Thursday, July 22, 2004
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Hey, Karl Rove!! Over here!!!
With all due respect to Glenn, that's really, really bad advice.
The business with Berger is an inside-the-Beltway story that certainly diminishes Berger's standing but in the end doesn't amount to much (see Fred Kaplan's Slate assessment for more -- I'm not quite as sanguine as Kaplan, for reasons Tom Maguire lays out here).
The 9-11 Commission report, on the other hand, amounts to a great deal. What's at stake isn't the post-mortem spin on responsibility for 9/11 as much as "where do we go from here?" The policy recommendations for intelligence, counterterrorism, homeland security and congressional oversight are all elaborate and important (I'll reserve judgment on the foreign policy recommendations). I care a hell of a lot more about that than what was in Sandy Berger's trousers, and I suspect most Americans do as well.
Peter Robinson's advice to Karl Rove over at The Corner makes a great deal more sense:
Indeed. This report contains some useful, nonpartisan suggestions for policy reforms -- some of which transfer coordinating powers to the White House, something every President likes.
So Karl, tell Bush to own this report. Make it clear to the American people that he gets it, and takes the issue seriously. Leave Berger's post-mortem to the blogs.
UPDATE: Alan Wirzbicki praises 9-11 Commission executive director Philip Zelikow over at TNR Online, echoing what I said a few weeks ago.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Fred Kaplan agrees on the virtues of the Commission's proposed reforms -- and, in a roundabout way, what the President needs to do about it:
posted by Dan on 07.22.04 at 04:44 PM
dan- why on earth do you pay so much attention to glenn reynolds?posted by: a on 07.22.04 at 04:44 PM [permalink]
I agree with Peter Robinson's advice to Rove to have the President do a TV address. However, I don't totally disregard Glenn's suggestion.
What we know of the Berger case is 'what' he did, to a varying extent. But we have yet to determine the 'why' as in why Berger did what he did. This is the most interesting aspect of the case, and presumably the most damaging.
So, let's not throw sand over the Berger case in an effort to bury it.posted by: Capt America on 07.22.04 at 04:44 PM [permalink]
Have the President rise above "Gotcha" politics and address the issues?
What did we do to deserve this?
Actually, your advice and Glenn's do not totally conflict - the President as statesman and leader, while the attack dogs bay and snarl.
Woof.posted by: Tom Maguire on 07.22.04 at 04:44 PM [permalink]
Yet more proof that all Glenn cares about is scoring points.posted by: praktike on 07.22.04 at 04:44 PM [permalink]
Tom seems to have the right idea. After all, how many times do you hear Cheney without hearing Halliburton? And in the early days didn't it seem like Bush and Enron couldn't separated?
If the foot soldiers could get it together Kerry should be follwed by Berger AND Wilson. Hard to believe that if Bush had had two such names as part of his 'informal' advisory staff in 2000 that he would have been able to have it disappear so quickly.posted by: Phocion on 07.22.04 at 04:44 PM [permalink]
Very torn on this one.
It would be fair for Bush to give as good as he gets, and use all the weaselly tricks of working Berger/felon/advisor/top-secret into all his comments about Kerry -- or as Tom suggests, have the attack dogs do it. Two objections occur to me: the atmosphere is not the same for Bush and Kerry, and we would immediately be treated to Newsweek covers of Bush with a tag line reading "Have Politics Become Too Dirty?" (Inside, a sidebar on Kerry, noting that not ALL the partisan attacks have come from Republicans)
More importantly though, it isn't right. It is fair to question Kerry's judgement in picking such people, but there doesn't seem to be any criminality on his part, and sly associations of same would be unfair.posted by: Assistant Village Idiot on 07.22.04 at 04:44 PM [permalink]
Oh, Contrar, Berger story means much more than you think to those outside the beltway and outside academia non-realities.
Especially as another wannabe ass who got ahead. National Security? Another who never should have been in the spot. I did some checking. The guy was a dental hygienist and was handed that with no training. In-between his wannabe political spots, was an international trade lawyer with all that entailed re China, etc. and the Clinton crowd.posted by: Alex on 07.22.04 at 04:44 PM [permalink]
Now, now Dan.
You sound like the NYT - make the story go away by trivilaizng it, or shift the focus to, say the Department of Justice.
I don't read your blog because I believe in the objectivity of the NYT.
The Berger story is very serious. It's NOT just blog material.
For a simple reason. Why did Berger, a person well accustomed to handling sensitive information, feel the need to remove original, annotated documents from the archives? This is not conventional behavious, and its clearly not "inadvertent".
Blogs or no, this story needs to be pursued to a logical conclusion.
Stick with the economic stuff.posted by: Leigh on 07.22.04 at 04:44 PM [permalink]
Kaplan's analysis is long on words and short on analysis. He doesn't have all the facts in it. There's too much we don't know. I don't think this is just inside the beltway stuff. The more details that come out, the worse it looks for Berger not better. Kaplan doesn't address how the folks at the archives set up a little sting operation after Berger did it once. This was not sloppiness.posted by: Barry D on 07.22.04 at 04:44 PM [permalink]
The Berger story is very important.
It illustrates that there is a market for socks with secret compartment linings.
I plan to call them NOC Socks, and have a high end version made of radar absorbing materials..call those Stealth NOC Socks.
Get Berger and Plame to do promos for them.
I will make millions.posted by: j swift on 07.22.04 at 04:44 PM [permalink]
I find Reynolds comments more than alittle shocking. With Tom Ridge and Ashcroft making dire warnings about an impending terrorist attack, how could he possibly minimize taking action related to the report and instead suggest focusing energy and attention on Berger's actions? Berger had copies. This was stated unequivocally by the head of the 9/11 Commission. Are republicans serious about terrorism or not? This is really life and death stuff.
The media has been all over the Berger story, ad nauseum. Though important, as things stand it is less important than the Commission report, yet it gets as much time. Also, the Commission has said that the Berger issue did not impede them, though I can understand some people's wish to pretend otherwise.
On the media's behavior, Glenn Reynolds is just a conspiracy theorist. And a bad one.posted by: EH on 07.22.04 at 04:44 PM [permalink]
I agree with Peter Robinson.
posted by: Thorley Winston on 07.22.04 at 04:44 PM [permalink]
Dick Cheney could be, ahem, a bad president.posted by: praktike on 07.22.04 at 04:44 PM [permalink]
Judging by Rice on Fox right now, they are listening to you Dan.posted by: HH on 07.22.04 at 04:44 PM [permalink]
Since, reported yesterday:
"[11 September Panel] spokesman Alvin Felzenberg said yesterday that the panel is confident, based on records and other evidence, that it has been given copies of all the documents under investigation in Berger's case."
The Panel has already dismissed the effect of Berger's removals of copies of draft documents on the report. If Karl were to keep the puffery machine going, he risks having designated water-carrier Chambliss, Hastert, Smith, Santorum, Frist or Delay smacked down as a alarmist (at best) or liar on national television by an actual commissioner, instead of a commission staffer. Then, people start asking how it is that this miserable little incident, however badly it plays out for Berger, got so inflated, and was announced with such interesting timing, and the man behind the curtain starts to sweat.posted by: Brian C.B. on 07.22.04 at 04:44 PM [permalink]
So let us question.
Have we had enough yet? Some of the most trumpeted stories of the last year were with regard to Joe Wilson. He has been discredited as a lying publicity hound. Sandy Berger is a top-secret thief. What exactly does Kerry offer, except that he is not Bush?
Kerry & Company are not ready for prime time. Bush will win, what, 45 states this election?posted by: Les Nessman on 07.22.04 at 04:44 PM [permalink]
I do so wish that Republicans would follow Reynolds' advice, and try to bring in Berger at every possible juncture when talking about the 9/11 report. Nothing would be more pleasing to me than to see still another classic Republican event, Idiocy on Parade.
I don't why it is, but some people can't quite grasp the concept that it's possible to overdo things to the point that one actually loses credibility.
Acting as if the Berger matter must be a major deal when discussing something as important as the 9/11 report, despite the express denial from the 9/11 commission that it played ANY role, and despite the absence of ANY other concrete evidence that it did, is a perfect example of how desperation begets stupidity.
Psst, Glenn, and fellow wingnuts: distortions and hyperventilation and loud, consipicuous indignation get you only so far in politics. Once in a while you have to make sense, otherwise your clowning fools only the fools, and they're not a majority, outside, say, the South.posted by: frankly0 on 07.22.04 at 04:44 PM [permalink]
Reading some of these posts makes me wonder if I'm living in the same country as some of these people. "Bush will win 45 states?!?!" Only if they're all named Texas. Instanitwit is a partisan hack, who doesn't give a crap about national security.
Fred Kaplan? Would that be the Fred Kaplan that kept proving, by geometric logic, that Dick Clarke had to be telling the truth.... right up until the point that it was proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that he was a liar. Fred Kaplan is a DNC spinner, no more, no less.
I'd like to know what was on those drafts Sandy Burglar was obviously trying to dispose of. And, no folks, they were not copies and there are no other copies available. I think that's pretty important, don't you?posted by: Bill on 07.22.04 at 04:44 PM [permalink]
I was watching an interview with Tom Ridge last night and he was mentioning that since 9/11 they have made a bunch of reforms including having a terrorist info integration center whereby anaylsts can integrate info at the lower levels. This is one thing that the 9/11 commission recommends. Also, we have a no fly list. So, it seems like the Bush Administration has already made some of the changes that the Commission recommends in its report. I think it would benefit the administration to come out and publically thank the Commission for supporting some of the changes that the administration has already made. That would be very proactive and helpful for the Bush camp.posted by: Karen on 07.22.04 at 04:44 PM [permalink]
I think it would benefit the administration to come out and publically thank the Commission for supporting some of the changes that the administration has already made.
I also think the Bush administration should point out how it had put American troops on the ground in Tora Bora, thereby capturing Osama.
Oh wait, crap, that just didn't happen.
Well, at least Bush can brag about how he focused almost all his efforts in the region on finding Osama after he escaped Tora Bora, and didn't get distracted by other concerns.
Damn, I forgot, he didn't do that either.
Still, there's the one thing Bush DIDN'T do that would have been disastrous. He DIDN'T invade some Muslim country that was NOT involved in 9/11, and had nothing to do with al Qaeda, especially not one that was so oil rich that other Arabs would conclude for sure that he was after the oil. Now, THAT would have been as stupid as it gets, because then the terrorists would find it easy-peasy to recruit hordes of angry Muslims wanting revenge on the US.
Christ! Bush DID do that!
Man, maybe I better just shut up, I'm not doing Bush any damn good at all here.posted by: frankly0 on 07.22.04 at 04:44 PM [permalink]
I have real hope that the blogosphere will improve the level of argument from the left. When conservatives were put on the defensive they had to relearn how to persuade people. There are a few remaining on the left who can do this (many of them working for TNR and Atlantic), but mostly it's just this parrotting of stuff they've heard clever people say, long on rhetoric and short on closely reasoned argument.
I know that in your echo chambers these jokes seem really clever to you guys, but if you won't trust me on this, get a second opinion. It's just lame. Stand up like a man (or woman) and enter the fray, dammit. Given the real alternatives on 9/12, what do you think had a better chance of success? And keep it real. Frankly0 is sure that we would have captured Osama if we hadn't been distracted (gee, there's an original thought) by Iraq. How? Should we have crossed into Pakistani territory and lose that tenuous alliance? Should we have instituted a more draconian cordon and killed more civilians by accident? Pony up.posted by: Assistant Village Idiot on 07.22.04 at 04:44 PM [permalink]
Is the Berger 'matter' a major deal or not?
It is a major deal in and of itself, no matter what else we are discussing.posted by: Les Nessman on 07.22.04 at 04:44 PM [permalink]
Dan gives good advice here. The best campaign tactic for an incumbent President is to be President.
I don't know if George Bush is up for that. Condi Rice may not have had time to write an objective one-page summary of the commission report for him yet. Even after she does, the only way for the President to seize the political initiative on terrorism in the wake of the commission's work is to do it himself, on national television and more than once. It could happen.
As for Berger, has anyone considered the possibility that the leak of his difficulties handling classified materials might not be aimed at Kerry but rather at Berger himself? He has been mentioned for high office in a Kerry administration, and there are other Democrats with an interest in blocking him. This is sheer irresponsible speculation of course.posted by: Zathras on 07.22.04 at 04:44 PM [permalink]
The election is over. It doesn't matter what Bush talks about.posted by: GT on 07.22.04 at 04:44 PM [permalink]
It is a major deal in and of itself, no matter what else we are discussing.
Oh yeah, it's a major deal when the NSC head of a FORMER administration, and the FORMER INFORMAL ADVISER for the opposing candidate made off with documents that have circulated all over Washington, especially when the commission that was supposed to be affected by it says, nope, we got everything we needed.
Oh yeah, it's a big deal all right -- if you've swallowed some SeeYouInHeaven KoolAid.posted by: frankly0 on 07.22.04 at 04:44 PM [permalink]
Frankly0 is sure that we would have captured Osama if we hadn't been distracted (gee, there's an original thought) by Iraq. How?
How about having kept in Afghanistan the many translators and other kinds of intelligence staff that we pulled out to go to Iraq instead, and have now returned to Afghanistan, in an obvious attempt to capture Osama before the election?
How about that?posted by: frankly0 on 07.22.04 at 04:44 PM [permalink]
Jeepers, franklyo, it's been all over the blogosphere:
I went to your cite from Tom Maquire, and can't imagine what the relevance of the point made there might be. How does the point there establish that the 9/11 commission -- which certainly had had access to those very same documents BEFORE Berger did, though I certainly don't know whether they had already examined them -- did NOT view those documents, or had some reason to believe there was something of substance in them?
As for the footnote everybody seems to be hyperventilating over, let me make an obvious point. The footnote shows that the 9/11 commission was NOT able to corroborate Berger's claim about the after action review. How does Berger's taking of the documents in any case affect that judgment? It has already drawn the negative judgment about that review, surmising that the evidence was not good that such a thing occurred. Why would Berger's stealing the document possibly have some positive effect on that? I could see why Berger might have had in mind to ADD something to the documentation to back up his claim -- BUT HE DIDN'T DO SO, HE TOOK DOCUMENTS AWAY!
Beyond all this, there is NO evidence I've seen that they did not have copies of those documents, or did not have SCANS of the documents to include any notes in the margins.posted by: frankly0 on 07.22.04 at 04:44 PM [permalink]
“So Karl, tell Bush to own this report. Make it clear to the American people that he gets it, and takes the issue seriously. Leave Berger's post-mortem to the blogs.”
I unfortunately must agree with this advice. Most Americans have never heard of Sandy Berger and the liberals control the major media. Sadly, the blogs will have to deal with this scoundrel for the time being. Is there fire behind the smoke? Oh yes, there probably is. Berger is almost certainly trying to hide something. If nothing else---it’s further evidence that Democrats appear very careless regarding security issues.posted by: David Thomson on 07.22.04 at 04:44 PM [permalink]
While your advice to the President seems sound, I still think Professor Reynolds' advice to congressional Republicans and bureaucrats is a good idea. The two aren't mutually exclusive.posted by: Danny on 07.22.04 at 04:44 PM [permalink]
You guys do realize that Berger hid NOTHING from the comission. Maybe he tried to, but he wasn't effective. They state tehy have everything they needed. It is definitely a story, but Dan is absoultey right, The comission report is at least 100x as important as the Berger thing.posted by: Jor on 07.22.04 at 04:44 PM [permalink]
Not that this could possibly change the mind of the wingnut, but here's a portion of a transcript from Lou Dobbs:
DOBBS: Let me ask you, not necessarily directly on point, but certainly related. Sandy Berger, the former head of the national security -- national security adviser under the Clinton administration, accused of, and admitting taking classified documents from the National Archives, those notes, whether copies or originals still unclear. Did the commission review that material, to what -- can you shed any light on what happened there? Slade Gorton, first.
DOBBS: So the commission was denied no information as a result of whatever Sandy Berger did or did not do at the National Archives?
GORTON: That's precisely correct.
GORELICK: And we have been so assured by the Justice Department.posted by: frankly0 on 07.22.04 at 04:44 PM [permalink]
“The election is over. It doesn't matter what Bush talks about.
Who is GT? This is what they said about the war on terror only a short time ago:
“This whole WoT is a silly exaggeration. Our enemies can certainly cause damage but they have no ability to destroy the US. Comparing our current anti-terrorist policies to WW2 or the CW makes no sense except to scare people.”
GT badly wants George W. Bush to be defeated. This person represents the thinking of many Kerry supporters. They will put enormous pressure on him if he wins the White House. Is this what’s best for the country? Can they truly be marginalized? Do you want to bet on that?posted by: David Thomson on 07.22.04 at 04:44 PM [permalink]
Here's the link for the Lou Dobbs transcript (originally quoted at Talkingpointsmemo.)posted by: frankly0 on 07.22.04 at 04:44 PM [permalink]
Who is Franklyo:
This exchange of views between this person and Kevin Drum might be enlightening:
“Frankly0: As I mentioned, if Bush lied then there's no defense for what he did. However, if his reasons were valid but incomplete, then that probably describes most reasons for going to war.
I think Bush has a lot to answer for. However, without more proof, I don't think we should go overboard on the idea that Bush sent people to their deaths based on an outright lie. That's far from proven.
Franklyo is a radical leftist---and a supporter of John Kerry’s. Shouldn’t you be concerned? Why is Kerry attracting this sort of individual? Isn’t the Massachusetts senator suppose to represent the views of the American majority? What’s going on? Gosh, where is Kelli when you need her? I wonder what she thinks about this strange phenomenon?posted by: David Thomson on 07.22.04 at 04:44 PM [permalink]
You obviously dragged that up from some Google search. Unfortunately, you neglected to include what I had said (which I don't offhand even remember).
Don't you think it might be at least fair to have quoted a SINGLE word from me in this exchange with Kevin Drum? I mean, if you're going to accuse of saying something outrageous, don't you feel an obligation to come up with an actual quote?posted by: frankly0 on 07.22.04 at 04:44 PM [permalink]
Jor and Andrew J. Lazarus are likely one and the same person. Lazarus wants to destroy George w. Bush. He also considers Israel to be an apartheid nation. Isn’t that interesting? Why are the radicals so anxious to elect John Kerry? What do they know that the rest of us don’t? Once again, can they truly be marginalized by Kerry if he wins the election?posted by: David Thomson on 07.22.04 at 04:44 PM [permalink]
Well, with apologies for even bringing up something so OT, and just to show I can google too, I quote below the content to which Kevin Drum was responding, and my own response to him. Judge for yourselves what I radical I made myself out to be.
Even granting that sometimes politics excuses the emphasis of a simple argument over a complex one (though that hardly approaches being a fair and full characterization of how Bush made his case) isn't sending people off to their deaths a very different sort of business, especially in a democracy?
If a soldier is being sent off possibly to die in a war, doesn't he and his family have a right to understand just what he would be dieing for? Isn't this a pretty special case?
How can sending soldiers off to their deaths for reasons they know not of considered a perfectly ethical to do?
Kevin then responded as quoted above.
I responded to him thus:
I was not assuming that Bush was lying (though I certainly believed he did). My point was rather whether sending people off to die does not in any case require full and complete disclosure of reasons. My further point on disclosure forms with human experimentation, which bears a pretty good analogy to this situation, follows up on this.
I wish that folks like frankly0 might show a little shame. Here’s something else he said recently:
“Apart from the obvious intent of the report to continue Rove's hatchet job on Wilson, why does the report go on and on about inconsistencies on Wilson's part, and the exact intelligence quality of his report, and his wife's role in getting him the job?”
Even Martin Peretz cannot continue buying frankly0’s bovine excrement:
“The tale spun by former Ambassador Joseph Wilson that Iraq did not ever try to buy uranium yellowcake from Niger is now in the process of unraveling. And, of course, the phalanx of anti-war journalists is desperately trying to stop the bust-up. But it can't be done.”
Rove’s hatchet job on Wilson? It’s time for franklyo to give up the ghost on Joe Wilson and his fellow liars. The liberal media can only hide the truth from the American people for so long. The sad fact is that franklyO does indeed appear to be more moderate when contrasted against Andrew Lazarus and GT. That’s how bad it is.posted by: David Thomson on 07.22.04 at 04:44 PM [permalink]
The John Kerry campaign places halfway sensible people like Richard Holbrooke and Robert Rubin on the front lines. Kerry is obviously promising the Democrat political moderates that he will marginalize the crazies after the election. Should we feel confident that this will occur? Will the Howard Dean types really allow themselves to be punked? I don’t think so. These radical Leftists will demand a place at the table.posted by: David Thomson on 07.22.04 at 04:44 PM [permalink]
Does anyone have a theory as to why conservatives in general but republicans in particular seem so adverse - pathologically adverse - to considering, objectively pondering the possibility that the Bush administration is seriously flawed? What motivates something like this from Reynolds et al, which is really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to republicans desperately trying to avoid contemplating the obvious - not that Bush IS horrible, but that he MAY be horrible. C'mon, what's going on here?posted by: Animalmother on 07.22.04 at 04:44 PM [permalink]
Uh, animalmother? Does anyone have a theory as to why left-wingers in general and democrats in particular seem so adverse -- pathologiacally adverse -- to considering, objectively pondering the possibility that President Bush is a rather good president? That he is to be applauded for defending America by spreading freedom, a strategy in keeping with the very highest ideals of the United States and singularly capable of addressing the root causes of the terrorist threat against us -- namely political repression and the perceived viablility of radical Islamist political goals? From the left wing, we get crackpot conspiracy theories proposing that the United States deposed Saddam Hussein for ridiculously petty venal purposes. Just lots of hate and silly thinking. It is disgusting, repulsive, and alienating.posted by: rds on 07.22.04 at 04:44 PM [permalink]
Animalmother is a quintessential reason why there will not be a Sister Souljah moment for John Kerry. Bill Clinton could take the chance because he would only turn off a small percentage of his base. That is definitely not the situation for this year’s Democrat nominee. There are simply too many crazies within Kerry’s coalition. I predict that his grand speech will be boring---because Kerry cannot dare say anything specific. Banal generalities is the best that his odd couple coalition will allow him to utter.
Somebody is going to be punked if John Kerry wins the election. He can’t afford to let anyone suspect that they might be the ones punked in the here and now. Kerry has got to keep the con game going until the beginning of November.posted by: David Thomson on 07.22.04 at 04:44 PM [permalink]
I was listening to NPR this morning chronicle the day of the daughter of a 9/11 of somebody who died when the towers fell, and realized that I had met her mother -- a charming woman with a great sense of humor -- years ago at a conference. In a pitifully small way, it brought home to me what happened back then. And gave me a sense of the enormous numbers of lives touched, none for the better, by this immensely evil act.
And I have to tell you that looking at this thread after that experience is immensely depressing. The 9/11 report did not name names, it did not make political judgments, it went out of its way to avoid satisfying partisans who wanted their least favorite politicians zinged. In other words, the Commissioners did what they were supposed to do -- evaluate what happened and make serious recommendations. Agree or disagree with the report, these ladies and gentlemen appear to have fulfilled their patriotic obligation to produce a serious report.
In the thread, though, the carnival of the vanities continues. One serial commenter engages on his irrelevant quest to demonstrate that everyone who disagrees with him is a vicious DNC brie eater. Others flog l'affaire Berger, as if it were of cosmic importance to some vast left-wing conspiracy, rather than a somewhat serious breach of security that has already resulted in Berger's deserved disgrace, and has thwarted his hopes of being a major government figure in a Kerry administration.
Bellowing about the perfidious Berger, or blovating endlessly about the Plame affair is not going to save a single life. And the people who are experts on whether any laws were broken are working on both matters.
Studying and acting on the 9/11 report just might save a life. Scandals are fun, if only because human perfidy can be an entertaining spectacle. But it's time for our Democracy to get serious. We are all targets to Osama. Let's have the discussion (rather than the blistering name calling) on how we should be protecting ourselves.posted by: Appalled Moderate on 07.22.04 at 04:44 PM [permalink]
Glenn Reynolds is not a very bright guy. That is one reason why his ideas are often not very good. It's also a reason why he can be ignored.posted by: otey on 07.22.04 at 04:44 PM [permalink]
Far from being 'gotcha' politics, I htink Glenn's suggestion a very valid one. THis Berger thing in many ways drives to the heart of the whole INtel/Security issue through the 90's. I spoke to this breifly in my own pages this morning:
E.D.Hill on FNC this morning makes the point that America, the voter, wasn't thinking much of Terrorism, so some of the blame can be placed there, as well.. and she's got a point.
Can you understand what motivations Berger might have had for removing those documents? Can you further imagine why the left wants this Berger thing buried?posted by: Bithead on 07.22.04 at 04:44 PM [permalink]
The 90s are done. Until I hear John Kerry say -- let's go back to those successful terrorism policies of 1998 -- I really don't care that much.
As for Sandy Berger, he too is done. I don't see his conduct saying anything about Kerry. (I do have to wonder why Clinton didn't say anything to him -- but he's not President, now, is he?)posted by: Appalled Moderate on 07.22.04 at 04:44 PM [permalink]
Poor David Thomson. All your predictions about the election and Iraq are coming apart before your very eyes.
Yes, I want Bush gone. He is one of the worst presidents in modern times.
And he will be gone. He is going to lose. Which will leave him as the one-termer who couldn't get the popular vote, got the presidency due to a SC ruling, and whose radical foreign policy was ultimately rejected by the American people. Kerry and the Democrtas will have to deal with the mess left behind.posted by: GT on 07.22.04 at 04:44 PM [permalink]
The 90s are done. Until I hear John Kerry say -- let's go back to those successful terrorism policies of 1998 -- I really don't care that much.
Dodge. And a poor one.
But more directly; Perhaps you'd be so kind, AM, as to explain to us where Kerry's policy will differ from Clinton's? Pertaiculalry, how will that policy differ, when he's using so many of the same 'advisors'?
posted by: Bithead on 07.22.04 at 04:44 PM [permalink]
I seem to remember that the rhetoric has been "9-11 changed everything." So, the behavior of Albright and company in 1999 is no more relevant than the things Bush found important in early 2001.
I will say, in light of the report, I am interested on Kerry's approach to Iran. Of course, I am curious what our newly minted "peaceful" President intends to do in Iran.posted by: Appalled Moderate on 07.22.04 at 04:44 PM [permalink]
Changing the situation requires that we understand what went on, or we won't know what to change.
To that end, I find it of interest that Berger was involved in both the CLinton admin, and the Kerry Team... and that Berger is so desperate to remove evdience of his actions (To say nothing of the remainder of that Democrat administration) as to try soemthing as stupid as sock-gate.
As someone else noted, this is a huge Wedgie Issue for the Democrats that's not going away.
As to what Kerry would do.. he's already told us; He'll take immidiate action to call togethr a security summit... which is to say, he'll call a meeting.
Anything is better than the mess Bush created.posted by: GT on 07.22.04 at 04:44 PM [permalink]
WHO created? Try again.
NY Sun today comes up wiht a rather interesting read of the 911 commission report that doesn't show in the summary:
In other words, according to the commission report, Mr. Berger was presented with plans to take action against the threat of Al Qaeda four separate times ... Spring 1998, June 1999, December 1999, and August 2000. Each time, Mr. Berger was an obstacle to action. Had he been a little less reluctant to act, a little more open to taking pre-emptive action, maybe the 2,973 killed in the September 11, 2001, attacks would be alive today. "
And perhaps Berger wouldn't have been trying to shove clasified documents, listing these missed chances into his socks, and shorts, huh?
Again, I ask... WHO created?posted by: Bithead on 07.22.04 at 04:44 PM [permalink]
So THIS is the point of outrage in what Berger did or didn't do:
Reports the commission: "In the memo's margin,Berger wrote that before considering action, "I will want more than verified location: we will need, at least, data on pattern of movements to provide some assurance he will remain in place.
Heaven forfend that Berger should want some kind of verification that Osama might actually BE at the target they fire upon!
And, oh yeah, how many times did BUSH and his team strike at Osama in any fashion whatever?
Oh, I forgot, ZERO TIMES, of course.posted by: frankly0 on 07.22.04 at 04:44 PM [permalink]
Berger ran the security show in Clinton's administration. Berger was also Kerry's chief security advisor, and likley to be running the show in any (God Forbid) Kerry Administration. so along comes the 9/11 commission, threatening, in an election year to show the American people who had dropped all those golden opportunites to muzzle AlQuieda. Berger, and Clinton, thus threatening Kerry's chances of being elected. So, Berger tries to remove said documents from the national archives, thus giving the Democrats the cover they needed... or so they figured.
And the connection between the Kerry and Clinton administrations is of great import;
Nobody has as yet explained to us the differences in foreign policy between the Clinton administration and any Kerry administration because there isn't any...a point to which they tacitly admitted when they pulled their security plans the official Kerry Website the other day, following the story coming out about Berger stealing those damning clasified documents.... documents revealing this idiocy that was fatal so so many Americans. idiocy that rests with the Democrats alone.
Is this really the crowd the Americans want in office, again?
As to how many times Bush struck at Osama... hint; what would have happened to the situation of the intel?
And let's say he'd decided to strike based on intel... what would the left have done, do you suppose? Given that they've raised holy hell about everything ELSE he's done... all of which proved to be the correct thing to do in EVERY SINGLE CASE....
Sorry, No sale.
Bithead (appropriately): How many times do you have to be told that Berger had copies?posted by: r.t. on 07.22.04 at 04:44 PM [permalink]
So, Berger tries to remove said documents from the national archives, thus giving the Democrats the cover they needed... or so they figured.
Members of the 9/11 commission have gone on record asserting that they were NOT denied any documents they needed because of Berger's actions.
Why is this so hard for a wingnut mind to grasp?posted by: frankly0 on 07.22.04 at 04:44 PM [permalink]
Why is it so hard for you to grasp that, successful or not, the attempt was made? I've already shown Bger thought he had the originals and by his own admission... Run against your worldview, does it?
Well, before you get too sure of this, try this one...
"July 23, 2004 -- Lawmakers are seeking to determine if any original documents are gone forever as they probe whether former National Security Adviser Sandy Berger hid top-secret files in his socks to sneak them out of the National Archives, a spokesman said yesterday. "posted by: Bithead on 07.22.04 at 04:44 PM [permalink]
Partisanship is SOOOO BOOOORRRRRINNNGGGG!posted by: fling93 on 07.22.04 at 04:44 PM [permalink]
Why is it so hard for you to grasp that, successful or not, the attempt was made? I've already shown Bger thought he had the originals and by his own admission
What are you talking about here? I have never heard ANYTHING to suggest that Berger thought he had the ONE AND ONLY COPIES (OR ORIGINAL) of ANY document.
I'm sure you're just making this one up too, or, equally likely, seizing on some comment he made, and twisting it into meaning something it clearly didn't.posted by: frankly0 on 07.22.04 at 04:44 PM [permalink]
Partisanship is SOOOO BOOOORRRRRINNNGGGG!
That may be true, but how does one respond to a well organized disinformation campaign? Act as if the falsehoods that are flying around everywhere just don't exist, or have no impact?
If you have respect for the truth, and if you grasp how falsehoods can do great damage -- somehow the Iraq war comes to mind here -- then you feel an obligation to tear the bullshit apart.posted by: frankly0 on 07.22.04 at 04:44 PM [permalink]
Let me add some idiot repellent for my remark about copies vs originals.
I don't know why the discussion about Berger ever got expressed in those terms. Look, the critical issue is not, did Berger take the "original" of any draft of a document. The only relevant issue is whether he took the ONE AND ONLY REPRESENTATION of that draft of the document, complete with marginal notes. If there are other REPRESENTATIONS of that very draft with marginalia, then ALL of the information has been preserved. Those other representations might include further PHYSICAL copies, or SCANNED copies. I would be greatly surprised if the National archives, as a matter of routine, did not SCAN any such documents, so that they would be able to back them up in many ways and in many physical locations. This is pretty standard practice in a great many corporate settings, where there is only far less importance attached to the relevant documents. Why would the national archives, the locus classicus of the anal retentive, not think to do this?posted by: frankly0 on 07.22.04 at 04:44 PM [permalink]
Clearly, given the investigation I referenced, that discussion is taking place on both levels.posted by: Bithead on 07.22.04 at 04:44 PM [permalink]
"The CIA met Bin Laden [in July 2001] while undergoing treatment at an American Hospital last July in Dubai"
I wonder why there is no mentioning of this in the 9/11 report. Since it is based on a story in a major European newspaper (Le Figaro), it seems to me that it would be worth addressing.
And how, exactly, do the commission members or staff know what was on the documents Berger made off with? They claim that they had all the info they needed, that there was nothing on the missing documents that they needed to see, but without having seen them how can they possibly know this? Especially when he made off with every single copy of the drafts, complete with whatever handwritten notes were on the drafts, that didn't make it into the final report?
And who knows what else he made off with that we don't know about, because it's gone? Like the after-action report on the missile strike, for which the commission had to rely on Berger's testimony on what it said, because they couldn't find it. Nobody knows when it went missing, but we do know that Berger removed some documents, and it's fair to say that he did it for a reason, so it's not unreasonable to speculate that he took this report as well. I wonder what it really said, and how the commission can possibly know whether there was something significant on it that Berger sloppily neglected to tell them about.
That's why the Berger affair is so important.posted by: Zev Sero on 07.22.04 at 04:44 PM [permalink]
The article from the NY Post (isn't that owned by some wingnut, whathisname, oh yeah, Murdoch?) starts out:
"Lawmakers are seeking to determine if any original documents are gone forever as they probe whether former National Security Adviser Sandy Berger hid top-secret files in his socks to sneak them out of the National Archives, a spokesman said yesterday."
Don't you think it might have been just a trifle more objective had it started out "REPUBLICAN lawmakers blah blah blah"?
Oh, but then it would not be so easy to spot the trademark bullshit of the Murdoch empire. I mean, he has to maintain the brand.posted by: frankly0 on 07.22.04 at 04:44 PM [permalink]
They claim that they had all the info they needed, that there was nothing on the missing documents that they needed to see, but without having seen them how can they possibly know this? Especially when he made off with every single copy of the drafts, complete with whatever handwritten notes were on the drafts, that didn't make it into the final report?
How do YOU know they had not ALREADY seen the documents before Berger took them?
How can YOU know that there were not photocopies or scanned digital images of the paper representations that Berger took?
You don't. But you will talk as if you do.posted by: frankly0 on 07.22.04 at 04:44 PM [permalink]
GT: **Anything is better than the mess Bush created.**
Bithead: *WHO created? Try again. NY Sun today comes up wiht a rather interesting read of the 911 commission report that doesn't show in the summary: ...*
I think GT was referring to Iraq.
And, an interesting "read" by the NY Sun (the NY Sun -???) probably wouldn't show in the summary, right?posted by: wishIwuz2 on 07.22.04 at 04:44 PM [permalink]
I'm looking at the byplay between frankly0 and Bithead on Berger, and just wonder about the passion being expended. Sandy Berger did a bad thing, got caught, got embarassed, and now will have to whistle for a job at a think tank, rather than return as NSC advisor. There's not much question he did a bad thing, nor is there much question that the consequences for him have been pretty bad.
You can come to several conclusions about his conduct:
* He might be arrogant enough to believe you can review secret docs in the comfort of your own home and nobody will care;
* He may well have been trying to cover his rump in some fashion, but that's unproven given the facts in evidence;
* He might be the most careless guy alive, and how did someone like that ever become a NSC adviser
* Kerry dumped the guy with admirable dispatch
I do not hold with Bithead trying to make this some kind of big conspiracy. Tinfoil hats attract lightning.
posted by: Appalled Moderate on 07.22.04 at 04:44 PM [permalink]
Story denied here:
Interestingly, a Google search did not reveal much in the way of refutation.posted by: Appalled Moderate on 07.22.04 at 04:44 PM [permalink]
Look, if we accept the response of Berger's defenders... of which there were many at first... and all of them uniformly expressed shock that such an action was so far out of his usual pattern to be questionable.. a logical question to ask would be what drove him to such an action.
And so far, nobody's come up with anything to disprove the conclusions I've drawn. Indeed, even what we know a day ago backs the thought that he was trying to cover his ass, and that of his two bosses.... and more evidence along those lines comes in by the hour.
As for Kerry's actions once the news broke, let's recall that Kerry didn't have a clue on Bergers being under investigation in the matter.... Kerry's words, not mine. Somehow I don't get warm fuzzies off this; Isn't Kerry supposed to know this stuff?
This aside from the fact that the 9/11 attacks are a direct result of a failed policy... failed not once but four times, implimented by Berger.... the very man Kerry would ostensibly have placed in charge of this nation's security again.
Somehow, this doesn't give me warm fuzzies when asessing Kery's ability to deal wiht such matters.
For Kerry to have known about this, either Berger, the FBI, or Clinton would have had to tell him. I can't really blame him for what others fail to do.
As for disproving -- that's not the appropriate standard in a case where we don't know about any other actions by Berger supporting such a thesis. It reminds me of an assertion in Oliver Stone's Nixon that the 18.5 minute gap was a conversation about who killed JFK. Now, nobody can disprove that that's what Rosemary Woods erased. But do you believe that it it is?
posted by: Appalled Moderate on 07.22.04 at 04:44 PM [permalink]
For Kerry to have known about this, either Berger, the FBI, or Clinton would have had to tell him. I can't really blame him for what others fail to do.
I can.He's supposed to be the one who wants to take charge, right? Does this kind of "I didn't know" strike you as good leadership?
Actually, he would have had to make the time. You may recall he didn't have the time to take any security breifing a breifing which certainly would have included information about his security advisors.. the ones actually setting the security policy that Kerry himself admitted he didn't have a bloody CLUE about.posted by: Bithead on 07.22.04 at 04:44 PM [permalink]
You may recall he didn't have the time to take any security breifing a breifing which certainly would have included information about his security advisors..
The briefing was about Al Q plans to disrupt the election. If the administration was going to brief Kerry about Berger's problems, they've been aware of them since last October...posted by: Appalled Moderate on 07.22.04 at 04:44 PM [permalink]
> This is about the difference between
Isn't Dick Cheney already president?
> versus Silly America (the kind that
Is that the same Silly America that voted for Bush because "I don't know, I just like him. And I like his parents, too."posted by: nemo on 07.22.04 at 04:44 PM [permalink]
The briefing was about Al Q plans to disrupt the election. If the administration was going to brief Kerry about Berger's problems, they've been aware of them since last October...
Usually meetings like that are multi-subject. Can Kerry walk and chew gum... like... at the same time?
I doubt it, based on what we know...posted by: Bithead on 07.22.04 at 04:44 PM [permalink]
'It is a major deal in and of itself, no matter what else we are discussing.'
Oh yeah, it's a major deal when the NSC head of a FORMER administration, and the FORMER INFORMAL ADVISER for the opposing candidate..."
Uh, just why is he a FORMER advisor? BECAUSE WHAT BERGER DID IS A BIG DEAL!
As far as I'm concerned, the single most important item on the Berger case so far is that Slade Gorton and Jamie Gorelick both told Lou Dobbs unequivocally last night that the Justice Department had assured them that Berger did NOT make off with any originals, and that therefore nothing in the files was concealed from the Commission ( http://www.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0407/22/ldt.00.html ). I still very badly want to know what the hell Berger actually did do and why (maybe to try to cook up a convincing alibi story against possible accusations that he had been negligent in dealing with terrorism?) But even before last night, it struck me as odd that, if he was supposedly doing things as serious, and doing them as provably, as some of the rumors indicated, the investigation of him was still plodding along quietly after a year.
In any case, Reynolds is a bit late with his cute little suggestion (which, like a lot of his earlier cute little suggestions, is rather nauseating) -- Dennis Hastert has been publicly singing that same hymn for the last three days.
Postscript: I see that "FranklyO" has beaten me to the punch by reprinting all the relevant part of Dobb's interview with Gorton and Gorelick above. It looks pretty unambiguous to me -- and it would also explain why the investigation of Berger has apparently been on low-simmer for so long. Not that it does that much to clear Berger; but it does show once again that Glenn Reynolds has a remarkable talent for making an irresponsible fool of himself.posted by: Bruce Moomaw on 07.22.04 at 04:44 PM [permalink]
Too bad Berger's not a Republican. Then he could have refused to cooperate with the investigation, claim it's a partisan witchhunt and he didn't do it, but if he did, it helped make America safer, and he's proud he did it and he feels better now.posted by: oldpunk23 on 07.22.04 at 04:44 PM [permalink]
As far as I'm concerned, the single most important item on the Berger case so far is that Slade Gorton and Jamie Gorelick both told Lou Dobbs unequivocally last night that the Justice Department had assured them that Berger did NOT make off with any originals, and that therefore nothing in the files was concealed from the Commission (http://www.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0407/22/ldt.00.html">http://www.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0407/22/ldt.00.html">http://www.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0407/22/ldt.00.html ).
Interesting, but unavailing, given that I trust neither one of them as far as I can throw my conversion van.
Let's try it this way; What iof the world isn't real? How would you know?
In short, I question Justice's ability to know what was and was not missing.
And even assuming Justice is correct, based on the statements of his lawyers, he thought he did have originals... which to my mind speaks to his intent regardless of his not knowing he didn't succeed.
"In August of 2000, Mr. Berger was presented with another possible plan for attacking Mr. bin Laden."
Any reason to think that 9/11 would have been less likely with bin Laden dead?
Try it the other way around, say that iraqi agents had assassinated Bush, would we have been less likely to invade iraq?
Bin Laden is an old man now, if he's still alive, and I strongly doubt that his organisation depended on him for its operations even in 2001.
Similarly, we went to very expensive efforts to kill Saddam before the war and during it. Would that have made much difference to the war or the occupation? It doesn't look like his capture has damaged the Ba'ath resistance at all.
Hell, think back further. What if somebody had killed Hitler or Stalin after they were both fighting WWII. In either case the respective country's war effort would probably have *improved*. Politicals with no military ability telling the experts how the war had to be run ... like Rumsfeld but worse.
Why do our top leaders keep thinking that other top leaders are vastly important? They keep acting like other organisations would completely fall apart if the top guy was gone.
Maybe it's because they think that *they* are so important that the USA would fall apart without them?
If Berger knew that he didn't have the only copies, then he wasn't taking things to get rid of them. He would have been taking copies because he wanted copies.
The best way to get some sense what he wanted, then, would be to release the documents he was trying to steal and let us all see why he'd want them. Unless there's actually some reason why releasing them would damage the nation.
Why would he take copy after copy after copy of the same report? Because there were hand written annotations and notes written on them (WHICH WE DO NOT HAVE COPIES OF, AND ARE NOW GONE FOREVER!) which may be embarrasing to Berger or Clinton or others. That's why this is a huge deal.
I think it would still be a big deal even if he only took copies.posted by: Les Nessman on 07.22.04 at 04:44 PM [permalink]
One more point that's come up today regarding Berger was the idea that he had many copies of the same documents.... each of which of which had handwritten notes from various of the WH staffers.
It's as I suggested a few days ago; the documents were not at issue... the handwritten notes were.posted by: Bithead on 07.22.04 at 04:44 PM [permalink]
If it's the handwritten notes that are important, still there's the question whether he was taking them to destroy them or to preserve them.
We'd all get a much better idea what's going on if the ones he didn't get away with are published.
"..still there's the question whether he was taking them to destroy them or to preserve them."
Um, yeah. He was stealing docs from the *NATIONAL ARCHIVES* to 'preserve' them.
If he wanted to preserve them, wouldn't it have been better to leave them in the archives.
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