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Thursday, June 03, 2004

Bush in Colorado

There have been some interesting development's since Bush landed in Colorado a few days ago. Yesterday's commencement speech at the Air Force Academy was delivered by George Bush. He used it to recast the rationales, which vary depending on the audience, for invading Iraq.

President Bush redefined the war on terrorism here Wednesday, calling it "the great challenge of our time" and no less daunting than the struggle against tyranny during World War II.

The new war on terrorism, said Bush, "resembles the great clashes of the last century, between those who put their trust in tyrants and those who put their trust in liberty.

"Our goal, the goal of this generation, is the same: We will secure our nation and defend the peace through the forward march of freedom."

The president's address was more broadly philosophical than specific. He made no mention of the troubles that have beset the United States and its allies since invading Iraq and overthrowing Saddam Hussein last year.

Not even passing reference was made to the departure of Spain and other countries from the coalition of troops in Iraq, the top-level military disputes over inadequate troop levels in the country and the festering prisoner abuse scandal. full article

Colorado Democrats noticed that Bush has been changing his rhetoric.
Long on rhetoric. Short on specifics. And a whole different focus on the Middle East than stated a year ago.

That's how some leading Colorado Democrats assessed President Bush's speech Wednesday at the Air Force Academy graduation.

And they said they were surprised to see Bush compare the conflict in Iraq to World War II.

"That's not how the public views this conflict," said Chris Gates, chairman of the Colorado Democratic Party.

U.S. Rep. Mark Udall, D-Colo., said the public increasingly has more questions about Iraq.

"So far, this administration doesn't have a lot of answers," Udall said. "In fact, I think the questions from Americans multiply as the answers diminish."

Former Colorado Sen. Gary Hart said he has read every Bush speech on Iraq that he can "get my hands on," including Wednesday's.

"Only in the last two or three months has he talked about our justification for being there the remaking of the Middle East," Hart said.

"He didn't do that in the summer or fall of 2002. He didn't do that in the winter and spring of 2003. It was all weapons of mass destruction, all terrorism.

"His rhetoric has changed. full article

Other Coloradans made their voices heard by staging a peaceful protest against Bush's policies. Said Bob Kinsey""But it's important for people to do what they believe even if they don't think it's going to be effective," he said. "What else can they do? They write to the congresspeople in this state and they get blown off." article

Getting back to Bush's temporizing rhetoric, Sidney Blumenthal observes that Bush has taken "refuge in history."
At home and abroad, Bush is investing his rhetoric about the "clash of ideologies" and "global war" with historical analogies. On his European visits, Bush will compare Iraq to rebuilding Germany and Japan after the second world war. He will raise the specter of the west against communism in the cold war. He will contrast Nazi atrocities to Islamist terrorism. He has even said that he will instruct Europeans that Iraq is like the United States before its constitutional convention: "I will remind them that the articles of confederation was a rather bumpy period for American democracy". Among the missing, however, are analogous figures to Washington, Franklin and Madison.

In the same column, Blumenthal has this to say.
Shock and awe was more than the first phase of the invasion of Iraq. It was the premise of Bush's foreign policy. Fear of unrivalled power would prompt the dominoes to fall - the dominoes being the traditional western allies. Unilateralism (depicted as the coalition of the willing) would yield in submission. The spectacle of Iraqi democracy, a beacon to the Arab world, would refute argument and opposition.

On this gamble, the entire edifice of Bush's policy rested. From the "cakewalk" would follow the collapse of Iranian influence, the rescue of Saudi Arabia from radical Islamist threat, Palestinian quiescence and instant solution of the Middle East crisis, the rapid spread of democracy across the former Ottoman empire, the US blessed by the grateful Iraqi street as it withdrew its military forces, leaving the leader of "free Iraq," former exile Ahmad Chalabi, in charge, and the French reduced to anxious waiters only seeking to please Bush with his order.

Now the FBI investigates neoconservatives in the Pentagon to discover who may have given secret US intelligence to Chalabi that he allegedly passed to the Iranians. The Iraqi governing council, a US creation, has transmogrified itself into the interim government, having shed Chalabi, hoping that its new identity will lend it a mask of legitimacy. Al-Qaida has found fresh fields for its deadly work. The Saudis cannot protect western businessmen from terrorism. The Middle East peace process is in ruins. The US casualty rate reached and then exceeded 800 dead soldiers on Memorial day. The French case that there was not a WMD threat, and invading Iraq would lead to fragmentation of the country and trigger more terrorism, has been vindicated.full column

As Blumenthal states, Neocon employees, in the Pentagon, are now being investigated by the FBI for the role they may have played in supplying Ahmed Chalabi with confidential intelligence information. Ahmed Chalabi heads the Iraqi National Congress (INC) which has received, at least, 40 million dollars in U.S aid. His neocon handlers had hoped that the Iraqi exile would lead the "new Iraqi government" and he was named the first interim president of the Iraqi Governing Council(IGC).

Those designs are collapsing as Chalabi has been shut out of the newly formed "transitional Iraqi Government", had his US aid cut, and has had his house raided by Iraqi police forces in Baghdad.

Chalabi is also suspected of leaking classified information to Iraniain intelligence officers. The information that Chalabi disclosed to Iranian Intelligence officers was that the Iranian codes,used to transmit communications,had been cracked by U.S intelligence. Chalabi supposedly received this information from a "drunken american". The FBI is now investigating Chalabi's neocon allies in the Pentagon as the source of his information.
Federal investigators have begun administering polygraph examinations to civilian employees at the Pentagon to determine who may have disclosed highly classified intelligence to Ahmad Chalabi, the Iraqi who authorities suspect turned the information over to Iran, government officials said Wednesday.

The polygraph examinations, which are being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, are focused initially on a small number of Pentagon employees who had access to the information that was compromised. American intelligence officials have said that Mr. Chalabi informed Iran that the United States had broken the secret codes used by Iranian intelligence to transmit confidential messages to posts around the world.

In the 1990's, the Iraqi National Congress was part of a C.I.A. covert action program designed to undermine Saddam Hussein's rule. But Mr. Chalabi had a falling out with the C.I.A., and agency officials concluded that he was untrustworthy. He subsequently forged an alliance with major conservative Republicans in Washington. When President Bush took office, Mr. Chalabi and the Iraqi National Congress were embraced by senior policy makers at the Pentagon, which became his main point of contact in the American government. full article

This is an interesting experiment. Administering polygraphs to a group of people who ignore facts, fabricate reality and generally exist in a state of permanent delusion.

Not suprisingly, the neocons still support Chalabi. Newt Gringrich defended him last week on Tim Russert's Meet the Press. Charles Krauthammer has penned a column in defense of Chalabi. Richard Perle and a contingent of neocons, as reported last week, marched into the Condileeza Rice's office and demanded that the "persecution" of Chalabi come to an immediate end. To hear his defenders tell it, Chalabi is the victim of character assassination from spin doctors at the department of State and the CIA. This provokes the question. How does one assassinate the character of a man wanted by Jordan for embezzling in addition to heading an organization suspected of looting, carjacking, raping and the kidnapping of Iraqi citizens, after the fall of Baghdad?

According to Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball, for MSNBC news, the FBI investigation may actually widen to pursue suspicions that Chalabi may have also been given information about US war plans for Iraq that he then gave to Iran.

The Iraqi exile group headed by Ahmad Chalabi—formerly a key ally of the Bush administration—is suspected of leaking confidential information about U.S. war plans for Iraq to the government of Iran before last year’s invasion to oust Saddam Hussein, government sources told NEWSWEEK.

The allegation that Chalabi may have supplied the Iranians information about U.S. military plans comes on the heels of recent disclosures that Chalabi or others in his organization may have compromised more recent U.S. intelligence operations by leaking what officials initially described as “extremely sensitive” and “highly classified” information to Iranian officials—information which could “get people killed” if abused by the Iranians.

One Bush administration official said that in addition to harboring suspicions that Chalabi had been leaking sensitive U.S. information to Iran both before and after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, some U.S. officials also believe that Chalabi had collected and maintained files of potentially damaging information on U.S. officials with whom he had or was going to interact for the purpose of influencing them. Some officials said that when Iraqi authorities raided Chalabi’s offices, one of the things American officials hoped they would look for was Chalabi’s cache of information he had gathered on Americans.full article

It seems as if the neocons are not the only ones in need of an attorney. Bush has also began consulting with an attorney, in connection with the Grand Jury investigation into the Valerie Plame affair. Valerie Plame was a CIA agent who's name was leaked to conservative columnist, Robert Novak, in retaliation for her husband, Joseph Wilson's, public pronouncements that the Bush administration had used fabricated intelligence as one of their rationales for invading Iraq.

Today, CIA Director, George Tenet, has "resigned."

Tenet, 51, informed Bush of his decision in an hour-long White House meeting Wednesday night, and the president announced the news in a hurriedly arranged appearance before television cameras before leaving on a trip to Europe.

Tenet's move came amid new storms over intelligence issues, including an alleged Pentagon (news - web sites) leak of highly classified intelligence to Ahmad Chalabi, an Iraqi politician. At the same time, a federal grand jury is pressing its investigation of the leak of a CIA operative's name, and Bush acknowledged he might be questioned in the case.

The CIA denied that Tenet's resignation was connected with any of the those issues. "Absolutely not," said Mark Mansfield, CIA spokesman. full article

Considering the interesting turn of events while Bush was in colorado, maybe he should come here more often.


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