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Posted by Nutrimentia on 06-24-2004 06:36 AM:

"Imperial Hubris" by Anonymous

I saw a CNN report today on an upcoming book entitled "Imperial Hubris" written by Anonymous, who is actually a senior CIA analyst who was in charge of the Bin Laden/ Terrorism desk for a long time before getting pushed into side jobs when he started bitching about the current administration. He was interviewed in silhouette on CNN today. His identity is being kept secret for some reason, but his background is legitimate according to the CNN reporter: he is who he claims to be.

Apparently the book is his bitch list about the adminstration. Essentially he claims that the Bush administration doesn't really understand what they are fighting against at all and that all the rhetoric about "they hate us because of our freedoms" is just illusionary. Anonymous claims that Bin Laden and Al Qaeda hate us for things we've done, like support corrupt governments and leaders in Islamic nations and our unconditional support of Israel. Anonymous took care to mention in his interview that he wasn't taking a position on these actions by the US (i.e. he wasn't saying it was good or bad that we support Israel the way we do) but he felt it necessary for people to understand that the things we do have consequences and implications that need to be considered to fully understand the situation. But to continue the fantasy that these people hate America because we have freedom of speech or freedom of the press is ludicrous and counter-productive.

He also suggests that Bush played right into Osama's hands by invading an oil rich Islamic nation. This isn't a terror campaign, it is a war, plain and simple. Osama's strategy is coherent, intelligent, and effective, but the US strategy is misguided, unaware of the actual battle and substance of the conflict. As far as tactics and strategy go, OBL is winning.

The book is due in August, I think. A quick google search turned up a few hits already. It appears that the same guy wrote a book called Thtough Our Enemies' Eyes a few years ago. The google search turned up the publisher's site, a Guardian article on it, and an unfavorable review of Through our Enemies' Eyes

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Posted by Nutrimentia on 06-25-2004 02:50 AM:

Does anyone think it is significant that we are seeing so many books by so many people that are slamming the adminstration, an adminstration that prided itself on internal security and solidarity? Usually books come out well after the fact but lately we've seen a lot of people who are trying to get information out, apparently in an effort to rectify what they see as a a bad situation.

Is it a general commentary on Bush's policies? When it comes to trusting someone, do we trust the people's who's job is to research and understand the world via intelligence gathering or the people who's job depends on reelection?

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Posted by Trenchant_Troll on 06-25-2004 03:01 AM:

I'm a tad too deeply within my cups to respond at this particular time. Perhaps tomorrow I will endeavor to coalesce a synapse ejaculation or two on this singular matter. Until then you will have to squeeze you mental knees together, won't you?

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Posted by zim on 06-25-2004 03:13 AM:

There've been two such books that I'm aware of. This one, and el terrorism czar. Bob Woodward was not exactly an insider. Am I missing any?

Is 2 a lot?

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Posted by Nutrimentia on 06-25-2004 03:34 AM:

Clarke?

Zinni?

Paul O'neal (Price of Loyalty?)

CIA analysts?

I think there may have been more that I can't remember offhand.

Considering that zero is the norm, I think it may be (I'm not saying it is) significant. An analysis I had read suggested that people were taking to the book presses because traditional methods of talking to the press wasn't feasible in the current White House climate (and that was established pre-9/11).

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Posted by Smug Git on 06-25-2004 04:32 AM:

There were some guys from State who resigned in objection to Bush's Iraq policy, too (although less than had done over Clinton's perceived inaction in the Balkans, I think).

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Posted by Paint CHiPs on 06-25-2004 06:10 AM:

Man, I finally have a perfect thread to dump something in.

I've been saying for months that something is different about the rash of leaks coming from Washington. It really started catching my eye with the Chalabi stuff, and has since accelerated, to the point where something critical and debate-changing is being leaked nearly ever other week. I posited that Bush has crossed a line with brass in the CIA and Pentagon, and perhaps his own administration. This caught my eye because, though it's a fairly widespread opinion (I think), this is the first time I've seen it in print.

What's important too about this is, if it is indeed the case, it's not something that is likely to disappear or even letup. It hints at a very large breakdown in intra-department relations, and, if important figures in those departments have indeed turned, it's only going to get worse, I suspect. The CIA, for instance, is not known for "letting things go". In my own head, the Clarke and Anonymous stuff is symptomatic, but not the whole story. There's more than meets the eye.




To be published in the July 12, 2004 issue of The Nation
Embedded Patriots
by William Greider


The most intriguing story in Washington these days is a subterranean conflict that reporters cannot cover because some of them are involved. A potent guerrilla insurgency has formed in and around the Bush presidency - a revolt of old pros in government who strike from the shadows with devastating effect. They tell the truth. They explode big lies. They provide documentary evidence that undermines popular confidence in the Commander in Chief. They prod the media and the political community to ask penetrating questions of the Bush regime. Doubtless, these anonymous sources act from a mixture of motives-some noble, some self-interested-but in present circumstances one might think of them as "embedded patriots."

The business of leaks is an everyday thing in Washington and, arguably, the government could not function without them. It is a way to communicate official and unofficial information in a tentative fashion-nudging events in one direction or another without the need to take responsibility for what's communicated. Reporters participate enthusiastically in the traffic and call it "news." The process is sustained only because everyone can rely on the journalists' mock-heroic code of omertā: Never reveal the names of your secret sources-never-even if the revealed "information" turns out to be spurious.

But what has occurred during the past several months is not the normal commerce. A series of explosive leaks-closely held documents and well-informed tips-have altered the course of politics and might very well influence the outcome of this year's presidential election. Yet we don't know whom to thank. Who gave the Justice Department's "torture" memorandum to the Washington Post? Who provided the International Red Cross's letter of complaints on prisoner abuses to the Wall Street Journal? Who confirmed for the New York Times that Iyad Allawi, the newly appointed Prime Minister of Iraq, had supervised the CIA's terrorist bombing campaign in Baghdad a decade ago? Who informed US News & World Report that Defense Secretary Rumsfeld had authorized the holding of a "ghost prisoner" in violation of international law? Who-someone close to the President?-leaked the "torture" memo written by White House counsel Alberto Gonzales?

We don't need to know the identities to grasp that these and other over-the-transom "communications" provided forceful and well-timed contradictions to the White House line. It is also obvious that these leaks could not have come from the lower depths of the bureaucracy. The material is too sensitive for wide distribution. Not to take anything away from aggressive reporters, but the leakers clearly targeted the Post, Times and Journal to achieve maximum impact on Washington. The messages are not from some office crank at the Xerox machine but had to originate among sophisticated and highly placed officers of government.

My own surmise-corroborated in conversations with several long-experienced Washington reporters-is that we are probably talking about career military officers and senior civil servants at the Pentagon, Justice Department lawyers and professionals at the CIA or State Department. In practice, sensitive documents are sometimes passed off laterally to former colleagues no longer in government who provide them to the chosen reporters. Some risk to one's career is required, but these are smart people who know how to cover their tracks. Oddly enough, the brutally buttoned-down Bush White House has not invoked the usual official whine about irresponsible leaks, perhaps because the evidence nailed them so forcefully (and there's probably more to come). Or maybe the White House is inhibited by the embarrassing fact that its staff faces a grand jury investigation over leaking the identity of CIA officer Valerie Plame (even the President has consulted his own lawyer).

Cynical readers may resist this explanation, but the motivations within the permanent government are most likely grounded in principle and patriotism, not narrow partisanship. Among bureaucrats, there is always a current of low-level grumbling about the elected leadership, but career civil servants and military rarely take such provocative countermeasures. In this Administration, the level of disgust and alarm is more palpable because Bush has been willing to trash the accepted norms of behavior and to cross perilous thresholds, unaware of the dangers despite many warnings from the professionals. To people who will be in government long after Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld have departed, the Bush crowd looks like the worst possible combination of qualities-incompetence and ruthlessness.

"It's a wonderful country in a way," Walter Pincus, the Post's veteran investigative reporter, observes. "People in the government community are really concerned about what can happen. They get upset with themselves when they see things going wrong. So they are willing to raise questions. But I also think for some the failure to stand up before the war started is emboldening them now." The concerns of these anonymous truth-tellers were confirmed in public by the powerful statement issued recently by retired diplomats and military leaders, virtually calling for Bush's defeat this fall. "We need a change," they declared. The list of signers was striking because it was top-heavy with Republican and conservative professionals: Reagan's ambassador to Moscow and his chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, George Bush Sr.'s ambassador to Israel and many others.

Whatever their intentions, the leakers have now raised the stakes for the country-posing grave implications that cannot be easily brushed aside. While Bush tries to explain away prisoner abuse in Iraq with the "few bad apples" argument, the White House, Pentagon and Justice Department memos justifying torture establish an official predicate for scandalous government actions that are more than embarrassing. Fundamentally, these are crimes-violations both of US law and of the Geneva Conventions, according to many legal experts. The President himself did not express alarm at these revelations. He turned aside questions as casually as his lieutenants dismissed the Constitution. Thus, an ominous warning light is now flashing for the Republic: the potential for criminal charges running far up the military chain of command, and for the lodging of impeachment charges against this President and for an international tribunal to examine American war crimes. The connecting facts are not yet visible to support these accusations, but a plausible outline for how they may be connected is well exposed. These matters, in other words, could lead to a constitutional crisis as momentous as Watergate, maybe more serious because the offenses are far more fundamental.

Did the President authorize illegal acts? Bad advice from his lawyers is not a defense. Did his Cabinet officers construct rationales to disobey long-settled law and common morality? We will not learn the answers unless responsible, independent investigations are initiated. Very few Americans may wish to go down that road, but the consequences of ignoring the warning light are far worse. The precedent of accepting lawless government and a corrupted constitutional order will lead inevitably to more of both.


Posted by Paint CHiPs on 06-25-2004 06:29 AM:

Hell, I can't even say it would surprise me if it turns out Powell had a hand in it.


Posted by Nutrimentia on 06-25-2004 07:17 AM:

I agree with you on the Powell bit. I've floated the possibility that he might mutiny and resign before the election, maximizing the opportunity to speak out against Bush. We all agreed that it is unlikely (and still believe so), but that isn't to say he isn't doing what he can. Resignation would violate personal vows of loyalty and integrity perhaps, and likely damage any future political aspirations. But leaks? I'm looking forward to his memoir, I htink, although I wonder what more he could tell us. It might make for a neat history pack: Clarke, Powell, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Wolfie, Anonymous, Zinni.

I think this paragraph states it the best:

quote:
Cynical readers may resist this explanation, but the motivations within the permanent government are most likely grounded in principle and patriotism, not narrow partisanship. Among bureaucrats, there is always a current of low-level grumbling about the elected leadership, but career civil servants and military rarely take such provocative countermeasures. In this Administration, the level of disgust and alarm is more palpable because Bush has been willing to trash the accepted norms of behavior and to cross perilous thresholds, unaware of the dangers despite many warnings from the professionals. To people who will be in government long after Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld have departed, the Bush crowd looks like the worst possible combination of qualities-incompetence and ruthlessness.



I personally feel the same about my politics. My allegiances are to my country and the ideals that I believe it represents, not to a party. As such, I oppose actions that hurt that endeavor. I do tend to end up on the liberal side of the argument more often than not, but I'm really not a liberal, just a patriot who cares for my fellow citizens and wants to make the world the best it can be.
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Posted by Coincidence on 06-25-2004 05:43 PM:

Europeans love (to read (about)) these books. We like to get our suspicions of Bush confirmed, and internal conflict in US government is reassuring in a strange way.

But it seems all these books do not make much of a difference or have any consequences. Or?

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Posted by Smug Git on 06-25-2004 05:53 PM:

It seems to me that there is a drip-drip effect. But you are right, I reckon, they mostly appeal to people who already believe it.

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Posted by Paint CHiPs on 06-25-2004 07:52 PM:

I'll go ahead and disagree with that. The impact isn't that the 10% of undecided voters all go out and buy the books and read them and become convinced; rather, it's the way these things control news cycles; shift the debate; refocus things.

For instance, if you wouldn't have had Richard Clarke's book, there was a good month there when the coverage for Bush would have been pretty okay, leading up to the 9-11 commission stuff (which wouldn't have been nearly as charged had the Clarke thing not hit). But the Clarke discussion dominated every level of the news media for weeks, the conversation in America became "Has Bush really been an effective leader in the war on terror?" among other things. That needed a setting off point; it wasn't just going to be immaculatly concieved. To a degree there, of course, had been snippets of it here and there, Clarke's book took all of that and made it National Question Bush's Leadership On Terrorism Month in America.

You can argue back and forth about what impact, in the end, that had, but I don't think that the impact is all right away; it IS cumulative; even now you'll notice a very different slant in media coverage than you would have in, say, early March. In a way, when things like Clarke's book happen, and then followed by lesser aftershocks like Woodwards, the 9-11 commission, etc, they shift the landscape. Now, not only is it deemed alright to question the leadership on their handling of these things (something that, amazingly, hasn't been the case for the entirity of Bush's presidency), its considered a big story, its considered one valid point of view.

The leaks have been, arguably, even more important. The Abu Gharib stuff may never have gotten out at all without them, or if they had in some Red Cross report form (and we can guess how that would have been recieved by some here). And, just when the administration was trying to scuttle that, more leaks brought out memos saying this wasn't an isolated incidenct but a systemic change in policy. And, everytime since that the administration has tried to dance around it, another leak springs up pinning it closer and closer. It must be, I imagine, maddening for them to deal with, because they can't rightly tell the truth, I don't think, but they can't outright lie either, because who knows what might pop out next week.

All these things together have marked a huge change in this presidential election. Has any single book changed any single person's mind? I have no idea. But, I can tell you for sure that the total effect of these leaks and these officials coming out has had a very bad net effect for Bush, and will very much impact this years presidential election. It's at least as much responsible for this election being as close as it is as any other single factor I can think of.

Bush got a two year free pass with the news media, something I can't think of a parallel for in my lifetime, when the media was SCARED to question the administration. Now, since December or so, the tide's turned, and it's been wave after wave of bad news for the Bush team. That might have been a flash in the pan had it not been for a number of first hand accounts coming from all over the place corraborating a lot of people's suspicions (and adding new ones). What's more, Bush doesn't look like he's going to start catching a break again anytime soon.


Posted by Smug Git on 06-25-2004 07:55 PM:

The ICRC don't really release or report that stuff publically. The leak was what got it out there.

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Posted by Coincidence on 06-25-2004 10:27 PM:

quote:
Originally posted by Paint CHiPs
[B]Has any single book changed any single person's mind? I have no idea. But, I can tell you for sure that the total effect of these leaks and these officials coming out has had a very bad net effect for Bush, and will very much impact this years presidential election.

Well, the media slightly tipping and Kerry's chances increasing are not the kind of consequence I am talking about.
Isn't it a problem that with all this cumulative disloyalty and insider knowledge, nothing is done to prevent Bush from doing further damage?

How can anyone keep a straight face with this stuff piling up?
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Posted by Smug Git on 06-26-2004 02:00 AM:

Actually, I think that paint makes a good point about the stealing of headlines from the campaign, actually.

As for Coincidence's question, the fact is that the US government is fucking huge and employs a lot of people, so it'd take a lot more people coming out and saying this stuff to really give the impression that the government is a shambles. Republicans and leaning republicns can dismiss this stuff as unrepresentative. That is what I think, at least.

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Posted by Coincidence on 06-26-2004 10:44 AM:

There should be an emergency break somewhere in the white house.

But some of the authors were republican, no?
And why would republicans want to dismiss it if it's true? Does the label 'Republican' on Bush shield him from countermeasures (in lack of a better word)?

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Posted by Smug Git on 06-26-2004 10:46 AM:

People will be more forgiving of their own guy (as Democrats were of Clinton and Republicans were of Reagan) and will just want to limit the political damage that revelations or accusations do, as a rule. Because even if the president is a shit, he's their shit.

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Posted by Coincidence on 06-26-2004 11:39 AM:

But at some point, will they not have to abandon Bush?
If he is betraying Republican ideals, the only way to limit political damage would be to portray him as beyond Republican, not their shit anymore. Those insanity stories could be useful after all.

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Posted by Smug Git on 06-26-2004 11:44 AM:

He has been betraying republican ideals with his airline bailouts, the steel tarriffs, extending unemployment benefits, huge government spending, etc, but Republicans have largely let that go, for various reasons. He is still pretty popular with the republicans and, even with those that don't like him, still their preferred choice over Kerry.

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Posted by Coincidence on 06-26-2004 01:42 PM:

quote:
Originally posted by Smug Git
He is still pretty popular with the republicans


I still don't know how that is possible. Their reasons must go far beyond political 'achievements'.
The only reason I've got on the Asylum was that Kerry is worse, but Kerry looks like a republican to me, compared to Bush who looks like an insane monkey.

Maybe there IS no sense to be made, the illusion is that huge.
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Posted by Smug Git on 06-26-2004 03:03 PM:

So-called 'tax relief' is a big part of it, I think.

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Posted by Coincidence on 06-26-2004 03:44 PM:

Not as big as blind faith, I think.

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Posted by Nutrimentia on 06-27-2004 02:16 AM:

And hatred of the enemy.

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Posted by lucidnightmare on 07-20-2004 07:37 PM:

a good point in the book


Page 185-8: The Department of Justice and the FBI have paralyzed American war efforts with their bizarre reliance on law enforcement: "Are we waging war, or hot on the trail of Thelma and Louise?" Scheuer asks. Bin Laden and Mullah Omar, who obey only God's law, are unlikely to quiver when indicted in New York courtrooms

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Posted by Nutrimentia on 08-01-2004 06:21 AM:

It took 185 pages for you to find a point that you agree with? Anything else going on there or did you just block out everything that doesn't fit your schema? My copy was shipped today but I won't get it until September when I return to school.

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