Sunday, June 05, 2005

Deep Shit

It's a draining experience, watching the media lagomorphs twitch their little noses over whether Mark Felt (heretofore inanely known as "Deep Throat") is a hero, a traitor, or merely a shameless opportunist. Perhaps he is a combination of two or all three of those things, as many in public service turn out to be, as evinced by their formulations and interpretations of public policy (which is defined as that group of procedures and statutes that endeavors to increase and protect the welfare of the general public, as opposed to the 1% ruling class who rent our legislators and distract us with non-issues).

Personally, I feel that Felt would have done more good had he just come forward in the first place, instead of hiding furtively behind the curtain of protracted anonymity. Perhaps he was cowed by the experience of Daniel Ellsberg, who is a bona-fide hero, and saved a lot of human lives by having the balls to come forth when he did. People seem to think this administration could use its own Deep Throat to accelerate its well-deserved downfall; I submit that it really needs its own Ellsberg. Anyone who's going to talk out of school has got to be prepared to step up and take a shot; either you can stand behind the information you're making public or you can't. Anonymous scoops simply will not pass muster anymore.

Anyway. I think I reached my limit of this bullshit public discussion this morning, having a nice Sunday breakfast, listening to Deface The Nation's meat puppet Bob Schieffer declaim the identification of Felt as the ruining of a long-running parlor game, the breaking of the magician's code about revealing the mechanics of a trick. Not about the subterfuge and undermining of the principles of self-governance, mind you, but the spoiling of a Sally Quinn society function locked-room mystery. Oh, whatever will self-absorbed swells murmur over their appletinis now, besides the incredible gaucherie of Howard Dean's top-siders?

Schieffer gives away the game with his harrumphing, unironically positing that Watergate was really a watershed event, in that its uncovering and subsequent downfall of its perpetrators clearly delineated that we are, after all, a nation of laws and not men.

This, of course, is nonsense. Watergate did reveal the craven machinations of a power-mad claque of the ruling elite, but the end result is that it made them -- seemingly paradoxically -- at once more careful and more brazen. The ground-level tactics and machinations are more carefully guarded and undertaken, enabled as they are by the miracles of touch-screen voting and proprietary black boxes; the strategery, such as it is, is more brazen, festooned with the distractive furbelows of "values" issues.

Which brings us to our favorite asshole, John Bolton, who still prompts the musical question, "does the carpet match the blinds or the drapes?".

Seems Our Hero, in his role as pit bull of the intel stovepiping division operating from Doug Feith's back porch, was a mite forceful in making sure that only the info the Bushies wanted was what got out to the citizens.

John Bolton flew to Europe in 2002 to confront the head of a global arms-control agency and demand that he resign, then orchestrated the firing of the unwilling diplomat in a move a United Nations tribunal has since judged unlawful, according to officials involved.

A former Bolton deputy says the U.S. undersecretary of state felt Jose Bustani "had to go," particularly because the Brazilian was trying to send chemical weapons inspectors to Baghdad. That might have helped defuse the crisis over alleged Iraqi weapons and undermined a U.S. rationale for war.

This, of course, fits hand-in-glove with the so-called Downing Street Memo, which was studiously ignored by the network meat puppets, frantic as they were to discredit their Newsweak colleagues who had strayed off the reservation. Now, as is their gutless M.O., they are falling all over themselves to bolster Himself's spurious claim that Amnesty International is "absurd", given their irresponsibly polemic comparison of American military prisons to Soviet gulags.

Funny how AI wasn't so "absurd" when the Bushies found their data on Saddam's prisons (which can more justifiably be compared to the Stalinist gulags) useful for their purposes. Then again, Spikey Isikoff was once useful to these people, now wasn't he?

So what will happen with these new revelations about Bolton, in conjunction with the ongoing confirmations of our suppositions about the intent and actual practices of this administration? Probably nothing, but perhaps not. This issue may serve as a bellwether for the midterm elections; the Democrats may again realize that they have very little to lose by bringing all these facts to light, and forcing the administration and its scriptwriting elves to explain themselves.

Lest we suppose that this is all some sort of new spin on an old issue (as most of the righties will surely try to frame it), here is the Guardian's contemporaneous take on the sandbagging of Jose Bustani (it does not mention Bolton by name, merely the import of the actual process):

Tomorrow, the US government will attempt to remove the director-general of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons from his post (Chemical coup d'etat, April 16). By encouraging Saddam Hussein to sign the chemical weapons convention, Jose Bustani appears to have become an obstacle to the American intention to engage in military action in Iraq. If the US succeeds, it will be a victory for unilateralism and a blow to international law.

The OPCW is the first global regime aimed at abolishing an entire category of weapons of mass destruction. With the backing of the UN security council, Bustani believes he can persuade Iraq to join the convention, offering the most realistic peaceful means of eliminating its chemical weapons.

I hold no brief for Bustani, the UN, or its clowder of acronymic feel-good subsets. Too often, the UN can be and has been corrupt, ineffective, and/or hypocritical. But the point is that Bush never gave Bustani a chance to do his thing, just like he didn't give UNMOVIC a real chance to complete its assessment. They had already made their decision, and nothing was going to change their mind about it. Their main concern was merely finding or creating whatever bolstered its case, no matter how flimsily, and minimizing the wealth of evidence to the contrary.

This, when you boil it right down, means that they placed way too much emphasis on bullshit intel from weasels like "Curveball", and forged yellowcake documents funneled through Italian and British intel agencies, and ignored all (not some -- all) of the common-sense arguments put forth by the opponents of the rush to war.

And it was a rush, no matter what the neocons and theocons insist. It didn't have to happen on their timetable; the threat (if there ever was a threat) was never anywhere near that imminent. And they knew it; the constant shifting of rationales demonstrates that quite handily. They believed their own "candy and flowers" hype, and thus did not prepare for the likely probablility of terrorist insurgency.

So where are we now, thanks to the "skillful" preparation of our fearless leaders, who were busy drinking and fucking around in school while their betters were actually in Vietnam on their Swift Boats? Well, the insurgency seems to have figured out that changing the focus from American soldiers to Iraqi civilians serves to deflect our intensity at squashing them, which is pretty much like hitting mercury with a hammer anyway. Nearly 1000 Iraqis dead in the last several weeks, and a very friendly diplomatic overture from Iran (which naturally went completely unnoticed by the media lagomorphs, because what really matters in your life is whether or not Michael Jackson is a predator of teenage boys).

The media ought to be ashamed of themselves, but shame is the first thing to go when you put on fuck-me pumps and allow the government to trick you out all over town. Ask Scott McClellan's favorite Talon "News" fluffer about that one.

When someone named "Bush" or "Cheney" or "Rumsfeld" starts volunteering for this mess, then maybe we can start to look for credence to all this cheerleading about turning the proverbial corner. Pierce Bush is about the right age. Will he step up and help implement his uncle's grand designs, or will he follow in Uncle W's footsteps, and binge-drink his way through college (and getting a clearly unearned MBA) while lecturing his betters on the morality of the war that others fight for his privileged ass?

I think we all know the answer to that question.

1 comment:

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