Criminalization or Criminal?

Is the Libby indictment the beginning of the end for the Bush administration? Or is this the beginning of a successful shift toward "criminalizing politics," as Robert Novak and others on the right have suggested? (Speaking of Novak, will he now explain what the heck happened, as Slate hopes? Probably not.)

James Moore, writing in the Huffington Post (which is having a field day, by the way) says it's not the criminalization of politics that we're wittnessing -- it's the criminalization of criminals:

Leaking the names of CIA agents is not politics; it is a crime. Lying to congress about evidence for a war is not politics; it is a crime. Failing to tell a grand jury that you met with a reporter and talked about the CIA agent is not forgetfullness; it is a crime. Deceiving your entire nation and frightening children and adults with images of nuclear explosions in order to get them to support a bloody invasion of another country is not politics; it is a crime.

So who is this Scooter Libby? Plenty of profiles have been written about him over the last several days. Slate's John Dickerson paints Libby as the ubiquitous behind-the-scenes operator, "a neocon's neocon." In the Los Angeles Times, Peter Wallsten and Tom Hamburger report on Libby's dogged determination to discredit Joe Wilson. The Post's Mark Leibovich leads his profile of Libby with this prescient detail: "He once quipped to an aide that he planned to stay as Vice President Cheney's top adviser until 'I get indicted or something.'"

As for Karl Rove, Salon.com's War Room speculates that perhaps Rove will be charged through a criminal complaint later on rather than being indicted. (I'm no legal scholar, so I won't speculate on their speculation.) Though Rove is still under investigation, it looks unlikely that this particular scandal will be tied directly to the president's office.

The vice president's office, on the other hand, is in deep. According to a U.S. News and World Report online extra, last week's reports of the veep's possible involvement induced a swirl of rumors "that the vice president might step aside and that President Bush would elevate Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice."

(And then there's my pet theory that Cheney is a brain in a jar and has been operating through a Saddam-esque army of body doubles for at least the last four years. Undoubtedly, such a ruse would require frequent maintanence -- an explaination for his tendency to disappear periodically, perhaps?)

By Emily Messner |  October 28, 2005; 6:30 PM ET  | Category:  Beltway Perspectives
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(And then there's my pet theory that Cheney is a brain in a jar and has been operating through a Saddam-esque army of body doubles for at least the last four years. Undoubtedly, such a ruse would require frequent maintanence(sic) -- an explaination (sic) for his tendency to disappear periodically, perhaps?)

Wow, you aren't very bright and not funny either if that's what you were going for, maybe Al Franken is your hero, but he stopped being funny around 1990. How about a banner at the top that says "Beware, I'm a dim bulb" (might save people some time from reading your inane writing). Whoever hired you should lose their job.

Oh and spell check is your friend.
It is maintenance not "maintanence", and explanation not "explaination."

Posted by: Conservative_D | October 28, 2005 09:19 PM

Please, Emily, have the decency to correct your previous post about Redstate.org.

Posted by: Joshua Trevino | October 28, 2005 09:57 PM

Please, Emily, have the decency to correct your previous post about Redstate.org.

Posted by: Joshua Trevino | October 28, 2005 09:59 PM

Please, Emily, have the decency to correct your previous post about Redstate.org.

Posted by: Joshua Trevino | October 28, 2005 10:00 PM

It is my belief that the current administration, Bush, Cheney, et al, knowingly used false information - Saddam had reconstituted his nuclear weapons program, Saddam had ties to al Qaeda, Saddam can hit us with biological and chemical agents dispensed from remotely piloted aircraft, etc - to justify the Iraq war.

I remember when the statement was made that we couldn't afford the smoking Iraqi gun to be a mushroom cloud over an American city. It put a chill down my spine, and I had the sudden thought that the administration is right; we can't take any chances, we have to depose Saddam. Then, after this initial emotional reaction of fear, I though, wait a minute, given the information I've heard in the media these claims are not accurate or reasonable. We're being manipulated by this constant appeal to fear. The available information doesn't support what they're saying. However, they prevailed and got their war. And now we, as a nation, are paying the price.

The outing of Valerie Plame was a treasonous act – that’s plain and simple. I was shocked by it and by the realization that this administration would go to this extent in an attempt to discredit one of its critics. After AG Ashcroft appointed himself to investigate Plame’s outing, I assumed this crime would just get swept under the rug. No big deal, considering an illegal and immoral war already undertaken.

Now, with Libby’s indictment today, the chickens are coming to roost. I am grateful that Comey appointed Fitzgerald to investigate. And while Libby is cloaked in the presumption of innocence, I have no doubt that justice will be served with his coming trial, conviction, and sentencing. Thank you Mr. Fitzgerald for restoring my faith that no one, no matter how powerful or well connected, is above the law.

Posted by: John | October 28, 2005 11:24 PM

What about the fundamentalist Christians in all this?

They voted for a dummy, a failure, a drunk, because of his faith, then he led us into war because, he claimed, God told him too, and now what? 2000 young Americans have lost everything, tens of thousands of Iraqi's, for what?

I think the fundie Christians who supported this jerk should plunge their hands in a bowl of war dead blood and be required to walk around like that for a day. So everyone could see who they really are. So they could see who they really are.

Posted by: camille roy | October 29, 2005 01:19 AM

Wow, Emily

You certainly have aroused some passions, although you should probably not expect flowers from Conservative or Joshua or a confession from Big Beak Bob N.

I, on the other hand, think you nailed it.

It's puzzling why Scooter lied and obstructed so adamantly to the Grand Jury and FBI.

Forget the CIA, he should have done CYA.

The only thing that makes sense is he figured that the reporters would guard their valuable source and that Ashcroft probably wouldn't ask them to real their sources anyway.

Oops. Scooter made plans and the universe chuckled. Plame happened. Merry Fitzmas to the rest of us. (Except to those who celebrate that popular new conservate religion, Denial).

Good column. Thanks,

Just Sayin'

Posted by: Just Sayin' | October 29, 2005 01:41 AM

Ack. Before the spelling police arrive on the scene, conservate=conservative.

Got carried away by the season's festivities, I guess.

Posted by: Just Sayin' | October 29, 2005 01:44 AM

What a boring topic.

Posted by: | October 29, 2005 01:59 AM

See Kinsley's column. What a load of c--p! He thinks he's being funny. Yecch!

Posted by: Disgusted | October 29, 2005 02:44 AM

After only one indictment I have concluded that Karl Rove is a much more experienced and skillful liar than Lewis Libby.

Posted by: Clyde Wickiser | October 29, 2005 03:27 AM

It`s taken you long enough, but you`re
getting there .It`s been a dreadful farce
from the start

Posted by: joe carey | October 29, 2005 05:30 AM

Who says there were no "weapons of mass destruction?" Doesn't the Bush Administration qualify? Documenting the extent of damage will require legions of future historians--if there is any future left after Bush leaves office.

Posted by: John H Noble Jr | October 29, 2005 05:43 AM

Isn't it interesting that both George Bush and Dick Cheney have only praise for employees who lied to them? After all, the white House, after questioning them, said that neither man was involved in the leak.

Would you want to keep on an employee who not only lied to you but got you in the hottest water of your career?

Makes me think that Bush at the very least knew what was going on.

Posted by: Wally Macnow | October 29, 2005 06:07 AM

Al Franken is still funny. His radio show has more laughs in an hour than the entire right-wing echo chamber can manage in a year.

Libby lied to investigators. A crime. The echo chamber's talking point about the 'criminalization of politics' is falling flat. This is the criminalization of crime, and it's about time. The gang in the White House love getting away with crap. It's what they live for. Maybe, just maybe, this is the beginning of the end.

Indicting Libby is likely intended to put the screws to him and the other stonewallers. I expect some insiders, facing prison time, will open up now. Fitz may yet indict on the underlying crime, revealing national security secrets in order to engage in petty vindictiveness, the trademark of this White House.

Posted by: johnuw93 | October 29, 2005 06:50 AM

Yeah, right. It's "criminalizing" CRIMINALS. And why is Trevino spamming you?

Posted by: Criminalizing Politics? | October 29, 2005 06:52 AM

Politics is already criminalized. It started with the attack on Clinton by the right, and now that the right has fallen to the same tactics, it has become a "principle" that is violated. Well, this time we are not talking about sexual peccadilloes, but why we went to war.

While the right deserves to fall victim to what it pioneered, we are all the worse for it.

Posted by: robcrawford | October 29, 2005 07:05 AM

Just when i thought American politics has shed its last vestiges of integrity, this indictment reminds me that the most powerful of men can be scrutinised and punished. Throughout this administration this has been a nation of men, not laws. At last the war-mongering, money worshipping, hubristic Republican Party edifice has been shaken.

Posted by: Harkadahl | October 29, 2005 07:12 AM

This is boardroom behavior, and it concerns sales technique, which does not belong in the higher realms of government. Thank heavens for the special prosecutorial system, and long may it wave. These operatives don't see what they do as wrong, they're dedicated to their own interests.

Posted by: ruth | October 29, 2005 07:23 AM

The American part of the Vietnam War was started by Democrat President Joke Fool Kennedy when he had Diem murdered, Joke Fool's advisors convinced Democrat President LBJ to esclate the war & Republican President Nixon ended the US part of the war honorably with non commies in control of S. Vietnam. Democrat traitors then engineered a coup against Nixon based on Nixon committing acts that the Dem media would call spin in Caligula Clinton's years. Wilson & his wife are part of another criminal seditious conspiracy by Democrats who continue to want power at any cost to others.

Posted by: Plamegate is Watergate | October 29, 2005 08:36 AM

This could be the beginning of the end for the Bush Administration which reminds me so much of the Grant Administration.

What happens next will depend on how much of a deal Libby wants to cut with the prosecutor. He's 55; his charges could get him a 30 year jail sentence. My guess is he'll spill his guts and we'll find out the hatchet job on Wilson was his boss's idea.
Reminds me of Spiro Agnew.

Rove will also talk; he's another chicken hawk.

As a person who made a career of the military I find what this administration did to justify going to war with Iraq criminal. Go Fitz Go!

Posted by: Robert | October 29, 2005 09:07 AM

Wilson had no technical qualifications for trip to Niger. Senate investigation showed Plame got Wilson the assignment. Where's Conflict of Interest investigation of Plame? Who authorized Wilson to publish & release confidential information? Since Wilson worked for KERRY Campaign, when did he start? Conspiracy COULD have existed from start to "benefit" Democrats. SEDITION, Democrat dummies! Plus, ever heard of the Hatch ACT?

Posted by: Real Plamegate Story | October 29, 2005 09:29 AM

I think the American part of the Vietnam war started when Dulles sold the "Domino Theory" to Truman. We assisted the French colonial re-occupation there against the anti-colonial policy of FDR. Ho was no friend of China and could have become a Tito if we hadn't gone paranoid. The Communists were already failing in Malaysia, I seem to remember. And I also remember the "Gulf of Tonkin" resolution BS that was used to panic the congress into setting aside the constitution to allow the administration to expand our involvement into a full blown war?

Hubris, the willingness to lie to achieve political ends, and the weak knees of the congress and the press. Sounds familiar, sort of.

Posted by: Gatorbait | October 29, 2005 09:37 AM

I find people on the right to be amazing. I listened to Fitzgerald say "Mr Libby was the first person to reveal Valery Wilson's identity to a reporter" I heard him say that he could not make a conclusion about whether to charge Libby with the leak because Libby was lying, and the alleged lies are whoppers! The jurors and judges and lawyers have to presume Libby's innocence, I do not. I will never believe that this prosecutor would bring the charges if Libby wasn't stone cold busted. The amount of courage and conviction neccessary to bring down probably the #3 most powerful person in the world is immeasurable, anyone who doubts the sincerity of Fitzgerald is a partisan hack who deserves no air time.

Posted by: haobaba | October 29, 2005 09:53 AM

I too find the people on the right amazing. There seem to be two kinds, the willfully ignorant and the arrogantly manipulative.

The willfully ignorant are the ones who see all the facts and then buy into the Republican talking points.

1. This is the criminalization of politics.

Oh? Even if you somehow try and make the claim that Valerie Plame was not undercover (which the CIA disputes), since when is it "politics as usual" to attack and attempt to ruin the lives of anyone who disagrees with you as Joe Wilson did? If this was just a normal, everyday politics act and not a criminal act, then why did the leak have to be on, "double, super, secret background"? If it was just politics, then why the cover-up?

The answer is, of course, that most reasonable people - even moderate Republicans - acknowledge that the administration's behavior throughout all of this was disgusting. People who are proud of what they have done don't try and evade responsibility for it for over two years. They don't lie repeatedly.

2. Perjury, Obstruction of Justice, and Making False Statements are "petty" crimes that mean that the Special Prosecutor should have just let the case drop. After all, these were crimes that were committed during the course of investigating if Plame was deliberately "outed" as a CIA agent. Since nobody is being charged with the leak of a covert CIA operative then obviously nobody should be charged for any of the other crimes because they all happened during the course of the leak investigation. No leak investigation and they wouldn't have had to lie.

This is the one that really amazes me with the sheer hubris and circular logic of it all.

First of all, if Republicans hadn't been digging into the Clinton bedroom in the first place then Clinton wouldn't have needed to lie to cover his sexual escapades. So therefore the same logic should have applied in that case. Since Clinton wasn't charged with any crime except those that came with trying to cover up sex, and he wouldn't have committed those if there hadn't been an investigation. By Republican reasoning, he obviously he shouldn't have been charged.

But that aside, there is one simple, basic question here: If Rove, Libby, etc. honestly thought that they hadn't committed any crime in leaking Plame's name to the press, then WHY LIE? Just because Fitzgerald isn't bringing charges of leaking Plame's name against Libby doesn't mean that Libby didn't do it or that Plame wasn't undercover. It means that Libby lied enough about the big crime to keep Fitzgerald from getting the proof needed to charge on that one. It just means that Fitzgerald doesn't have enough to make the case.

To me it speaks all the more highly of the man.

Posted by: J. Crozier | October 29, 2005 10:20 AM

I never ceases to astonish me at how conservatives so cavalierly engage in all of this nuance soaked moral relativity when it is one of their own being charged.

Notwithstanding all of the moral preachiness on the right, in the past few years, it has been some of the most prominent of their own political species that have engaged in moral defugalties: Former Speaker of the House, Robert Livingston (adultery); the late Senator Strom Thurmond (fathering an illegitimate child with a housemaid); "virtues" czar William Bennett (a gambling addiction); Rush Limbaugh (addiction to illegal pain killers and possible doctor shopping to obtain them); Bill O'Reilly (addiction to phoine sex).

Look. Isn't it time for the right to fess up that when it comes to moral relativity, they are the present holders of the World Cup.

Posted by: Jaxas | October 29, 2005 10:44 AM

Emily - Just for the record:

Though Rove is still under investigation, it looks unlikely that this particular scandal will be tied directly to the president's office.

Libby, in addition to being the VP's chief of staff, was also a Special Assistant to the President and thus had to tender his resignation to both. The dual role is what makes him particularily powerful for a VP's chief of staff.

Interesting that the President allowed him to resign however, he had promised to fire the leaker(s) and then updated that to the breakers of the law - by my count, Libby is both.

Posted by: Gabe | October 29, 2005 10:54 AM

Remember the Civil War? Remember WW I? Democrat Wilson lied US into that war & then allowed peace treaty to make another war inevitable. Remember President for Life FDR, America's 1st dictator? Remember his friend Uncle Joe Stalin & his operative Alger Hiss? Democrat Truman fired Republican General MacArthur for insisting that the Korean War had to be won or problems would continue. Joke Fool Kennedy had S. Viet leader Diem killed bu Plame's CIA so that US could take over Viet War. JFK started America's Viet WAR, no one else & hsi sycophants have been lying about it ever since.

Posted by: Democrat Treason is not new | October 29, 2005 11:30 AM

Libby deserves to be prosecuted, but the person who should have been indicted most was Cheney. All these men are both arrogant and ignorant, a dangerous combination which leads to disaster, and it is indeed disaster we have both at home and abroad.

Posted by: candide | October 29, 2005 11:37 AM

Does anyone think Libby will actually go to trial? I think he'll simply plea bargain the charges down, agree to a short jail term, and then wait till Bush pardons him before leaving office.

Posted by: Ellen | October 29, 2005 12:03 PM

It was refreshing to see see someone at a press conference actually answer questions directly, with authority and conviction. Fitzgerald gives renewed confidence in a legal system worn smooth by spin, money and politics. Politicans and punsters on both sides take this guy on at their own peril.

Posted by: bobboi | October 29, 2005 12:12 PM

Clearly he was involved in an enterprise to discredit and out a CIA official. You're either with us or against us. It seems clear he's against us.

Therefore, no trial is needed. According to the current rules of engagement he should be detained indefinitely, or according to Mr. Cheney's theory of exempting the CIA from the torture laws we could simply deliver him to the CIA itself, which has a sort of poetic justice. There they could waterboard him, force him into a naked pile of other detainees, and generally do whatever it takes to get the truth out of him.

This would send the message to the Arab world that we're not just picking on them, and we don't have different standards for our own criminals.

Posted by: asdg | October 29, 2005 12:21 PM

What happened to Bush "bringing integrity back to the White House"? And "personal responsibility"? Not to mention compassionate conservatism...

What is responsible and compassionate about starting a war on totally false pretenses? The effort and time Libby put into his lies, coverups, and blanket denials (according to the indictment) underscore just how much this administration hungered for war. It's all a game to people in Washington, and meanwhile, ordinary Americans die. Tens of thousands of faceless, nameless Iraqi citizens are no more. Because of US. You can blame the insurgency to a point, but where were the fighters before we decided to swoop in like the puffed-up, self-absorbed policemen the whole world thinks we are? Where was the Saudi-run Al-Qaida, responsible for 9/11? Where was Osama bin Laden? NOT IN IRAQ. Period. The end.

And yet, when Joseph Wilson dared to point out that there were, in fact, no truth to Bush's claim about WMD's in his State of the Union address, what was the administration's response? Publicly, a grudging retraction of the statement in question; privately, the beginning of an all-out smear and discreditation campaign against Wilson and his wife. And if Libby knew Valerie Plame's real job, as stated in the indictment, I would venture to say that others in the administration did as well. Perhaps - probably - higher up than Libby.

This is what the leak case is all about, ultimately - the lengths this administration will go to to have it their way. No matter the consequences. No matter the deaths. No matter the clash of totally different cultures and ideologies. No, it all boils down to: we're right and they're wrong. Tell me, what's so democratic about that? Tell me, why shouldn't I be ashamed of this administration's actions? How do you explain to a soldier that his countrymen are dying for a lie?

Bush and Co. should have left the good-vs.-evil games back on the playground, where those attitudes belong. And the President himself needs to start taking personal responsibility, the all-important talking point during his campaign that's such an inconvenience nowadays. Invoking the terrorism card just won't cut it anymore. We've been making threatening noises toward both Syria and Iran lately; I suppose they're next on the invasion list. But what about China and North Korea? Hardly beacons of democracy. Ooh, and of course there's Venezuela - can't have heads of state mouthing off towards the U.S., can we?

Where in God's name does it end? How can America take care of its own issues and concerns - health insurance, poverty, obesity, the environment, education, college costs, class disparity - if we're so completely focused overseas? I read a great analogy the other day online - our situation seems comparable to a husband or wife contributing more of their time, energy and resources to someone's else's family than their own. Where's the integrity in that?

Instead of striving for war, Libby, Rove, and whoever else was involved in this leak coverup should have been doing their jobs, fulfilling the charge they took on as members of the executive branch of the United States - for the PEOPLE, not for their own self-interest and personal ideologies. Being REAL patriots, not chickenhawk summer soldiers. I'm sure power is heady stuff, but for all the administration's talk about sacrifice I have yet to see any of their sons and daughters sent to Baghdad.

And why, oh why, is the media not howling away on these issues? Witness the mass exodus to blogsites these days; real questions are being asked by the moderators, real research being done, proof is provided by links, and anyone willing to fact-check further can do so. I would advise some so-called journalists to get up off their butts, stop being so concerned about getting plum White House briefing front-row seats and interviews, and start doing their jobs. Otherwise, don't be surprised if one day you look around after issuing your McClellan-generated talking points and empty, meaningless spin - and nobody's listening anymore.

Posted by: Mary Eliz | October 29, 2005 01:01 PM

What this country needs is introspection. Plain, simple and serious. Then maybe we will understand why the press and the public fell all over themselves to support/allow this war. It's not just neocon guilt that needs light, we should all take a long quiet look in our own mirrors.

Posted by: Samkow | October 29, 2005 01:02 PM

Everyone believes they are actually a pretty good person. They do lots of good deeds and are, in fact, mostly very decent and pretty likable. Especially in comparison to the many blatantly bad and down right despicable characters you see every day on television, on the news, in the movies and probably even some people you know.

In fact, they believe if you take the few bad things they've done and weigh them against all the good things they've done, that the good would far outweigh the bad. They don't see themselves as bad and they figure God won't either, I mean, He sees all, he knows I'm mostly good. He's just, so he'll weigh the good and the bad and let me off the hook. Besides, my god isn't a god of wrath anyway, he's a god of love and compassion and would never even create a hell, much less send me there.

Therefore: they are in no need of a 'savior' and see the message of the Gospel as foolishness, ancient writings for ancient people who weren't nearly as enlightened or sophisticated as we are today.

The fact is that truth is eternal. Truth is always truth. For instance: If my daughter was 8 years old and I put a sign up over the oven that said: WARNING - IF YOU TOUCH RED BURNER YOU WILL BURN YOUR HAND: That sign would be true. If she touches the red burner, she will burn her hand, but it was true before I put up the sign and it will be true if the sign gets torn down, because truth is truth and truth is eternal. I only put the sign up because I love her and don't want her to get burned. Gods Law is just like that...it was true before it was written down, it is true now and it will always be true.

+++++It too was given out of Love +++

The truth is if you murder someone you're a murderer, even if you only murder one person, you're a murderer. If you murder someone and then are good for the next month you're still a murderer. If you're good for the next year, or ten years or fifty years your still a murderer. Your subsequent good behavior doesn't justify your prior crimes or actions. It doesn't change your past. Does that make sense?


In that same light,

If you've ever lied one time that makes you a liar.

If you've ever stolen anything in your entire life, regardless of the size or value, that makes you a thief.

Jesus said if you've ever lusted towards another that makes you an adulterer at heart and if you've ever hated someone that you're in danger of judgement.

If you've ever used Gods name in vain, that's taking the name of the God that gave you life and created the universe and using it in place of a four letter filth word starting with the letter 's' to express disgust. That's blasphemy and a violation of the third law.

If anything is more important to you than God: your money, your job, your family, your house, your friends, or your sports... that's breaking the first commandment.

If you've ever looked at somebody's nice car, TV, tennis racquet, computer, life, wife, you name it and thought - oh man, I wish I had that! That's called envy and is a direct violation of the tenth commandment: thou shall not covet.

Now if you died and faced judgement based on those laws would you be found innocent or guilty? Most people will admit - Guilty.

Do you think you would go to heaven or hell?

Most people would say heaven, and around here there are 4 main reasons people believe that,.and they just don't see the true sinfulness of sin! What's wrong with a little lust here and there, I'm only human, everyone has lied a little, little white lies, and who hasn't taken a pencil from work, there just perks.

.
1. My god isn't a god of wrath anyway, he's a god of love and Compassion and would never even create a hell much less send me there.

Your right, your god would never create a hell because he couldn't, he doesn't exist, you've made a god out of your own imagination, you've created a god to fit your lifestyle, a god your comfortable with, one that winks at sin. That is called idolatry, a transgression of the second commandment.

2. If God is good , he'll see that I am mostly good and forgive me for the times I broke his laws.

Try that in a human court: "Judge, despite the fact that I did those things, I believe you're a good judge and I think I'm a good person and you should let me go. He'd say 'your right, I am a good judge and because of my goodness I must convict you of the laws you have been found guilty of breaking.' If he lets a guilty criminal go, he's not a good judge at all. He must do all he can to assure that justice is done based on the Law. The same applies to God. The very thing you are counting on to get you off the hook is the very thing that will make sure your put away. You see goodness and justice are 2 sides of the same sword.

3. I'm really a good person, most of the stuff I do is good, and the bad things I do are a small percentage of my total picture. He'll weigh the good and the bad...
Again, try that in a civil court...Judge I know I'm guilty of the crimes I've been charged with but look at all the good things I do, I even waxed your car on the way here. Don't they count for something? Sure they count for something, but they have nothing to do with the charges your facing and you are guilty by your own admission, with your conscience testifying as a witness. As for waxing my car I consider that an attempt at bribery. That's what your doing with God, trying to bribe him with good deeds so that he'll overlook your guilt in breaking his laws.

4. What's wrong with a little lust here and there, everyone tells lies, I only take really small stuff from big companies who can afford it.


Imagine you're at a party and you left your wallet in your coat. In it you had 153 dollars! You see someone go to your coat, slip out the wallet and take one dollar. Did he steal? Of Course, God is not impressed with the value of that which you stole !

Now just imagine that later today after you leave hear you go home or to your dorm and find that someone broke in and stole your ipod or cd collection or computer or something valuable to you. Can you feel that sense of outrage welling up inside of you. Think how you would feel if you got the news that your sister was viciously raped or your mother was beaten and mugged and robbed. Can you feel the outrage building in your gut? That outrage is your sense of justice screaming out from your soul. We as humans have a sense of justice built into our genes because we were made in Gods image. ... If you, being a sadly sinful man feel the need for 'justice', just think how much more a totally Holy God must feel when he sees us trample His laws in total disregard.

Here is a question for you, do you think Gods' sense of justice is less than yours, the same as, or greater than yours?

Examine yourself, do you see your guilt, do you see the stains of sin on your clothes or are you still justifying yourself?

A girl sees a sheep on a hill and thinks 'oh how nice and white that sheep is'. Then it begins to snow, and all of a sudden that same sheep, against the backdrop of white snow, doesn't look so white anymore. In fact it looks down right dirty and yellow and brown.

Compare yourself against the backdrop of society and you'll look pretty good every time, but against the backdrop of totally Holy and Righteous God and you'll look a lot different than you might imagine.

The Bible says our righteousness looks like filthy rags in the eyes of God !!! And that's our righteousness!! Just think what our sinfulness must look like!!!!!

God said 'no fornicators, blasphemers, idolaters, liars, thieves, murderers or adulterers will enter the kingdom of God.'

The Bible says that 'All liars will have their part in the lake of fire.'

Imagine your driving down the highway, beautiful day, traffic is moving, nice weather, everything is beautiful. Speed limit is 55 but the flow of traffic is going around 70, actually more people seem to be doing 75, but your content at 70. All of a sudden you see coming quickly down the left lane is a state trooper. UH-OH, your blood starts pumping, you realize that your doing 15 miles an hour past the speed limit, you tap your breaks a few times. You know that it doesn't make any difference how fast anyone else was going if he pulls behind you, that you've had it.

Well, He pulls right behind you, his lights go on and you hear his siren start. Immediately your heart rate jumps, you start to sweat, your hands shake...and that is just some guy with a little man made authority...Just imagine how your gonna feel when you have to stand before the One in whom all authority in heaven and earth resides and eternity lies in the balance.

The Bible says It is appointed to man once to die and then the JUDGEMENT.

Friends, each day that goes by brings you that much closer to judgement day. Everyone is going to die, we're all on death row, our cell has nice lighting, and a beautiful blue ceiling and good air circulation but one day your number will be up, your name will be called. The Bible is clear, God did create a place called hell, and when you find yourself standing before Him on judgement day, The standard by which you'll be judged is the Ten Commandments. The Bible says if you've broken just one, your guilty of all, its either perfect or not, there's no in between. Hell is a place of outer darkness, of wailing and gnashing of teeth, of torment and despair. Your friends might indeed all be there, but there will be no party. The Bible says that many are they that will go down and few are they that find life. The road to hell is wide and the way is easy, but the road to heaven is straight and the gate is narrow. I once read a tract that said on the front: "What do you have to do to go to HELL" and when you open it up it says this

"absolutely nothing" and that is so true. Don't do anything: take it easy, relax, don't change, just keep going like you are, enjoying the pleasures of sin for a season and you will inevitably find yourself in a place where the worm never dies and the fire is never quenched.

Now, back to that courtroom for just a second. The judge finds you guilty and by law your sentence is 20 years in jail or a $2,000,000.00 fine, you don't have a penny. The sheriff comes to you, puts on the cuffs and starts leading you away - but just as they're taking you out of the court, someone you don't even know goes to the judge and tells him that Hey, - I'm going to pay his fine for him, here - 2 million dollars cash!! The Judge can now say that the law has been satisfied, the fine has been paid, and you're free to go.
That's what Jesus did 2000 years ago. God came down to earth as Jesus and first fulfilled the law,( which is something no-one else on earth could do- He never sinned once in thought word or deed), and then He laid down his body as a sacrifice, a payment. Suffering torture, humiliation, betrayal and a horribly agonizing death, all as the payment for your fine. He gave his life freely for you while you were still a sinner and didn't even know who He is. You broke the law and Jesus paid your fine.

Your right, God is forgiving, and this is the great news but only if you've repented and been converted through faith. You may have heard about this "free gift" called grace, and it is a gift in the sense that you can not buy it but its not free in the sense there is no cost or price. There is a requirement. God does require something: repentance and faith in Christ. It's an explosive combination, True repentance in thought word and deed combined with even the smallest amount of faith and what happens is a unprecedented transmogrification of a person. A complete conversion. A total transformation. Its being born spiritually. . . You see when you where born physically by your mother you became part of the human family, but when you are born spiritually from God you become a part of Gods family.

You'll find your changed from the inside out. You'll have new desires, new goals. Things that use to have importance to you will no longer and things that had no value will suddenly become important. In biblical terminology its what is described as being born again or converted. Jesus said unless a person is born again they cannot enter my kingdom. Just like in the old saying you can tell a tree by its fruit, the proof of a true conversion is a changed life


Many people think just because they believe in Jesus they are saved, but there has never been a real change in their life. A true conversion. You may have asked Christ into your heart or asked God to help you or walked down an isle and recited a 'sinners prayer' and then you continued to act like you've always acted. Perhaps you tried this religion thing to see if its as good as some people say, love, peace, joy, but there was no real repentance, no rebirth. Without true repentance, your sins keep you separate from God. Maybe you gladly accept the teachings and really do believe, but when the temptations of sin come or troubles enter your life, you continue in your old ways, and in your sins you are separated from God. You need to repent. Repent for you sins and repent from your sins. Turn from them. Express your sorrow to God and if you don't have any sorrow, pray for wisdom. The Bible says that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

+
Jesus said don't fear man, who can kill you and go no further, but fear the one who can take your life and cast you into the fires of hell for all eternity. This world is so corrupt, so vile you don't even realize it. People today think that if they haven't necessarily raped or murdered someone, they are saints. Don't buy into it!! Satan is the father of lies and he is the prince of this world. The Bible say's that those who haven't repented are guilty already. Those who go through the wide gates are many, few will be those who find the narrow gate. Jesus is the narrow gate. The destiny of your soul is the most important thing you will ever deal with. This is not make believe. I care deeply for you. Ten out of ten people die and one day you will too, maybe tomorrow, tonight, today, there is that chance. It's not a chance worth taking, that's why the Bible says that TODAY is the day of salvation. Tomorrow is promised to no one.

Pray right now, tell God in you own words that your sorry for your sins, Name them, ask Jesus to enter your heart and give you a new life. Pray that he will help you turn your life around and put your faith in the God of Power. . Its not too late, your still alive. Get a Bible and start reading it everyday, its not that hard, there are versions in plain English...find one

Posted by: DOUGLAS | October 29, 2005 01:14 PM

Did I miss the time when we changed the discussion of this thread from Scooter Libby's indictment and the "criminalization" of politics over to Christian theology?

Posted by: J. Crozier | October 29, 2005 01:53 PM

Emily references,"Libby's dogged determination to discredit Joe Wilson"

Maybe Wilson discredited himself by misleading the CIA.

Isn't it true that Bush only claimed that British Intelligence reported that Iraq sought to buy uranium?

"The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa. " (State of the Union Address 1-28-03)

Did Wilson ever report that Hussein never sought to buy uranium? Didn't Wilson only report that there were no sales or shipments of uranium to Iraq?

Notice the subtle, but important difference? Bush never claimed that Iraq was successful in arranging uranium purchases, only that Iraq sought uranium. The documents that were supposed to show upcoming shipments were deemed forgeries.

Wasn't the White House problem with Wilson that what he deemed "lies" was not what Bush claimed? Didn't Wilson misrepresent what Bush actually claimed? Hence, Cheney wondered who Wilson was and why he was the one sent to Niger.

And, although the CIA backed off of that statement, due to Wilson, do not the British stand by their report that Saddam sought to buy uranium as he had in the past.

One more point, wasn't the rest of Bush's claims about Iraq in the 2003 State of the Union true? The UN and many different intelligence sources knew that Saddam had wmd's that he never accounted for, in violation of several un resolutions?

So, how did Bush mislead the country into war?

Posted by: Salt | October 29, 2005 02:33 PM

At least Libby's conviction pretty well explains (for me) Judith Miller's cockamamie behavior: Looks like a clear case of two Judeocons.....eh, I mean neocons covering for each other.

Posted by: BoutTime | October 29, 2005 02:40 PM

Sorry, I meant indictment, not conviction.

Posted by: BoutTime | October 29, 2005 02:41 PM

Mispelling is not a crime. Lying to a grand jury is. Thank you for you editorial. Many of the Post Opinion writers are brilliant spellers and don't have a thought in their head.

Posted by: T-Bone | October 29, 2005 02:41 PM

Answer: Joe Wilson. Of course, it would also describe Kerry, Dean, D'allesandro Pelosi & corrupt union lawyer Reid.

Posted by: Arrogant self serving pig | October 29, 2005 03:20 PM

Conservative_D:
While your spelling may be correct, your grammar is awkward in some places, flat-out wrong in others. If you do not recognize those parts of your message which violate the following rules, perhaps you will want to invest in a high school English workbook before further posting.
1. "Sic" ought to be set off by square brackets, not parentheses.
2. Dependent clauses generally are separated from main clauses by commas, as are interjections.
3. A comma alone is not sufficient break for a compound sentence.
4. Commas are enclosed within quotation marks, not set outside them.
5. Pronouns must agree in number with their antecedents.
6. Superfluous prepositions suggest a degree of laziness in thought.
7. Questions -- even rhetorical questions -- end with a question mark.

Posted by: PJ | October 29, 2005 03:51 PM

To Mary Eliz: thank you for your thoughtful summary of the significance of the Valerie Plame case. I emailed it to family and friends in Canada, and the U.S. and to the L.A. Times

Posted by: From a Canadian | October 29, 2005 05:05 PM

Dear Salt,

GW Bush and his ilk misled this country into a foolish war in Iraq through shadowy threats, manufacturing horrifying public images (mushroom clouds) and a near total disregard for vetting the evidence coming out of Iraq.

Bush choose to ignore the fact that dissidents politically opposed (Chalube (sp?)) to Hussein were giving Bush the "evidence" that he wanted to have. So flimsy was the evidence that Bush had to resort to British "intelligence" reports in his infamous 2003 State of the Union speech.

Ask yourself this: Why was the Bush administration so eager to smear Joe Wilson when he published his dissent in the NY Times? If Bush had concrete evidence to support his war, it would not have been necessary to slay this man's reputation or expose his wife's CIA identity. Because their evidence was "twisted" or non-existent, they had to break laws to bring down his reputation because he questioned what the Bush White House did not want challenged.

Bush, Rumsfield and Cheney all said they had evidence that Saddam had WMD. Rumsfield, at the time, said, "We know where it is. In areas around Tikrit...north south east and west." Bush never had it, but he and his ilk led the public into thinking they did. If that's not a definition of "misleading," then what is?

On another note, Cheney said that he didn't know Joe Wilson when the Bush White House began its hamhanded effort to discredit him. He said it publicly, on television. Turns out, he did know of Wilson because he gave that knowledge to Scooter Libby.

That's another example of where the Bush White House misled the American public. I'm sure more examples will be forthcoming in the days and months ahead as we go to trial, or as more indictments come down. Please take notes when this occurs, as I grow weary of attempting to explain the obvious to Bush believers who pretend they cannot connect the dots.

Posted by: Roger Dier | October 29, 2005 05:24 PM

PJ,

Check your grammar as well (i.e. 1st sentence - xxx, yyy, AND zzz). Next post I might just spend some time to proof my grammar, but I doubt it, as this is conversational not formal writing. However, I am just a comment poster, not on staff for my writing. It doesn't matter if my spelling or grammar is correct, but I think a 'professional' might want to use spell check at a minimum.

Posted by: Conservative_D | October 29, 2005 05:30 PM

Roger, you say, "GW Bush and his ilk misled this country into a foolish war in Iraq ".

By "his ilk", I suppose you mean all those who thought that Saddam was a threat.

Remember that Saddam lost Gulf War I?

Remember he had to let the UN monitor his weapons programs as part of the surrender terms?

Remember that he didn't co-operate and the UN passed many resolutions that Saddam ignored?

Remember the UN said that he had wmd's that he used on Kurds and Shia that UN inspectors could not account for?

Remember that Saddam had bought yellowcake uranium from Niger before Clinton bombed his nuclear facility?

Remember that the Clinton administration thought that Iraq's weapons programs was the greatest threat to America's security?

How did our government mislead us?

Posted by: Salt | October 29, 2005 05:44 PM

Previous post by Ellen is how Libby's prosecution will probably play out. He'll plead down, and later be pardoned by Bush II before he leaves office. No doubt this will encourage him to fall on his sword and not implicate any unindicted co-conspirators. He'll eventually go on the conservative talk circuit collecting fat speaking fees. White-collar crime does, in fact, pay!

Reminder: Bush I pardoned the Iran contra felons who managed to keep him "out of the loop."

Posted by: John | October 29, 2005 07:07 PM

I think the best part of all of this - regardless of what we think of the charges and outcome - is we've finally proven what many of us have suspected since the Nixon administration:

Republicans, conservatives, and all the right wingers will believe anything that they tell themselves. Saddam committed 9-11? Sure, yeah, right after his Niger shopping spree. America was founded on Christianity? You bet - it's right there in the, uh, Declaration of Constitutionality, or something. Plame outted herself because she hates the Preznit? Happens everyday over there in Langley - we just can't seem to keep those covert agents from babbling about stuff. Bush is a great Preznit, and Fitzgerald is just a stooge? Uh-huh, pass the Kool Aid.

I think Democrats and progressives in general should go into sales. With half of America so damn dumb, it'll be like shooting pigs in a barrel, or something.

Posted by: Matthew | October 29, 2005 07:14 PM

What is funny that Bush not only blamed Clinton for his failure to go after terrorist buy also his hero the Ronster.
Somehow, he left ou that daddy and Cheney armed both Saddam and Osama and when the people of Iraq rose up against Saddam and had taken over a good part of the country and asked for help daddy & Cheney refused. We could have been rid of Saddam a long time ago without the cost in men and money.
Bush is now the biggest recruitment ad the terrorists have.
By the way why isn't that great American who wouldn't risk his life in time of war but did business with the enemy Iran for the almighty buck, Dick Cheney not in JAIL?

Posted by: Yonk | October 29, 2005 07:14 PM

Salt,

I would suggest reading Scott Ritter's book, or online transcripts of his conversations and interviews. Ritter, a former UN weapons inspector, says in no uncertain terms that WMD's in Iraq were all but gone by 1995, and that everybody knew it. And lest you start saying that Ritter's a partisan hack, here's a quote from a recent transcript:

"You know, there's a lot of talk today in the Democratically controlled judiciary committee about going after the Bush Administration for crimes, for lying to Congress, and etc. And I'm all in favor of that, bring on the indictments, but don't stop at the Bush Administration. If you want to have a truly bipartisan indictment, you indict Madeleine Albright, you indict Sandy Berger, you indict every person on the Clinton Administration that committed the exact same crime that the Bush Administration has committed today. Lying during the course of your official duty: That's a felony, that's a high crime and misdemeanor. That's language in the Constitution that triggers certain events like impeachment. So let's not just simply turn this into a Bush-bashing event. This is about a failure of not only the Bush Administration but of the United States of America, and we have to look in the mirror and recognize that, well, all the Bush Administration did is take advantage of a systemic failure on the part of the United States as a whole, a failure that not only involves the executive, but it involves the legislative branch, Congress.

Congress has abrogated its responsibilities under the Constitution, and they've abrogated it for years. Then there's the media, and, yes, we can turn this into a media-bashing event. But you know what? The media only feeds the American people the poison they're willing to swallow. And we the people of the United States of America seem to want our news in no more than three-minute chunks with sound bites of thirty seconds or less, and it can't be too complicated. So what we did is allowed ourselves during the decade of the 1990s to be pre-programmed into accepting at face value without question anything that was negative about Saddam Hussein's regime, and this made selling the war on Iraq on the basis of a lie the easiest task ever faced by the Bush Administration."

The complete article is at thenation.com; click under the Politics section.

The point? Yes, our government's been misleading us - for decades. And as a proud anti-war Democrat, I want my government to take responsibility for its actions, to fix what they so deliberately broke. Yes, it's my government too, not just the 51% (or less) that put Bush into office. I have high expectations for my country, the America that's supposed to be a "beacon on the hill". Frankly, I've been ashamed and embarrassed at its actions in the world community since the new millenium began. Washington has unfortunately forgotten that we're not the only country in the world; that perhaps other people don't want us in their countries and interfering with their lives; that no one appointed us their keeper; that there are many, many Americans in need of health care, affordable education, and simple basic necessities. Have we forgotten about those people on TV in the wake of Katrina already? Congress certainly has - because we all know the rich just have to have those tax cuts. Shameful!

The invasion of Iraq by Bush isn't somehow justified because Clinton quietly approved of it. People died, people are dying, and the root cause is spin, lies, and media manipulation (with the media's eager assistance of course). How can I not be outraged? How can anybody not be?

Posted by: Mary Eliz | October 29, 2005 09:28 PM

Thank you for the kind words, from a canadian. :) I sometimes get a little too on my high horse, but it's all heartfelt anyway.

Posted by: Mary Eliz | October 29, 2005 09:38 PM

Hi Mary,

I liked your long opinion in response to Mr. Salt's denial of the obvious ways that Bush, et al, and administrations before him have systematically misled the American people.

I suspect, however, that Mr. Salt will remain blissfully and stubbornly ignorant of the evidence that is out there. The neocons and Bush supporters love the world they live in, one where each of them contributes to a chorus of stories they tell each other. In the end, they call it the truth.

Posted by: Roger Dier | October 29, 2005 09:53 PM

Hi Roger: Your comments are reflective of an analytical dry wit and clear thinking intellect. NICE!

When all they could find in Baghdad when they went looking for evidence was a shiny steel cylindar that some retired scientist hid in his rose garden, it had to be backed up with the yellow cake story someplace in the world.

As the dominoes fall lets hope they knock down some of the key players too. MM

Posted by: m. manzi | October 29, 2005 10:13 PM

Emily, thanks for your column, it gives those of use who consider and indictment different than a conviction a chance to watch the rabid left froth at the mouth.

And John, treason wasn't a charge in the indictment. In fact none of them had anything to do with Plame, the charges were all realated to the Grand Jury obstruction. So "supposedly" outing Plame evidently wasn't a crime. Why is that so hard to understand?

http://crazypolitics.blogspot.com

Posted by: Crazy Politico | October 30, 2005 06:58 AM

Interesting that during the Clinton administration, Republicans were all for special prosecutors and "criminalizing" politics. Now, with the Bush administration under scrutiny, it's "unwaranted".

I cannot understand why people are unable to throw aside their political alegiance and search for the truth. Republicans seem all too welcoming for misinformation from the leaders within their party. Why? Why has reason lost out? What are you to gain by throwing your support, your reputation behind someone or some idea that will only bring you down?

The Bush administration has lied, is lying, and will continue to lie to us on an uprecidented scale. There is a criminal behind this "criminalization" and I for one want them sought out.

Posted by: Robert | October 30, 2005 07:08 AM

Well, Mary Eliz, now I finally understand:

Scott Ritter was right and everybody else in the whole wide world was wrong about Saddam. He did not use chemical and biological weapons on his own people. He was not a terrorist who paid $25,000 American dollars to the families of suicide bombers. He did not provide safe haven for Zarqawi and '93 WTC bombers.

You're right. Let's pull out of Iraq and let all those people die. (They're used to it, anyway, after Saddam's mass graves). Let's concentrate on building our own Socialist Utopia here. I'm sure the terrorists will leave us alone if we only get rid of Bush.

Posted by: Salt | October 30, 2005 07:45 AM

Yeah! "Mission Accomplished" "We will be seen as Liberators" "Stuff happens!" "The insurgency is in its last throes!" "Smoking gun...mushroom cloud" "There were no WMD's? Hmmm...Then we must have go there for another reason." For the cement heads: No,no,no! Iraq had nothing to do with 9-11. Wake up, America, this was no "third-rate" slip of memory.

Posted by: Arthur | October 30, 2005 07:48 AM

Charles Krauthammer writes, "Now that Cindy Sheehan turns out to be a disaster for the antiwar movement -- most Americans are not about to follow a left-wing radical who insists that we are in Iraq for reasons of theft, oppression and empire -- a new spokesman is needed."

Is this his way of trying to discount what may have been the underlying reasons for the invasion? Are we beginning to suspect that the war really was about Halliburton's interests and an Imperial Presidency, after all?
Just wondering.

Posted by: skp | October 30, 2005 08:06 AM

This is amazing. Think, people.

Mary Eliz says that Ritter said all wmd's were gone by 1995. Where did they go? Why did the UN inspectors not know where they were?

Do you really think that if we had done nothing after 9/11 we would not have been attacked again?

Did you hear Iran's President calling for wiping Israel off the map?

Do you really believe that like-minded people are not now working to wipe the US off the map?

BTW, if we went for oil, where is it? Why don't the US oil companies and Halliburton (which is not an oil company, but a construction company with oil related services) have all the oil sewn up? Why are we letting the Iraqi gov't have all of their oil? Or do you believe Bush & Cheney's friends are getting kickbacks now like France, Russia, Germany were from the UN oil-for-food program.

Some of you are so quick to believe any anti-US conspiricy and so slow to believe any good news about the US, I pity you. Really, life is good. Even life in Iraq. Enjoy it. Relax and chill out.

Posted by: Salt | October 30, 2005 08:19 AM

Just a clarification: Halliburton's website says that they are "one of the world's largest providers of products and services to the oil and gas industries" with a construction subsidiary.

Posted by: Salt | October 30, 2005 08:25 AM

Arthur: I know these things are subtleties that your rabid Anti-Bush mind may not be able to appreciate, but sometimes the truth is subtle, not always reducible to a bumper sticker:

"Mission Accomplished" Yes, the major combat mission of the American forces Bush spoke to that day on the carrier (taking Baghdad and deposing Saddam) was accomplished. No one ever said our mission in Iraq was accomplished.

"We will be seen as Liberators" Actually, we were seen as liberators by the Shia, Kurds and many Sunni Arabs. Saddam loyalists, Terrorists and the American Left disagree.

"Stuff happens!" I dunno what you mean here.

"The insurgency is in its last throes!" It is - look at the difference in insurgent activity from Jan elections to Oct elections. And now the Sunni Arabs are becoming more and more involved in the political process. Ballots and not bullets. That is a good thing No?

"Smoking gun...mushroom cloud" Again, I dunno what you mean here.

"There were no WMD's? Hmmm...Then we must have go there for another reason." WMD's was never the only reason why we invaded. It was just where the Int'l legal case was built that Saddam was an outlaw who was uninterested in joining the civilized world. (see Al Capone)

"For the cement heads: No,no,no! Iraq had nothing to do with 9-11." We know that, Mr. Cement Head. We also know that we must rid the world of all terrorist regimes or they will again find a way to kill innocent Americans. Is that what you want?
Do you really believe if we play nice they will leave us alone?

"Wake up, America, this was no "third-rate" slip of memory." Whatever. Are you talking about "Scooter" here?

I love you all, even you rabid left wing Bush hating, naive souls who seem to want the US to fail. You can still live here in peace as we defend your right to be wrong.

Posted by: Salt | October 30, 2005 08:43 AM

Yes, it is true that in his 2003 State of the Union speech, Bush narrowly and intentionally quoted British intelligence with respect to Saddam's trying to obtain uranium. But he specifically used that lawyerly phrasing precisely because there wasn't any other credible information. And the British information according to the Butler report was based essentially on surmise that during the visit to Niger by an Iraqi delegation in 1999, what else would they have talked about other than uranium?

We now know in fact that since shortly after the Gulf War, Saddam never again did seriously pursue uranium. What would he have used it for? Unenriched uranium without isotope enrichment facilities might as well be desert sand. Better to have gone to war with Iran on that basis.

We would have learned this if we had given the UN inspectors time to complete their work, rather than rushing to war based on a timetable dictated by now laughable concerns about fighting in midsummer.

The fact though remains, why did the administration go to such lengths to retaliate against Wilson, rather than just explaining carefully why he was off base in his statements.

I think that as the Libby prosecution plays out, we are going to find out much more about the machinations of the White House Iraq Group, and the plans to start a war with Iraq no matter what. Say what you want, but the present rationale for the war that has cost thousands dead and seriously wounded, as well as hundreds of billions of dollars, would not have been accepted to the American people before the fact. The best that can be said in all honesty is that we rushed headlong into war on an accelerated schedule and that grievous and unecessary mistakes were made as a result. The worst you can say is that we were purposefully misled. You can rest assured that the truth will eventually come out.

Posted by: Anacreon | October 30, 2005 09:00 AM

Thank you, Anacreon, for a reasoned and intelligent response. See, folks, we can do this. We can agree to disagree in a civil manner and let our differences be settled at the ballot box. As the Iraqis are learning to do.

The Left survived 12 years of Reagan-Bush I and the Right survived 8 years of Clinton. For all the apocalyptic rhetoric, we are all still surviving.

Anacreon and I will probably never agree about the War. The best that can be said is that we are reducing the threat of worldwide terrorism as we have liberated 50 million people (Iraq and Afghanistan) from terrorist regimes that reduced women and children to the level of military targets.

Posted by: Salt | October 30, 2005 09:22 AM

It's nice to know that your colleague Michael Kinsley is entertained and amused by the Plame imbroglio. Because, his writing sure bores the hell out of me. I think he's becoming as detached from this world emotionally as he is physically. Maybe he should read Joe Wilson's latest essay on the pain his wife has endured these last two years. Life's work down the toilet. Death threats. More hilarity ensues. 15000 combat casualties partly from the "whacky shenanigans" of Libby, Miller and the rest of those kooky kids. Oh, Kinsley must feel soooo superior viewing the attempted murder of our Democracy as a TV comedy hit, blowing chardonnay through his nose as he laughs at his own "teddibly whittay" quips from his couch on the sidelines (and you ARE on the sidlines, Kinsley). Kinsley's blather brings nothing. Absolutely nothing to the discussion. Not even a laugh. Feel free, Ms Messner to forward this message to him. And thanks for posting my rant. Kinsley's column doesn't invite replys as you graciously do.

Posted by: Jim Petrilli | October 30, 2005 10:23 AM

The Sunday talk shows, especially the "Meet the Russert" show, all centered on how Bush can restart his presidency as if that were the only pressing issue facing the nation. Who cares how Bush crawls out of his self-made mudhole? Everybody, private and public, feels an overwhelming need to think for Bush.

That they do does not bode well for this nation.

I really do not care who wins the White House in 2008. I do care that he or she have the ability to think, speak and act rationally.

Posted by: Roger Dier | October 30, 2005 11:00 AM

What hasn't been noted is the fact that the US mainland hasn't been attacked by Islamofascists since 9/11. Doesn't that count? I hired a President to look after MY interests, not those of France, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Israel, etc. If our interests intersect, fine. If not, fine.

Please, people, don't continue into the barely literate Chimpie insults and the like. You act as you are undermedicated. If you have an argument, post it.

Posted by: coregis | October 30, 2005 11:23 AM

Hello Salt,

I don't claim to be an expert on world policy or politics by any means...however, I was raised with a certain amount of common sense. If you see a fireant hill, it's probably not a good idea to step in it (irresistibly tempting though it be); if your mother gives you THAT LOOK (no matter what your age), it's probably wise to shut your mouth and open your ears; and if you happen to be in charge of the most powerful country in the world it might be a good idea to do more than the most cursory research, thinking, and planning before committing its young soldiers to war in the WRONG COUNTRY.

The Downing Street Memos: "It seemed clear that Bush had made up his mind to take military action, even if the timing was not yet decided. But the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbours, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran."

This from the very same British government and intelligence that Mr. Bush cited six months later in his 2003 State of the Union address to ratchet up a war frenzy against Iraq. The weakness of Saddam was very much evident to those not obsessed with finding some reason - any reason - to invade Iraq.

As for where the WMD's went, your guess is as good as mine - or the CIA's, to be more precise (www.wmd.gov):

"Specifically, the NIE assessed that Iraq had reconstituted its nuclear weapons program and could assemble a device by the end of the decade; that Iraq had biological weapons and mobile facilities for producing biological warfare (BW) agent; that Iraq had both renewed production of chemical weapons, and probably had chemical weapons stockpiles of up to 500 metric tons; and that Iraq was developing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) probably intended to deliver BW agent.

These assessments were all wrong.

This became clear as U.S. forces searched without success for the WMD that the Intelligence Community had predicted. Extensive post-war investigations were carried out by the Iraq Survey Group (ISG). The ISG found no evidence that Iraq had tried to reconstitute its capability to produce nuclear weapons after 1991; no evidence of BW agent stockpiles or of mobile biological weapons production facilities; and no substantial chemical warfare (CW) stockpiles or credible indications that Baghdad had resumed production of CW after 1991. Just about the only thing that the Intelligence Community got right was its pre-war conclusion that Iraq had deployed missiles with ranges exceeding United Nations limitations."

In other words, we were flat-out wrong about WMD's - America, the British, the Italians. Not that you'd ever know any of it if the White House had its way. Have we heard ONE WORD of explanation, of "Oh, by the way, our bad"? Of course not. That's not the way this administration works; personal responsibility made for great sound bites during campaign days but stubborn denial of reality has been the trend ever since. If it doesn't mesh with Cheney-approved ideology, it's not worth discussion or more than the most cursory acknowledgment.

Also, I'd like to remind you again that we didn't "do nothing" after 9/11; we deployed troops in Afghanistan to seek out bin Laden and al Qaida. We're still there, and wonder of wonders, so is Osama. Instead of concentrating our resources and energy on that country, this administration decided to focus instead on Iraq and its insane dictator. Common sense would seem to dictate the exact opposite, but then again I'm just an awful, wimpy, bleeding-heart, pansy-ass, know-nothing Democrat who lives with her head in the sand.

I, for one, am so over apologizing for and justifying my observations and opinions, just because I happen to oppose the policies of the current party in power.

Yes, I heard Iran's comments the other day. Yes, they're awful. No, I don't condone them. But again, where does it end? Military action against Iran; what about Syria? How about North Korea (can't forget that third Axis of Evil member!)? Facts are facts; we're spread thin enough as it is RIGHT NOW (again, due to an almost ridiculous lack of foresight and planning by the Pentagon); we simply cannot afford to take off to new battlegrounds at a moment's notice, and I mean that in monetary, diplomatic, and human terms.

Life is good...well, I'm genuinely happy that your life is going well, Salt. I really mean it. However, I personally have many problems and know of many issues that I'd like my government to focus on - in our own country. I am in need of a kidney transplant, for one thing. Can I get on insurance? Of course not, since I'm too old to get on parents', too poor to afford monthly premiums, and too sick to be accepted in any case. There are 45 million Americans like me in the same position, many of them children. That's a problem. Our education system is in serious need of overhaul, since we're being outstripped in performance by other countries at every turn; our teacher's salaries are simply an embarrassment. The gap between rich and poor is widening every year; seniors must choose between buying food and buying medicine (including my own grandparents). I have no idea how I'm going to afford my heating bill this winter, and meanwhile oil profits are through the roof. It's all happening RIGHT NOW, and what is Congress and Bush focused on? Passing more tax cuts for the top 1% income bracket - even after the horror of Katrina thrust the fact of poverty in America into our living rooms for everyone to see. But that was so two months ago.

What is so wrong with focusing on our country for a change? Why has the mantra of the Republican party suddenly become "spread democracy worldwide"? Whatever happened to the real conservatives?

I'm not under any illusions that I'll change your mind about anything - I'm just an ordinary American citizen frightened about where this country is headed. And I have a perfect right to be.

Posted by: Mary Eliz | October 30, 2005 11:56 AM

Dear Coregis,

No need to resort to personal insults. Your point was made in the first paragraph. You ruined it in your second paragraph and ended up smearing yourself more than I.

Bush, as an elected public figure in a democracy, is not protected by slander and libel laws that protect ordinary citizens. That he, other elected officials and "public figures" are not protected generates the freedom to question the motives and actions of those who are elected and others who fall under the "public figure" definition as defined in First Admendent law.

That I question, and will continue to question, the intellect behind his decisions is normal dissent that is found in most free societies. Bush, by his own admission, admits that he does not read, feels introspection is a waste of time and he brags about the mediocre marks that he received as a student.

My post expressed a desire for the next President to be a smidge more advanced in his/her thinking than the fellow that is now occupying the White House.

Thank you for reading.

Posted by: Roger Dier | October 30, 2005 11:59 AM

Well, coregis, it actually has been, if you count anthrax as an attack. And beyond that, from 1993 to 2001 the US mainland hadn't been attacked, last I heard. So, if you wait a few more years, it might prove something.

Or perhaps not, because on Sep 10, 2001, one could also make such statements about how long it had been since the US mainland had been attacked.

Posted by: Barry | October 30, 2005 12:18 PM

As for Kinsley, I've concluded that he's demonstrating that he'd be a biddle wh*re of an editor, in his next job. Nothing that would really threaten the powers that be.

Posted by: Barry | October 30, 2005 12:20 PM

Mary Eliz,

Thank you for a thoughtful and constructive post. I pray that you get your transplant.

I just came from my church. We are a diverse congregation where white, black, rich, poor, Democrat, Republican and Independent are connected by an overarching bond: love.

Try not to be afraid. The genius of the American Experiment is that the citizenry of the US is connected by that same bond. Politically, it is called "the common good", but it is a practical application of love, defined as putting the good of others ahead of one's own self-interest.

We can continue to work together to make our country work better and our society more just and equitable. But always bear in mind that the proportion of evildoers in American politics is really very small. Most people, right and left, believe that they are acting in the best interests of the entire country, the common good.

This is an example of how we disagree: You speak of tax cuts for the rich. I see a return of money into the private sector which has historically proven to stimulate our economy every time it is tried. Even now, deficit projections have been lowered because after the first round of Bush tax cuts, tax receipts to the Federal treasury actually increased. (again, it happens every time tax rates are lowered.) So where you see only a few people benefiting (which causes you to oppose tax cuts out of love for those left out), I see all Americans benefiting from a growing economy.

Let's do fix health care and do whatever we can to relieve the suffering of the poor and stop oppressing people in this wealthy and free country. But we've seen that government programs that don't work contribute to the oppression that they are supposed to relieve.

I don't know all the answers, nor do I approve of all that is done in the name of conservatism. One thing I know for sure is that we will get nowhere calling each other names and questioning the motives and every action of those with whom we disagree.

Love really is the answer. (England Dan and John Ford Coley) or as Marvin Gaye said, "Talk to me and you can see what's going on".

Posted by: Salt | October 30, 2005 12:48 PM

Someone should tell David Broder that and INDICTMENT is not a conviction. Broder told Tim Russert that Scooter will have a hard time "disproving" Fitzgerald's accusations. Please, Mr. Broder, Scooter is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, which will be a cakewalk owing to the murky evidence. Seems like Democrats (as like Broder) are jumping the gun in their zeal to smear President Bush.

P.S. The Democrats missed Rove, again! Ha! Ha!

Posted by: MRK | October 30, 2005 01:27 PM

Salt,

You are right that we will never agree on the war. I remember before the war when Bush made it clear in several speeches that Iraq would probably be next on the list. I distinctly remember thinking -- 'why invade Iraq now? We're not done in Afghanistan yet.' Then I briefly became a supporter of the action, after hearing the President, Condoleeza Rice, and Colin Powell at the UN insist that Saddam was a "gathering threat" to use WMD, and agreed that this could not be tolerated in the post-9/11 environment. I was later disgusted when it became obvious in retrospect that evidence was stretched to the limit to fulfill a goal of certain White House and Pentagon officials (and probably the President himself) that existed since before he was first elected. Powell's presentation was a scandal of the highest order. It self-consciously mimicked the presentation to the world of U2 photos that sparked the Cuban Missile Crisis, only this time, there was nothing behind it.The result has been to destroy almost completely the credibility of the US in time of crisis, and as an afterthought, the career of a good man who was once considered a viable Presidential candidate (whether he would want the job or not, we will never know).

And don't blame all of this on the CIA. That organization is another casualty, and is now suffering a complete crisis of morale. We may all pay down the line. It is clear they are partially responsible, but it is also very clear that we had no good intelligence about what Saddam was up to after the UNSCOM inspectors left in '98, and were only starting to reacquire this knowledge after inspectors were readmitted. Bush rolled the dice on WMD in Iraq, and was only surprised because he thought the odds were better than they turned out to be, and had put his faith in the rationality of Saddam. It was still a roll of the dice.

We are all familiar with the fact that the 'no WMD' mistake has been compounded by the incompetence of the administration in its actions taken after the fall of Baghdad, and lack of planning in an area where again there were ample warnings that all was not right in their approach. Problems actually began before the war, when the failure to gain permission from Turkey to allow troops and materiel to be staged from southern bases in that country removed the possibility of attack from the north, and likely led to enhancement of the insurgency in the Sunni triangle that was to follow. Now we've had a constitutional referendum which is being portrayed as a success, but in which two out of three of the Sunni provinces voted > 80% no, and in the other the no votes were very close to the 2/3 that would have scuttled the whole thing. This is perhaps a recipe for civil war. At this point we are hoping that Sunnis will gain further representation after the December vote, and that the Constitution will be modified more to their liking. I'd like to be an optimist - we need this to go right, but it could go wrong very quickly. Also, I'm sorry, but I don't see us treating our own troops with the respect that they deserve: from Bush's 'bring it on' line to problems with stretching the Reserves, multiple rotations, subjecting badly wounded soldiers to unfair bills and reduction in pay, etc. From the start, we have been trying to do this 'on the cheap', in terms of numbers of troops used and equipment initially made available, and many lives have been lost needlessly as a result.

Finally, I'd like to say that we may be safer than we were before the war with Iraq started, but not nearly as safe as we should or could be if we had just finished the job in Afghanistan and continued singlemindedly to pursue Al Qaeda terrorists. It is not reasonable to assume that the diversion of military and intelligence resources, and spending of hundreds of billions of dollars in the war with Iraq, has not taken away from these other goals directly aimed at the terrorists. And we are completely locked into Iraq now, because if we leave there will surely be hell to pay.

If the worst does happen, and one of the small Al Qaeda cells now existing all over the world does manage to mount an attack in the US with actual WMD, then I sincerely fear for our country. The administration has consistently shown that it places security over the values that have defined us for 230 years. Unlike in the days of the Cold War, there is no adversary who could destroy the United States (unless you go to science fiction scenarios with superbugs which we are completely unprepared for by the way). We can only do this to ourselves. Even God forbid a nuclear device detonated in one of our cities could not by itself destroy us as a nation. However, if we are willing to exchange our hard-won rights and freedoms for a government promise to protect us, then the US is finished. Recently a bill to ban the use of "cruel and inhuman punishment" passed the Senate by 90-9. John McCain has said that he introduced the bill because one of the things that kept him going while in a prison camp in North Vietnam was the knowledge that "we were better than them". The president has threatened to make the veto of the entire defense spending bill the first veto of his administration if it passes through conference with this amendment attached.

I do not understand those who march in lockstep with Bush, and become thoughtless apologists for his every action. At least some of you could do better than just echoing Rush's well worn talking points. Nah, I guess I'm just being elitist. The truth is, that we are not supposed to think. No matter what ridiculous statement we hear emanating from Scot McClellan, we're supposed to just pick our jaw up off the floor and accept it. Thinking is sooo 90's.

Posted by: Anacreon | October 30, 2005 01:37 PM

Hi Salt,

It is so unbelievably refreshing for me to hear those words coming from a conservative, and I really respect your candor and fair-minded answer to my latest post. All too often, whether online or in real life, I see people of different political beliefs and persuasions completely polarized and unable to find consensus, simply because neither side wants to give the other an inch of ground. So we both stay in our respective left or right corners of the blogosphere, writing self-congratulatory posts on how completely wonderful and correct our sides are. Meanwhile, nothing gets done. Beliefs stagnate, people proudly declaim to like minds, and the people in power continue to do whatever they please - on both sides of the aisle.

Partisanship is all well and good, and America certainly has a long and proud tradition of freedom of fiscal thought, moral philosophy, religion and the like; our two main political parties used to exemplify the two main school of thought most Americans adhere to. It's what this country's all about, what other countries used to admire and respect about us.

But American partisanship today is simply out of control. After 9/11, this country and the world spoke with one voice, and moved to confront the airplane terrorists of al Qaida. When the administration changed its strategy to include Iraq in its military operations, Democratic questions and opposition were quickly silenced amid accusing shouts of "unpatriotic!" and "if you're not with us, you're against us!". That line of thought neatly labeled any dissenters of administrative, and by this time wholly Republican, policy as un-American supporters of terror. Following the winds of political trend, most Democrats shamefully bowed to administrative pressure and asked no questions, had no pressure to offer Bush regarding gaping holes in the rationale for going to war with Iraq.

Two years later, some Democrats are finally speaking out and admitting they were wrong about the whole thing - but instead of offering specific solutions, offering up a leader to help find the party's lost identity, most are content to sit and watch the administration dig an even deeper hole for itself. Partisanship over the good of the nation? You bet.

Not that Republicans have any excuse. The rule of law that was so important during the Clinton years has all of a sudden become a "technicality" when applied to Libby and Rove. It was ever so ridiculous to ask about John Roberts' religion during his nomination process, but Harriet Miers' born-again status was suddenly a major factor for Bush supporters (i.e. the far-right wing) to consider. Hypocrisy and partisanship? Of course.

The left and right differ on many things; I would love to see both sides come together and compromise for the good of the country. But right now, each side is simply mirroring the shrillness of the other, achieving neither realism or results.

Lord, I could write for days about this - forgive me, I do tend to ramble! I'm not a Pollyanna; I know that in a democracy, a certain amount of partisanship is healthy and par for the course. But by separating ourselves into two bitterly divided political camps at this point in our history achieves nothing except rancor and wasted time.

Thanks again for the kind thoughts, Salt :)

Posted by: Mary Eliz | October 30, 2005 01:52 PM

One more thing:

Maybe I am a Pollyanna (no gender bending, please), but I sincerely believe that most Americans are like you, Mary Eliz (and Anacreon) and I, and not like the Flamers from both sides that over-populate blogs and Letters to the Editors.

We could reach some (not all) solutions through consensus and compromise. I believe The System works better than anything else we've got.

We get a distorted view of our own political process because journalism has become infotainment and the way to get ratings and subscribers seems to be have far right and far left loonies shouting talking points past each other, whether on the tube or in print.

Let's change the players in Washington (something like 94% of incumbents are re-elected) and maybe we can get our country back. I hate that the Senate did not take Ted Stevens up on his offer to resign if they voted down his Pork Barrel Bridge to Nowhere.

Love to all.

Posted by: Salt | October 30, 2005 02:14 PM

Where the WMD's went: Some were destroyed in Gulf War 1 and the rest were destroyed under the guidance of the UN and the IAEA (The International Atomic Energy Agency). http://www.iaea.org/NewsCenter/Focus/IaeaIraq/index.shtml

Where the oil is: Still in the ground. As of October 11, 2005, Iraq was producing 1.9 million barrels a day. Pre-war production was 2.6.
http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/energy/2005-10-10-iraq-oil-usat_x.htm?csp=N009

Where the yellowcake is: In Iraq. It's been there, under seal and inspected regularly since Gulf War 1. It is low-enriched which is useless as a nuclear weapon. In order to become useful for nuclear weapons, it needs to be processed in a complesx procedure, with facilities and equipment to do so. Iraq's facilities were destroyed, which is why the US left it there. So it defies explanation why they would be looking for more, if indeed they were. See the IAEA again.

The CIA reports that the deal between Niger and Iraq involved Niger getting oil (unapproved by the UN). The Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction
http://www.fas.org/irp/offdocs/wmd_report.pdf

Why the US has not been re-attacked yet: The terrorists have been busy elsewhere, mainly Iraq.
According to Peter Bergen the US invasion on Afghanistan pretty well disrupted al Qaeda and it probably would have imploded within a year. But now they have had all new territory to conquer and hone their skills.

Where will the terrorists go when the war in Iraq ends? Probably the US. We shouldn't count on them going home and getting 9-5 jobs.
http://www.peterbergen.com/bergen/articles/details.aspx?id=231#

Hope this helps.

Posted by: lookingfortruth | October 31, 2005 07:02 AM

In the wake of the indictment of Scooter Libby when the entire nation's attention was focused on the (in)famous "16 words" describing the non-existent WMD, the Alito nomination to the supreme court seems to have come as a boon to the administration. The public is easily distracted especially when parties are readying for an epic battle over the nominee.

As the ideologues and spin masters are beginning to taste blood over the nomination hearings, almost unnoticed to everyone, Dick Cheney has nominated two individuals to take on the jobs of the discredited Scooter.

The media is just beginning to report on these two individuals but their background story is not encouraging at all. Scooter Libby has been replaced with David Addington as Cheney's chief of staff and John Hannah as assistant national security adviser to Cheney. Both are neck-deep into the Iraq quagmire, it is learnt.

Addington has been identified as the one who wrote the infamous "torture memo" of January 2002. This was the document signed by Alberto Gonzales to authorize torture on prisoners in Afghanistan and Iraq, claiming that the internationally recognized Geneva Conventions on torture did not apply in the "war on terrorism."

John Hannah, new scurity adviser, has been identified as the White House recipient of Ahmad Chalabi group's report which falsely claimed that there were dozens of secret nuclear, biological and chemical weapons facilities in pre-war Iraq.

So, where does that leave us? Scooter is succeeded by not just one but TWO Scooters! And all of them part of the web of deceit and intentional fabrication of false claims that led up to a war of choice. Talk of infusing fresh blood into the administration!!

Posted by: Wren | October 31, 2005 10:07 PM

There are several things that we have learned from this investigation. (1.Is that either McCellan,Rove or Libby are Liars after all McCellan told the press that he had spoken to Libby and Rove and they stated they were not envolved. We now know that not to be true so either McCellan didn't talk to them and therefor he lied to the press or he did speak to them and they lied to him.Never the less we have liar's in the white house.(2. We also know that Rove and Libby passed around Mrs Wilson's name to several reporters it's hard for one to understand how they couldn't have known that she was a spook after all Libby got this info from the Veep who got it from thr CIA. The fact that Novak in his colum stated that when he talked to the CIA about mrs Wilson they asked him not to make her name public. It would seem that if the CIA gave this warning to Novak that they would have been more forth coming with the Veep

Posted by: nick1936 | November 1, 2005 09:55 PM

When this whole investigation began Helen Thomas asked the question why wouldn't the President call all his staff in and ask them what their roll in the leak was or wasn't. McCellan dismissed this sugestion and as far as we know the President hasn't done this. Maybe the reason he hasn't is that he knew what was going on all the time.We the people deserve answers.

Posted by: nick1936 | November 2, 2005 12:22 AM

Salt Where did Sadam get the weapons to gas the kurds ??? Maybe we should ask Rummy they were pals back then

Posted by: nick1936 | November 2, 2005 12:29 AM

Give me a debate on preposition and Opposition

Posted by: Sharon | June 6, 2006 10:46 AM

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