Author: BooMan

An Officer in Iraq

I would like to welcome Lieutenant C to the site.

He is stationed in Iraq. He has self-identified himself as a Republican, and has offered to answer questions, either here, or by email:

Please remember he is an officer, and treat him with the utmost respect.

Ask him a question and he’ll try to respond when he has the chance. Bookmark this thread to make sure you get his responses.

Latest Outrage: Smearing a Journalist

William Arkin is a former Army intelligence analyst and consultant, who has written extensively about military affairs, including columns in the Washington Post, and has recently published the book: Code Names: Deciphering U.S. Military Plans, Programs and Operations in the 9/11 World.

Someone is out to get him.

A purported Defense Intelligence Agency cable, leaked to the Washington Times, states: “preliminary reporting . . . indicates possible US citizen William Arkin received monthly stipend for period 1994-1998 to report on quote United Nations Special Commission activities unquote. Entry in SSO [special security organization] ledger captured in Baghdad, no additional information.”

In other words, the cable accuses Arkin of having been an intelligence asset in Saddam Hussein’s employ.

Howard Kurtz reports:

Arkin said he did look into the U.N. operation known as UNSCOM, but as a consultant to U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan. “Someone who put this together obviously tried to make it plausible enough to do harm and endanger me,” he said. Arkin found, and U.S. officials later confirmed, that the Clinton administration had eavesdropped on Iraqi communications through equipment carried by UNSCOM weapons inspectors.

The purported cable also says that “CIA exploitation of Source 8230 from Office of President SH confirms Arkin traveled to Baghdad February 1998 and November 1998 to provide information about UNSCOM plans and to discuss Desert Fox targeting,” a reference to the 1998 U.S. bombing of Iraq. Arkin said he did not visit Iraq in 1998.

At the Defense Department, spokesman Bryan Whitman said: “The Pentagon has looked into this and does not believe the document to be authentic.” Larry DiRita, the department’s chief spokesman, added that “we certainly appreciated the fact that the journalist who had it in his possession took the time to seek a better understanding of it before filing a story on it.”

Arkin cited several technical reasons why the cable is fake, mainly having to do with military addresses and abbreviations, and a reference to “proctor canular procedures.” Canular, he discovered through a Google translation service, means hoax in French.

In a letter to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Arkin said: “I am extremely concerned that someone familiar with Defense Department classified reporting has forged this document and given it to the press in the hope that it would be reported as genuine. Such an action raises deeply troubling questions about the integrity of the department’s processes and raises the possibility of an organized effort to intimidate me as a journalist.”
Washington Post

Despite the fact that the Pentagon has someone using its resources to intimidate an American journalist, the Pentagon is remarkably unconcerned:

The prospects of an internal investigation to find the culprit are “not likely”, DeRita said, “it is probably not possible to determine the source of such a matter, and I am unaware of any involvement in it by someone inside the department that would warrant a further look.”

I encourage everyone to raise hell about this. This is an even more brazen stonewall than the administration’s ostensible approach to the Valerie Plame affair. At least Bush pretended to want answers to who leaked Plame’s name:

BUSH: Listen, I know of nobody — I don’t know of anybody in my administration who leaked classified information. If somebody did leak classified information, I’d like to know it, and we’ll take the appropriate action. And this investigation is a good thing.

And again I repeat, you know, Washington is a town where there’s all kinds of allegations. You’ve heard much of the allegations. And if people have got solid information, please come forward with it. And that would be people inside the information who are the so-called anonymous sources, or people outside the information — outside the administration. And we can clarify this thing very quickly if people who have got solid evidence would come forward and speak out. And I would hope they would.

Now they are not even pretending.

Frivolous Friday: 20 Years Ago: How much has changed?

Twenty years ago we were engaged in a secret illegal war in Central America, and a secret legal one in Afghanistan.  There are a lot of things that haven’t changed in the intervening years (and a lot more that changed, and then changed back).  So, here’s a trip down memory lane courtesy of the peerless original ‘paper’ blogger: Paul Slansky’s The Clothes Have No Emperor.

March 1985: In Which the President Shows How Much He’s Forgotten About the American Revolution

3/1 Desperate to win Contra aid, President Reagan says the Nicaraguan rebels are “the moral equal of our Founding Fathers.”  Historical novelist Howard Fast calls this “an explosion of such incredible ignorance that…he is not fit for public office of any kind.”

3/6 “Nuclear war would be the greatest tragedy, I think, ever experienced by mankind in the history of mankind.” -President Reagan demonstrating his awareness of just how serious it would be if he pushed the button.

Geraldine Ferraro’s Diet Pepsi ad- for which she is reported to have been paid over $500,000- premieres on The Fall Guy.

More on the flip:

Another Give Each Other Mojo Thread

“They said, ‘You know, this issue doesn’t seem to resignate with the people.’ And I said, you know something? Whether it resignates or not doesn’t matter to me, because I stand for doing what’s the right thing, and what the right thing is hearing the voices of people who work.”

-Dubya in Portland, Ore., Oct. 31, 2000

The fact that the Bush administration is criminal in nature doesn’t seem to resignate with the people either.

Perhaps some mojo will resignate with you all.

Is Thomas Friedman Finally Waking Up?

Thomas Friedman has taken a lot of heat for supporting the U.S. invasion of Iraq. I don’t criticize him for that. I initially took a similar stance to Friedman. After the axis-of-evil speech I was 100% convinced that our country would invade Iraq in the spring of 2003. If I had had any hope that war could be averted, I might have spent time trying to convince the government that this was a bad idea. By my read of the landscape told me that we would invade, and that nothing could prevent it.

My first concern was practical. If we are going to invade, what do we need to do to make it work? How can we justify it? How can we get the U.N. to approve it? How can we get Turkey and France to assist us? What kind of government should we create? What kind of civil service and policing forces do we need?

At every step of the way, the Bush administration pushed their potential allies away. They ignored the advice of moderates, they avoided the advice of Friedman.

By the fall of 2003, it had become clear that the Bush administation had no plan for Iraq, and it became clear that they were not going to adjust course, or make any conciliatory gesture to those of us here, or abroad, that might want to lend a hand in rebuilding Iraq.

I had to admit to myself, and all my friends and acquaintances that I had been wrong. I had to admit that the only wise and moral choice, from the beginning, was to oppose this war.

Friedman never did this. He continued to make apologies and to try to offer constructive advice, long after it became clear that none of his advice would be heeded.

But today, he seems to have finally realized the error of his ways. If his advice in today’s column is not heeded, I call on Mr. Friedman to join me in renouncing this war and calling for a war crimes tribunal for the architects of our torture and rendition policies.

Of all the stories about the abuse of prisoners of war by American soldiers and C.I.A. agents, surely none was more troubling and important than the March 16 report by my Times colleagues Douglas Jehl and Eric Schmitt that at least 26 prisoners have died in U.S. custody in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2002 – in what Army and Navy investigators have concluded or suspect were acts of criminal homicide.NY Times: Free Registration

This is the crux of it: we have over two dozen dead POW’s on our conscience, and countless others who have survived their brutal treatment.

You have to stop and think about this: We killed 26 of our prisoners of war. In 18 cases, people have been recommended for prosecution or action by their supervising agencies, and eight other cases are still under investigation. That is simply appalling. Only one of the deaths occurred at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, reported Jehl and Schmitt – “showing how broadly the most violent abuses extended beyond those prison walls and contradicting early impressions that the wrongdoing was confined to a handful of members of the military police on the prison’s night shift.”

‘Impressions’ is not the word I would use. ‘Spin’ and ‘prevarication’ are the words I would use. We tortured people, sometimes to death, as a result of guidance set forth by Donald Rumsfeld. That’s criminal by any standard.

:::More below:::

No wonder we can’t find Bin Laden

Many of you probably never had the chance to read one of the dKos diaries I wrote when I was relying on an expectation of anonymity and was not adhering to any defensible journalistic standards. I won’t be able to write too many ‘Octopus’ stories (like the one below) anymore, because it doesn’t fit with the purpose of the site. But I figured I’d give y’all a chance to read one, written in the old style.

This was originally posted at dKos, on January 21st, 2005.

Let bin Laden Stay Free, Says Ex-Number Three. CIA Man Warns Capturing Most Wanted Terrorist Could Trigger New Wave of Terror Attacks

Posted: January 9, 2005 1:00 a.m. Eastern

Three years after the attack on New York’s World Trade Center, the manhunt for Osama bin Laden has failed to produce the world’s most wanted terrorist, and, according to the former No. 3 man at the CIA, that’s just fine.

Former Central Intelligence Agency executive, A.B. “Buzzy” Krongard, has told the London Times that letting the al-Qaida leader run free may actually make the world a safer place.

“You can make the argument that we’re better off with him (at large),” Krongard said. “Because if something happens to bin Laden, you might find a lot of people vying for his position and demonstrating how macho they are by unleashing a stream of terror.”

Krongard, former head of Alex. Brown & Co., a Baltimore-based investment bank, came to the CIA in 1998 as then Director George Tenet’s counsel. He was appointed executive director of the CIA in March 2001 by President Bush.”

Canadians Resent American Fears About Their Beef?

Bush, Vicente Fox, and Paul Martin met today in Waco, Texas. They talked about economic issues and immigration policy. But near the end of the New York Times coverage, I ran across this:

Prime Minister Martin alluded pointedly to Canadian resentment of American fears over mad cow disease north of the border, fears that he has said are unfounded.

“We look forward to the day in the future when, notwithstanding all of the lobbying, all the legal challenges, all of North America is open to our safe and high-quality beef,” he said.
NY Times: Free Subscription

Now, a few questions:

Are Americans really afraid of Canadian beef?
Do we even have any idea when the beef we’re eating might be Canadian?
Why shouldn’t we be worried about Mad Cow disease?
And are Canadians really resentful of American skepticism?

Is this sloppy reporting, or have I missed a source of serious international tension?