More Readers' Comments
September 6, 2006
Editor's Note: Here are some readers' comments that followed our publication of "Smearing Joe Wilson, Again" and "How Obtuse Is the U.S. Press?"
Robert Parry's article on the facts surrounding the Plame-
Wilson attacks was much appreciated.
The next article should investigate why the largest
national newspapers in our country are deliberately
participating in a cover-up of the treasonous disclosure of
Valerie Plame's undercover CIA position.
Why are the NY Times, the Washington Post and Los
Angles Time so actively obstructing a criminal
Attorney at Law
Makawao, Maui, HI
Obtuse is hardly descriptive! Cravenly sycophantic so contemptible as
border on criminal press-whoredom. And that may be more than just a little
The Skeptical Cynic So Spaketh
I beg to differ with Mr. Parry, who states that "the motives of the
Washington news media [in providing cover for the Bush administration in
the Plame leak scandal] may be ...a mystery." No mystery about it: due
to decades of consolidation under relaxed FCC rules, ownership of the
mainstream media - news and otherwise - is concentrated in the hands of
a half-dozen conservative corporate giants. More bluntly, they're simply
an arm of the Republican party.
Any efforts to maintain credibility and objectivity are token, and when
the mainstream media do allow truths inconvenient to the current power
structure to see the light of day, it's usually because they've been
shamed into it by the internet (Plame is a case in point). And make no
mistake, those same corporate giants are currently working to gain
control of that last fragment of a "free press."
The Washington news media, indeed the American news media, are not
"obtuse." Nor are they compliant, timid or cowed. They are, in a word,
Steven A. Wells
I think one plausible answer to Robert Parry's closing statement in the
artice," The motives of the Washington news media may be more of a mystery.
", has to do with the clever way that Bush bought them off early in his
occupation of the Dark House and that is with the tax cut. If the average
annual salary of most of these folkss is close to a million the tax savings
that they have enjoyed over the last six years is enough to want you to
as to the wilson/plame matter, there's one
point no one seems to have mentioned namely the
absurdity of "a junket to Niger". "a junket to Niger"
is a phrase as devoid of meaning as "a honeymoon at
Gitmo". whenever an american travels to sub-saharan
africa, s/he must have a battery of injections called
a 'yellow book'. one has to start taking these
injections about 2 weeks prior to departure. along
with the injections comes a prophylactic round of an
anti-malarial drug called chloroquin which has nasty
side-effects. one takes the chloroquin during the time
one is 'in-country' and continues to take the drug for
a couple of weeks once one has returned to the states.
i understand that most of our congressional
solons don't have a passport (and that many of the few
who do conflate their luxury golfing in the UK with
European travel). but having lived in dc for 15 years
i would come into contact with former peace corps
volunteers and current and former foreign service
officers. those serving in africa receive 'hardship
pay' for a good reason. (in Guinea, for example, all
laundry has to be ironed since a tiny insect (fatal to
humans) will reside in the miniscule places between
stitches in the fabric of one's clothing.)
isn't it the role of the press to point out such
realities of actually going to Niger?
thank you once again for reporting the news.
san francisco, california
Thanks for staying on top of the Plame Wilson stuff--we've got a link to your latest on Media Views. The most recent View is our own take on the Post edit--attempting to deflate the bizarre idea that because it was Richard Armitage, that must mean nothing untoward was going on. Take a look:
Despite the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Washington Post continues the proud traditions of Pravda. "It was not the Party that sabotaged the dissident's career, comrades--the dissident sabotaged his own career!"
For those looking for a less party-line understanding of Armitage's role in Plamegate, it's worth taking a look at Slate: Where's My Subpoena? (2/7/06) by John Dickerson--the former Time reporter's account of being not-so-subtly pointed in Valerie Plame Wilson's direction by "two senior administration officials" on a trip to Africa; Dickerson doesn't quite name his sources, but he does helpfully point out that the two senior administration officials along on the trip were Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell.
Powell, of course, was Armitage's boss. If he was going around telling reporters to "go ask the CIA who sent Wilson" (the message Dickerson got from both "senior administration officials"), what are the chances that Armitage just happened to mention the answer to that question "in an offhand manner, virtually as gossip," as the Washington Post reported (8/29/06)? About the same odds you would have gotten the straight dope on the Kremlin from Pravda.
Jim Naureckas, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting
In his August 31st piece "Missing the Point on CIA Leak Case," Brent Budowsky is right to say that the revelation that Richard Armitage was a source for Robert Novak's column outing Valerie Plame should not distract us from going after all the other Bush Administration members who were telling reporters about Plame's job with the CIA. But he does not give the Armitage story sufficient weight.
Budowsky assumes that Armitage was "anti-Iraq war." Armitage was the Deputy Secretary of State in the months before we invaded Iraq in March 2003, and he did not leave that post until early 2005. If Armitage were truly "anti-Iraq war," would he not have spoken out publicly against the war and/or resigned in protest of the war? He did neither.
This should come as no surprise to readers of the articles at The Consortium. After all, Armitage's boss and bosom buddy Colin Powell laid out the administration case for attacking Iraq on worldwide TV at the United Nations. And as The Consortium has pointed out in more than one article, Powell has never let morality get in the way of his career's advancement. Armitage is cut from the same cloth.
Budowsky mentions Armitage only in passing in "Missing the Point." But Armitage is well worth writing about. He has been a major shaper of the conservative movement's national security policy for decades. He has held important posts in both the Reagan and George W. Bush administrations. He has been particularly influential on Asia policy, including Middle East policy. To ignore him when discussing the Bush Administration is like writing about Truman's "Wise Men" and ignoring John McCloy or even George Kennan.
I strongly recommend James Mann's 2004 book *Rise of the Vulcans: The History of Bush's War Cabinet*. Mann lays out the lives and thought of Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Condi Rice, Colin Powell, and Rich Armitage in painstaking detail. (Budowsky calls him "Dick Armitage," but the man's friends call him "Rich": for instance, in Powell's autobiography he is always called "Rich.")
To give some highlights of Armitage's career:
1) While serving in Vietnam, Armitage was almost certainly associated with the Phoenix program of mass assassination. He denies it, but friends and associates of his told Mann that he was involved.
2) For most of the Reagan Administration, he was Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs. Basically, Caspar Weinberger made only the biggest decisions. Day-to-day, the Pentagon was run by Armitage, Powell, and Richard Perle. By the way, Armitage worked extremely well with Wolfowitz, who was at State.
3) Armitage was heavily involved in implementing the Reagan Doctrine of providing aid to anti-communist guerrillas. He worked particularly closely with Pakistan's notorious Interservices Intelligence Directorate (ISI) on the Afghan mujahideen's struggle against Soviet forces.
4) He remained skeptical about Mikhail Gorbachev long after Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan had vouched for him. In October 1988, he wrote in *The New York Times* that Gorbachev's proposals to freeze seapower, airpower, and nuclear weapon levels in Northeast Asia were "a transparent attempt to get something for nothing while driving a wedge between the free nations of the Pacific."
5) He was a signer of the notorious 1998 letter to Bill Clinton calling for the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. That letter, from the neoconservative Project for a New American Century, was also signed by Don Rumsfeld and such worthies as Wolfowitz, Perle, Zalmay Khalilzad, John Bolton, William Kristol, and Elliott Abrams.
6) Armitage (and Powell) signed off on George W. Bush's "axis-of-evil" State of the Union address. Calling the governments of Iraq, Iran and North Korea "evil" struck them as unexceptionable, just as Reagan's calling the Soviet Union an "evil empire" had.
I believe, for what it's worth, that Armitage deliberately let slip Valerie Plame's identity to Robert Novak (and to Bob Woodward). I also believe in Mann's thesis that no one in George W. Bush's war cabinet is truly moderate. Powell and Armitage were the most moderate. But Powell made the case for war at the UN and Armitage treated Plame's identity just as cavalierly as Karl Rove or Scooter Libby, so they are not moderates when compared to the average American.
I could say a great deal more about Armitage, but this e-mail has already gone on quite long enough. I hope you will do a piece on him at some point. He deserves it, just as his friend Powell did.
Back to Home Page