Democrats & Liberals Archives

A War of Information

The Bush Administration knows that knowledge is power. Unfortunately, it fails to realize that the healthiest place for most of this knowledge, is in the hands of the American people. When it keeps crucial facts to itself, it both sets itself and its supporters up for a fall. It also increases opposition to itself, and amplifies the justified anxieties about the reach of its power.

Recently, court records revealed that our president leaked classified information to the press. The fact that Bush leaked something to the press wasn't the concern. Three concerns included, from least to worst:

1)The President's repeated denials of the leak of classified materials, 2)The President's harsh dealings with past leakers, and 3)The fact that the President failed to notifiy, much less consult with the intelligence community on the declassification. This may be the hinge on which rests the president's legal authority to have the information so released.

Some of us on the Blue Column have alleged that the President authorized the Plame Leak. This may or may not be the case, as the wording in news reports was a bit unclear. Some from the Red Column might point fingers at this as further evidence of the insatiable hatred of liberals for Bush, but they fail to admit that on the surface this is a natural assumption for people to make. After all, this is the leak investigation and we are talking about the president authorizing a leak of classified information. With the president's secrecy on matters, its not unnatural for people to jump to the conclusion that the classified secret which was leaked by Bush was Valerie Wilson's identity.

It fits the profile, really. Say one thing when you did another. Say you've completely armored a division when most of the division's Humvees are only armored under the definition because of the same armor that's been causing the controversy. Continue to claim the weapons are there, even after exhaustive searches have turned up bare remnants alone. Claim that victory is around the corner every month for three years, despite the appearance that it's slipping further away. Claim you support the troops when you refuse to listen to the ground commander's pleas for additional manpower,and fail to take care of the wounded and the shell-shocked veterans who returned home. When an ostensibly conquered territory erupts in rebellion, say that it's dead enders, that it will be over soon, and then try to sell it as an ingenious strategy, designed to protect Americans from terrorists by luring them to the battlefield to die. Say you're doing your best, even as people watch a humanitarian disaster develop in their own country. Say you're the party of fiscal responsibility, fighting off the big spenders, even as you become the very antithesis, the biggest spenders in your nation's history. Say you'll hunt Bin Laden to the last, then tell the world months later that you're really not that concerned about him anymore.

Bush used to be known for being a straight shooter, tell-it-like-it-is type. Constantly, comparisons were made between him and that internet creating liar, him and that flip-flopping wishy-washy. I've heard so many people talk about the big hero he's supposed to be Superman with grey hair and a (ostensibily) Texas Twang.

He's waged a war on his critics to convince the country of this, and for some time he was successful. But the weight of his secrets, and a long series of hair-raising disclosures of them has done much to make him look less Mayberry, and more Mayberry Machiavellian. He's done much of this to himself.

Arlen Specter has the right idea in asking him to give a good accounting, but I think that might be a problematic approach. All facts have their implications, and the more we learn from the Bush administration, the more we learn about it by inference. Ultimately, there exists the possibility that if Bush makes public the full nature of his disclosures public (allowing for national security concerns), then he could end up revealing something worse than that. Or maybe there's no such dark secrets, as Republicans hope.

I advise my Republican readers to back Specter's request. If Bush is innocent, this is the one way to really clear his name. If he is not, he will likely refuse the request. Then you will know one of two things is true: he's guilty of something, and/or he doesn't trust you to come to your own conclusions based on the full truth. If the latter is the case, I would be insulted, and I would get mad. You folks are Republicans, so individualism and plain-dealing are strong ideals among yourselves. If Bush is unable to trust you with the facts, unable to trust your own judgment, then he has no real respect for you living up to these ideals.

The time has come to quit defining the truth of the Bush Administration politically. It doesn't help. The truth has no party affiliation. The parties themselves are the one who must choose to affiliate themselves to the truth, and the extent to which they fail to do so is the extent to which they are unworthy for leadership. Whether we want big government or small, involved government or stand-offish, we all want a government that deals with the tasks its given well, and which doesn't waste our time or money with B.S. and corruption. We want a government that is ahead of the curve, and we will never get that as long as our leaders keep us behind it, and we cooperate with that. The time has come to look outside the party lines for the truth on both sides of the aisle.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at April 10, 2006 10:49 AM
Comment #139560

Fitzgerald may not have said Bush authorized the disclosure of Valerie Wilson’s identity, but somebody else has!

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 10, 2006 12:15 PM
Comment #139578

A most excellent post Stephen. Just as Bush wanted the American people to assume that Sadam was involved with 911, now he wants us to assume that he and or his boys had nothing to do with the Plame leak.
I am quite skeptical of Specter’s comments though. He and other Republicans have call for accountability from this administration before, only to back down when push came to shove.

Posted by: jlw at April 10, 2006 1:11 PM
Comment #139585


Huh? I read the link but I don’t see anything in that article that even suggests in any way that Bush authorized the disclosure of Plame’s Identity. It even suggests that he declassified the information but did not authorize the NIH information be present to the press, that was taken on by Libby…

Am I reading the wrong article or did I miss that particular passage and can you point it out?

Posted by: Rhinehold at April 10, 2006 1:40 PM
Comment #139614

I’m afraid I misread the article. Sorry, I was right the first time: Bush so far has not been directly implicated.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 10, 2006 3:43 PM
Comment #139623

Ah, thanks for letting me know, I thought I wasn’t reading it correctly. I’m sure that this story isn’t over yet or going anywhere, though I’m more likely to see Cheney be involved instead of Bush, from what I’m seeing they keep a lot of the details from getting to him directly.

Posted by: Rhinehold at April 10, 2006 3:59 PM
Comment #139631

From CNN today:

“WASHINGTON (CNN) — President Bush said Monday that he had declassified intelligence documents in 2003 to help explain his administration’s reasons for going to war in Iraq.

“I thought it was important for people to get a better sense of what I was saying in my speeches,” Bush said, answering a question from an audience member at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies in Washington. “And I felt I could do so without jeopardizing ongoing intelligence matters.”

Bush said he had authorized the release of the documents because some Americans questioned his reasons for going to war.

“So I wanted people to see the truth,” he said. “And I thought it made sense for people to see the truth.”


Rhinehold -

Just curious as to your read on this. The key point - to me - is the fact that Bush knew this information he released was very much disputed, yet he made no effort at all to allow both sides of the argument to be heard or discussed. He leads us to war in Iraq because that’s what he wanted - and he did everything in power to maintain a single side of the intelligence debate. How can anyone, who now knows much of what happened, ever suggest that Bush supports the troops? He knew many of them would die for a threat that he KNEW was debated, much less imminent… and he showed no care whatsoever to these soldiers.

Posted by: tony at April 10, 2006 4:22 PM
Comment #139812

I heard Chris Mathews say something interesting, If the Democrats retake the House in the fall, then they’ll have the power of subpeona. Interesting things could happen then.

Rhinehold, your absolutely right that Bush hasn’t been “implicated” yet. Yet being the operative word. Truthfully, I doubt he will ever be pinned down to admit that he was involved in the trashing of Joe Wilson. or McCain, or Scott Ridder, or Paul Oneil, or Gore, or Kerry, or……….

Too bad that you continue to play the Clinton “is” card and fail to see the character flaw of the man. Most voters don’t care that much about a lawyerly parsing of words. A liar is a liar. A rumor monger is a rumor monger. Bush can’t quit like Delay did to avoid the albatross effect on the Republican party.

Posted by: gergle at April 11, 2006 6:16 AM
Comment #139993

I think I can explain what my general problem with the Republican party and the president is at this moment with a short explanation.

I’m no fan of taxes. I want to keep my money. But when I think about the deficits we’re in, and the debt we’re running, it occurs to me that the savings I might get from a tax cut now would be deceptively short term.

First, this is not free money we’re using to run the government in the absence of taxes. It’s actually future tax dollars. Moreover, its tax dollars with interest. The deficit spending means we’re paying more for the same government. If we were doing tax cuts out of a surplus, with our debt paid down, this wouldn’t be true.

Already, we pay for much of the supposedly free government we got in the Eighties and Nineties. approximately four-hundred billion goes to pay these bills. They already are a burden on the tax payers, spending that gets them nothing but a release from past obligations.

These deficits contribute both to increases in interest rates and increases in inflation, both of which drag on the economy.

Thinking simplistically, we might think tax cuts give money back to the people, but that isn’t always true when all the implications are weighed in.

Other people argue for these tax cuts on ideological grounds, or on the grounds that somehow lower revenues force spending cuts, which they find attractive. Looking at this, though, I can only say that the ideal and the desired are not always the wise things to grasp for.

This is indicative of much of political thought nowadays, but we cannot just stand back and wash our hands of it. These people reflect us, reflect how we think. They take advantage of our weaknesses to keep in office. We set the selective pressures, the boundaries that they fear to cross. We clarify for them what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior. Because they come from among us, we also set their initial moral standards for right and wrong, whatever they become later.

In short, we must do two things: push our representatives, senators and presidents to do better, and push ourselves to do the same thing. We cannot wait for wise leaders to show up. We’ve got to be wise ourselves if we want wise leadership.

I don’t think we’re inherently doomed to this. I think we get to this point here, with a President who acts impulsively and fails to consider the care and wisdom needed to govern wisely, because we’ve made and invested ourselves in a series of previous mistakes. At this point, our best option is to swallow our pride and make the difficult journey of learning how to govern ourselves well again.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 11, 2006 6:16 PM
Comment #140002

“I think I can explain what my general problem with the Republican party and the president is at this moment with a short explanation.”

I don’t that they (REPs & Prez) will hear you - the sound is buffered from reaching their ears due to the unnatural bodily orafice encasing their cranuims.

Posted by: tony at April 11, 2006 6:53 PM
Comment #140138
I think I can explain what my general problem with the Republican party and the president is at this moment with a short explanation.

So can I:

1.) They are Evil.

2.) They are intentianlly promulgating and fostering Ignorance.

3.) They lie (see Above).

4.) They are destroying America, both domestically and in the eyes of the World.

Was that Short enough? I’d like to stay, but my Freedom Fries are done now.

Posted by: Betty Burke at April 12, 2006 6:42 AM
Comment #140149

I’m sure many Republicans would find this objectionable.

I’m sure many conservatives and independents, if they looked at the evidence, would feel rather betrayed. And they have. Why else are Bush’s numbers so low? Bit by bit, the president’s support is whittling down, and in large part it’s due to the large quantity of things we keep getting right. They don’t like it, often enough, but who would? After all, these are people they’ve invested trust and ideals in.

I think getting small about it serves no good purpose. We get arrogant about our politics, and we will head down the same road as the Republicans. We aren’t immune to that.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 12, 2006 8:09 AM
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