Let's use this blog to track Bush's shifting blame for the Iraq fiasco to the CIA. Here's one important early step in that process. (Note, too, that almost all military news from Iraq has dried up recently. Let's see how long that lasts too.)
Inquiry Faults Intelligence on Iraq (washingtonpost.com):
Inquiry Faults Intelligence on Iraq Threat From Saddam Hussein Was Overstated, Senate Committee Report Finds By Dana Priest
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, October 24, 2003; Page A01
The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence is preparing a blistering report on prewar intelligence on Iraq that is critical of CIA Director George J. Tenet and other intelligence officials for overstating the weapons and terrorism case against Saddam Hussein, according to congressional officials.
. . .
Like a similar but less exhaustive inquiry being completed by the House intelligence committee, the Senate report shifts attention toward the intelligence community and away from White House officials, who have been criticized for exaggerating the Iraqi threat. At stake as the presidential political season approaches, said committee sources and intelligence figures, is who gets blamed for misleading the American public if weapons of mass destruction are never found in Iraq -- the president or his intelligence chief.
"Howard Dean's success raising money and mobilizing voters has provoked a growing debate among Democratic and Republican strategists over whether the former Vermont governor has the potential to become a 'transformative' political figure, altering, for better or worse, the financial and constituent base of the Democratic Party."
Click above for an interesting take on what the pundits have to say about Dean now.
When Pamela Robasciotti was a cosmetics department manager at Wal-Mart, she had to borrow money from her boyfriend or parents to pay for the $25 inhalers she uses to control asthma attacks. On a wage of $9.27 per hour, every expense stretched her pocketbook. But the prescription cost seemed particularly unfair. Robasciotti already paid about $130 per month for Blue Cross HMO health care coverage."
Robasciotti illustrates Wal-Mart Stores Inc.'s tough approach to benefits, an approach that has its employees paying more for health-care than most workers across the country, including their peers at other large retailers. It's a key part of the Wal-Mart cost-cutting model that has helped the retailer grow into the largest company -- and employer -- in the world.
This is an interesting article that illustrates why we need national legislation to protect everyone's access to affordable healthcare.
Senator Kennedy delivered this speech in the Senate on October 16, 2003
Nearly six months have elapsed since President Bush flew out to the aircraft carrier and declared 'Mission Accomplished' in Iraq. Today, we all know all too well that the war is not over; the war goes on; the mission is not accomplished. An unnecessary war, based on unreliable and inaccurate intelligence, has not brought an end to danger. Instead, it has brought new dangers, imposed new costs, and taken more and more American lives each week.
We all agree that Saddam Hussein was a murderous tyrant, and his brutal regime was an affront to basic human decency. But Iraq was not a breeding ground for terrorism. Our invasion has made it one."
Bush Campaign Raises A Record $49.5 Million (washingtonpost.com): "President Bush's reelection campaign yesterday reported raising $49.5 million in the third quarter, a decisive record for a three-month period. Since launching his fundraising effort in May, Bush has collected $83.9 million. The record receipts -- more than triple the top Democrat's fundraising for the quarter -- were driven in large part by just 285 men and women, who collected $38.5 million or more, which was at least 45 percent of Bush's total take. This fundraising elite, many of whom were beneficiaries of Bush administration policies, included 100 `Rangers,' who raised at least $200,000 apiece, and 185 `Pioneers,' who collected at least $100,000 each."
If, after reading this and similar stories, you have any doubt that our government has been bought and paid for, please see Molly Ivin's latest book, BUSHWHACKED.
The latest polls aren't so encouraging for the Bush-man:
A new ABC News/ Washington Post found that if the 2004 presidential election were held today, 46% of Americans say they would vote for President Bush, while 47% would favor an unnamed Democratic candidate -- a statistical dead heat and the president's weakest showing in a generic horse race poll.
The president's approval ratings stabilized after steadily declining over the last few weeks. President Bush has a 53% job approval rating -- a career low but far better than the nadir of previous Presidents (Bill Clinton, 43%; Bush 41, 33%; Ronald Reagan 42%; Jimmy Carter, 28%.)
The poll also found that nearly six in 10 Americans consider U.S. casualties in Iraq "unacceptable" — twice as many than in April when Baghdad fell.
Other key numbers:
-- Fifty-one percent disapprove of President Bush's work on the economy and 47% disapprove on Iraq.
-- The president's 67% approval rating on handling terrorism matches the lowest since 9-11.
-- On the leak story (remember that one?) 39% say that the White House is "fully cooperating" in the investigation and more than eight in 10 still call it a serious matter; two thirds favor a special counsel to look into it.
This case has always interested me, so I'm glad to see the New York Times & Frontline (PBS) devote significant resources to attempting to tell the truth about this matter. This link leads to a very long story about the six Arab men from Buffalo New York who have been accused by Ashcroft & the FBI of being terrorists. These men pled guilty recently when they were given this choice: plead guilty or be declare "enemy combatants" and be sent to Guantanamo for an indefinite period, perhaps for the rest of their lives. The government has basically admitted it did not have the facts to convict them. It denied them the right to a fair trial. These men are all US citizens, and most of them were born in the United States. -- Libbie
WHERE THE TRAIL LED
Unclear Danger: Inside the Lackawanna Terror Case
By MATTHEW PURDY and LOWELL BERGMAN
Published: October 12, 2003
LACKAWANNA, N.Y. — The journey into the heart of Al Qaeda began here, in the frayed Yemeni-American neighborhood of this former steel town just south of Buffalo.
For Sahim Alwan, a 28-year-old youth counselor, husband and father of young children, it led to a house in the Afghan city of Kandahar, where he came face to face with Osama bin Laden.
It was the spring of 2001. Mr. Alwan and a group of American men had traveled to Afghanistan convinced of their obligation as Muslims to prepare for holy war. At guesthouses and at a military training camp, men talked menacingly of martyrdom, and Mr. bin Laden assured his recruits that, in the fight with America, he had men "willing to carry their souls in their hands."
"I said, `Damn, this is real,' " Mr. Alwan recalled.
He demanded to leave the camp, he said. But first, Mr. bin Laden requested a final meeting. Ushered into a private room, Mr. Alwan sat alone with the Qaeda leader on a carpet and pillows. Mr. bin Laden asked how American Muslims viewed suicide operations.
"We don't even think about it," Mr. Alwan said he answered nervously.
Mr. bin Laden said nothing, he recalled. "Just a smile."
The meeting ended with pleasantries. "He stood up," Mr. Alwan said. "And I stood up. Shook his hand. Walked outside."