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CIA Stuff

To read today's Wall Street Journal editorial page you'd think the CIA was trying to undermine the Bush administration CIA-style. Bugging BC04 campaign offices and giving the tapes to the DNC, arranging secret transfers of money to the Kerry campaign, engaging in select assassinations of key Republican figures, etc. In fact what they're doing is making factual claims about the situation in Iraq to members of the press. They've leaked some stuff, true, but they haven't leaked any information that one could properly call secret -- just the broad conclusions of analyses that the administration has obviously kept under wraps for political reasons. You've got to understand that there's something badly wrong with your candidate when making accurate descriptions of the present state of affairs in a foreign country is considered an efficacious way to torpedo your boy's reelection campaign. It's sort of like admitting that his whole presidency is based on a tissue of lies. Or worse -- delusions.

September 29, 2004 | Permalink


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Wow. The facts don't just have an anti-Bush agenda, now. The facts are actively engaging in a treasonous dirty tricks operation against the Bush campaign.

Posted by: Constantine | Sep 29, 2004 9:23:53 PM

I'm actually surprised they haven't come after Pillar harder. His book was published by Brookings, and there's probably some dirt on him from his role in the anti-Soviet jihad.

Posted by: praktike | Sep 29, 2004 9:35:41 PM

The question is, can Kerry make credible use of these facts tomorrow night in a way that withstands the post-debate spin and Bush's likely attempt to paint Kerry as weak and indecisive (an attempt which has been helped tremendously by Kerry's own weakness and indecision through much of his campaign).

Posted by: SoCalJustice | Sep 29, 2004 9:51:10 PM

I can't actually remember a single instance of weakness or indecision from Kerry during this campaign, primaries included.
I'm talking about what he's actually done, not what the media have shared with us voters. Some storylines are just too sweet to drop, though, like Jack and the Beanstalk. Now that's a storyline. I could tell it a million times.

Posted by: John Isbell | Sep 29, 2004 10:13:19 PM

John Isbell,

Here's a couple examples:


Of course, weakness and indecisiveness, like almost anything else, are in the eye of the beholder.

Posted by: SoCalJustice | Sep 29, 2004 10:25:48 PM

C'mon. Motivating the vanguard of the proletariat to help smash the organs of the capitalist state is the primary job of the Party!

And the reactionary imperialist running dogs of the CIA are not only one of the organs of the capitalist state, but are clearly engaged in counter-revolutionary activities designed to further capitalist exploitation of the workers. Thus do they undermine the glorious campaign of worker's liberation currently underway in Iraq.

Clearly this kind of vile behaviour cannot be allowed to continue and it is only right and proper that the perpetrators be attacked with every propaganda weapon at the disposal of the Party lest the World Revolution be undermined!

ONLY by mobilizing the masses can the World Revolution occur and the only truly effective weapon for that is the Party's TRVTH!

['This is kinda fun!']

Posted by: ash | Sep 29, 2004 10:37:43 PM

What is the criteria for being in charge of the editorial page? The WSJ has been in fantasy land for much of the current administration. The trouble is that these guys in the right wing pundit class have been given WAY too much slack, despite their terrible calls. Kudos to MY and Co who don't put up with this BS. Josh's observation of the Onionization of Krauthammer, was hilarious.

When the executive team of a company makes as many wrong decisions as Team Bush, they are fired, or the company goes belly up. Eventually there will be blowback against the right wing pundit-advocates, just as the phony industry analysts of the dot-com era have suffered.

Posted by: patience | Sep 29, 2004 11:28:33 PM

patience, the wsj editorial page has been written by ideologically blinkered fantasists for a very long time, not just during the bush administration. Indeed, they pioneered the style that the wapo has now adopted: editorials that show no awareness of the fine reporting that their journalists do.

socaljustice, why do you think that's an example of kerry "weakness and indecision?"

Posted by: howard | Sep 29, 2004 11:36:32 PM

If Bush were smart, tomorrow he'd admit that "The situation in Iraq is serious, there's no question. That's why we're going to do X,Y,Z to make sure that Iraq becomes a strong state with representative institutions that respects fundamental human rights."
That'll be the Big News of the night for all the pundits to talk about, and would help dispell the picture that he's too dumb/stubborn to see reality.
(Notice use of 'representative' instead of 'democratic' to weasel around shortfalls.)
But he isn't that smart, IMHO.

If Kerry is smart, he'll
A) stay away from critiquing the decision to go in (as this both casts his doubt on his will to push on to victory and makes one-time war-supporters defensive)
B) outline X,Y,Z he'd do differently than Bush, beyond 'get more international support'
He might do B, but he'll find it hard to resist hammering Bush on the decision to go to war.

Posted by: Dubious | Sep 29, 2004 11:44:26 PM


I think it's illustrative of a troubling trend for the Kerrry campaign of his inability to "stay on message," which has been largely a product of the seeming inability of his campaign to craft a message, thus, IMO, making Karl Rove's job way too easy - from the get go.

Bush inherited a record surplus, we now have a record deficit.

A net loss of over 2,000,000 jobs over the last 4 years. And those that we've started to gain back are at lower pay grades.

In the aftermath of 9/11, even the Europeans we're saying "We're all Americans now." 3 years later, America's prestige in the world is at an all time low.

Three points. Say them early, and often. Every day. Loud and clear. I know he has been saying them - but one has to be paying very close attention and be watching C-Span to witness it. To me, that's sad at this late stage.

I think Kerry has so screwed himself because of his multiple and changing positions on Iraq, that every time he opens his mouth on the issue he's become vulnerable.

I'm more than open to being proven wrong tomorrow night - I wish him the best, believe me.

Posted by: SoCalJustice | Sep 29, 2004 11:57:55 PM

The SF Chronicle ran an article a few days ago analyzing 200 Kerry speeches on Iraq and concluding that the framework of his position had not changed since before the invasion. But I agree with you, SoCalJustice, that when he adds idea d to ideas a, b, and c, the media has difficulty taking this departure on board and reports it as indecision, not least because the GOP tells them it is.
I regret a polity (our current polity) where stating idea d is incomprehensible because we are raised on Schwarzenegger and OJ. It reminds me of that tribe which cannot count beyond 4. Attempting to alter that reality may be a shrewd political decision, or it may be naive. I don't see it as either weak or indecisive.

Posted by: John Isbell | Sep 30, 2004 12:09:09 AM

SoCalJustice, Kerry's position on iraq has not been multiple and changing: in fact, as (damn, can't put my hands on it right now and i need to split momentarily, maybe tomorrow) some enterprising reporter recently demonstrated by actually reading virtually everything that kerry had said about iraq (some 250 separate statements, interviews, speeches, etc). He was, in fact, remarkably consistent.

As for the Kerry campaign more generally - which takes us somewhat afield from the actual topic - i'm not going to claim that he's the second coming of bill clinton. i am going to claim that in an era in which the media chooses barely to acknowledge that elections might be about issues at all, it's very difficult to get your position out there.

That said, this rather fascinating study demonstrates that kerry's message (at least on foreign policy) is understood, whereas many bush supporters think they know where he stands - and are wrong:


This kind of reportage will be featured prominently in american media discourse shortly after godot arrives....

Posted by: howard | Sep 30, 2004 12:12:12 AM

This is annoying.

Posted by: Brian Ulrich | Sep 30, 2004 12:13:18 AM

socaljustice, john isbell and i are referencing the same study; i'll try and find the link tomorrow.

Posted by: howard | Sep 30, 2004 12:13:33 AM

Is this what you're referrring to? It really clears things up quite a bit. I'm a Kerry supporter, but even I thought he'd changed positions on Iraq a couple of times. I figured that was okay, since the situation has changed, and he was just adjusting, but it turns out that he's been remarkably consistent. I must've been misled by the liberal media.

Posted by: sebastien | Sep 30, 2004 12:30:57 AM

John Isbell & Howard

I'm not saying that John Kerry's position(s) on Iraq are untenable, or that I disagree with them. Personally, I change my mind on various matters related to the war with frequency - I imagine many others do as well - it's obviously a complicated foreign policy issue.

But I'm not running for President, either.

But one can run into trouble if one says something along the lines of "knowing what I know now, I still would have voted to give Bush the authority to invade Iraq," and then also says that Bush "misled the country into war."

Technically, they are still compatible sentiments. But if one has to explain why those sentences are not mutually exclusive, you've just lost the average American's attention span and given Bush and Cheney easy applause lines to boot.

I'm sure the Chronicle reporter did a fine job of explaining it - but I'm fairly certain Kerry has a lock on the Bay Area vote anyway.

It seems to me that Kerry's been playing defense since the end of the primaries - and he's the challenger against a President with strong negative poll numbers.

I also think that Kerry himself feels there's been a bit of indecision and weakness in his campaign, hence all the handwringing about Shrum/Cahill and the decision to add Carville and Begala.

But looking forward to reading that piece in the Chronicle.


Posted by: SoCalJustice | Sep 30, 2004 12:39:05 AM

First of all, this obsession with decisiveness is too idiotic to bear. If the decisions a president makes are consistently wrong, who gives a shit whether or not he's resolute in making a bunch of fucked-up, yet decisive, decisions. Much of the bullshit Bush peddles on the road won't fly in the debate if Kerry is given a chance to respond. A big if, or course, but...the refrain that pisses me off the most is "I actually voted for the $86 million before I voted against it." The punch-line, according to Bush, is that this Kerry statement proves that he's weak and complicated. I given a chance, Kerry should hit this one out of the park a la Marshall, i.e. we gave you the authority, but you blew it.

As Matt makes clear, and notwithstanding Hitchen's hysterics, Kerry's in a good position because, from Bush's perspective, the plain facts are Bush's enemy. If there is a god, Kerry will win the presidency tomorrow night.

Posted by: fnook | Sep 30, 2004 1:00:36 AM

"just as the phony industry analysts of the dot-com era have suffered."

I guess I missed the news that these people had suffered.
As far as I can tell:
* some miniscule number (less than the fingers of one hand) have been found guilty of bad things by the SEC and given various slaps on the wrist like small fines, bans from working in the financial industry, and perhaps a short sentence at a country-club prison
* some CEOs have lost some face (but not much more)
* a whole lot of investors have lost a whole lot of money.
Notably as far as I can tell it is NOT the case that either the analysts nor the officers of the companies involved have had to actually give up their ill-gotten gains and attendant lifestyle.

Posted by: Maynard Handley | Sep 30, 2004 1:07:21 AM

fnook writes: the refrain that pisses me off the most is "I actually voted for the $86 million before I voted against it."

FWIW, a smiliar debate about Kerry's excuse (on GMA) for making that comment is happening here:


Seems to be an equal mix of those who agree with you and those who are frustrated with JFK.

Posted by: SoCalJustice | Sep 30, 2004 1:14:22 AM

Given that the industry analysts of the dotcom era did nothing wrong, and have suffered chiefly because of a populist loon's witchhunt, it seems fair enough that they haven't suffered very much.

Posted by: john b | Sep 30, 2004 7:14:02 AM

Have y'all noticed how tan Kerry's looking lately? I wonder what that could mean.

Posted by: Something Polish | Sep 30, 2004 9:44:07 AM

Re Kerry's consistency on Iraq, also see here: http://www.realcities.com/mld/krwashington/9743513.htm

Posted by: Dave | Sep 30, 2004 12:29:47 PM

If there is a god, Kerry will win the presidency tomorrow night.

I'm not investing much hope in the prospect of intervention by our imaginary daddy in the sky. Or in the power of facts to convince the electorate.

I wish I could remember the source of this quotation I read a long, long time ago:

"God Almighty, in his infinite mercy and wisdom, protects little children, drunks, and the United States of America."

If only it were so.

Posted by: S. Anderson | Sep 30, 2004 1:39:13 PM

But hey, Bush is steadfast. Just like the captain of the Titanic. Ignore those icebergs ahead, stay the course, this ship (of state) is unsinkable!

Meanwhile, that flip-flopper Kerry... what can I say, he would have actually CHANGED COURSE when he saw those icebergs, unlike the captain of the Titanic (and Bush). Obviously this disqualifies John F. Kerry from being President!

- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Posted by: Badtux | Oct 3, 2004 3:16:08 AM

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