July 17, 2003
WHITE HOUSE IN "BATTLE MODE"....Man, the press is finally calling them the way they see them. This is from Friday's Washington Post:
officials acknowledged yesterday that their damage control efforts over
President Bush's use of tainted intelligence have been inadequate, and
said they plan to put out additional facts in coming days.
....That would represent a change in tack. Bush's staff, during his
campaign and in the White House, has typically handled controversies by
trying to ignore them on the assumption that reporters and the public
eventually would be distracted by other issues.
Sure, it's only on page A12, but it's a start! Read the whole story for more.
And prepare yourself for an epic blizzard of "additional facts"
coming from the White House over the next few days. Should be fun.
Posted by Kevin Drum at July 17, 2003 10:07 PM
The White House yesterday sent Republicans on Capitol Hill a sheet
of talking points titled "Why Saddam Hussein Was a Grave and Gathering
Danger" and reprising evidence about the former Iraqi president's
arsenal of weapons of mass destruction. "We are only beginning to
uncover the truth about the Iraqi regime," the sheet says.
can't. . .respond. . .without blastfax!!!!
Rove: All hands to battle stations!
Tenet: Bite me.
Condi: No way, I've got a 5 o'clock on Fox to slag Tenet.
Powell: I've, um, got an appointment...
McClellan: I'm under my desk and not coming out.
Rummy: Pkshh! Kpow! Blam blam blam! Bshhh!
Ashcroft: Cover your ankles, you lascivious slut.
They're still promoting the same "evidence"?
They're like a smoker whose first action after losing a lung is taking a drag...
Slightly OT, but it just occurred to me that the whole "only 16
words" excuse is a bit soft coming from the same people who didn't seem
to mind that "I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss
Lewinsky" is only eleven words.
More damning evidence:
"During the Clinton administration, the CIA's annual reports to
Congress on the global proliferation of weapons of mass destruction
routinely cast Iraq as a problematic footnote -- a country worth keeping
an eye on but not an alarming threat.
But the tone of the reports changed dramatically after George W. Bush
became president, with increasingly longer narratives suggesting that
Iraq was hell-bent on acquiring nuclear weapons.
In 1997, the first year of the congressionally mandated reports, the
CIA devoted only three paragraphs to Iraq, noting that Baghdad possessed
dual-use equipment that could be used for biological or chemical
programs. There was no mention of a nuclear weapons program.
By last year, the latest reporting period, the section on Iraq ran
seven times longer, warning that "all intelligence experts agree that
Iraq is seeking nuclear weapons" and that the country could produce a
bomb "within a year" if it got its hands on weapons-grade material.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told Congress last week that no
significant new evidence about Iraq's alleged weapons of mass
destruction had been uncovered during the current administration.
Intelligence sources agreed.
The question of whether the CIA buckled under administration pressure
as the White House prepared for war against Iraq has become even more
sensitive in the wake of acrimonious finger-pointing on why Bush
included in his State of the Union address an admittedly erroneous claim
that Iraq had been shopping for uranium in Africa."
"Additional facts" may be coming out of the White House, but heaven help you if you want to send any questions to the place.
"Under a system deployed on the White House Web site for the first
time last week, those who want to send a message to President Bush must
now navigate as many as nine Web pages and fill out a detailed form that
starts by asking whether the message sender supports White House policy
or differs with it."
Re: Nameless' post at 11:25. I have never heard this said explicitly,
but if you think back to 2002, when the whole dirty Iraq snowball
started rolling downhill. Does anyone remember how phony the whole thing
felt back then? When the Bush administration started jabbering about
Iraq in the summer of 2002, I remember being immediately suspicious
about the whole thing. How did we go from Afghanistan and Osama Bin
Laden to Iraq and Saddam Hussein? Mmmm...Bush, Texas, Iraq and yes oil.
When we talk about our "national interest" we're talkin' crude. The
black blood of our economy.
Now, is there any mystery as to how we have arrived where we are at
today? For the eight years of the Clinton presidency, Iraq was not a
major concern. From all the (lack of) evidence we have seen after the
conclusion of the "major combat" there was good reason for this. There
was no there (WMD) there. So why did we fight this war?
The next time someone says, "Its not about oil" tell 'em to shove some crude in a very crude place.
BTW. Once the Bush administration took over, we would have fought this war regardless of whether 9-11 happened or not.
On a tactical note, it has seemd to me that the Bush administration
has not shown a knack for defense, in the few times they have had to go
on the defensive, dating back to the arsenic in drinking water issue.
I think it is a truism that you can't be good at something you don't
practice from time to time, and this is where the so far untroubled run
of administration victories may prove to be a liability.
Bruce--yes, I remember when this mess started, it felt pretty phony.
At the time we started blowing Afghanistan, I was (reluctantly) in favor
of the operation, because I bought in to all the goofy things Bush said
at the time, and I was still freaked out about 9/11 (like most of us
By the way--oil is part of it, but this thing is bigger than even oil.
etc.--you're absolutely right. They're like the Rams from a few years ago--spectacular offense, terrible defense.
Their whole operation is collapsing like a house of cards, and they
look like three monkey f***ing a football trying to figure out how to
Speaking of playing defense, have you seen what's up with Alabama AG Pryor's nomination vote?
Atrios' Lambert has it: http://www.waff.com/Global/story.asp?S=1365364
And the back story on the RAGA is even better. Check out Ignatz (sam Heldman) at
The money grafs from the WaPo article he links:
Republican state attorneys general in at least six states telephoned
corporations or trade groups subject to lawsuits or regulations by their
state governments to solicit hundreds of thousands of dollars in
political contributions, according to internal fundraising documents
obtained by The Washington Post.
One of the documents mentions potential state actions against health
maintenance organizations and suggests the attorneys general should
"start targeting the HMO's" for fundraising. It also cites a news
article about consolidation and regulation of insurance firms and states
that "this would be a natural area for us to focus on raising money."
So, apparently, Pryor was the founder of a group whose mission was to extort bribes from companies under review by the state.
Things are tough all over, eh boys?
"That would represent a change in tack."
They meant: "change of tactic."
Very sloppy. Very...uh...tacky.
To change the direction or course of a vessel: Stand by to tack.
Seems right to me. Whereas tactic implies one of many, tack implies an opposite approach, taking a whole new direction.
"By the way--oil is part of it, but this thing is bigger than even oil"
Oh, hell, if it was all about oil, I could accept it, up to a
point--oil is a legitimate US interest; we can't afford to have the
likes of Saddam mucking about with the world's oil supply (see 1991).
But it's NOT about oil, exactly--it's more about crazy neocon theories
and domestic politics (with maybe a lttle profiteering for GWB's buddies
If they don't start pimping the "He tried to kill my dad" angle in
this batch of fresh, piping-hot evidence, I'm going to be very
disappointed. Even better: they unveil the gala musical number "He Tried
To Kill My Dad", Broadway-style, in the Rose Garden.
Whatever happened to the "responsibility era" that Bush pledged would begin with his presidency? So much for upholding the integrity of the office.
As uplifting as Blair's speech was, it doesn't detract from the emerging fact that the administration's case for war, in all its variations, was wholly fraudulent.
>>And prepare yourself for an epic blizzard of "additional facts" coming from the White House over the next few days.
This should be fun - always useful to identify the operatives
marching lockstep dutifuly and mindlessly repeating and disseminating
the current talking points
History is not going to absolve Tony Blair or George W. Bush over
this matter of alledged Iraqi WMDs. Every day, week, and now month that
nothing turns up further lowers their credibility, to the point where
there will be hardly any left. Blair's lame attempt to change the
rationale for the war is something he should be thrown out of office
If they don't start pimping the "He tried to kill my dad" angle in
this batch of fresh, piping-hot evidence, I'm going to be very
Agreed, Norbizness. The amazing thing about that fact is that it
could have been used as part of a non-bogus case for war! Namely, if
Saddam had succeeded in assassinating Bush the elder back in '93 or '94,
whenever it was, there would have been a very good chance of a US war
to topple his regime. And Saddam's fingerprints were all over the
assassination attempt, he barely bothered to try to conceal it. So the
point is, deterrence with Saddam is a pretty dicey proposition, because
he was willing to take an enormous risk with his regime just to get some
revenge of a purely personal nature. It doesn't prove that he was
undeterrable, but it does raise serious questions about that. Ken
Pollack pointed this out leading up to the war, and I thought, "That
makes sense. Why didn't the administration ever say that? Oh, yeah,
they went with 'he tried to kill my dad'...that's a much more convincing
way to put it."
It's a front-page link on the web, along with a bunch of other
stories. The (apparently) dead UK scientist who challenged Blair's dodgy
dossier is only on TV today. They found a body. I'm not making this up.
Iraq seemed surreal when they started hyping it, but the entire US media
bought the hype. That's actually - thanks for crystallizing it - the
precise moment at which I decided that the US media had gone insane.
We've been living the psychosis ever since, and now we may just wake up.
That monkey-football image is also one of the weirder metaphors I've ever seen, and I will be haunted by it. Silly monkeys.
The Economist is running a very long-winded editorial about Iraq.
They are trying hard to justify their support for the war and put the
best face on the whole mess. Here's the link-
That would represent a change in tack
One of the few people who uses that phrase properly. Most people make a change in tact. Kevin must be a sailor.
Following up on its efforts to blow CIA ops' cover to discredit its critics, the White House is now outing a reporter as gay and...wait for it... Canadian!
"One of the few people who uses that phrase properly. Most people make a change in tact. Kevin must be a sailor."
Look at the shoes, look at the shoes.
To change the direction or course of a vessel: Stand by to tack. "
Well...Actually that definition is for the intransitive verb form, but the reporter (not Kevin, btw) uses it as a noun.
Usually, when it's used as a noun I've seen it deployed thus: "That
would represent an entirely new tack." The nautical metaphor is apt
because in sailing, you "change tacks" when running before the wind,
which is a complete change of direction, as part of a strategy to sail
upwind via a "zig zag" course.
I 've never noticed the usage "a change in tack" used in sailing literature, which would imply some kind of a change within a given tack. That would be quite imprecise. To make such an adjustment, you'd either "trim" or "let out" your sails.
"Change of tack" could work, but considering that he drops
the metaphor like a hot potato (pardon me!), I think the reporter meant
either "a change in tactics" or "a change of tactic."
By the way, does anyone know if obsessive compulsive has a hyphen?
As a sailor myself, I admit that "change in tack" sounds odd, but I'd
definitely know what someone was talking about. As an additional
oddity, it is possible to change tacks without changing direction if the
wind shifts significantly and suddenly. Ah, wouldn't it be nice if we
could discuss politics exclusively in metaphors? :)
More from the same WaPo article:
"People have been challenging the president's credibility for
partisan political purposes," a senior administration official said.
"There's nothing that gets this White House more in battle mode than
that. We have no idea how long it will last."
Senate Majority Whip Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on the Senate
floor yesterday that Democrats had "sacrificed the national interest on
the altar of partisan politics and are making accusations that are
Interesting. Neither comment refutes the validity of the accusations
... the only claim is that the accusations are partisan and offensive.
"Tack" is understatement.
It's more like JIBE JIBE JIBE! (Boom smacks Condi in the forehead) *splash*
The unambiguous use of the term is that a sailboat is on the
"starboard tack" or "port tack" depending on which side of the midline
the boom and mainsail are on. One of the main racing rules is that
boats on starboard tack have right-of-way. The verb is intransitive and
can refer to one change of tack, or a series. When sailboats are
going to windward, they move most efficiently when they are pointed
about 45 degrees off the direction of the wind, so a change of tack
involves a 90 degree change in the direction in which the boat is
moving. That's the source of the metaphor.
"By the way--oil is part of it..."
CHENEY ENERGY TASK FORCE DOCUMENTS FEATURE MAP OF IRAQI OILFIELDS
good ol' buzzflash
This is the headline I want to see:
America tacks to port - details Skipper to Scupper
I'm no sailor - I get seasick.
Wow, that Gay-or-Canadian story is appalling...but I love the "so-what" tone of the WP gossip column.
Other than that -- W's administration has had such an effect on me
that I no longer particularly believe in SH's plot to kill Bush 41, and I
I saw that story about Kelly too. This whole mess gets weirder by the minute. It's certainly unusual that that particular guy goes for a walk and doesn't come back this particular week.
Now, before we get carried away, it seems from the article the guy was
walking around in a park late at night, which is something he apparently
liked to do. All the same....I'm going to go look for some Reynolds
Josh Marshall suggests suicide, but then says "Even if that's what
happened here though, when people at the center of scandals like this
turn up dead it raises the drama level, the media fascination and 'heat'
of the story almost immeasurably."
No kidding. Wonder if people are going to make Vince Foster comparisons?
"so a change of tack involves a 90 degree change in the direction in
which the boat is moving. That's the source of the metaphor."
Exactly and well put. Thanks.
Ooh! The first "facts" are coming out! Apparently, a CIA intelligence
assessment from October cites compelling evidence that Saddam was
trying to reassemble a nuclear program. What a relief that Our Great
Leaders weren't lying when they said so. Now the only problem is, why
did the CIA believe something we now know to be false?
Grumpy... the release said that Saddam might be able to get a nuke
sometime in the next decade. Maybe the White House misread that to mean
the next election?
Judical Watch just got the first set of papers they got from Cheney's
Energy Commision. Guess what? Iraq is carved up nicely showing who
would get which oil fields to exploit.
The plot thickens.
The definition is... "A boat is on the tack, starboard or port, corresponding to her windward side."
Windward is defined: "A boat's leeward side is the side that is or,
when she is head to wind, was away from the wind. However, when sailing
by the lee or directly downwind, her leeward side is the side on which
her mainsail lies. The other side is the windward side."
So, if you're backing your sail while close-hauled, your tack is
defined by where the where the wind is coming from, not where the sail
Also, jibing is sometimes safer than tacking in certain conditions. :)
Correction: the first AP bulletin said it was a CIA assessment. The
CIA reference was deleted after I posted my remark. Minus that, I'd
guess the conclusion comes from the OSP.
Don't worry that other people don't know you; worry that you don't know other people.
Unusual ideas can make enemies.
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