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June 13, 2003

Even the conservative New Republic is evidently running out of patience:
[W]hat’s really infuriating about the whole thing is that even today, when the Niger-uranium story his been proven to be completely bogus, the White House still won’t come clean and admit it screwed up. Don’t believe us? Well, consider these two paragraphs from [Walter] Pincus’s piece:
A White House spokesman said yesterday, “We have acknowledged that some documents detailing a transaction between Iraq and Niger were forged and we no longer give them credence. They were, however, only once piece of evidence in a larger body of evidence suggesting Iraq attempted to purchase uranium from Africa.”

The official added that in his speech the president talked about purchases from Africa and did not specifically mention Niger, adding that Bush’s comments were “based on a multiple of other sources.”

Hmm. Let’s see if we can put this delicately: WHAT OTHER FRICKIN’ EVIDENCE???!!! WHAT OTHER FRICKIN’ SOURCES???!!!

Are we expected to believe that the administration has been sitting on a mountain of evidence suggesting Saddam had tried to purchase uranium from multiple African countries, but that the only piece of evidence it actually ended up citing in public was the one that happened to be bogus? Are we expected to believe that, once the Niger story was publicly revealed to be bogus, the administration decided it’d be better to keep sitting on the legitimate evidence that Saddam had been trying to purchase uranium from Africa and, instead, to just let the bogus evidence speak for itself? Well, Dick, I guess we could share this incredibly incriminating, incredibly damning pile of evidence with the rest of the world. But then that would probably prove the merits of the war beyond a reasonable doubt, and getting help from all those second-rate European armies would be much more trouble than it’s worth. Good point, Don. Why don’t we just keep that stuff quiet and rest our case with the forged Niger documents…

Are you kidding us? THERE ARE NO OTHER SOURCES. It’s about time the administration owned up to it.

My goodness, look at all that straw in the wind. [11:55 PM]
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Hard-Hitting Moderator: Teresa Nielsen Hayden.

Comments on Even the conservative New Republic:

Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2003, 12:52 AM:

Now things start to get "interesting." The right-wing coalition is breaking up; the moderate conservatives are tearing away from the radicals. If the historical pattern of the 30s is followed, the moderates will find they have very little control left.

Gotta be some way for the left to make hay out of this, there's gotta be...

David Moles ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2003, 01:50 AM:

Overall, that page is pretty liberal for an allegedly conservative publication.

Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2003, 02:41 AM:

What Dave said . . . is this some kind of Token Liberal column?

the talking dog ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2003, 02:55 AM:

TNR is, in general, hardly a Republican sounding board. Andy Sullivan and the "national greatness" bullshit aside, I would consider TNR (to which I subscribe) to be usually a liberal publication.

Like all Democrats who supported the war-- indeed, like all FOOLS (who are not Bushistas themselves and therefore benefitting financially from these motherfuckers) who had the STUPIDITY and LACK OF CHARACTER (this means you, Zell Miller, professional traitor, or you, Hillary and Chuch, professional panderers, or you Teddy "Education Bill We Can Do Business with you" Kennedy, or most especially, EVERY SINGLE IDIOT WHO THOUGHT THIS IRAQ WAR WAS OH SOM IMPORTANT THAT IT WAS WORTH TRUSTING BUSH) to trust Bush and back him on ANYTHING-- ANYTHING-- they are always made to regret the earlier support.

What else do we need to know?

TNR are not Bushistas; this was part of the cross-over support Bush needed to have this war-- and got. What did the TNR liberals get for this support? Fucked.

What did the WMD issue tell us? Those of us who-- on faith-- KNEW-- that Bush saying "trust me" understood that he was using the lawyer's meaning of that expression (i.e., the answer to the question "how does a lawyer say fuck you?") IN short, we were right. The rest of you were wrong. And the "good result" of toppling Saddam and replacing him with Mad Max style anarchy and warlordism and Iranian backed extremists, while satisfying to the average stupid America who wants to go back to sleep now, does not justify the rest of this.

But what do I know?

Scott Lynch ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2003, 05:27 AM:

I keep having this persistent vision of Kevin Kline's character in *A Fish Called Wanda,* being grilled by Archie's wife, with that look on his face of mingled confusion and horror as his cover story unravels : "It's... a... smoke... screen?"

What the hell *is* the administration's current line-- "we have faith that WMD evidence will be found, and that's all you need to know, don't talk to us for another two weeks"-- but Cargo Cultism? "Cargo's comin', yes, Cargo's comin..' can't explain why or where from, though, because then Cargo wouldn't come..."

Madeleine Reardon Dimond ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2003, 06:46 AM:

Generally I agree with td, but Ted Kennedy has consistently voted against anything to do with Iraq, unlike Presidential hopeful John Kerry, who votes with Bush and then denounces him in campaign speeches. After the war was "over," the Boston Globe hunted down Kennedy and the 3 MA reps who voted against the War Powers bill to ask, "Whatcha think now, wimps?" They all said, "The war's still a bad idea." It feels funny to be defending Kennedy. I remember when he was allergic to water.

CHip ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2003, 08:26 AM:

TNR was shifting (or flailing) in the 70s and 80s. IIRC, Peretz was responsible for its shift to "whatever Israel wants, Israel gets" -- which certainly cost much of its liberal street cred. (And would make the quoted stand on Iraq a distinct move to the left.) After a few years of that I gave up on it (except for recent links); do people really feel TNR's last ~20 years are predominantly liberal? (I think I recall that in the 80s they were not taken in by the Reaganista claims about who was and wasn't for freedom in Latin America, but that was well into its anything-for-Israel stage.) I suppose it's nice that they can still recognize manure if the stench is bad enough.

Randolph: I don't know about what "the left", but the radical conservatives are already having trouble keeping control away from the center; cf what the Senate management had to give up to get another tax cut bill (although they managed to get a lot of it back in conference). I suspect that gradual steps will work better to wean voters from the "I'll protect you from the boogeyman" approach of the reactionaries.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2003, 09:01 AM:

Regarding "even the conservative New Republic": this was a joke that obviously sailed over a few people's heads.

No, TNR isn't extremely conservative. Founded in 1914, for decades it was a flagship of American liberalism. In 1974 it was bought by a wealthy heir, Martin Peretz, and since then its politics have been a complicatedly mixed bag. Which isn't to say it isn't a good magazine--it often is. But my failed joke refers to a famous wisecrack by Michael Kinsley, who, observing the way conservatives love to cite The New Republic whenever it prints something that takes the conservative line, remarked that the magazine ought to be renamed "Even the Liberal New Republic."

And yes, The New Republic was a big pre-war booster of the proposal that we should invade and conquer Iraq. So it is indeed striking to see "&c", the TNR weblog, take such a...vigorous line on the missing Ws of MD.

Anyway, no more jokes. Jokes bad and confusing. Hulk be all serious from here on.

Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2003, 12:22 PM:

Well, if my recent foray into the heartland is any guide, there are still lots of folks out there who don't feel lied to. And I was assured just last night (by Hal and Ulrika) that there exist many people who believe that WMDs have actually been found in Iraq. So I'm not sure it matters a damn.

Patrick: No, please. Don't stop being funny. If you go all serious on is I'll -- wait -- was that a joke?


James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2003, 01:02 PM:

48% of Americans, according to one recent poll, believe that WMD _have_ been found in Iraq.

Reimer Behrends ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2003, 02:07 PM:

The talking dog wrote: What did the WMD issue tell us?

Well, it does give a whole new meaning to the term vaporware.

Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2003, 07:10 PM:

I wonder how much of an overlap there is between that 48% and the many Americans who think Iraq was directly responsible for the 9/11 attacks . . .

To be fair, there were a LOT of much-hyped preliminary reports that, if you weren't careful to follow up on, might have convinced you that not only were WMD found, but that *lots* had been found.

Christopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2003, 03:29 AM:

> Anyway, no more jokes. Jokes bad and confusing. > Hulk be all serious from here on.

At least you didn't imply that the New Republic editors enjoyed disco music.

Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2003, 07:25 PM:


What a shame. I was so hoping for a ringside seat, while the country colub (glub!) Republicans reap the whirlwind.

Mary Kay--the respect given to the president's word is an amazing thing. The office is just too damn kinglike. And don't forget what the mass media does to popular perception. Now, once the propaganda machine stops pumping, people usually do figure things out--a year or two after the confirmation of Clarence Thomas a majority polled believed Anita Hill--problem is, by then it's too late.