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Lets's talk about democracy
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Tuesday, 18 October 2005
Fraud.

The BBC reports this morning an Iraqi election official has said that voting irregularities being investigated in the referendum election on Saturday might be fraud. Imagine that, fraud in Iraq? What a great day for democracy! The Iraqis certainly are quick learners and they have the best teachers: who knows more about stealing an election than the great liberator himself, George W. Bush?

The US military said they killed 70 insurgents in two air raids in Ramadi on Sunday. The local hospitals tell a different story; at least 25people were killed including 18 children. [WaPo] The air raids came in response to the killing of 5 Marines by an IED on Saturday; supposedly the majority of the dead "insurgents" were caught planting another bomb. One wonders why it would take 20 insurgents to plant an IED; obviously they would make a very tempting and easy target. If this is their usual MO, I don't see how we haven't wiped them all out yet. The most likely explanation is that the second air strike was to keep possible insurgents that might have been in the crowd of gawkers from taking anything of military value.

This happened before in 2004 when a US helicopter fired a missile on a crowd in Haifa street----they blowed-them-up-reeeel-good----who was cheering over a blown up humvee. The pentagon claimed then the crowd was all insurgents but that was later proved false because they also killed a prominent Arab reporter. [Independent] I don't know whether this is just an honest mistake or if this was a little pay back for the Marines getting blown up. In either case, killing innocent civilians like this, just for revenge, only makes more insurgents. [Vietnam 101]

[Today, two more Marines were killed and "9" "insurgents" were killed in a fire fight near Rutbah. Centcom.]

I'm sure every blog in the universe has already been over the Judith Miller thing, but I want to have my crack at her.

Her own personal account of her conversations with I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby is a little puzzling; that is to say a bunch of crap. She says Libby never told her the name of Joseph Wilson's wife but "Valerie Flame" is written in her notebook in the same spot where her notes on Libby are. Even if Libby didn't tell her what the name was, it wouldn't be too hard to find out who Wilson's wife was. Don't you get the impression Miller is trying to protect Libby, which would track with her obvious glee in printing Ahmad Chalabi's propaganda before the war. She was a real trooper for the cause.

Miller relates Libby's bogus story about how the CIA was "selectively leaking" to "hedge" in case there were no WMD found. The CIA was engaging in "a perverted war" over the war in Iraq. (Lord knows the White House frowns on leaking.) Miller writes that Libby said the evidence coming from the CIA on Iraq's WMD was unequivocal, but if you had been reading Walter Pincus in the WaPo instead of the Chalabi/Miller section of the NYT, before the war, you would have known there was quite a lot of dissention inside the CIA on this point. (If it is so that the CIA was solidly behind the now infamous National Intelligence Estimate, why then did Libby need to create the "Office of Special Plans" to make stuff up?)

I find this especially funny: Miller says Libby kept steering her back towards the administration's nuclear claims, "Although I was interested in primarily in my area of expertise [,] chemical and biological weapons." That's rich, her "expertise?" Just because Chalabi introduces you to a bunch of "eye witnesses" who claim to have worked on Saddam's weapons programs but are actually charlatans and drunkards on Chalabi's payroll and can put on a convincing act, doesn't make you an expert. A sucker, maybe. A co-conspirator, probably.

It's a fact the NYT let Miller "run amok" with no editorial controls, they allowed her to put whatever outrageous lie came into Chalabi's head and give it the credibility of the great New York Times. She and the NYT were as responsible for getting us in this war as Bush & CO. were. What credibility does Miller or the NYT have left at this point? Her editor has seriously endangered the sterling reputation of the paper over this Judith Miller matter and a lot of people can't even figure out why. What great principle was she defending? Why did she stay in jail for 85 days? Why have they defended her to the exclusion of all else? There are so many unanswered questions in this whole thing and the Times is not being very forthcoming. Sooner or later the truth is going to come out and the Times is going to take a blow. It would be truly sad if a great newspaper like the New York Times was destroyed by that self serving bitch.

Barbara Ehrenreich on Miller and the Times from an interview on Democracy Now yesterday.

"...I have to wonder why the power of this one woman, Judith Miller, in the Times, and all I can think of is that like many other mainstream media outlets, they're very, very concerned with access to the highest places in government and, you know, power wherever it is.

Judith Miller had that access, and that was more important to them than truth, apparently. There is a problem, you know, of getting too much access, getting too friendly with those people you're interviewing, getting embedded and in bed with them, which in a sense, you know, she was, and that's where mainstream journalism very easily crosses the line into becoming spokespeople for those in power. And that's what the Times became."

News notes:
Seth Borensterin from Knight Ridder reports that, "The chief Pentagon agency in charge of investigating and reporting fraud and waste in Defense Department spending in Iraq quietly pulled out of the war zone a year ago -- leaving what experts say are gaps in the oversight of how more than $140 billion is being spent."

Posted by bushmeister0 at 12:34 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 18 October 2005 4:02 PM EDT
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