Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

April 21, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

PAUL WOLFOWITZ UPDATE....Back in 2002 the Bush administration accused North Korea of starting up a uranium enrichment program, which it then used as an excuse to withdraw from the Agreed Framework and halt bilateral negotiations. Today the administration says there was no uranium program after all. It was just an intelligence screwup.

Well, stuff like that happens to the best of us, doesn't it? Still, with this administration, when there's an "intelligence screwup," that usually means that some actual person took ambiguous intelligence and decided to go to town with it. So who was it in this case?

Commenting privately...a concerned observer, then and now, said "the [HEU] evidence was very ambiguous. Wolfowitz took it and ran with it as hard as he could, and the upshot was that we shut down everything we planned to do with the DPRK. It was after that [Jan., 2003] they threw out the IAEA and began [what became] the run-up to the bomb test [last fall]."

Paul Wolfowitz! What a surprise. If we ever find evidence that he also trumped up intelligence against Iran, he'll have an Axis of Evil trifecta.

Via Balloon Juice.

Kevin Drum 8:17 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (48)

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments

I rarely agree with George Will, but a long time ago he correctly stated something to the effect that Assistant Professors make lousy politicians.

Apart from any other character flaws that he may have, Wolfowitz's academic background is clearly a hindrance to the man.

Posted by: gregor on April 21, 2007 at 8:44 PM | PERMALINK

People like Perle, Wolfowitz, Frank Gaffney, James Woolsey, et al, always seem to be quite enthusiastic about having the United States bomb and invade other countries in order to advance the cause of United States imperialism around the world.

Posted by: Erroll on April 21, 2007 at 8:46 PM | PERMALINK

Luckily, there are no consequences to any of this.

Thanks, Ralph.

Posted by: Gore/Edwards 08 on April 21, 2007 at 8:59 PM | PERMALINK

Gore/Edwards 08

Let us not forget that in the 2000 election the eight or so independent candidates that ran in Florida also received roughly 33,000 votes, so attempting to place the blame on Nader because Bush won and becomes quite disingenuous. The fact that Gore ran a lousy campaign certainly did not help his cause in any way.

Posted by: Erroll on April 21, 2007 at 9:08 PM | PERMALINK

I guess the reason we don't see much outrage over this is that the people who understand the implications (we let N. Korea get the [plutonium] bomb because we were so focused on a nonexistent uranium bomb program) long ago reached outrage overload for this administration.

Even so, a screwup of this magnitude ought to be impeachable. It's that bad.

Posted by: jimBOB on April 21, 2007 at 9:11 PM | PERMALINK

Let us not forget that in the 2000 election the eight or so independent candidates that ran in Florida also received roughly 33,000 votes, so attempting to place the blame on Nader because Bush won and becomes quite disingenuous.

Disingenuous? Nader got 97,421 votes in Florida. How many do you suppose would have gone to Gore instead if Nader hadn't been on the ballot? And your disingenuous count of the other independent candidates is apparently the *total* for all of them.

Next was Buchanan, with 17k votes. Except for those confused by the butterfly ballot, I doubt many votes for Gore were siphoned off by Buchanan. Ditto for the Natural Law candidate, the Constitution party candidate, etc.

Nader got 97,421 votes in Florida. Nader gave the election to Bush. Everyone who supported Nader in any way, and particularly those who were spouting nonsense about how there was really no difference between Gore and Bush, should just slink away in shame and reflect on how different things would be now if they hadn't helped siphon votes away from Gore.

Posted by: bobb on April 21, 2007 at 9:24 PM | PERMALINK

Nader got 97,421 votes in Florida. Nader gave the election to Bush. Everyone who supported Nader in any way, and particularly those who were spouting nonsense about how there was really no difference between Gore and Bush, should just slink away in shame and reflect on how different things would be now if they hadn't helped siphon votes away from Gore.

Posted by: bobb on April 21, 2007 at 9:24 PM

So should Democratic party operatives in Florida who were not especially aggressive in working get-out-the-vote strategies, especially among black voters. Let's not let the state party hierarchy off scot-free.

Posted by: Vincent on April 21, 2007 at 9:30 PM | PERMALINK

With the exploding scandals at the Justice Department and the World Bank enveloping his administration, President Bush voiced "full confidence" in Alberto Gonzales and Paul Wolfowitz this week. But as history has shown, there is no more certain confirmation of the criminality, ethical-wrong doing or imminent departure of a Bush team player than the President's expression of confidence in him.

For the details, see:
"President Bush, Confidence Man."

Posted by: AngryOne on April 21, 2007 at 9:35 PM | PERMALINK

WTF are erroll and bobb talking about? WTF does Nadar and the 2000 Presidential election have to do with Wolfowitz's role trumping up WMD intelligence in 2003? Am I missing something here?

Good lord. Non-sequitur isn't a strong enough term here. How about psychotic break to describe erroll's comment? Can pro-democrats suffer psychotic breaks on a liberal leaning blog?

Posted by: A different Matt on April 21, 2007 at 9:37 PM | PERMALINK

Weren't we all told the North Koreans admitted they were cheating to some diplomat? Wasn't the resulting uproar the reasons the North Koreans broke the seals on their enrichment program and kicked out the UN inslpectors who were watching the nuclear sites? They provoked a crisis and destabilized the world for no reason!

Posted by: aline on April 21, 2007 at 9:43 PM | PERMALINK

Without Nader, effing Wolfowitz wouldn't have been in any position to destroy the world, is I believe the salient point Bobb is making.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 21, 2007 at 9:45 PM | PERMALINK

Bobb-"slink away in shame". I am quite shameful that I voted for Gore instead of Nader as I sincerely doubt that Gore's attitude towards Iraq would have been that much different than that of Bush and Cheney. If Gore, like Kerry, was able to define himself in a better way, the perhaps Gore [and Kerry] would now be president instead of Bush. What should be quite shameful is how the Democrats, that alleged party of the people, would not allow Nader to participate in the debates between the Presidential candidates. The last time I checked my copy of the U.S. Constitution, there was no prohibition on third parties running for office in the United States. Perhaps Bobb would be kind enough to point out to me and others where in the Constitution it states that third parties are forbidden to run for office in this country.

Posted by: Erroll on April 21, 2007 at 9:46 PM | PERMALINK

Nader got 97,421 votes in Florida. Nader gave the election to Bush. Everyone who supported Nader in any way, and particularly those who were spouting nonsense about how there was really no difference between Gore and Bush, should just slink away in shame and reflect on how different things would be now if they hadn't helped siphon votes away from Gore.

Posted by: bobb on April 21, 2007 at 9:24 PM | PERMALINK

Brojo! Yoo-hoooo! Some posters are talking about you! Brojo? Brojo, are you there?

Posted by: Pat on April 21, 2007 at 9:52 PM | PERMALINK

A different Matt at 9:37 pm

Not to sound too snarky, the only reason I mentioned Nader was in reference to Gore/Edwards 08's claim that Ralph Nader stole the election from Gore. If you actually bothered to read my first comment at 8:46 pm, you would have noticed that it dealt with Wolfowitz and his neoconservative colleagues.

Posted by: Erroll on April 21, 2007 at 9:52 PM | PERMALINK

are we nearing the point when prosecution and jail becomes the only legitimate alternative for these reckless, arragant swines?

Posted by: jim on April 21, 2007 at 9:59 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks for the clarification, Erroll. I thought you were referring to Ralph Cramden.

Posted by: bobbyp on April 21, 2007 at 10:03 PM | PERMALINK

Enough with the Nader-blaming. It is anyone who didn't vote for Gore who should be blamed.

IIRC correctly the charges against Bush were 1) he was an idiot 2) without experience and likely to be in over his head 3) who was driven by extreme-right wing ideology no matter what he said on the campaign trail. All that has been proven true (but not "proved f**king right" if you know what I mean).

Posted by: Fred on April 21, 2007 at 10:14 PM | PERMALINK

Looks like Brojo has his very own cyber stalker.

I'm jealous.

Posted by: Disputo on April 21, 2007 at 10:15 PM | PERMALINK

bobbyp at 10:03 pm

Actually, that would be Ralph Kramden, not with a C but with a K.

Posted by: Erroll on April 21, 2007 at 10:17 PM | PERMALINK

It's really simple -- anyone who asserts that Gore would have murdered 600k Iraqis like Bush has done is a Republican operative mascarading as a leftie, and doesn't deserve any serious attention.

Posted by: Disputo on April 21, 2007 at 10:41 PM | PERMALINK

Whatever you do folks, please do get Brojo, Hostile.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on April 21, 2007 at 10:43 PM | PERMALINK

Really meant "do not" upset Hostile, er Brojo.

However, perhaps I was thinking about the good old days when Shrub and Laura could double date with Wolfie and his lady and go to the drive-in to watch "Thirty Seconds over Tehran" together.

All malteds of course.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on April 21, 2007 at 10:46 PM | PERMALINK

Wolfie is like the dumb bastard boss's pet at the office who keeps getting promotions no matter how often he screws up.

Have these neo-con a-holes EVER been right about ANYTHING?

Posted by: bdrube on April 21, 2007 at 11:05 PM | PERMALINK

There a story a few months ago about an analysis that conclusively demonstrated that Nader did not take votes away from Gore, but rather attracted mostly people who wouldn't have voted otherwise or, remarkably, would have voted for Bush.

Posted by: cld on April 21, 2007 at 11:16 PM | PERMALINK

Do I smell a Presidential Medal of Freedom coming or what? Maybe Wolfie and Gonzo will get theirs in the same ceremony.

Posted by: Buford on April 22, 2007 at 12:14 AM | PERMALINK

cld

Does the same study also conlude that the Jewish senior citizens who accidentally voted for Buchanan due to the Butterfly effect would have voted the same way even without the butterfly ballot?

To what lengths are Nader supporters going to go to absolve him from any blame for the events leading up to the current mess?

Posted by: gregor on April 22, 2007 at 12:38 AM | PERMALINK

There a story a few months ago....

I'd like to see that story, considering that the exit polls found that Nader voters would have voted overwhelmingly for Gore if Nader hadn't been on the ballot.

Posted by: Disputo on April 22, 2007 at 1:40 AM | PERMALINK

Isn't it time to hang Wolfowitz for treason?

Posted by: Curious on April 22, 2007 at 2:56 AM | PERMALINK

bdrube >"...Have these neo-con a-holes EVER been right about ANYTHING?"

Well yes, they have. They were correct that they could con enough of U.S.A. voters to buy into their various lies to keep them in power. And, so far, it appears they are still correct on that matter.

P.T. Barnum had nothing on these folks.

"Politics is just high school with guns and more money" - Frank Zappa

Posted by: daCascadian on April 22, 2007 at 3:16 AM | PERMALINK

Actually, that would be Ralph Kramden, not with a C but with a K.
Posted by: Erroll


Heh , he said krammed in

Posted by: Some Smartass on April 22, 2007 at 3:25 AM | PERMALINK

Hmmm... isn't clear whether Wolfowitz, Perle, or someone else was responsible... as noted by the IAEA on Oct 17 2002:

The Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei, expressed “deep concern” regarding the information reported yesterday by the US State Department that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has a programme to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons. “We are urgently seeking information from the DPRK in response to this report, as well as information from the US that will allow us to follow up on this very serious allegation”. (emphasis added)
Seems like there had to be some complicity between State and OSP... Iraq redux:
In addition, the supposed admission by North Korean officials in late 2002 about a centrifuge program may have been oversold by U.S. officials. This same official told Wit that “the notion that they admitted to the HEU isn’t as clear-cut in the transcript as in the oral tradition that the meeting seemed to foster.” Regardless, North Korean officials have never been reported to have said in this meeting that they were building a large-scale plant.

By 2004, a few intelligence officials were downplaying the original assessment. One former State Department official stated in 2004 that there were disagreements over the projected schedule for the completion of the centrifuge plant. USA Today on November 4, 2004 quoted a U.S. intelligence official that the CIA is “not certain there even is” a uranium enrichment plant.

Moreover, and not to belabor the obvious, but when the DPRK is:
  1. sitting on a pile of spent fuel; and
  2. that spent fuel can be turned into weapons-grade plutonium (and thus weapons) in short order; and
  3. that requires relatively low tech and concealable methods; and
  4. that a uranium enrichment program would require higher tech and more detectable methods; then...
...the whole uranium enrichment scenario is a bit fantastical. And lest we forget, Khan was a wildcard, as he was known to have had dealings with the DPRK--revelations that were occurring at about that time--which undoubtedly produced extreme angst, if not paranioa, in some cicles. Not an excuse, but a possible explanation of why the administration chose to interpret events as they did.

However, for anyone paying attention in 2002, the question was not the DPRK's capabilities--which were obvious--but how far they would go if pushed. It should have taken no more than a couple active brain cells somewhere in the administration to figure it out. Oh well.

Posted by: has407 on April 22, 2007 at 4:08 AM | PERMALINK

Why is Paul Wolfowitz still head of the World Bank?

What was once a potential but nevertheless quite well-contained problem -- Saddam Hussein's Iraq -- has long since passed the stage of fiasco, thanks to Paul Wolfowitz's despicable machinations while at the Department of Defense.

If we allow this walking rectal cavity of a president to continue on his present course, this somewhat-localized tragedy may yet turn into a full-fledged international disaster, and threatens to devolve further still into an epic regional catastrophe involving the massive displacement, destruction and / or ruin of countless millions of people.

"We're on a mission from God" may have worked as the title characters' oft-expressed rationale for their own over-the-top hijinks in the 1979 comedy The Blues Brothers. But it's hardly a laughing matter when a president and his political allies offer that same justification to foolishly pursue any number of ideologically-driven yet thoroughly untenable public policy initiatives, devoid of substance and dismissive of reality.

As such, their willful defiance of the 110th Congress, and by extension their utter contempt for the collective will of a now-absolute majority of the American people, must not be allowed to stand.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on April 22, 2007 at 7:29 AM | PERMALINK

Wolfowitz and other neo-cons all cut their teeth on "Team B," the group of academics put together to provide an alternative analysis of the Soviet Union's capabilities and intentions all the way back in the Ford Administration. This was when the right wing had convinced itself that the CIA was soft on communism.

The Team B report was a pack of lies from start to finish, but, from a conservative perspective, it worked. Reagan won the White House, and eight years later, the Soviet Union collapsed. Neocons believe in the power of positive lying.

Posted by: Alan Vanneman on April 22, 2007 at 8:47 AM | PERMALINK

Yeah, time to take a good look at Bush's crony RICE. What do foreigners think about that worthless, mindless woman?

I'm bet dignitaries shudder every time she visits, like that time the French had to go out and dig up a photo-op audience for her. I can just see the comments, "Oh please, not her again, she a waste of time". Rice is this little Ms. socialite with completely worthless credentials good only for putting her hands on hips, pointing, lecturing and leering.

Remember that time 9/11 commissioner Jamie Gorelick ask about what fly, if any did Bush swat, to which Rice pulled a clueless and "I don't remember" GONZO act, than she set Ashcroft out to threaten Ms. Gorelick. And Rice smiling gleefully smuggle afterwards - with the American public looking on, knowing that she's every bit as nasty as we all knews she was.


Posted by: Cheryl on April 22, 2007 at 9:30 AM | PERMALINK

oh gosh,

Remember that time 9/11 commissioner Jamie Gorelick ask about what flies, if any did Bush swat (pre 9/11), to which Rice pulled a clueless and "I don't remember" GONZO act, than she sent Ashcroft out to threaten Ms. Gorelick. With Rice smiling gleefully and smuggle afterwards - with the American public looking on, knowing that she's every bit as nasty as we all knew that she was.

Posted by: Cheryl on April 22, 2007 at 9:33 AM | PERMALINK

The Florida State study showed that what gave the Florida election to Bush was the decision to NOT count any ballot marked twice even if BOTH marks were for the same candidate. Lots of people, familiar with Florida electoral screw ups, marked Gore and wrote his name in. Contrary to established Florida procedure, Harris instructed counters to discard even unambiguous double marked ballots. I believe there were over 100,000 of these that were not counted, and that Gore was the candidate selected on most of those.

Republicans simply stole the Florida election.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on April 22, 2007 at 9:56 AM | PERMALINK

to be quite enthusiastic about having the United States bomb and invade other countries in order to advance the cause of United States imperialism around the world

Errol, you just defined the neocon position. As further proof, I give you everything "ex-liberal" has ever posted here.

Posted by: Gregory on April 22, 2007 at 10:07 AM | PERMALINK

Gregory,

Sorry, but Faux Lib is out driving his Yellow Cab southbound on Alvarado, just about now - FAUX, do watch out at 3rd - Mrs Li might be turning left again.

FAUX, do have a "Comparative" day.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on April 22, 2007 at 11:12 AM | PERMALINK

I sincerely doubt that Gore's attitude towards Iraq would have been that much different than that of Bush and Cheney.
This statement alone is enough to ignore whatever else you might have to say.

Posted by: asdf on April 22, 2007 at 11:21 AM | PERMALINK

At any rate, the U.S. is speeding back to the Clinton policy of paying off the "Great Leader" to pretend to be good. Maybe he will be, because the North Korean military oligarchy seems to want mainly to secure itself indefinitely and has no greater agenda in the world that they talk up a lot.

Now Ahmadinejad over in Iran is a different story. He has an agenda and it is an explicitly apocalyptic one. There is no reason to doubt his sincerity. I don't know what Algore would or wouldn't have done about Korea or Iraq in the past, but I am interested to know what his thinking is on Iran. Ditto for Obama and Hillary.

We have some nice, relatively secure bases in Iraq at the moment. Do we give those up out of political pique? If it comes to pass that we MUST do something about Iran, will we then have to start completely over with "pure" military bases in the region?

Posted by: mike cook on April 22, 2007 at 11:32 AM | PERMALINK

Thanks, Mike, for running Al and Gore together -

Perhaps we do need an Algorithm as our lead - Having a set of rules for solving a problem in a finite number of steps. And not out of Houston Board Rooms.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on April 22, 2007 at 11:47 AM | PERMALINK

And, to knock down another of Mike K's really stupid straw men - the President of Iran has little operational control over anything and his opinions matter only to the degree that he is seen as expressing a popular agenda.

Ahmedinejad's popularity is down in Bush territory - which is fitting given their co-dependent relationship.

Posted by: Butch on April 22, 2007 at 12:38 PM | PERMALINK

Paul Wolfowitz (the neo-concubine man) isn't the only neo-Con that lead to the North Korean policy. John Bolton was deeply involved

…Now Ahmadinejad over in Iran is a different story. He has an agenda and it is an explicitly apocalyptic one….… mike cook at 11:32 AM

Only if you continue to push your biased MEMRI translations that have been fully discredited.
You can rest assured that any Democratic policies will be based on sane decisions by adults unlike the Bush policies that you espouse.

Posted by: Mike on April 22, 2007 at 3:43 PM | PERMALINK
...The fact that Gore ran a lousy campaign ... Erroll at 9:08 PM
The statement about Gore's campaign is one of those tired old canards that never die in Naderite circles. Not only was Ralphie himself telling every lie about Gore that he could invent even past the point of trying to discredit Gore's second-to-none environmental record, but he and his followers took Republican money to mount campaigns in close states and districts in order to split the Democratic vote. As for the rest of Gore's campaign, he had the entire American media machine lying and perpetuating lie after lie about him, his policies, and his positions. The hatred the media had for Al Gore was palpable and it translated into lying, misleading and disinformative stories.
Let's not let the state party hierarchy off scot-free. Vincent on at 9:30 PM
Shall we let Jeb Bush and the Republican voter purge off scot-free? Posted by: Mike on April 22, 2007 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

Doing stuff like *that* ought to be treason, right, not saying that "we're losing" a war that is going badly, etc?

Posted by: Neil B. on April 22, 2007 at 9:05 PM | PERMALINK

Mike on 04-22 at 3:46 pm

Like so many others, you wish to demonize Nader for allegedly costing Gore the election, ignoring the fact that neither Gore's campaign, nor the media, was able to clearly give the voters an idea of what Gore actually stood for that separated him from Bush. Perhaps you also believe that Nader's team physically threatened the voters in Florida if they would not vote for Nader. Or perhaps you believe that Nader was able to assert some type of mind control over the voters, forcing them to vote for Nader.

Finally, let us try to keep in mind that even in George Bush's America, third party candidates are still allowed to run for office, with that privilege not given simply for the Democrats and Republicans. Or perhaps you can be so kind as to point out where in the Constitution it states that third party candidates are forbidden to run for office in the United States. Again, the voters of Florida had a choice regarding whom they wished to vote for president and, despite what you seem to think, that choice was not restricted between Gore and Bush.

Posted by: Erroll on April 23, 2007 at 10:17 AM | PERMALINK

America is a nation of histrionics; adjective, adverb and noun.
With all the crap Americans digest to pharma-mutate their brains, some one should come out with a "Vermont Farmer" brand laconic pill.
Chill out! Spartan up! These might be catchy ad phrases.
Perhaps "Dirty Harry" for a spokesman. Who else comes to mind?

Posted by: cognitorex on April 23, 2007 at 11:58 AM | PERMALINK

I guess I will have to take "Mike's" word for it that Ahmadinejad is being unfairly slandered by a great right-wing conspiracy seeking to build support for the next war. Truly, I want to believe that President Ahmadinejad is not as dangerous as he sounds.

I did wish to say something about "strategic hamlets" and their place in history. I passionately believe that defending South Vietnam against communist aggression was a good idea, but our effort should have been directed into purely defensive warfare tactics, as opposed to the very aggressive Westmoreland "search and destroy" war plan which had our troops slogging all over stepping on land minds and wandering into ambushes, not to mention dropping napalm on villages near a firefight to "save" them.

A defensive strategy would have best been based on "strategic provinces" rather than fortified hamlets. Basically, this would have meant building razor wire fences along the Ho Chi Minh trail side of various provinces, clearing a "no man's land" strip with bulldozers and Agent Orange, plus a lot of bore holes to listen for tunneling operations. All the Agent Orange we sprayed concentrated into such a narrow band would have been quite effective.

Such a defensive policy would have accorded very well with the U.S. need to use conscripted soldiers without much training. It doesn't take much training to defend a concrete bunker and morale would stay up because very few casualties would occur. Under Westmoreland's tactics we were constantly assaulting places that we would abandon after having paid a horrific price to secure.

The defensive war plan would also have limited U.S. air power to no more than three kilometers in front of our line of defense. This means no overflights of North Vietnam, Cambodia, or Laos, and consequently no mass numbers of American aviators being held in Hanoi prison camps.

I would have built a good wall around those parts of South Vietnam that were defensible as a practical matter and let the rest go. This would have held our casualties to maybe 5,000, as opposed to more than 50,000 and we would be there today in token numbers still manning the wall. Saigon would rival Seoul as a city of prosperity and freedom.

As far as Iraq today, insurgents will hide among the people as long as they allowed to do so. When there is a good census on a local neighborhood and everyone has a valid, hard-to-falsify ID, then a lot of problems become controllable. In fact, law enforcement and voting law rules here in the U.S.A. would be a lot more meaningful if everyone was obliged to have a real identity, a verifiable place of residence, and a verifiable place of work under lawful regulations.

Posted by: mike cook on April 24, 2007 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly