Watergate II : neocons entangled in the web


Richard Moore

In today's companion posting, "Watergate II : Margolis : 
Neocons under attack", we learn of the many assaults on 
the neocons by the 'old-con' establishment:
In the report below, we read of a pitiful White House
'counterattack'. Like a trapped insect, Bush & the neocons
are struggling in the web of their attackers, and of their
own lies, entangling themselves all the more.

By publicly denying specific charges, such as
'manipulating intelligence', they give weight to those
charges. By their denial they imply that if the charges
were true, they would indeed be in trouble. This entangles
them in a dangerous way, because Fitzgerald's
investigation, and the Libby trial, are likely to show
that 'manipulating intelligence' is precisely what the
neocon's were up to: that's what loyal Libby was trying to
cover up when he lied to the grand jury.



Inter Press Service News Agency 
Tuesday, November 22, 2005 

U.S.:  The Politics of Pushback 

Analysis by Bill Berkowitz* 

On Veterans' Day, Nov. 11, President Bush told troops
gathered at Pennsylvania's Tobyhanna Army Depot that, "It
is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that
war [in Iraq] began."

OAKLAND, California, Nov 18 (IPS) - He said that, "Some
Democrats and antiwar critics are now claiming we
manipulated the intelligence and misled the American
people," even though they knew "a bipartisan Senate
investigation found no evidence of political pressure to
change the intelligence community's judgments related to
Iraq's weapons programmes".

A few days later, on the way to a week-long trip to Asia,
Bush stopped off at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Alaska to
again chat up his wars on Iraq and terror before another
captive military audience.

There, Bush told the crowd that "some Democrats who voted
to authorise the use of force are now rewriting the past",
and are "sending mixed signals to our troops and the
enemy". U.S. soldiers "deserve to know that their elected
leaders who voted to send them into war continue to stand
behind them", Bush said.

Back in the continental 48 states, on Wednesday, Vice
President Cheney came out of his bunker long enough to
address a no-press-allowed Frontiers of Freedom Institute
2005 Ronald Reagan Gala at the Mayflower Hotel in

In partisan form, Cheney told the crowd that "the
suggestion that's been made by some U.S. senators that the
president of the United States or any member of this
administration purposely misled the American people on
pre-war intelligence is one of the most dishonest and
reprehensible charges ever aired in this city".

Cheney pointedly said that, "The saddest part is that our
people in uniform have been subjected to these cynical and
pernicious falsehoods day in and day out."

"American soldiers and Marines are out there every day in
dangerous conditions and desert temperaturesà and back
home a few opportunists are suggesting they were sent into
battle for a lie," Cheney said.

Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister Ahmed Chalabi also got in on
the action. He returned to Washington and met with Cheney,
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of
Defence Donald Rumsfeld (the Pentagon allowed no
television cameras during that sit-down) and National
Security Adviser Stephen Hadley, and he partied with other
prominent neoconservatives.

The man who was convicted in absentia in Jordan of
embezzling millions of dollars, is suspected of passing
U.S. secrets to Iran, and is one of the chief purveyors of
the myth -- passed on to an eager Judith Miller of the New
York Times -- that Iraq possessed weapons of mass
destruction, defended himself from critics in a speech

At a gathering of longtime friends and supporters at the
Washington home of lawyer Jeffrey Weiss and his lobbyist
wife Juleanna Glover Weiss, two prominent Republicans,
Chalabi accused those critics of "rewriting history" and
"repeating lies to justify positions that are no longer

Referring to the false intelligence his Iraqi National
Congress provided the administration, Chalabi suggested
that people should disregard "the rumours and innuendo"
spread about him.

Newsweek's Michael Hirsh reported that Chalabi's speech
"was greeted with loud applause and a cry of 'next year in
Baghdad' from former CIA director James Woolsey, one of
the Iraqi's leading supporters".

Former Defence Policy Board chairman Richard Perle,
Danielle Pletka of the American Enterprise Institute, a
prominent Washington-based think tank, and author
Christopher Hitchens, a well-known leftist who has
supported the war in Iraq, were also in attendance.

The Washington Post's Terry M. Neal called the
administration's response to its critics a "withering
counterattack". USA Today's Judy Keen termed it "fighting
back", and Roll Call's Morton Kondrake dubbed it

Nicolle Wallace, the White House communications director,
said that challenging Democrats was essential. "Our
strategy has to include hitting back... and calling them
out for what are actually lies," she told USA Today.

Regardless of what it is called, the Bush administration
and its surrogates are availing themselves of every
opportunity, not only to defend the war in Iraq and their
war on terror, but also to attack critics of the war,
accusing them of demoralising the troops and aiding the

As it was designed to by Bush's aides, the charge that
Democrats had access to the same intelligence as the
administration was picked up by a gaggle of conservative
media figures. Within a short time Human Events editor
Terry Jeffrey, Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund,
syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer, National Journal
editor Rich Lowry, Weekly Standard editor Fred Barnes, and
Fox News hosts Neil Cavuto and Chris Wallace, repeated
them in one form or another.

Although the Washington Post's Walter Pincus and Dana
Milbank addressed the claim on Nov. 12 -- "Bush and his
aides had access to much more voluminous intelligence
information than did lawmakers, who were dependent on the
administration to provide the material" -- the White
House's first thrust achieved its goal.

These days, the president's poll numbers are in a free
fall. A recent America Online poll revealed that more than
70 percent of the 500,000-plus people participating
believed that President Clinton was both a more
trustworthy, and a better president than George W. Bush.

It is going to take a Roveian-like pushback campaign to
reverse those numbers. In the meantime, it is highly
unlikely that the president will appear anywhere else at
home aside from military-related events or
Republican-organised gatherings in the near future.

*Bill Berkowitz is a longtime observer of the conservative
movement. His WorkingForChange column "Conservative
Watch", documents the strategies, players, institutions,
victories and defeats of the U.S. Right.  (FIN/2005)

Copyright © 2005 IPS-Inter Press Service. All rights reserved. 


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