Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Tweety's great line of the day 

Chris Matthews demonstrates that he actually IS a journalist. Here is how he introduced his show on Monday night -- not a bad summary of what Plame is all about and why it matters, and how it all relates to the Bush administration's push for war with Iraq:
If you don't think this leak case matters, ask yourself, what was the most frightening case you heard for going to war with Iraq? Probably it was that Saddam Hussein was buying uranium yellow cake in Africa to build nuclear weapons. The president said it in his 2003 State of the Union address. The vice president repeated it with military precision, almost like a Gatling gun, Saddam Hussein, nuclear weapons, Saddam Hussein, nuclear weapons, again and again.
But it wasn't true. There's no evidence even now that Saddam tried to by nuclear materials in Africa. We know that now because the man the CIA sent down there to Niger to check it out, sent there after Vice President Cheney asked the CIA to check it out, wrote a New York Times article a few months after the war started that there was no deal. Worse yet, the former ambassador, Joseph Wilson, wrote that the people around the president must have known there was no deal, even when the president and his people kept telling the country there was.
How did the Bush people react to this unwelcome news? This is what the CIA leak case, which could produce indictments any day now, is all about. Did the people around the president actively try to discredit that man who came back from Africa, to say the yellow cake story was a phony? Did they try and kill the messenger? Did they use to enormous media power of the White House to discredit the ambassador, his mission and his wife at the CIA, who suggested him for the mission?
And, in doing so, did they abuse the office and the power to which the president was elected? Did they break the law? Did they conspire to punish a critic of the war, even if their weapon was the destruction of his wife's undercover career by identifying her to the public? Did they lie about their actions to government investigators to a grand jury or even to the president himself?

Since 911. Bush has often said his job is to protect the American people -- actually it isn't of course; the president's job really is to defend the Constitution. But leaving that aside for the moment and getting back to my point -- Americans need to ask the Bush administration how well Bush actually protected them when he took them to war with Iraq.

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