Berger and the RWE

While debating the US attorneys scandal over at Boortz, I was hit with the “What about Sandy Berger!” line and discoverd this, which was not reported by the Right Wing Echosphere.

We’ve never been considered soft on the Clinton Administration or its leading personalities. So we hope we’ll have some credibility, especially with our friends on the right, when we say that the misdemeanor plea bargain struck by the Justice Department last week with former National Security Adviser Sandy Berger looks to be a reasonable outcome.

Accorrding to the RWE, he’s never been convicted. But it goes on:

After a long investigation, however, Justice says the picture that emerged is of a man who knowingly and recklessly violated the law in handling classified documents, but who was not trying to hide any evidence. Prosecutors believe Mr. Berger genuinely wanted to prepare for his testimony before the 9/11 Commission but felt he was somehow above having to spend numerous hours in the Archives as the rules required, and that he didn’t exactly know how to return the documents once he’d taken them out.
More than a few conservatives have been crying foul, or whitewash, in part because Mr. Berger’s plea means he’ll likely avoid jail and lose his security clearance for only three years. So we called Justice Department Public Integrity chief prosecutor Noel Hillman, who assured us that Mr. Berger did not deny any documents to history. “There is no evidence that he intended to destroy originals,” said Mr. Hillman. “There is no evidence that he did destroy originals. We have objectively and affirmatively confirmed that the contents of all the five documents at issue exist today and were made available to the 9/11 Commission.”

He was eventually fined $50,000.

By the way, that’s the notoriously left-wing Wall Street Journal. The recent tendency of the right to circulate “facts” which aren’t and the half of stories that support their point of view; the tendency of these “facts” and half-truths to echo from Hannity to Boortz to Limbaugh to Colter; the tendency for them to quote each other as though they were news sources has created a new term for this blog — the Echosphere. There’s also a left-wing Echosphere of pundits that quote each other on how the second ammendment authorized militias and such. But I’m growing sick of it, especially on the Right. Conservatives used to be rugged individualists who came up with their own arguments. Now they’re just a bunch of parrots.

“Who’s a great President!” “Bushie want a cracker!” “Valerie Plame wasn’t undercover!” “Awwk! Awwk!”



A conservative talking point that I’m beginning to doubt goes like so: “If we set a deadline for leaving Iraq, the terrorists will just lay low until we’re gone.”

I think that’s true and it was a point I was sympathic to until recently. My thought was this: Why is that a bad thing?

If we get less violence in Iraq, a lessening of ethnic hatred and a breather for the Iraqi government to assert itself, why is that a bad thing? I don’t see that the insurgent forces would necessarily be able to marshall reserve strength faster than the Iraqi government could.

I think it is reflective of the conservative misunderstanding of the nature of our fight. This is not like World War II where we are going to track some bigwig down in a bunker and kill him and then his followers will surrender. This is an ongoing ethnic strife that is not going to end until the combatants decide it’s no longer in their interest to fight. If we set a deadline (one we can always change if necessary) and the thugs back off, that will give the people a chance to see that there is a better option — a peaceful option. It will give them a reason to stop fighting.

What’s wrong with that?

A soft deadline is a perfectly viable option, in my opinion.

Obama Surges

I’m absolutely delighted that Barrack Obama is beating Hillary in the funding game. You can almost imagine the temper tantrum going on in New York right now. “I’m supposed to be President! How dare he!”

As I’ve said in this space before, Obama=JFK (Sully today made the comparison to RFK). Not much experience, fairly left, but charisma and charm out the wazoo. I probably disagree with Mr. Obama on almost every issue. But I like him. And I, like half of Americans, can’t stand Hillary. Anything that gets her ironclad grannie undies in a bunch is outstanding.

Boortz Braggadacio

Neal Boortz’s posts were obsolete almost by the time he posted them. But let’s fisk him anyway on the Iran issue:

The proper response would be to start dropping bombs until the soldiers were returned. You know…like Margaret Thatcher…or Winston Churchill would do.

But neither Thacher nor Churchill would have had us hip-deep in Iraq with an incompetently fought war that has produced military paralysis. We couldn’t have bombed Iran because, among other things, they might have decided to send a million soldiers westward into Iraq. How would we deal with that, Mr. Boortz?

A lot of criticism of the Bush Administration has focused on their erosion of America’s soft power around the globe. But I see an equal decay in our hard power. We went into Iraq and we couldn’t pacify it. Not because of liberal media or Democrats but because of a weak, incompetent Adminsitration that was more interested in handing out reconstruction contracts to friends than rebuilding a nation. Iran was emboldened. They new we couldn’t respond forcefully. And they took advantage.

As I said, thanks a lot, George.

Score One for the Bad Guys

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad just scored a gigantic political coup over the United States. Whatever else might be said of the hostage situation, he can point out that he treated his prisoners humanely while Bush waterboards them. He can point out that they were freed as a gesture of good will, while Bush has some that have been imprisoned without charges for five years.

And allow me to head off the “they were wearing uniforms” thing at the pass. Do you think that subtlety is going to matter anywhere in the world apart from National Review and Rush Limbaugh? Do you think the ROW cares about that? What they will see is terror suspects being indefinitely detained and waterboarded while Iran sets enemy soldiers free.

That’s the legacy of George W. Bush. Iran has made us look bad. Thanks a fucking million.

Passover Blogging

I’m back home for the Holiday. A few thoughts before I hit the hay:

  • I am getting very close to putting an ax through the TV when i see more coverage of this Anna Nichole Smith business. Enough!
  • I’m still convinced Iran is trying to provoke an attack to rally their people. The demonstration in Iran are, like those of thirty years ago, likely staged.
  • I thought Boortz and Limbaugh could be bad. Then oday I was “treated” while driving to listening to Hannity and Savage. Hannity was debating Charlie Rangle on Iraq and kept focusing on “Hillary thought there were weapons of mass destruction!”. He doesn’t seem to have any time to address the mission creep that is getting our boys killed.
  • Savage is annoying as hell but he made a decent point on Pelosi going to Syria, saying the President should have goaded her to repeat the party line — i.e, “Hey Syria! Behave yourself!”. I can’t say he’s right but it was a decent idea. Who the hell does Pelosi think she is anyway? Much as I have railed against the massive expansion of executive power under this President, there is one aspect of our government where he is supposed to have untrammelled power — diplomacy.
  • Baseball season is back. Sweet. And I told you it would be a conservative Final Four. Boy, Buckeyes must really hate Florida now. This is twice they’ve toppled mighty Ohio State from a consensus #1 ranking.
  • It’s funny how you notice things. For 3.5 years, whenever I’ve had to use . . . dial-up . . . on my powerbook, I thought that little flashing dot on the modem icon was a heart. Now I see it’s a modem plug. What a goober.
  • Pregnant women can’t run.
  • Just Curious

    The GOP and their sychophants on talk radio are slamming the Dems over their Iraqi withdrawal plan, calling it a surrender plan.

    I’m just curious. What’s their plan? Other than just saying they want “victory”? What is the goal? How do they plan to achieve it? It’s becoming clearer that the surge produced only a temporary lull in the violence.

    So what do they plan to do? That’s the one thing I never hear from the so-called conservatives. All they talk about is how important the battle is and how leaving it will be a great victory for Al-Quaeda — which is amazing unlikely for a radical Sunni organization in a majority Shia state. But they never present any ideas? More troops? Different tactics? Change of leadership? We’re trying that now and it doesn’t seem to be doing much good. So what is your plan? Come on Bushbots. Tell me what the plan is to achieve victory in Iraq?

    Sully on Habeas

    Like all mediocre writers, I prefer to quote good ones rather than ham it up on my own:

    America is now failing that test. And the Republican party has lost not only its own soul; it is busy mortgaging the soul of America and the West as a whole. On this, there can be no compromise. Until a leading Republican commits to the full restoration of habeas corpus for American citizens, whether the executive considers them an “enemy combatant” or not, no one who loves freedom can support the GOP. In fact, any lover of freedom should consider it a duty to defeat them.