Adam first judged his wife and judged God. (Genesis 3:12)

Spirit of Judgment -- I rebuke you;
I denounce you in all your forms; and
I reject you, in the Name of Jesus.

I ask you, Father God, to open our spiritual eyes and ears, so we can hear your voice and obey it; for we walk with Forgiveness, in Love, in Unity an in Harmony with one another--free from any adversity, in the Name of Jesus.

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