a couple of things have been rattling around the leftish end of blogland for a few days. they're the things that i've been meaning to post about, but haven't because whenever i write a political post it ends up being a long involved thing of tracking down links to back up what i say. because i've waited for so long, most of what i wanted to say has been said elsewhere, and probably better. unfortunately, "elsewhere" does not include any major articles in domestic news sources. as i keep saying, this niger yellowcake thing is significant not because its a huge deal on its own, but is a mere example of what is wrong with the administration--i.e. that they shape the facts to get the results they want.
when the yellowcake story first broke and actually got attention, i was hopeful that this would cause the media to re-evaluate ALL of the things the bush administration said about the war, not just focus on niger thingy. the niger story, after all, was known before the war began, but the media reported that the documents that were the basis of bush's claim were forgeries in minor articles which didn't get nearly the attention of the bush administration's other dubious reasons for war that they were announcing the same time. it wasn't until no w.m.d.s turned up in iraq and joseph wilson wrote an op-ed piece about how the uranium thing was bogus that the story seemed to get legs. i am not sure why, but it didn't get any more attention to other mis-statements/lies/exaggerations in the lead-up to the war, some of which were in the very same state of the union address that is getting all the attention now. (see e.g. this article)
so in the last week there were actually two major bombshells which go to the credibility of the administration. at least they should have been. i have yet to see a front-page article (or indeed any article) from the new york times about them.
1. the bush administration leaked the fact that joseph wilson's wife is a c.i.a. agent and gave her name to the media. this not only has blown her cover in the c.i.a., possibly ends her career and puts lives in danger, leaking her identity also is against the law. more info, and lots of follow-up links on this story is here
2. this one is even more bizarre. for over a year judicial watch has been in a legal battle make the documents from cheney's energy task force be made public. during the clinton administration, judicial watch was thought to be conservative organization, they claimed to be a non-partisan watch-dog organization dedicated to openess in government (kinda like a more conservative a.c.l.u.) but everyone, including me, thought they were just after clinton for partisan political gain. it was the national sport at the time, if you recall.
anyway, we were wrong. bush came into power and judicial watch sued cheney over his energy task force's secret meetings it held back in early 2001, during the california energy crisis. judicial watch relied on a legal precedents from its own case against hillary clinton's health care task force (a case which was cheered at the time by people in the bush administration) to argue that the energy task force's deliberations had to be open to the public. the bush administration fought this case hard, arguing, in effect, that a heretofore unknown form of executive privilege allowed them to keep the documents from the meeting secret. the law was against the administration, but they fought really hard against releasing the documents. which begs the question why they were fighting so hard. i assumed (like many others) it was because the documents would show the kenneth lay (c.e.o. of enron) and others like him were the architects of the bush plan, possibly the authors of the plan. after all, we know lay and other energy company executives were at the white house around that time and the bush energy plan seemed designed to line the pocket of a company like enron.
but it appears that we were wrong again, or at least not totally right. judicial watch managed to get some of the documents (the lawsuit is still pending) and this week announced what they found. rather than enron stuff, the documents included maps of iraqi oil fields and lists of companies which would be interested in extracting oil from those fields. remember, in march of 2001, when the documents are dated, iraq was under u.n. sanctions. aside from the amount administered under the oil-for-food program, iraqi oil was effectively off limits. why would the u.s. vice president be reviewing maps of iraqi oil fields when he drafted the administration's energy policy to deal with an immediate energy crisis? i hate conspiracy theories, but it does make one wonder about the real motive for the war on iraq. the documents are pre-9/11 and the administration has not made any attempts to explain them since they came out. as mano singham asked Can the Real Reasons for War Really be This Crass?"
the first of the above two stories should grounds for the immediate resignation of someone important and both stories should be major news items as each raises further questions concerning the credibility of this administration. as i noted above, others have discussed this in more depth than i have, but i feel like we have to keep discussion of both of these things going so they don't just end up in the memory hole