Today’s opining on the public discourse.
In just a few hours, I go to dinner with PZ Myers (and his mom). So if Happy Hour seems a little distracted today, I ask you to reflect upon the impact several thousand butterflies careening around a stomach can have upon a person’s ability to focus. There’s also the small matter of the cat’s insistence on lying on my tummy and purring loudly. I haven’t had quality time with kitty in nearly a week. She’s retaliating by piling on the cute, which compounds the distraction.
With that disclaimer, let’s begin with one of the most beautiful statements of the week:
Noting that “prominent Democrats” had ruled out impeachment, MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann asked former counterterrorism adviser Richard Clarke on his show last night, what “remedy” there could be for the lies and misinformation highlighted in the new Senate Intelligence Committee reports on the Bush administration’s misuse of pre-war Iraq intelligence.
CLARKE: Well, there may be some other kind of remedy. There may be some sort of truth and reconciliation commission process that’s been tried in other countries, South Africa, Salvador and what not, where if you come forward and admit that you were in error or admit that you lied, admit that you did something, then you’re forgiven. Otherwise, you are censured in some way.
Now, I just don’t think we can let these people back into polite society and give them jobs on university boards and corporate boards and just let them pretend that nothing ever happened when there are 4,000 Americans dead and 25,000 Americans grieviously wounded, and they’ll carry those wounds and suffer all the rest of their lives. [emphasis gleefully added]
I second the motion, Mr. Clarke. These fuckwits don’t belong anywhere near positions of respect, influence, or power. In fact, might I suggest we offer them jobs as janitors at Jack in the Box? The power to sweep a floor is about all they deserve, and even then, that’s being generous.
Who would have thought we’d have a need for truth and reconciliation committees in America? And not for things that were done in the past, mind, but things that have been unfolding like a particularly spectacular trainwreck for eight fucking years. Things that have driven even my deeply conservative best friend and parents into the loving arms of Barack Obama.
Well. Guess some good came out of it after all, then.
Let’s continue in the quote o’ the day vein. Our next crown jewel comes via Carpetbagger:
Yesterday’s report from the Senate Intelligence Committee on the White House’s deliberate deceptions before the U.S. invasion of Iraq was not exactly blockbuster news. That doesn’t come as a surprise — Bush and his team lied about Iraq? Deliberately shoveling talking points that they knew to be false at the time? You don’t say.
But let’s not brush past this too quickly. Dan Froomkin had a good summary of what we learned from the new report.
Yesterday’s long-awaited Senate Intelligence Committee report further solidifies the argument that the Bush administration’s most blatant appeals to fear in its campaign to sell the Iraq war were flatly unsupported.
Some of what President Bush and others said about Iraq was corroborated by what later turned out to be inaccurate intelligence. But their most compelling and gut-wrenching
allegations — for instance, that Saddam Hussein was ready to supply his friends in al-Qaeda with nuclear weapons — were simply made up.
In an accident of timing, the report also validates former press secretary Scott McClellan’s conclusion in his new book that the White House pursued a “political propaganda campaign” to market the war.
The White House response? That officials in Congress and elsewhere were saying the same things about Iraq. Or in other words, that other people bought the administration line. It takes a lot of chutzpah to defend yourself against charges that you’ve engaged in a propaganda campaign by noting that it worked. [emphasis added with especial relish]
I think we may need to coin a Yiddish word that goes beyond chutzpah. This seems like mega-chutspah to me. Any readers acquainted with fine Yiddish phrases useful for calling our resident assclowns the most shameless fucking liars in American history, please do feel free to leave suggestions in comments.
I also point up this piece because of what Garrett said when I was writing Discurso yesterday: “We already knew they lied.” Well yes, yes we did. It’s the breathtaking scope of those lies that’s coming out now. It’s not just that they lied, it’s the remarkable degree to which they shat upon the truth, put it through an industrial-grade chipper shredder, masturbated all over it, and then for good measure ran it over with a tank. With spiked tracks. Knowing just how fucking far they went is vitally important. It’ll help those truth and reconciliation committees figure out if they’re being snowed. Again.
Speaking of being snowed, we come to our third beautiful quote o’ the day: Carpetbagger sez the Republicons are pulling out one of their favorite old chestnuts again:
For far-right Republicans, when nothing else is working in the midst of a political campaign, they always seem to go back to the same thing: the good ol’ red scare.
Take Tom DeLay, for example. The former House Majority Leader took time away from his criminal defense — DeLay is currently facing felony counts of money laundering and conspiracy in Texas — to appear on right-wing talk-show host Mike Gallagher’s radio show yesterday. When
the subject turned to the presidential campaign, the former exterminator went after Barack Obama: “I have said publicly, and I will again, that unless he proves me wrong, he is a Marxist.” Gallagher agreed, saying, “[T]hat’s what he is.”
I can appreciate the fact that Republicans probably get a little tired of calling someone a “liberal,” but that’s no reason to s
tart manufacturing a red scare. I mean, really. There should be some political norms that conservatives still care about. [emphasis added blues-style]
If only that were so, CB. If only.