I Pity The Fool

George W. Bush sputtered out his infamous mangling of the old “fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me” saying back in September 2002, when his administration was feverishly spinning suspect intelligence, outright lies, and frightening innuendo to garner public support for its ill-fated adventure in Iraq.

Now, more than three years later, after public mea culpas from everyone — it seems — but Mr. Bush and Dick Cheney themselves, the news is awash with anonymously sourced, unproven allegations that the government of Iran is behind the chaos and bloodshed persisting in Iraq today.

This past Saturday’s New York Times featured a front-page article by Michael Gordon, who appears to have taken over Judith Miller’s one-time role as the “newspaper of record”‘s chief-propagandist for the Bush administration. Mr. Gordon’s article presented as fact the dubious claim that “the most lethal weapon directed against American troops in Iraq is an explosive-packed cylinder that United States intelligence asserts is being supplied by Iran.” Not only is the provocative charge attributed to anonymous “government officials,” it flies in the face of logic.

And the Times is roundly considered to be the most liberal of the major market dailies. For a thorough skewering of Mr. Gordon and his brand of stenographic journalism, see Glenn Greenwald’s excellent post in today’s Salon.

So now we’ve got three aircraft carrier groups in or on their way to the Persian Gulf. We’ve got the U.S. state Department requesting the detention of former Iranian diplomats abroad, the U.S. military arresting and possibly directing kidnapping operations against Iranian diplomatic personnel in Iraq, along with the illogical, inflammatory “news” items being planted in the press pointing to Iran’s nefarious intentions in the region — and we’ve got officials of the government declaring publicly there are “no plans” to attack or wage “preemptive war” against Iran.

I’ve seen this movie, too, and it’s called Groundhog Day. One can only hope our real-life experience has as happy an ending.


  1. Tam O’Tellico - February 12, 2007 @ 9:11 pm

    Let us hope the Iran threat is not real, because at the moment we don’t have the army or funds or public will to address it. As we all know from childhood, that is one of the consequences when the little boys cry “Wolf”. They should have been crying “Wolfowitz”.

    A Case of Misshapen Identity

    With the ongoing Libby trial and Democratic control of Congressional committees, we are at long last beginning to get a peek behind the once iron-veil of secrecy that has been the hallmark of this administration.

    Senator Carl Levin, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee is especially interested in questioning several members of the White House inner circle including Stephen Hadley and Scooter Libby. Should Levin succeed, other witnesses are sure to follow, but the White House is just as sure to claim some form of Executive Privilege to prevent that happening.

    The immediate impetus for this inquiry is a report from the Pentagon’s acting Inspector General, Thomas F. Gimble. The report criticizes the Pentagon for compiling “alternative intelligence” to make the case for invading Iraq. It also charges that conclusions were drawn that were “not fully supported by the available intelligence”. The report also states that “the actions, in our opinion, were inappropriate, given that all the products did not clearly show the variance with the consensus of the intel community, and in some cases were shown as intel products.”

    The report concluded that these “inappropriate” activities were authorized by Donald Rumsfeld, former Secretary of Defense, or Paul Wolfowitz, former Deputy Secretary of Defense, both architects of the NeoCon foreign policy. The report also singled-out Douglas J. Feith, former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, and states that Feith “was inappropriately performing intelligence activities of developing, producing, and disseminating that should be performed by the intelligence community.”

    Gimble was particularly critical of findings that Mr. Hussein’s government and Al Qaeda had a “mature symbiotic relationship,” that it involved a “shared interest and pursuit of unconventional weapons”, and that there were “some indications of coordination between Iraq and Al Qaeda on the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks”.

    Most would understand a “mature symbiotic relationship” to mean some level of mutual cooperation and organization. But while Osama and Saddam each supported terrorist operations on their own, it was clear to any objective observer that their mutual animosity made a joint venture impossible. In Osama’s view, Saddam was the Near Enemy, a secular Muslim of the worst kind, an oppressor of his people who would be an obvious target for Islamic Fundamentalists. Saddam may have “misunderestimated” the American threat, but he had no such illusions about Al Qaeda.

    As for a “shared interest and pursuit of unconventional weapons”, a wag might suggest that the U.S. and the Soviet Union had just that sort of relationship for fifty years of the Cold War, and it is certainly true that no nation has shown more “interest and pursuit of unconventional weapons” than the U.S. It should also come as no surprise that nations relegated to our enemies list would seek nuclear weapons of their own.

    As for “some indications of coordination between Iraq and Al Qaeda on the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks”, the evidence far more likely “indicates” that Saudi Arabia had more to do with the attack than Iraq, since 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi citizens – and none were Iraqis. No one in the administration made that claim – but Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and others did make such a claim about Iraq based on even flimsier “evidence”

    It is time to acknowledge the difference between evidence and suspicion – between loyalty and gullibility – between the truth and lies. We also need to acknowledge that a diplomatic approach to foreign policy in the Middle East carries with it great risks. But let us also acknowledge that the belligerent bullying approach of this administration carries great risks, too, risks that have been obscured by political diversions – plotting, outing and name-calling.

    Will such honesty solve all our problems in the Middle East? Hardly. But it is time to grow up and realize that this is not a John Wayne movie, and to admit that foreign policy is no place for an amateur like George W. Bush.

    ©2007 Tom Cordle

  2. Meredith Charpantier - February 12, 2007 @ 9:16 pm

    Remember the Maine. the Lucitania, Pearl Harbor.?
    Turns out these guys in office HAVE learned their history. And they are doing their best to repeat it.

    Pioneering propogandists cut their teeth on yellow journalism long before Mr. Rove, Mr Cheney, and this band of screwballs got around to mangling reality to their ends. They’re betting on America’s short memories and total ignorance. And with pretty good odds since they are the ones who sponsored the mass labotomy.)

    Holding a big banner of truth up for the minor majority of NON-idiots in America might foil their plot this time. But the damn banner has got to be awful big to block out the message from the mealy minded war mongering media machine.

    Call me if you need help holding it up.

  3. lonbud - February 12, 2007 @ 10:14 pm

    Hear, hear TC.

    The duplicity, mendacity, and fraudulence embodied in the Bush administration, throughout its personnel and their long tenure in Washington, were there for all to see — since before the commander-in-chief got sober. But the fact of “reports” now available and the prospect of congressional interest in finally getting the story straight don’t seem to be cutting through public paralysis, even in the face of all the administrative incompetence and bad faith.

    It’s not as if Islamic terrorists can’t be called “the enemy” and us not produce an effective, intelligent response to their threat at the same time. Where is the overwhelming repudiation of Bush’s inadequacy and the emergence of resolute, clear-eyed alternatives that are both so badly needed at this moment?

    If we continue to stand on ceremony and practice hollow fealty to the ideal of bipartisanship, these clowns may yet have time to truly screw the pooch.

  4. Judy - February 14, 2007 @ 12:45 pm

    In the Madrid El Pais newspaper it was reported that 170 American soldiers were killed with the supposed “bombs” that are being supplied by the Iranian government. Zapatero, the president of Spain, was quoted as saying.(MAS O MENOS) ..if these explosives are coming from Iran it is only a result of the aggressions OCCURRING IN THE COUNTRY next door…I would guess that millions of refugees streaming into Iran, escaping the war in Iraq has to have a cause and effect reaction.
    Can anyone tell me WHY…is there no dialogue with all the concerned parties in this little Iraqui mess?we sit down and talk this out? DIPLOMACY is very lacking. and didn´t the Iraqi commission say that a political solution was necessary.
    Now North Korea has signed a deal that was put on their plates in the Clinton Admin…Bolton has been booted and Rice is on a roll?

  5. lonbud - February 14, 2007 @ 7:38 pm

    For the Current Occupant, diplomacy is but a necessary element of the 3 Card Monte scam (see the previous post, When Chickens Come Home To Roost). It’s not something he believes in or knows anything about.

    I am of the firm belief that unless Bush and Cheney are both eventually brought to justice and sent to prison, those of us who survive long enough will witness systemic half-measures and business-as-usual deterioration of society and American culture into something far more recognizable to those who today occupy the so-called third world, than anything someone reading this as a child growing up here might have imagined this country becoming.

Leave a Reply