Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

The final attack against Bush

So the full court press is on. Ted Kennedy " told a national audience yesterday that the Bush administration’s Iraq policy has made America less safe because it has been a diversion from the struggle against Al Qaeda and the occupation has been marked by "blunder after blunder," foreshadowing a new election-season speech he is scheduled to deliver today at George Washington University." James Fallows in The Atlantic (the whole, long, article is not available on line) gives the more sophisticated view, while Ted Kennedy--the only great American statesman who has less authority on such matters than John Kerry--gives the practical view. And then Kerry will pick it up in the debates. This is it. This is what will determine whether or not Kerry’s latest mode will fly. I say bring it on, bring on even the CIA: Robert Novak reports that the CIA is at war with Bush; and publicly at war! They are no longer willing to call Rumsfeld and the other "ideologues" (i.e., neo-cons), they are going after the president. If this is true--and there are many other reasons to think so--then what you have is an extraordinary (i.e., unique, dangerous) situation wherein the CIA will be used--and has already let itself be used both by leaking the National Intelligent Estimate and by Paul Pillar’s public speech that Novak recounts--in a political campaign against the sitting chief executive. We will soon find out what Porter Goss is made of, will we not?

Discussions - 2 Comments

As an aside -- I had wondered how long it would take after Michael Kelly’s unfortunate death for the Atlantic to slip back to being a purveyor (even shaper) of liberal conventional wisdom. Even though conservatives still appear there, I think we can now say it’s slipped. Kelly seemed to have Fallows, in particular, on a leash that is no longer evident. It’s another unfortunate aspect (albeit personally selfish on my part) of Kelly’s untimely passing.

Novak did not say the CIA was publicly at war with Bush. He asked a question. He offers no evidence that there is a public war or an effort to get the President. The talk he refers to was conducted, Novak says, according to the rule that "the identity of the speaker, to whom he spoke, and the fact that he spoke at all are secret, but the substance of what he said can be reported." It was Novak who made public the connection of the substance to the CIA. In his testimony to Congress, Tenet disagreed with the administration when the CIA’s analysts came to conclusions other than those upon which the Bush administration acted. One hopes Goss will as well.

Also, for the record, I would like to offer a reminder that if the American people re-elect Bush and do so in part because they believe that he was right to invade Iraq, this will not prove that he was right. In this connection, I would ask Kevin Whited and others offended by the Fallows article to explain why his argument is wrong. I blogged on the article before Peter did and the one comment (by PJC) that it received did try to counter Fallows argument.

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