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Bureau of Intelligence and Research, at the State Department, Warned the Niger Uranium 'Yellow Cake' Story Was Bogus...
By Margie Burns on 2/10/2007 3:08pm PT  

*** Special to The BRAD BLOG
*** by Libby/CIA Leak Trial Correspondent Margie Burns

When the full history of bogus WMD propaganda is written, a few individuals and agencies in our government will stand out for having tried to be rational voices during the administration’s juggernaut PR campaign to invade Iraq. Among these is the Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) in the State Department.

The whole Niger story, that Iraq tried to buy tons of unenriched uranium, called yellowcake, from the African nation of Niger, displays the chasm between genuine analysts on one side and weird administration war boosters on the other. This story, which birthed the famous 16 words in a State of the Union speech, led to former ambassador Joseph Wilson’s trip to Niger, his subsequent criticisms of the administration, pundit Robert Novak’s outing Wilson’s wife as a CIA operative, at least two investigations into the leak --- with Novak and George W. Bush among those hiring attorneys – and the current trial of Lewis Libby, Vice President’s former Chief of Staff.

The Report on the U.S. Intelligence Community’s Prewar Intelligence Assessments on Iraq is 521 pages online (http://intelligence.senate.gov/iraqreport2.pdf; link down). Part II, on Niger, is pages 36-83. Numbers in parentheses, below, are the pages cited.

“Reporting on a possible yellowcake sales agreement between Niger and Iraq first came to the attention of the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC) on October 15, 2001,” when the CIA Directorate of Operations (DO) passed along a report from a “foreign government service indicating that Niger planned to ship several tons of uranium to Iraq.” At the time, all IC analysts regarded this forwarded cable to be limited and lacking in detail. The CIA, DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency), and Department of Energy (DOE) called it “possible.” The State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) regarded it as “highly suspect.” (36) The INR turned out to be right...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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During Conference Call with Bloggers, the Wisconsin Senator Highly Critical of Colleagues, 'Washington Insiders' and Even John Edwards for 'Playing it Safe on This One'
Says 'Dems Trying to Have it Both Ways' While 'Americans are Dying Unnecessarily'...
By Brad Friedman on 2/5/2007 5:16pm PT  

Blogged by Brad Friedman from Phoenix, AZ...

In a conference call with several bloggers concluded moments ago, Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) had a number of harsh words concerning today's procedural bickering and fillibustering by Republicans in the Senate, which stifled both votes on his own legislation to end the Iraq War as well as amendments offered by other lawmakers to several non-binding resolutions that also failed to come to the floor for a full vote.

Feingold's remarks were highly critical not just of the Republicans, but even moreso of his own Democratic caucus colleagues, "Washington insider consultants," and even former Senatorial colleague-turned-presidential candidate John Edwards, for failing to take a tough stand to end the war in Iraq.

In a passionate, thirty-minute call, Feingold stressed, "This is an important moment to see if we're gonna try and end this war. Frankly, I'm disappointed that Democrats are playing it safe on this one."

"We need to play hardball on this. We're gonna have to take the lead on this issue and we're gonna need to tie this place up as long as it takes," he said in describing what he sees as a fear and timidity in his colleagues who now hold a slight majority in the Senate...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Fact-Sheet Released Covering General Details, Points to Republican Passed Legislation to Defund U.S. Troops in Bosnia Under Clinton in 1998...
By Brad Friedman on 1/27/2007 11:36am PT  

On Thursday we covered the announcement of hearings to be held by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) in the House Judiciary Committee and by Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Conyers' hearing will look at the questions of legality surrounding Bush's "Signing Statements" and Feingold will look at issues surround de-funding the War in Iraq in advance of a legislative proposal to do just that. More details, and the expected witnesses for both of those hearings are in our previous article.

The BRAD BLOG has now obtained details from Feingold's office concerning what his proposal to exercise Congressional control of the purse strings over military deployment in Iraq will and won't do. A fact sheet concerning his upcoming legislation and how the defunding and re-deployment of U.S. troops would be conducted is below.

As well, the statement lists several other historical instances in which Congress voted to hold back funding while American troops were deployed, including in 1998 when the Republican-controlled legislature included a provision in a Defense Authorization bill prohibiting additional funding for U.S. troops in Bosnia after a date-certain, unless certain assurances were given to Congress by then-President Bill Clinton.

Feingold's fact-sheet follows in full...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Conyers and Feingold Announce Judiciary Hearings on Bush Admistration Policy in Both Senate and House...
By Brad Friedman on 1/25/2007 2:16pm PT  

At the turn of the new year, we dubbed 2007 "The Year of Accountability." So, let it begin.

Two announcements were released today concerning upcoming oversight and investigative hearings in Congress on Bush Administration policy. If you can imagine such a thing.

In the House, Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee --- the one which would lead the way concerning any Articles of Impeachment for a sitting U.S. President or Vice-President --- announced today that hearings would be held next Wednesday in the committee on "Presidential Signing Statements under the Bush Administration: A Threat to Checks and Balances and the Rule of Law?" (Complete media release, with details, scheduled witnesses, etc. at end of this article.)

In the Senate, Russ Feingold (D-WI) will chair Judiciary Committee hearings on "Congress's Power to End a War." In a media advisory just released, (posted in full below) Feingold refers to Congress's "power of the purse to redeploy our troops safely from Iraq so that we can refocus on the global terrorist networks that threaten our national security."

"This hearing will help inform my colleagues and the public about Congress’s power to end a war and how that power has been used in the past," Feingold is quoted in the release. As well, he promises to to introduce new legislation to do exactly that in the Senate. "I will soon be introducing legislation to use the power of the purse to end what is clearly one of the greatest mistakes in the history of our nation’s foreign policy," the senator said.

Neither of the Constitutionally mandated oversight hearings will be held in a basement broom closet, but rather in proper Congressional Hearing Rooms.

UPDATE 8:22pm PT White House says they "will cooperate." Of course they will.

The complete media releases from Conyers and Feingold, with dates, times, locations, and expected witnesses, follow below...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Why Does George W. Bush Hate Our Troops?
By Brad Friedman on 1/24/2007 10:56am PT  

With more than 5600 words in his State of the Union speech, Bush couldn't cobble together five or six of them to thank our 1.6 million new American Veterans? Let alone recognize the continuing horrors they face and what our country plans to do to help them?

A press release from the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America find that pretty crappy. So do we.

"Tonight President Bush once again failed to demonstrate a real commitment to the 1.6 million new American veterans who have been created under his watch," said Paul Rieckhoff, an Iraq War Veteran and the executive director of IAVA (www.iava.org). "For the second year in a row, the President in his State of the Union address chose to mention the troops only as a prop for his failing policies and ignored the nation's new veterans entirely."

Why does George W. Bush hate our troops?

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Shame on Huffington Post for Giving Him a Platform to Do So...
By Brad Friedman on 1/22/2007 11:21pm PT  

Treacherous Republican wordsmith/pollster/spinman Frank Luntz sinks to new depths in pretending to offer "advice" for the Democratic Party in a condescending little screed posted at Huff Po on Sunday.

I'll let you make what you will of the bulk of his self-serving nonsense. But setting aside Luntz's apparent inability --- rather transparently, I'll add, for someone whose business is supposedly language --- to keep himself from using the pejoratively intended "Democrat" when he means "Democratic," I'll focus on only one major point.

For a man who damned well understands the importance of words he sure did manage to drop one huge rhetorical and literal LIE smack-dab into the middle of his editorial. He writes:

Senator Barbara Boxer can't really believe that a single woman without children is totally incapable of feeling emotional loss just because she hasn't had any children in combat, can she? Yet that's exactly what she said to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Of course, that's not "exactly" what Boxer said to Rice at all. Nor is it even close to what she said. What she said was EXACTLY:

BOXER: Who pays the price? I'm not going to pay a personal price. My kids are too old and my grandchild is too young. You're not going to pay a particular price, as I understand it, with an immediate family. So who pays the price? The American military and their families. And I just want to bring us back to that fact.

Further, Luntz twists his disingenuous knife by adding:

Boxer could have been a constructive opponent. Instead, she chose to poke Rice straight in the eye with a stick sharpened by a crude personal attack. It was a cheap shot that made even the most hardened Washington insiders cringe.

Speaking of "cheap shots", if Luntz doesn't know by now that the phony non-incident he describes as having "made even the most hardened Washington insiders cringe" is little more than the Luntzian creation of White House spokeshole Tony Snow as aided and abetted by both the wingnut media and the NYTimes then he shouldn't be allowed in public, much less on Huff Po.

For the record, we covered the disingenuous brouhaha from the get-go as it sprang from a call we made for a Congress member to ask the White House about the casualty estimates for their Iraq "surge plan" (a Luntzian turn of phrase if we've ever seen one). As it turns out, they didn't bother to make any. Or so Condi claimed during the Senate hearings. (More relevant links to the notable points in our coverage are below.)

Shame on Luntz for purposely misleading readers. Shame on Huffington Post for giving a platform to an out-and-out liar. I don't care how much undeserved "celebrity" the man can claim, nor how much "the other side" should be heard from. If "the other side" is going to simply lie, then there is no reason that anyone, much less Huffington Post, should give them a platform to do so.

UPDATES:

  • To HuffPo's credit, they have cross-posted this blog item.
  • BRAD BLOG Guest Blogger Alan Breslauer calls to our attention one of his blog items from last summer highlighting a video clip of Luntz demonstrating yet more disingenuousness, along with Alan's personal observations of Luntz who was both a professor of his and, apparently, a frat house drinking buddy...

PREVIOUS RELATED BRAD BLOG ARTICLES:

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By Brad Friedman on 1/22/2007 1:07pm PT  

In response to Condi Rice's recent comments before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the Iraqi government was working on "borrowed time," Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said:

"Such statements give moral boosts to the terrorists."

I wish the Bush Administration would stop supporting al-Qaeda with their irresponsible rhetoric.

Do they not know we're at war? Have they forgotten what happened on September 11th, 2001? Why do they hate America?

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...As Proposed by Fred Kagan, Bastardized by Bush and Spun by Kagan with an Assist from Bill Kristol...
By Alan Breslauer on 1/21/2007 4:36pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer

On Saturday, there was a death "surge" in Iraq as at least 25 U.S. troops were killed on a single day in the worst one-day death toll for our troops since the start of the War.

Meanwhile, as Bush prepares to serve up another 21,500 American troops to Iraq, it's worth taking a look at who the hell came up with the "augmentation" plan in the first place, what it said before the Bush spin machine grabbed hold of it, and what the plan's author has had to say since Bush revealed it to the country on January 10, 2007.

According to Fred Barnes, Fox "News" perennial and editor of The Weekly Standard and as confirmed by the BBC, Washington Post and The Economist, Bush's new and improved plan for Iraq is based on a 50-page report written by retired General Jack Keane and Frederick Kagan, a "military academic" at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). The report does, in fact, read much like Bush's proposal. With one small exception. As Barnes points out, the Keane/Kagan plan originally "envision[ed] a temporary addition of 50,000 troops".

With that in mind, here are some excerpts from the report, a television appearance and other media authored by Frederick Kagan over the last two months --- beginning before last November's election, well prior to Bush's announcement of the new scheme --- along with a couple of guest appearances by Surge Master Bill Kristol...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Alan Breslauer on 1/19/2007 11:39am PT  

Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer

Hopefully this mashup evidences the insanity of George W. Bush's Iraq policy. Lies, incompetence and just plain scary - do you live on this planet - quotes are a recipe for continued disaster in Iraq. Sadly, even if the Bush were right about the consequences of leaving, it still would be our only option as long as he remained Commander In Chief. With no credibility left, the only place anyone is likely to follow the President is to the Hague. Somehow, some way, we must end the war and the Bush presidency before he and the neocons 'make the peace' with Iran.

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Take-No-Prisoners Email by New Presidential Campaign Chief Highly Critical of Bush, Congressional Democrats
Ad to be Placed in 'Roll Call', Supporters Asked to Sign Petition Demanding Congress Cut Off Funding for New War Plan
By Brad Friedman on 1/17/2007 5:11pm PT  

In a harshly worded fund raising letter sent to members of John Edwards's 2008 presidential campaign e-mail list late this afternoon, his new Campaign Manager, former Congressman David Bonior (D-MI), holds little back in his sharp criticism of both George W. Bush and Democratic members of Congress for their Iraq War policies and politics. (Email posted in full at end of this article.)

The email --- with the eye-popping, if impolitic, subject line "Total Bull" --- first takes aim at Bush's recent pronouncements, as reported by U.S. News and World Report and elsewhere after Bush's appearance on CBS' 60 Minutes last Sunday, "that Congress does not have the power to stop his proposed escalation of the war in Iraq."

"That's bull," Bonior writes before going on in the email to criticize his former Democratic colleagues in Congress, taking them to task for their failure to "step up to the plate and use their power to stop the president from escalating the war."

"I can assure you that Congress does have the power to stop this escalation," says the 26-year former Congressman.

"Some [in Congress] are calling for symbolic statements that do nothing to stop the escalation," he writes. "If you hear a member of Congress say 'non-binding resolution,' then you're really hearing them say 'pass the buck.'"

"And some members of Congress are waiting for --- well, we don't know what they're waiting for."

Citing Edwards's position "calling on Congress to stand up and take responsibility by using its power to prevent this war from getting any worse," Bonior goes on to announce the campaign's plan to run a full page ad in Roll Call, with a petition against the escalation and the "tens of thousands" of signatures from supporters who've signed it. The e-mail asks supporters to contribute money as well towards purchase of the ad.

Edwards's short petition, which can be signed here, calls on Congress to block funding for Bush's escalation plan. It reads in full:

I am opposed to President Bush's plan to send additional troops to Iraq. Congress must act now to block funding of Bush's escalation of the war — and demand that the President provide a plan to leave Iraq.

LATE RELATED-ISH UPDATE: First Zogby poll out of Iowa shows Edwards leading the Dem pack with 27%. Far ahead of "second tier dog-fight" between Obama, Hillary, and home state Gov. Vilsack. No big surprises on the Republican side with McCain and Giuliani duking it out, though Newt coming in an eyebrow-raisingly close third place. (Thanks reader TC for the tip.)

The e-mail sent to supporters via the JohnEdwards.com mailing list follows in full below...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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LAURA BUSH FLASHBACK: 'Dr. Rice Not Interested in Presidency Because She's Single, No Parents Living, is Only Child'
PLUS: Nora Ephron's 'Condi Diaries'...
By Brad Friedman on 1/15/2007 3:51pm PT  


Finally! A media outlet which appropriately covered the news from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing last week in which Rice claimed the White House made no estimates for the potential change in casualty rates that may come from their plan to send 21,500 more troops to Iraq.

Over the weekend The McClaughlin Group focused on --- and showed the video of --- the actual newsworthy exchange between Sen. Barbara Boxer and Rice, if you can imagine such a thing.

If you can't, that video is here for you on the right. (Hat-tip Alan Breslauer)

Yes, the Washington Times' Tony Blankley tried mightily to turn the topic to the phony, non-existent "attack" that the White House, and their sycophants in the media from the wingnut blogs all the way over to the NYTimes fell for, but he was fairly well shut down by both Eleanor Clift and Pat Buchanan. But given Wash Times' extraordinarily and purposely twisted "reporting" we saw over the weekend ("Democrats" suggested "the secretary's childlessness, race and sex are to blame for mistakes in Iraq," distorted the White House Organ and Tony Snow's old stomping ground), we're not surprised at Blankley's attempts to do the WH's bidding.

It's only a shame that Lawrence O'Donnell wasn't sitting in with 'The Group' this week.

Yes, O'Reilly keeps up the disingenuous (or uninformed, take your pick) attacks as he was on all morning about Boxer's non-existent "attack" on Rice, as if any such attack actually occurred, on his Radio Factor. Hey, Bill: You can read the transcript of the exchange here, or you can look at the actual video above. Or you can continue to misinform your listeners and viewers. Either way, I continue to make myself available to you if you wish to interview me on the matter, as I'm the guy who originally wrote the question that Boxer asked.

Beyond that, perhaps the tide is turning as folks are beginning to see this whole shameless phony Rightwing twist/smear for what it really is. Nora Ephron over at HuffPo, after pointing out apparently-not-"outrageous"-at-all comments made Laura Bush about Condi before year's end --- "Dr. Rice, who I think would be a really good candidate, is not interested. Probably because she is single, her parents are no longer living, she's an only child. You need a very supportive family and supportive friends to have this job." --- goes on to give us a peek at "Condi's Diary."

By way of necessary reminder, here's the way Boxer actually prefaced her question about WH casualty estimates (or the apparent lack thereof):

BOXER: Who pays the price? I'm not going to pay a personal price. My kids are too old and my grandchild is too young. You're not going to pay a particular price, as I understand it, with an immediate family. So who pays the price? The American military and their families. And I just want to bring us back to that fact.

As you see, she said nothing about Rice not having the moral authority to make such choices, didn't attack her childlessness or her singleness or her sex or her race or anything at all, as has been wildly, widely, and wholly inaccurately "reported" by Wash Times, O'Reilly, Snow and friends...

A sample from "Condi's Diary" by Nephron follows below. The full, informative piece of satire is here...

I felt so dumb, Dear Diary. It turned out she had really insulted me, but I was so busy wrinkling my forehead I hadn't really clocked it. She'd been asking me about the war, and she'd said to me: "The issue is who pays the price? I'm not going to pay a personal price. My kids are too old and my grandchild is too young. You're not going to pay a particular price, as I understand it, with an immediate family. So who pays the price? The American military and their families."

Karl and Tony said: "How does that make you feel? Doesn't it make you feel terrible?"

"Not as terrible as Chuck Hagel made me feel," I said. "Chuck Hagel actually insulted our policy! He insulted The P.!"

"Never mind that," Karl Rove said. "Barbara Boxer insulted you."

PREVIOUS RELATED BRAD BLOG ARTICLES:

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The White House Organ Faced Stiff Competition, But Managed to Produce the Most Disingenuous, Inaccurate, U.S. Troop-Hating 'News Report' of the Week
Tony Snow to Present 'Award Statuette' in Appreciation During Secret Rose Garden Ceremony...
By Brad Friedman on 1/14/2007 12:56pm PT  

Since it should have always been front and center --- but even the New York Times succeeded in fellating the White House by ignoring the news this week --- here is that news once again:

* * * The White House failed to make any casualty estimates before committing another 20,000+ U.S. troops to War in Iraq, according to the Secretary of State. * * * (transcript)

The news, which The BRAD BLOG covered almost exclusively, came in reply to a direct question from Sen. Barbara Boxer during last Thursday's oversight hearings on Iraq Policy when Condoleezza Rice came to Capitol Hill to argue in favor of the White House's new escalation plan.

But as Boxer's critical direct question evoked Condi's stunning answer --- which, if true, reveals a remarkable delinquency and breathtaking lack of support for U.S. troops by this White House --- was subsequently all but ignored by the media both on the Right and the supposedly not-on-the-Right. After White House spokeshole/MVP Tony Snow gave his cue to attack the messenger to avoid the message, all of his media tools lined up behind him and performed admirably in the service of disserving America.

But among fierce competition this week, the Biggest Tool of the Week Award must be given to one of the White House's very own publications, The Washington Times.

In "reporting" on this statement made by Boxer during the exchange with Rice on Thursday...

BOXER: Who pays the price? I'm not going to pay a personal price. My kids are too old and my grandchild is too young. You're not going to pay a particular price, as I understand it, with an immediate family. So who pays the price? The American military and their families. And I just want to bring us back to that fact.

...The Washington Times' and their "reporter" Charles Hurt topped the rest of the wingnut and non-wingnut media by turning it into the following remarkable opening graf from their front page propaganda piece on the phony, White House created "outrage" by Saturday...

The White House and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice yesterday accused Democrats of suggesting that the secretary's childlessness, race and sex are to blame for mistakes in Iraq.

Wow! Now that's some impressive work! Give that Tony Snow a raise!

All the other men and women in America who helped him --- for free --- give them a one-way ticket to Gitmo, since clearly they hate both America and the troops attempting to defend her.

Remind us again why Impeachment is "off the table"? Is it because Tony Snow says so? If so, we understand completely. We hope he'll let us know when it's okay to proceed.

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The Once-Great Paper Misrepresents the Facts, Quotes Only Rightwingers and Misrepresents Some of them to Suggest They are 'Liberal'
PLUS: An Invitation to Bill O'Reilly...
By Brad Friedman on 1/13/2007 3:21pm PT  

The New York Times today joins the White House, the disingenuous Rightwing media and blogs, and even several unnamed supposed non-Rightwingers in purposely misconstruing Sen. Barbara Boxer's question to Condi Rice at last Thursday's Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Bush's new policy to escalate troop commitment in Iraq.

I reported on the controversy over the phony Boxer/Rice brouhaha yesterday here, after originally calling on a Congress member to ask the very question that Boxer asked (and which the Times ignored) last Sunday and again after Bush's speech on Wednesday night in the face of his supporting, yet callous, comments on the new policy that "we must expect more Iraqi and American casualties."

If the way in which the Times twisted the facts of the event was unintentional, the only alternative then is that the reporters who covered it, Helene Cooper and Thom Shanker, and the editors who allowed the article to go through, are utterly incapable of even the simplest intelligent analysis of a critical and relevant news event and, frankly, shouldn't be working for a paper as still-important to this country as the New York Times.

Picking up on the phony controversy over the prelude to Boxer's question of whether the White House had "an estimate of the number of casualties we expect from this surge?" --- the stunning answer from the Secretary of State, if she's to be believed, is that no, they did not --- the Times joined Fox "News" and NYPost and the other wingnut outlets in both twisting Boxer's comments and forwarding the unsupported notion that there was some sort of personal slur built into them.

The Times quotes Boxer's "offending" phrase --- one that even Rice admits not being offended at, until after the White House Press Secretary, Tony Snow, suggested the comments were "outrageous" later on --- as follows:

During the Thursday hearing, Ms. Boxer told Ms. Rice: "You’re not going to pay any particular price, as I understand it, with an immediate family."

Wow! The height of personal rudeness! Boxer really smacked down Rice for not being married and having no children! A comment which several suddenly-"feminist" Rightwing outlets characterized as "One Great Leap (Backwards) for Womankind!" just after Snow coincidentally called it a "great leap backward for feminism" in his official response.

Problem is, the way the Times characterized the "controversy" in the graf reposted above leaves out the rest of Boxer's comment and thus takes it completely out of context. Here's what she actually said in the lead-up to her important all-but-ignored question and response from Rice:

BOXER: Who pays the price? I'm not going to pay a personal price. My kids are too old and my grandchild is too young. You're not going to pay a particular price, as I understand it, with an immediate family. So who pays the price? The American military and their families. And I just want to bring us back to that fact.

Even Rice admitted in her comments to the Times that "It didn't actually dawn on me that she was saying, 'you don’t have children who can go to war'."

Of course it didn't actually "dawn on" you, Ms. Rice. Because it didn't actually happen that way.

At least until Tony Snow took the opportunity to brilliantly turn the focus away from both Rice's answer revealing that the White House hadn't bothered to measure the cost in increased deaths to U.S. troops before announcing their new policy ("Senator, I don't think that any of us, uh, have a number. That, of expected casualties.") and from the fact that both Republicans and Democrats alike on the Senate committee were highly critical of the White House escalation plan for the Iraq War.

Snow's comments, of course, were the marching orders to the various Rightwing outlets who were all too happy to twist Boxer's comments in the very same way. They all "reported" the exchange in the same phony context the following day (as I previously described here.)

While attacking the messenger to completely distract from the message is a time-honored and well-expected tactic from this White House and their sycophantic supporters, it continues to be distressing to see the once-great "Paper of Record" irresponsibly pick up that ball and run in the same disingenuous direction. Who needs Judith Miller?

To make matters worse, not only did the Times manage to only quote the mangled "analysis" of "Conservative" blogs and commentators in their coverage of the exchange, they even misrepresented a group which, at the first blush of the Times description of them, would seem indicate that they would have been an ally of Boxer's.

Appearing to defect from support of the Democratic Senator is a group called Project 21. The Times characterized the statement of a member of the group this way...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Rightwing Outlets Smear Senator Who Asked Question, Ignore Stunning Newsworthiness of Answer
Iraq Vet Source Dubious About Secretary of State's Admission that Military Lacks Body County Estimates...
By Brad Friedman on 1/12/2007 1:57pm PT  

Well, it looks like we've got our answer. The White House didn't bother to even come up with a casualty estimate for their new escalation plan in Iraq. So much for "supporting the troops." At least if Sec. of State Condoleezza Rice is to be believed.

We've been asking since last Sunday --- and then again just after Bush's Wednesday night speech when he said, "We must expect more Iraqi and American casualties" --- what the White House's estimates are for the increased (or decreased) body count that we can expect vis-a-vis his new plan for a troop "augmentation" (nee "surge") in Iraq.

Surely due diligence when creating such a plan requires such estimates be made by the military for the cost expected in blood for our U.S. troops before such a plan is actually implemented.

Well, finally, the question has been asked of the White House, or at least of Rice, during yesterday's Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the planned escalation.

If Rice is to be believed, the White House has made no such estimate.

When asked directly by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), "Do you have an estimate of the number of casualties we expect from this surge?", Rice's answer came back as: "No, uh, Senator...I don't think there's any way to give you such an estimate."

Boxer's question came after a morning of tough questions and statements for Rice --- from both Republicans and Democrats --- and after the Senator's own statement in which she discussed the fact that "we are alone in this escalation of troops." She was referring to the point that no other countries among our allies in Iraq would be increasing their own troop strength. In fact, the British have announced they will be decreasing troops in the region over the next few months.

(The entire hearing can be seen via Real Video from C-SPAN here. Boxer's questioning of Rice comes at appx. the 1:47:00 mark.)

And while one would think the admission that the White House has announced a plan to send more than 20,000 U.S. troops into harm's way without first measuring the cost in blood expected by such an increase to be rather newsworthy, rightwing pundits from outlets such as Fox "News" and the New York Post have taken the opportunity to criticize Boxer for the way in which she framed the question instead. In the bargain, they've virtually ignored both the question itself, Rice's answer, and the apparent stunning delinquency of the White House if Rice is to be believed.

Jon Soltz, an Iraq War vet who is co-founder and chairman of VoteVets.org, tells The BRAD BLOG he's dubious of Rice's statement.

"The Pentagon knows how many casualties they estimate for any of the actions the additional troops will be taking part of. It’s basic war planning," Solz told us this morning. "Depending on what happens, that number could go up or go down, but they know what they expect."

Soltz joins our call for the public release of such an estimate from the Pentagon or White House --- if it in fact exists --- given the new policy comes in the wake of previous policy errors and underestimates.

"Normally, the military shouldn’t have to release those estimates, but given that the administration is asking more troops to pay for its mistakes, they should be up front about how many they believe are going to make the ultimate sacrifice," he explained.

Solz has been critical of Bush's planned escalation, and was the only Iraq War veteran invited to speak at a recent Senate Leadership press conference in response to the new plan.

...ATTACKING THE MESSENGER...

As reported by RAW STORY this morning --- the New York Post, while ignoring Rice's news and choosing instead to focus on Boxer having pointed out that neither she nor Rice had children who would directly pay the price for the planned increase in troops sent to Iraq, characterized the question as a "slur" to Rice.

"IT'S WAR: Dem Childless Condi Slur," screamed their front page this morning. Their friends and corporate partners over at Fox "News" were all too happy to pick up that ball and run with it as usual. Their front page screamer: "Boxer's Sucker Punch: Calif. senator lashes out at Rice's personal life."

Over at Fox "News" however, not only did their website manage to avoid discussion of Rice's stunning admission, their FOX & Friends morning crew spent much of the day not just attacking Boxer for the way she framed the question, but they unquestioningly parroted Rice's answer --- "I don't think that any of us, uh, have a number. That, of expected casualties." --- to the Senator...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Begins Iraq Escalation Before Speech, Approval From Congress, in Wake of Opposition from Dems and Republicans Alike...
POST-SPEECH UPDATE: No Estimate Given for Change in Casualties in New Plan. Surprised?
By Brad Friedman on 1/10/2007 4:18pm PT  

Does this guy despise democracy or what?

ABC News has learned that the "surge" Bush is expected to announce in a prime time speech tonight has already begun. Ninety advance troops from the 82nd Airborne Division arrived in Baghdad today.

An additional battalion of roughly 800 troops from the same division are expected to arrive in Baghdad Thursday.

Unbelievable.

(Feel free to use this item as an Open Thread for tonight's speech, as I may not be able to blog it...but we'll see. RAW STORY has the complete text of the speech. Will leave this on top for now.)

POST-SPEECH UPDATE:

BUSH: "[W]e must expect more Iraqi and American casualties."

And so we ask again, as we did on Sunday: How many more casualties are expected due to Bush's escalation of the War?

The White House/Pentagon undoubtedly have made estimates in the course of their planning, right? If so, what are the numbers? How much of our blood (Barb's and Jenna's not included) is Bush willing to spend on the gamble which nobody but he, McCain, Lieberman, and possibly Barney (though I doubt it) are in favor of? The People and the Congress have the right to know. They need to demand it.

If no such estimate of a surge or fall in the body count has been made while considering this plan, the White House has been impeachably delinquent. So, is any Congress member or media type out there, other than me, going to ask that question?

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