Mar
17

Yes Sir, Right Away Mr. Congressman, Sir




Posted at 6:04 by Gavin M.

[Updated with extra secret spooky terror secrets -- thanks, Maha!]

So here’s why Michelle Malkin and all those guys are so stirred up over the alleged new Iraq documents.


Sen. Rick Santorum (news, bio, voting record) of Pennsylvania and Rep. Pete Hoekstra of Michigan, Republicans who lobbied for the data’s release, said it was important that the information be made available quickly to the public, including political “blogs.”

“We’re hoping to unleash the power of the Internet, unleash the power of the blogosphere, to get through these documents and give us a better understanding of what was going on in Iraq before the war,” said Hoekstra, chairman of the House of Representatives’ Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

This press conference was at 1:30 this afternoon (Thursday, EST), but Malkin and Powerline both had the sirens going hours ahead of time, whether through newly revealed psychic ability or other means. Whatever the case, someone in power is finally paying them some attention, and like the bad Americans they are, they’re jumping into the harness and straining at the carrot.

There’ve been a number of layers to this story, none obviously worth writing about (i.e. funny in a way that works with pictures of talking cats or Charles Johnson chased by UFOs, and so on), until today, when they all coalesced into a huge gob of wingnut-stupid. But it goes something like this — and I’ll lay it out in greater scope and with more links tomorrow, if you’re interested.

In October ’04, Brent Bozell’s fake news service, CNS News, was leaked a number of alleged Iraqi Intelligence Service documents that allegedly proved the Bush Administration’s WMD claims and the story that Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda were in cahoots. CNS said that the translated docs were vetted by three unnamed experts, two of whom turned out to be Laurie Mylroie and Bruce Tefft (usual-suspect pseudo-experts with an agenda) while the third was almost certainly Bill Tierney, a right-wing loon par excellence with a storied career as a self-claimed US torture-interrogator, a Terri Schiavo hysteric, and paranormal WMD-inspector. Tellingly, although CNS News talked up the documents, they were very cagey about releasing them, claiming that they didn’t want them to be ‘altered or misrepresented’ by other parties on the Internet, whatever difference that would make with a solid primary source. Smart money said that they didn’t want anyone to see that they were holding a very weak poker hand. All the documents are now available in holographic form in the Arabic original, and by all reasonable accounts they don’t seem very interesting.

But there are supposedly 2 million or more of these docs archived in (I believe) Qatar and elsewhere, of which only a small percentage has been translated, and the story has been widely broadcast via the usual wingnut channels that somewhere amidst them is the vindication of every right-wing canard about Saddam Hussein and the stated reasons for the war. References to the docs have turned up frequently, and many people have pushed stories about them during the past year or so, including a veritable menagerie of the cuckoo-for-Cocoa-Puffs wingnut community. Laurie Mylroie seems to appear with a sulfurous bang wherever they’re mentioned, and the Move America Forward foundation — the boldest and most flagrantly silly of the “nonpartisan” GOP front groups — picked up on the CNS News story, batted it around for awhile, and apparently couldn’t find much to do with it, absent any hard evidence to distort.

But the whole matter came to a head this week with this article in the Weekly Standard by Stephen Hayes — which deserves to be read in its entirety because of how false and funny-smelling it seems. E.g., here we have Indiana Congressman Mike Pence addressing President George Bush:


Pence framed his response as a question, quoting Abraham Lincoln: “One of your Republican predecessors said, ‘Give the people the facts and the Republic will be saved.’ There are 3,000 hours of Saddam tapes and millions of pages of other documents that we captured after the war. When will the American public get to see this information?”

Bush replied that he wanted the documents released. He turned to Hadley and asked for an update. Hadley explained that John Negroponte, Bush’s Director of National Intelligence, “owns the documents” and that DNI lawyers were deciding how they might be handled.

Bush extended his arms in exasperation and worried aloud that people who see the documents in 10 years will wonder why they weren’t released sooner. “If I knew then what I know now,” Bush said in the voice of a war skeptic, “I would have been more supportive of the war.”

“Sure, Doc.” I said in the voice of a cartoon rabbit. “And an in-teresting monster should have an in-teresting hairdo.”

This soap opera mise-en-scene with George Bush is clever of Hayes (it appears to be selectively constructed from interviews with one or more of the congressmen present at the meeting) because it allows Bush personality-cultists to work up a good head of frustration at ‘the administration’ via Negroponte, while holding the actual prime-movers of the administration blameless: Hayes’s big claim is that Bush and Stephen “Hadley, No” Hadley want to authorize the release of the documents that will prove the Administration’s case for the war, but Negroponte refuses to do it, if you can believe that.

The part about Negroponte digging his heels in is almost certainly true, although it’s unclear where the real battle lies. But Hayes also shows, factually, that Pete Hoekstra, chairman of the House Committee on Intelligence, is pushing hard for release, and has exacted concessions from Negroponte to release some scraps of things with ‘no intelligence value’:


Hoekstra says Negroponte’s intransigence is forcing him to get the documents out “the hard way.” The House Intelligence chairman has introduced a bill (H.R. 4869) that would require the DNI to begin releasing the captured documents. [...] Hoekstra is not going away. “We’re going to ride herd on this. [releasing some innocuous documents] is a step in the right direction, but I am in no way claiming victory. I want these documents out.”

So there things stand, with the President’s hands tied — and buy that if you will. And if you’re still in the market for any unlikely coincidences, the article’s timing is perfect in a totally innocent, not-on-purpose way. Here, for instance, comes our old pal, GOP flack wannabe John Hinderaker, as usual swallowing the bait past the sinker and halfway up the rod.


Bush told Hadley to expedite the release of the Iraq documents. “This stuff ought to be out. Put this stuff out.”

You’d think that would be the end of the story. If I gave a similar order to my staff, it would be obeyed. Promptly. And you’d probably assume that an order from the President of the United States would be obeyed with even more alacrity. Not so. John Negroponte “owns” the millions of pages of documents and countless hours of tapes that have been captured, but not yet exploited. And Negroponte doesn’t want their contents made public. So it isn’t happening, no matter what President Bush, Vice President Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld say. This is, of course, no way to run a railroad.

Meanwhile, here are some counter-rumblings at the GOP carnival midway (and leak spittoon) RedState, saying that Hayes and Hinderaker and other bloggers ought to lay off Negroponte and not…wait, get this…cause a big headache for the intelligence community by influencing policy with their demands:


I sense the makings of a blogswarm. When Hindraker — a creater of Powerline, one of the calmer and more thoughtful blogs* — determines that Negroponte’s hesitation to release is an indicator that he “won’t get the job done,” and then floats an observation that maybe Negroponte should go (an observation that Hindraker surely knows could easily get legs and sprint around the blogs), IMO that’s not a good thing.

This is a recipe for crisis management-by-blogswarm.

There’s much more there, and read it if you want to enter a strange and magical realm of Wha? but let’s quickly hit that Santorum/Hoekstra item again.


“We’re hoping to unleash the power of the Internet, unleash the power of the blogosphere, to get through these documents and give us a better understanding of what was going on in Iraq before the war,” said Hoekstra, chairman of the House of Representatives’ Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

Welp, Hoekstra, you get what you pay for. Here’s Hinderaker thinking that he’s uncovering the terror secrets of Iraq, when he’s really slipping down the stairs on a roller skate again and quoting from an old English-language clipping from the Federation of American Scientists website. (Click the link — you can tell that it’s full of genuine top-secret Iraqi terror secrets by the spooky animated .gif of a spy smoking a cigarette.)


MORE: Several readers have written to point out that what I took to be a translation of the original document is actually just a print-out from the web site of the Federation of American Scientists. So the question is, what does the Arabic portion, which apparently hasn’t been translated, say? Presumably it comments on the FAS assessment. We’d like to hear from anyone who can translate the Arabic notes.

Nice recovery, Hinder.

The-Great-Gazoo.gif
Zeerp! “Hello, Dum-Dum.”

* Soundtrack: all-tuba rendition of ‘Flight of the Bumblebee.’

52 Comments »

  1. gus said,

    March 17, 2006 at 9:49

    I thought chicken george was the omnipotent ‘war’ President, so how come his minions like Negroponte get away with disobeying him? Why don’t they render his sorry ass?

  2. scarshapedstar said,

    March 17, 2006 at 10:02

    Psst. Close that italics tag after the Hoekstra quote.

  3. Danny Carlton -- alias "Jack Lewis" said,

    March 17, 2006 at 13:08

    More evidence Liberals will ignore

    From WorldNetDaily… Among the pre-war documents posted online yesterday by the Pentagon is a letter from a member of Saddam’s…

  4. scarshapedstar said,

    March 17, 2006 at 14:41

    Do these people ever feel ridiculous? The war’s been going on for three years now, and to prove that it was worth one red cent… they will sift through a pile of paper hunting for clues? Sorry, guys, it doesn’t take Encyclopedia Brown to tell if an endeavor was worthwhile or not.

  5. scarshapedstar said,

    March 17, 2006 at 14:44

    I suppose it might take Mary Kate and Ashley, though.

  6. Yosef said,

    March 17, 2006 at 14:52

    Hold up. I’m not finished reading this post, but this line made me stop.

    This is, of course, no way to run a railroad.

    Is Assrocket saying he wants Bush, in essence, to “make the trains run on time”?!

    Or is it the liberal in me who wants to see facism in the face of every conservo-bot no matter what they say.

    ‘Cause, this sure as hell sounds like a reference to Mussolini.

  7. glenstonecottage said,

    March 17, 2006 at 14:55

    Well, here’s my prediction: Michelle and her fellow wingnuts WILL find those long-lost documents justifying the Iraq invasion, and during the course of their search, they will also find:

    -Jimmy Hoffa’s body
    - Joseph Smith’s tablets of gold
    - the “real murderer” of Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman
    - a perpetual motion machine
    -an autographed photo of Jesus H. Christ

    And anybody who doubts my prediction is just a Saddam-lovin’ traitor.

  8. Yosef said,

    March 17, 2006 at 15:16

    And if Bush can’t get Negroponte to release the documents, doesn’t that prove Bush’s incompetence?

  9. Demogenes Aristophanes said,

    March 17, 2006 at 15:21

    This town needs a wiki!

  10. Demogenes Aristophanes said,

    March 17, 2006 at 15:34

    “You’d think that would be the end of the story. If I gave a similar order to my staff, it would be obeyed. Promptly.”

    My new favorite Assrocket quote ever. I’m willing to bet enough secretarial loogies have been hocked in that man’s coffee to fill a small swimming pool.

    This is, of course, no way to run a railroad.

    “Is Assrocket saying he wants Bush, in essence, to ‘make the trains run on time’?!”

    I think by “railroad” he means it in the sense of “To rush or push (something) through quickly in order to prevent careful consideration and possible criticism or obstruction: railroad a special-interest bill through Congress.”

  11. Yosef said,

    March 17, 2006 at 16:24

    Nah, I think he’s talking more about managing a “railroad”, using that as a metaphor for the typical business.

  12. Demogenes Aristophanes said,

    March 17, 2006 at 16:37

    C’mon, Yosef … play along now.

  13. Demogenes Aristophanes said,

    March 17, 2006 at 16:38

    Oh, and can we have a new nickname for Hinderaker? I humbly suggest “Assmartinet” …

  14. FlipYrWhig said,

    March 17, 2006 at 16:42

    By the same token, unreleased documents prove that the Bush administration was aiding the anthrax mailer. Because they don’t know where he is, see, and that proves… uh… hmm…

  15. FlipYrWhig said,

    March 17, 2006 at 16:48

    Bush extended his arms in exasperation

    Kind of like C-3PO? “Oh dear, Mr. Negroponte, this is all your fault.”

  16. teh l4m3 said,

    March 17, 2006 at 17:23

    You’re right. This is a non-starter. I’m about to harness the power of the blogosphere to show me nekkid scotsmen. Fuck this shit…

    Ooh! Happy Mick Appreciation Day, everybody!

  17. punkinsmom said,

    March 17, 2006 at 17:38

    Am I understanding this correctly? Our national intelligence personnel had access to documents about Saddam/terror/WMD since the invasion and have not translated any of them!???
    Oy.

  18. Ginger Yellow said,

    March 17, 2006 at 17:41

    Leaving aside the snark for a second, can you begin to imagine a Democrat of the relative stature within their party of Hoekstra or Santorum “hoping to unleash the power of the blogosphere” to get something done? The contrast with the Democratic Party/lefty blogosphere response to the censure motion is deeply depressing and tells you everything you need to know about why the Republicans have a lock on all the levers of power.

  19. mrgumby2u said,

    March 17, 2006 at 18:13

    Some variation of this has been popping us ever since the invasion…”just wait til we translate all these documents, then you’ll see the proof of WMD, the al-Qaeda/Saddam connection, yadda yadda yadda.” This always just underlines, though, that they didn’t have any proof of any of these things before the war; they were just attacking Saddam on what they wanted/believed to be true, on faith, and hoping the the evidence would pop up later. Why does anybody find this an acceptable way to conduct business?

  20. norbizness said,

    March 17, 2006 at 18:14

    I think unleashing the power of the blogosphere, as Hoekstra understands it, is like harnessing the power of Dr. Nick Riviera’s juicing maching to get several drops of orange juice out of an entire bag of oranges.

    McClure: [loud motor whirring "Is this thing on? I can hardly hear it!"

    Riviera: [shouting] “It’s whisper-quiet!”

  21. Demogenes Aristophanes said,

    March 17, 2006 at 18:14

    Yeah, Ginger Yellow, what we really need is Freepers midrashing over the competing 9th and 15th century Arabic usages of the phrase “weapons of mass destruction” …

    Just kidding. I get your point. I wish the Dems would get with the program on harnessing the power of the blogosphere, too. But instead of as a pure propoganda tool along the Rathergate model, with more deference to the “wisdom of crowds”. Like, Santorum wants to use the collective power of bloggers to top-down disseminate talking points; we should want to use it to arrive at truth.

  22. aimai said,

    March 17, 2006 at 18:22

    Bring back the gay arabic translators, dammit, and fast!

    I particularly liked the voice over commentary by bugs bunny. Lets have more cartoon rabitt observations.

    aimai

  23. teh l4m3 said,

    March 17, 2006 at 18:36

    “Hi everybody!”

  24. sexual harrassment panda said,

    March 17, 2006 at 19:19

    ‘Cause, this sure as hell sounds like a reference to Mussolini.

    That’s what I thought too. Then I figured maybe I missed a reference to John Snow in there somewhere . . . but sadly, um . . . howzthatgoagain?

  25. Ed Drone said,

    March 17, 2006 at 19:49

    “Is this any way to run a railroad?” is an old, old saying, sadly not common these days, since we obvioulsy seem to have forgotten how to run a railroad!

    Ed

  26. tigrismus said,

    March 17, 2006 at 20:16

    Who knew that John Negroponte was the only man able to declassify government documents, and that the president has no such power? And if many of the docs are archived in Qatar, I suggest one way to find Arabic translators would be to open the door and look outside.

  27. melior (in Austin) said,

    March 17, 2006 at 20:40

    Fonts ! kerning!

    mmm blorph spazzle ffpth!

  28. flea said,

    March 17, 2006 at 21:00

    Laurie Mylroie seems to appear with a sulfurous bang wherever they’re mentioned…

    I love this.

  29. The Plebe said,

    March 17, 2006 at 21:22

    http://www.phrases.org.uk/bulletin_board/29/messages/28.html

    I know, it’s not a useful contribution but it’s the Saints day and I already have a hang over.

    – TP in UT

  30. Timmah420 said,

    March 17, 2006 at 21:32

    I’m not sure I understand this whole thing. The crazies seem to be getting crazier, first I hear Saddam ordered Zarqawi captured in Iraq before the US invasion, proving they disliked each other, then I hear from the freepers that translated docs prove Saddam and AQ had contact and coordinated their actions…

    My… head…

  31. yagi said,

    March 17, 2006 at 22:53

    The Flight of the Bumblebee, tuba rendition side-comment made my day.

    This pseudo ipso-facto causus belli bovine excretion though is trying to ruin it.

    You know…that has a familiar ring to it. Oh!

    Pseudoipsofactocaususbellibovineexcretion,
    even though the sound of it is wholly without reason,
    you feel compelled to spew it for the season,
    pseudoipsofactocaususbellibovineexcretion!

  32. Kevin Hayden said,

    March 18, 2006 at 7:02

    “hoping to unleash the power of the blogosphere”

    My teeth have never been whiter since I began brushing with AuraPaste with all new Bloggysfear-7! Now my dentist insists on Aural sex every time I’m under the nitrous!

  33. Tom Burka said,

    March 19, 2006 at 1:28

    Wow, really nice work. Thanks for wrapping up the absurd machinations of the right wingnut blogswarm in such an attractive and entertaining package.

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    May 6, 2006 at 21:26

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  35. filkertom said,

    November 3, 2006 at 14:48

    I’m sorry. “Unleash the power of the blogosphere” sounds like something from a Stan Lee/Jack Kirby epic. Needs more punching up, though. “FOOLS! You are too late! Cower and beg for your worthless lives as Annihilus now unleashes the power of — The BLOGOSPHERE!!!”

  36. bubba said,

    November 3, 2006 at 15:37

    The generals wont win the war, the cia hands him faulty intelligence (without prompting, ;>) and now the final straw, they wont even let him tell the truth about all the evidence we found in Iraq.

    Bush is stymied at every turn by his own government. DOH! Funny, I dont remember even the Reagan myth going so far into la-la land when it comes to denying responsibility for everything and anything.

  37. steve davis said,

    November 3, 2006 at 16:52

    I’m trying to gauge just how frightening it is that I not only immediately recognized the cartoon being referenced, but did so without having seen anything more than what Bugs was saying to the monster, as he pushed the monster-hair into different formations, and gave the manicure.

  38. Captain Goto said,

    November 3, 2006 at 19:49

    filkertom wins!

    What an interesting distribution of posting dates: March, March, March….May (gotta plug the dating sites!!)..November, November, November.

  39. curtspang said,

    November 3, 2006 at 20:52

    You called Michelle a bad American, but I believe she is a guest in our country. She is not a citizen from what I understand, so please refer to her as a bad person in America. Thanks! love your stuffff!!

  40. Henry Holland said,

    November 4, 2006 at 2:38

    My new favorite Assrocket quote ever. I’m willing to bet enough secretarial loogies have been hocked in that man’s coffee to fill a small swimming pool

    As a secretary for over 20 years, I’m pretty sure that’s true. Not the loogies part –that would be, like, unprofessional– but you know, we secretaries have a lot of power over what our busy bosses see and hear. Documents that would prove them right about something can mysteriously go missing, phone calls that *have* to be returned in 10 minutes somehow never get mentioned and so on. I’ve known fellow secretaries –sorry, Administrative Professionals– who were so fed up with being stepped on by asshole bosses that they hinted to the wives of these dickheads that there was an office affair going on.

    So, yeah, don’t fuck with us secretaries.

  41. BushYouth said,

    November 5, 2006 at 19:40

    Sometimes I talk to my “staff” too. But nothing happens promptly without some viagra.

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