UPDATE: Great news. Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) will deliver the Democrats’ response to Bush’s SOTU next Tuesday.

TOP POST, on Iraq, from No Quarter regular Leslie, originally posted at BoomanTribune.com. And, despite the title, she is so not confused:


Is anyone else as confused as I am about who Bush is supporting in Iraq: Sunni or Shia? Let’s see: US support for Maliki’s Shia government is OK, but Iran’s support for Shias isn’t. The Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who is least likely to be aligned with Iran, is our enemy. But the most likely Shia cleric to be aligned with Iran, al-Hakim, is our friend. Chalabi, who’s a discredited friend of Iran, remains our friend. But it’s the foreign jihadists operating under bin Laden’s direction in Iraq who are our real enemies–so things are becoming clearer. Even though there were even fewer of them in Iraq before we invaded. But we killed Zarqawi, who was a Salifist and not really a true blue al Qaeda, so things got better until they got worse. And Bush thinks Muqtada al-Sadr will attack Detroit any minute, even though he’s not al Qaeda, which is predominately Sunni. The Saudi Wahabists are still our friends even though they’re [unofficially] supplying Iraq’s Sunni militias, who are killing US troops.

I’m sooooo confused. — Leslie


STIMSON v. BILL OF RIGHTS ET AL.: I hope you saw Keith Olbermann’s segment last night on Pentagon Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Charles Stimson, an opponent of the U.S. Constitution (what’s left of it). Keith had the video of Stimson’s nasty remarks about the top-drawer law firms around the country who have stepped up and helped defend detainees. (Sadly, MSNBC not only doesn’t have Monday’s transcript up yet, they don’t even have last Friday’s transcript up!) This morning, Josh Marshall adds:

USAToday editorializes about Pentagon Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Charles Stimson and his attacks on the rule of law. Why hasn’t this guy been fired yet? Has anybody asked Secretary Gates about Stimson’s efforts to shut down trials for Guantanamo detainees? How about Tony Snow? Anyone in the White House press corps thought to pose this question yet?

LIBBY TRIAL: Firedoglake blog is doing a bang-up job covering the Libby trial, which begins today with voir dire, and is also providing educational posts on how federal trials are conducted (the latest is “Libby Trial Primer: Evidence II“).

Libby Trial Pregame Show

By Pachacutec @ 7:00 am


My approach to your coverage will be informed by my training in clinical psychology. Yes, for the process of jury selection, you get a shrink’s eye view, with the caveat that in my professional life, I don’t specialize in forensic matters or jury selection. I will sustain writing under my online pseudonym out of respect and deference toward my clients in real life: I keep my blogging separate from my professional life. …

Wake Up! It’s Libby Time…

By Christy Hardin Smith @ 5:30 am

Jury selection begins today in the Libby trial. Pachacutec will be on the scene to report for us today — in the courtroom, watching the proceedings, and taking note of how things move forward as the jury of peers that will sit in judgment of Scooter Libby is selected.

That’s right, boys and girls, it’s Libby time.

While we’re waiting for some on scene reporting, I thought a recap of some of the Libby news from the last few days would be of interest for everyone.

– First off, Jeralyn Merritt of TalkLeft will be answering questions live on the WaPo this afternoon at 2 pm ET. You can submit questions prior to the chat, so please do — I’m sure you can all think of some great questions which need answering about the Cheney cabal’s conduct.

– Speaking of Vice President Cheney, if you haven’t read Murray Waas’ superb piece on the Libby case, Cheney’s role in pressing Libby to get the word out on former Amb. Joe Wilson, and the looming questions about Libby’s plausibility in the story that he wove on two separate occasions for FBI agents, and then later on two other separate occasions for the grand jury…and whether that constituted an attempt to obstruct and thwart a federal criminal investigation into the heart of this scandal. But Murray says it better: …

Read all of Christy’s post.

UPDATE: I just spotted this bookmarked post at Think Progress. It is a bit out of date, but may still be a handy resource:

23 Administration Officials Involved In Plame Leak

The cast of administration characters with known connections to the outing of an undercover CIA agent [FOLLOWED BY THIS LIST, EACH NAME LINKED at Think Progress]:

Karl Rove
I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby
Condoleezza Rice
Stephen Hadley
Andrew Card
Alberto Gonzales
Mary Matalin
Ari Fleischer
Susan Ralston
Israel Hernandez
John Hannah
Scott McClellan
Dan Bartlett
Claire Buchan
Catherine Martin
Jennifer Millerwise
David Wurmser
Colin Powell
Karen Hughes
Adam Levine
Bob Joseph
Vice President Dick Cheney
President George W. Bush

  • Leslie

    Has Bush no sense of decency? He’s firing competent US attorneys, some he appointed himself such as Lam, for political reasons. He’s trying to create a blacklist of law firms doing pro bono work for accused terrorists, one law firm represents Libby.

    And now he’s claiming to be abiding by FISA, by waving a vaguely written letter from Gonzales. The Bushie way of admitting that there was absolutely no reason to disobey FISA in the first place, assuming he is now obeying FISA and it’s not clear he is. And the news presents this as….wow, let’s all be grateful that the president is following the law. When really Bush wants to avoid Congressional investigations.

  • Chris Vosburg

    There’s an interesting historical resonance here with a famous incident involving one of the darker angels of our country’s nature.

    One of the law firms currently doing pro bono work for the Guantanamo detainees is Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, and the last two names, Hale and Dorr, comprised a law firm back in the fifties which defended the Army against charges leveled by a certain hotheaded Republican Senator who made his bones claiming the Army was chockfulla Reds.

    The Senator, having learned that a young Hale Dorr associate named Frederick Fisher had once belonged to the leftist National Lawyer’s Guild, smeared the absent Fisher, in hearings televised live, as “a member of an organization which is named, oh, years and years ago, as the legal bulwark of the Communist Party.”

    Which was, well, horseshit.

    And that’s when Hale Dorr lead counsel– the visibly shaken Joe Welch– let Senator Joe McCarthy have it:

    “Until this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty, or your recklessness…

    “Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?”

  • Mr.Murder

    Bush is getting in front of Libby with the spy judge appointments to save face for supposed wiretap reviews.

    They are basically taking their war on Truth in DC to the homes of America be caveat appointment.

    A lot of prosecutors here are livid, on both sides of the political spectrum.

    We may well see a ‘black friday’ occur, since damage control pushes back bad news release until the end of a week…

    The only thing to stop this judicial night of long knives is public demand and Congressional response.

    Barring, of course, a new terra event or war with a country such as Iran or Venezuela…

  • Nazem

    During the Plame Libby trial Gonzalez said he won’t renew the NSA charter, ending it’s existence. Man’; when Plame complains to that woman on the intelligence committee about domestic political groups getting tapped…..

  • guess who

    Whoops, meant to say click On the map, not out. Sorry, don’t know how to post the site.

  • guess who

    I’d appreciate it if you’all would take a look at Global Research.ca & click on U.S. war agenda & finally click on Plans for redrawing the middle east: The project for a new middle east by Madhi Darius nazemroaya. Check out the map. Is this valid projection?

  • Leslie

    Findlaw.com has a good article up explaining why Stimson’s remarks weren’t a rogue comment, but actually the first steps in an administration effort to create a blacklist.


  • His NAME is classified because he’s speaking out against what the Bush administration really thinks of the law firms helping detainees, which Mr. Stimson simply articulated. Isn’t it great to have him in charge of the detainees?

    A lot of apologies are self-serving, like this one. It’s like the man who beats his wife or girlfriend and apologizes, promising NEVER NEVER AGAIN. Yeah, right. There’s a big difference between an apology and true remorse. Which Mr. Stimson has not.

  • Chris Vosburg

    By way of reminder, here’s what Stimson said (before reading off the names of several of these enemy-of-the-state law firms):

    “I think, quite honestly, when corporate C.E.O.’s see that those firms are representing the very terrorists who hit their bottom line back in 2001, those C.E.O.’s are going to make those law firms choose between representing terrorists or representing reputable firms…”

    You didn’t leave the wrong impression, Charlie, you’re just too fucking stupid to realize that you were speaking to the public, and not just the inhabitants of a little room in a radio station who shared your fascist views.

    To top it off, the Pentagon offical who said that Stimson’s comments “do not represent the views of the Defense Department or the thinking of its leadership,” actually refused, I kid you not, to allow his name to be used.

    Excuse me? What, this is classified?

  • Leslie

    Stimson, latest Bush jerk: “left the impression…”

    Huh, no, you jackass, you actually said you were against giving people fair trials. You’re against one of the cornerstones of our Constitution. That’s what you said. That’s not spin.

    Yeah, saw Jane Hamsher’s post about her cancer returning and her upcoming operation. Hope she’s OK. Maybe if we all hope together it will have a positive effect?

    Richard Wolfe on Olbermann…what he said about Iran. Right, the naval carriers, mine sweepers, arrests of Iranian officials…that’s all leftie blogger fantasy. Where do these people come from? Why do they get air-time? It’s amazing to me that the people who were right about the pre-Iraq war intelligence, such as Scott Ritter, have been marginalized. While the idiots who helped spin the White House spin for war are still punditing and even getting promoted. And these so-called experts tell us we’re reality-challenged?!

    The US attorney firings Bushie message: If you do your job and go after corrupt officials who happen to be in the GOP, we will fire you. Then we’ll replace you with a GOP flack who will go after the Democrats for 2008.


    Washington Post:
    An Apology to Detainees’ Attorneys — During a radio interview last week, I brought up the topic of pro bono work and habeas corpus representation of detainees in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Regrettably, my comments left the impression that I question the integrity of those engaged in the zealous defense of detainees in Guantanamo. …


    (Haven’t read this yet, just the intro.)

  • TE

    The list is not complete. Where is Bond, the FBI agent?

  • shargash

    Here is one of those things about the US that absolutely drives me nuts — http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6802629/site/newsweek/.

    It is a Newsweek article from a year ago (the dateline actually says Jan, 2005, but the copyright is 2006, and I think it was from last January). It explained back then that the Pentagon was pursuing the “Salvador Option”, basically training Kurdish and Shiite death squads to target the Sunni. The death squads apparently worked so well in El Salvador that we decided they would end the Sunni insurgency.

    So, it looks like we may have deliberately started the Iraqi civil war, and the harvest of corpses with electric drill holes in their heads may just be the fruit of the seeds sown by Elliot Abrams, Negroponte, and the other administration Central American officials who cut their teeth in Central America.

  • P.S. Jane Hamsher, who founded FireDogLake, has to sit out the Libby trial because her breast cancer has come back:

  • Chris Vosburg

    I’m sooooo confused. — Leslie

    At this point, I’m tempted to suggest that perhaps it’d be simplest to just ask the public what they think Bush oughta do, and conclude that Bush is therefore pursuing precisely the opposite.

  • I’m still bristling about Time mag’s Richard Wolfe, who Keith Olbermann has on frequently*. I heard him say, on a second show, that the Iran fears are silly and the product of those bloggers.

    *My daughter, who’d already told me a couple weeks back that she isn’t keen on Wolfe — like what, really, does he ever say? — thinks that Keith has him on because he gives Keith’s show a veneer of mainstream-iness.

  • leslie, isn’t that incredible?!

    Digby has much more on the firings of U.S. Attys:

    And Diane Feinstein made a speech on the Senate floor today about the firings:

  • Leslie

    Thanks Susan, you and Larry were the inspiration. However, I wasn’t thinking about Iraq so much as Iran and helping to frame pending questions. Because Bush has created disaster after disaster in the Middle East and now he wants to create another one. HELP!

  • Leslie, I really like your pithy, amusing rundown of the endless contradictions in all things related to Bush’s non-policy policies re Iraq.

    Yes, Retired. The list is out of date. I just wish all of the 23 on the list would have to testify.

    And it’s a shame the trial isn’t televised. (Can’t one of the Firedoglake-inistas sneak in a video phone?!)

    John Amato at Crooks & Liars has the video of Keith’s segment last night on Charles Stimson:

  • Leslie

    Why is Bush firing US prosecutors, many of whom are involved in cases against corrupt officials such as Duke Cunningham? They’re not being fired for incompetence. And they’re being replaced with Bushies, without Congressional approval.


  • 23 of The MadMan in the WhiteHouse’s ‘administration’ connected to The Plame Affair.

    No conspiracy here, nope, nothing to see here please move along.

  • Leslie

    Olbermann was great as usual and WHY hasn’t Stimson been fired yet? One of the law firms Stimson named as defending Guantanamo detainees is also representing Scooter Libby. Bet Stimson believes we should deny Libby a fair trial too.

    The wingnuts just came out with this new book, The Enemy at Home, by Dinesh D’Souza, in which D’Souza blames liberals for 9/11. By way of making his argument, D’Souza makes common ground with traditional Muslims and says: “For conservatives to declare Islam as the problem and to fight the 1 billion people of the Muslim world abroad, in addition to the left at home? This is foolishness.”

    Apparently D’Souza doesn’t think it would be foolish to make war on his fellow Americans and Europeans, basically aligning himself with bin Laden.


  • 1watt

    Cursor pointed to this opinion by Paul Craig Roberts:


    calls for immediate impeachment

  • Retired

    It seems like Richard Armitage ought to rate at least on honorable mention on “the list”.

  • Aeon

    RED lights are blinking everywhere… WHO will listen – WHO will stop the madness of King George and his coup?

    I hope it’s sooner than later. My nephew has been called back with the Navy to Iran. He joined to go to college. I hope he makes it.

    WHO CARES about one kid — as long as they make their blood money?

    NO ONE in WASHINGTON D.C. or WAR PROFITEERS – certainly do not!

    “Patriotism means to stand by the country.

    It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official…”

    ~Theodore Roosevelt~

  • BrendaStewart

    Thanks Leslie to adding to the conversation at booman trib. It was a welcome addition to the whole site. hugs….
    As far as Webb doing the great privilege of responding,…I welcome it highly. HOpe he gets a standing ovation for his efforts. I just know he will do great! He is already proving to be a great addition to the senate with his grilling of dear condi last week. I sure did enjoy the frustration on her face and the stuttering I felt I heard coming from her mouth. She is nothing compared to the whole of Webb and the likes of his thoughts. She would have to answer her questions in written commentary after first talking to the WH..or justice dept….take your pick.
    I would love to see Webb do more in combating this adm now rather than having to wait another week…;o)
    As Americans, we have a duty to combat the nonsense coming from the WH nowadays. After all, it is our house, isn’t it. Why do we sit back and let someone like this destroy our nation?
    Anyhow, thanks Susan for the good work you do here. I just know that Mr. Johnson is very pleased with your writing for his site. Actually, all the commentors here. for the most part, are great.