Author: BooMan

Shocked? I’m Not

As former secretary of state Colin L. Powell worked into the night in a New York hotel room, on the eve of his February 2003 presentation to the U.N. Security Council, CIA officers sent urgent e-mails and cables describing grave doubts about a key charge he was going to make.

On the telephone that night, a senior intelligence officer warned then-CIA Director George J. Tenet that he lacked confidence in the principal source of the assertion that Saddam Hussein’s scientists were developing deadly agents in mobile laboratories.

Former CIA director George J. Tenet, left, did not pass on to former secretary of state Colin L. Powell doubts relayed to him by a senior intelligence officer.

“Mr. Tenet replied with words to the effect of ‘yeah, yeah’ and that he was ‘exhausted,’ ” according to testimony quoted yesterday in the report of President Bush’s commission on the intelligence failures leading up to his decision to invade Iraq in March 2003.

Tenet told the commission he did not recall that part of the conversation. He relayed no such concerns to Powell, who made the germ- warfare charge a centerpiece of his presentation the next day.

That was one among many examples — cited over 692 pages in the report — of fruitless dissent on the accuracy of claims against Iraq. Up until the days before U.S. troops entered Iraqi territory that March, the intelligence community was inundated with evidence that undermined virtually all charges it had made against Iraq, the report said.

Washington Post: Free Registration

I’m going to sleep. Post snarky outrage of the (duh) variety below.

Open Thread

“If he’s—the inference is that somehow he thinks slavery is a—is a noble institution I would—I would strongly reject that assumption—that John Ashcroft is a open-minded, inclusive person.”

—Bush, on NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw, Jan. 14, 2001

What he said.

Open Thread

“We want our teachers to be trained so they can meet the obligations, their obligations as teachers. We want them to know how to teach the science of reading. In order to make sure there’s not this kind of federal — federal cufflink.”

— Bush at the Fritsche Middle School, Milwaukee, March 30, 2000.

Say what?

Guckert/Gannon Exposed as a Serious Plagiarist

Gannon/Guckert has been exposed as a serious plagiarist, further undermining any claim he had to be a serious journalist with a right to be seated in the White House Press Briefing Room.

Details of the story can be found at: The Raw Story and Why We Are Back in Iraq.

Outlines of the story:

Reporter, Melissa Beecher wrote an article on June 13, 2003, about “two home-schooled children”, who “refused to take a standardized test”.

The story ran in The MetroWest Daily News and The Daily News Tribune. Guckert lifted major portions of the article without giving any attribution to Ms. Beecher. You can compare the phrasing below.

Blame-Shifting Commission Report on Iraq

The American intelligence community was “dead wrong” about Iraq’s weapons arsenal in large part because of an outdated Cold War mentality and a vast, lumbering bureaucracy that continues to shackle dedicated and capable people, a presidential commission said today.

“The intelligence community must be transformed – a goal that would be difficult to meet even in the best of all possible worlds,” the commission said in its report to President Bush. “And we do not live in the best of worlds.”

The commission said the erroneous assumption by intelligence agencies that Saddam Hussein possessed deadly chemical and biological weapons had damaged American credibility before a world audience, and that the damage would take years to undo…

“The C.I.A. and N.S.A. may be sleek and omniscient in the movies, but in real life they and other intelligence agencies are vast government bureaucracies,” the nine-member commission told the president.

New York Times: Free Registration

I don’t buy this “lumbering bureaucracy” excuse. It’s not that I think our intelligence agencies are well coordinated…they’re not.

When Bush Sr. decided to stop the Persian Gulf War, he expected that Saddam Hussein would be toppled in short order. When that did not happen our country got sucked into a containment policy as an ad hoc solution.

We imposed economic sanctions on Iraq, but, ironically, they only served to strengthen Saddam’s hold on power. The sanctions crimped trade in the region, hurting the struggling regional economies. When we developed the oil-for-food program as an attempt to alleviate humanitarian concerns in Iraq, it only invited corruption and skimming by the Ba’athists in power.

Open Thread

“Well, I think if you say you’re going to do something and don’t do it, that’s trustworthiness.”

–Bush in a CNN online chat, Aug.30, 2000.

Humanity in the Face of War

Soon after five in the morning, on Thursday, 19 November (1942), the telephone rang in the Sixth Army headquarters. The operations staff were housed in Golubinsky, a large Cossack village on the right bank of the Don. Outside, it had started to snow, which, combined with freezing fog, prevented sentries from seeing more than a few yards.

The call was from Lieutenant Gerhard Stock, the javelin gold-medallist with the Romanian IV Corps on the Kletskaya sector. His message was logged in the war diary: ‘According to the statement of a Russian officer captured in the area of the 1st Romanian Cavalry Division, the expected attack should start today at five o’clock’. Since there was still no other sign of the offensive starting, and it was after five, the duty officer did not wake up the Army Chief of Staff. From: Stalingrad- The Fateful Seige: 1942-1943 by Antony Beever, Viking (1998).

At 5:20 am, the Soviets opened up their first barrage of artillery and mortar fire. Operation Uranus was underway and the tide of World War Two had suddenly turned irrevocably against the German Empire.

The Germans had been laying siege to Stalingrad since August 23rd, the ‘day which never be forgotten’. Luftwaffe aircraft dropped hundreds of incendiary bombs, burning nearly all the wooden structures to the ground and leaving thousands buried in rubble. But, in the intervening three months, the Germans had been unable to dislodge the dogged defenders of the city and force them to retreat across the Volga.

Meanwhile Stalin had been quietly building up his forces for a counterattack. The Soviets charged into the German lines south of Stalingrad and into the Romanian lines that were stretched out to the West along the River Don. Soon the entire Sixth Army of the Third Reich was encircled in a Kessel. Over a quarter million Axis soldiers were cut off from their land supply routes and winter was setting in.

What followed was one of the worst catastrophes in military history, and an example of human suffering on an almost unimaginable scale.

The Axis forces were spread out on the Steppe where very few trees grow. The ground soon froze so solidly that even raging fires could not soften the ground enough to dig bunkers or foxholes for shelter against the whipping winds and protection against artillery fire and aerial bombardment.

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50 Biggest Republican Douchebags for Freedom

With apologies to my mother. I promised her I wouldn’t be stridently partisan. So, I’ll just get this out of my system, and I promise to behave myself from now on.

1. Robert “Bob” Novak TRAITOR
2. George “Dubya” Bush CHIMP
3. Richard “Dick” Cheney PUPPY KILLER
4. Tom DeLay BUG KILLER
5. John Ashcroft CROONER
6. Denny Hastert PIG WRESTLER
7. Douglas Feith TRAITOR
8. Ann Coulter LIBERALS ARE TERRORISTS
9. Rush Limbaugh BIG FAT IDIOT
10. Bill O’Leilly FALAFEL IN THE SHOWER
11. Rick Santorum FECAL MATTER
12. Karl Rove GOEBBELS
13. Zell Miller BENEDICT ARNOLD
14. Sean Hannity LYING SCUM
15. Jerry Falwell BLAMES AMERICA FIRST, REALLY REALLY FIRST
16. Pat Robertson AGREES WITH FALWELL
17. Richard Perle SATAN’S MINION
18. Clarence Thomas SLAP THIS IN THE VCR, OR WAS IT A BETA?
19. Katherine Harris CRUELLA DeVIL
20. Newt Gingrich I CAN’T BE WITH A WOMAN WHO HAS CANCER
21. Ralph Reed DRUNK FRAT-BOY HYPOCRITE, SOUND FAMILIAR?
22. Phyllis Schafly RABID NUTCASE
23. Sen. Jim Inhofe OUTRAGED BY THE OUTRAGE
24. Rep. Marilyn Musgrave GAYS ARE TERRORISTS
25. Condoleezza Rice YES SIR, IT SURE SOUNDS LIKE A TERRIBLE PILOT

In Honor of Johnny Cochran

I present an explanation of the Chewbacca Defense.

Chewbacca Defense

by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 18, @06:22PM from Slashdot.com.

South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone are huge Star Wars fans. There have been several Chewbacca references on the show.

In the “Chef Aid” episode, Chef is accused of trying to steal the song “Stinky Britches,” which he really wrote many years ago. The record company takes Chef to court, and they hire Johnny Cochran to prosecute Chef. The whole town is wondering if he will use his famous “Chewbacca Defense,” which he used during the O.J. Simpson trial. Here’s a transcript:

Ladies and gentlemen of the supposed jury, I have one final thing I want you to consider: (pulling down a diagram of Chewie) this is Chewbacca. Chewbacca is a Wookiee from the planet Kashyyyk, but Chewbacca lives on the planet Endor. Now, think about that. That does not make sense! (jury looks shocked)

Why would a Wookiee — an eight foot tall Wookiee — want to live on Endor with a bunch of two foot tall Ewoks? That does not make sense!

Listen to the Chewbacca Defense

This is offered in the spirit of fun, not disrespect for an accomplished American attorney.

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