Wednesday, February 21, 2007


(UPDATE: Frank Gaffney was peddling the same lies discussed below on the Tucker Carlson show on Tuesday. Amazing. The above video is a brief clip of Gaffney's Lie Offensive on "Tucker.")

Glenn Greenwald and neocon policy maven Frank Gaffney appeared on Alan Colmes’s radio show last week. Glenn posted on their debate at his new blog at The entire broadcast is available for listening (and downloading) at

The impetus for this clash of good and evil was Gaffney’s eliminationist commentary in the Washington Times last week, in which Gaffney appeared to advocate hanging anyone who, well, disagrees with Frank and his neocon buddies. As you’ve probably heard by now, Gaffney’s screed began with a fabricated quote from Abraham Lincoln that suggested Honest Abe shared Frank’s fondness for the noose in cases of political dissent. I’d link to the column, but it appears to have been "disappeared" by the Washington Times (suggesting the possibility that the Washington Times may not be totally without shame). Gaffney, undeterred, regurgitated yet another eliminationist rant yesterday, the gist of which is that anyone who dissents from the Iraq policy of Dear Leader is guilty of suborning desertion by our troops in Iraq. I tell you, this man Gaffney is absolutely incorrigible.

I won’t bother citing Frank’s curriculum vitae here simply because, as will become apparent, the man is a complete charlatan. He purports to be an expert in matters of Iraq and Iraqi WMD programs, but I have charitably concluded that Gaffney is nothing of the sort. I say “charitably” because were Gaffney indeed an authority on Iraqi WMD then he would be one of the most brazen and shameless liars extant, for only someone either pathetically uninformed or pathologically dishonest could assert that the Iraq Survey Group, the Bush administration's handpicked WMD inspectors in post-invasion Iraq, had confirmed that Iraq maintained ongoing WMD programs in the period immediately preceding the U.S. invasion in 2003.

Gaffney, apparently unnerved by Glenn's scathing critique of his Washington Times column (and perhaps taken aback by an unusually aggressive Alan Colmes), made a series of shocking claims regarding the findings of the Iraq Survey Group, claims that are in each case belied by the ISG's own report (commonly referred to as the "Duelfer Report"). Virtually every claim made by Gaffney regarding Iraqi WMD and the Duelfer Report was an egregious distortion, and one need look no further than the "key findings" of the Duelfer Report itself in order to establish Gaffney's ignorance or deceit (take your pick).

Here is Gaffney's first barrage of distortions, to the effect that the Duelfer Report found Iraq was producing chemical and biological agents and placing them in aerosol cans and perfume sprayers for shipment to the U.S. and Europe:

Gaffney: "There was a hot production line for chemical and biological agents in Iraq." He says it's a fact. He says the Duelfer Report confirmed it. But here is the Duelfer Report's "key finding" with regard to whether Iraq was producing chemical agents:
Iraq constructed a number of new plants starting in the mid-1990s that enhanced its chemical infrastructure, although its overall industry had not fully recovered from the effects of sanctions, and had not regained pre-1991 technical sophistication or production capabilities prior to Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). ISG did not discover chemical process or production units configured to produce key precursors or CW agents. However, site visits and debriefs revealed that Iraq maintained its ability for reconfiguring and ‘making-do’ with available equipment as substitutes for sanctioned items.
The Duelfer Report was equally unequivocal on the subject of whether Iraq was producing biological agents:
ISG is aware of BW-applicable research since 1996, but ISG judges it was not conducted in connection with a BW program. ISG has uncovered no evidence of illicit research conducted into BW agents by universities or research organizations.
As for Frank's aerosol cans and perfume sprayers filled with chemical and biological poisons, the Duelfer Report recounted Iraqi efforts in the 1980's and early 1990's to develop aerosol delivered biological agents but makes only one mention of aerosol related efforts post-1992.
Mun’im Mustafa Fatahi, a close friend of Dr. Al Azmirli, reportedly told Al
Azmirli that a group of people was actively pursuing ricin for weaponization. As
of March 2003, ricin was being developed into stable liquid to deliver as an
aerosol in small rockets, cluster bombs, and smoke generators, according to Al
Ultimately, however, the Duelfer Report deemed this account to be "based on single source reporting of unclear veracity." In short, Gaffney's claim of Iraqi production and export of aerosol delivered chemical agents is nothing more than another febrile wingnut delusion.

But Frank was just getting going. This next clip is truly priceless.

Gaffney claims to be directly quoting from the Duelfer Report when he asserts that Iraq was engaging in "active production of chemical and biological weapons" (not merely chem/bio agents), and that "Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction programs." Again, let's go to the Duelfer Report, the key findings of which rendered unambiguous judgments on each of the three categories of allegedIraqi WMD : biological, chemical and nuclear.

With regard to biological weapons, the Duelfer Report stated:
In practical terms, with the destruction of the Al Hakam facility, Iraq
abandoned its ambition to obtain advanced BW weapons quickly. ISG found
no direct evidence that Iraq, after 1996, had plans for a new BW program or was conducting BW-specific work for military purposes."
The Duelfer Report similarly found no evidence of any chemical weapons program:
While a small number of old, abandoned chemical munitions have been discovered, ISG judges that Iraq unilaterally destroyed its undeclared chemical weapons stockpile in 1991. There are no credible indications that Baghdad resumed production of chemical munitions thereafter, a policy ISG attributes to Baghdad’s desire to see sanctions lifted, or rendered ineffectual, or its fear of force against it should WMD be discovered.
And with regard to Iraq's alleged nuclear program - the existence of which Cheney was so certain, the "mushroom clouds" of Condi's nightmare- the Duelfer Report found not merely a lack of evidence of any program, but concluded with finality that a nuclear weapons program in Iraq had not existed since 1991:
Iraq did not possess a nuclear device, nor had it tried to reconstitute a capability to produce nuclear weapons after 1991. ISG has uncovered no information to support allegations of Iraqi pursuit of uranium from abroad in the post-Operation Desert Storm era.
Again, each of the preceding three paragraphs are contained in the "key findings" of the Duelfer Report regarding the three different categories of WMD: nuclear, chemical and biological. These key findings contradict Gaffney's claims that the Duelfer Report had found "active production of chemcial and biological weapons" and "weapons of mass destruction programs" in Iraq.

Even while conceding that large stockpiles of chemical weapons were not found in Iraq, Gaffney resorts to another gross distortion when he claims that the Duelfer Report was unable to explain what had happened to such stockpiles; that the fate of such stockpiles were a "mystery." Another "key finding" of the Duelfer Report stated "[w]hile a small number of old, abandoned chemical munitions have been discovered, ISG judges that Iraq unilaterally destroyed its undeclared chemical weapons stockpile in 1991." Mystery solved, Frank.

As Gaffney would say, I'm not making this up. These are excerpts from the Duelfer Report. These findings were widely reported in October 2004 in connection with Duelfer's delivery of the report to Congress. The press and Duelfer himself similarly deemed the findings of the Iraq Survey Group to have contradicted virtually every claim made by the Bush administration (and reiterated by Gaffney on Colmes's show) regarding alleged Iraqi WMD and WMD programs. This is from the Washington Post article published in connection with Duelfer's delivery of his report to Congress:
The 1991 Persian Gulf War and subsequent U.N. inspections destroyed Iraq's illicit weapons capability and, for the most part, Saddam Hussein did not try to rebuild it, according to an extensive report by the chief U.S. weapons inspector in Iraq that contradicts nearly every prewar assertion made by top administration officials about Iraq.

Charles A. Duelfer, whom the Bush administration chose to complete the U.S. investigation of Iraq's weapons programs, said Hussein's ability to produce nuclear weapons had "progressively decayed" since 1991. Inspectors, he said, found no evidence of "concerted efforts to restart the program."

The findings were similar on biological and chemical weapons. While Hussein had long dreamed of developing an arsenal of biological agents, his stockpiles had been destroyed and research stopped years before the United States led the invasion of Iraq in March 2003. Duelfer said Hussein hoped someday to resume a chemical weapons effort after U.N. sanctions ended, but had no stocks and had not researched making the weapons for a dozen years.

Duelfer's report, delivered yesterday to two congressional committees, represents the government's most definitive accounting of Hussein's weapons programs, the assumed strength of which the Bush administration presented as a central reason for the war. While previous reports have drawn similar conclusions, Duelfer's assessment went beyond them in depth, detail and level of certainty.

"We were almost all wrong" on Iraq, Duelfer told a Senate panel yesterday.
The Duelfer Report was a massive undertaking, a 1000 page plus opus (and that's excluding the addenda). Failing to confirm the existence of any WMD programs, it strives mightily to give the Bush administration and its neocon allies something to grab onto, something sinister sounding and redolent of Cheney's "reconstituted nuclear weapons" and Condi's "mushroom clouds." Ultimately, Duelfer settles on the ridiculously attenuated concept of "weapons of mass destruction related program activities" (Colmes touches on this briefly in the above audio clip, noting the progression of Bush administration claims from WMD to WMD programs to WMD related program activities). Bush and his handlers were so pleased with this Deulfer Report construction that they inserted it into Bush's 2004 state of the union address, a gambit that succeeded in fooling a large segment of wingnuttia into believing that ongoing WMD programs had been found in Iraq.

A close examination of Duelfer's invention reveals that "weapons of mass destruction program-related activities" consisted of nothing more than the detritus of Saddam's dismantled pre-1991 WMD programs. My favorite was the Deulfer Report’s categorization as a “WMD related program activity” of Saddam’s redeployment of scientists and technicians away from WMD related research to non-weapons related research in their areas of expertise. You read that right – Saddam’s dismantling of WMD programs and redeployment of scientists and technicians was itself a WMD related program activity! As long as highly trained Iraqi personnel continued to work in their chosen fields of physics, chemistry and biology they were (in the estimation of the Duelfer Report) engaged in WMD related program activity. One is left with the impression that unless Saddam had relegated his Ph.D.’s to peddling falafel as Baghdad street vendors that Duelfer would have somehow swept their activities into the vast category of “WMD related program activity.”

The limitlessly elastic concept of “WMD related program activity” is testament to the lengths to which Duelfer was willing to go in order to provide some figleaf to the Bush administration’s lies about Iraq WMD. And yet even Duelfer felt compelled to acknowledge in the most unambiguous language imaginable that Iraq had neither WMD nor WMD programs in the period preceding the invasion of Iraq.

Listen again to the audio clips of Gaffney’s outrageous claims. I have listened to them numerous times in the last week. As delighted as I was by Glenn’s relentless evisceration of Gaffney, I found Gaffney’s seeming fearlessness in publicly propounding lies to be profoundly unsettling. He had the maniacal persistence of one of those guys in the midst of an angel dust induced rage who charges into a hail of police gunfire, absolutely heedless of the consequences. His unreasoning adamance was unmistakably of a kind with the recent delusional fulminations of Cheney, Kristol, Krauthammer and the rest of the patients in the neocon psyche ward.

These people will not stop of their own accord, no matter how discredited they are and regardless of the political consequences for their Manchurian candidate in the White House. They appear to be unconcerned about the consequences of continuing to propagate the most outrageous lies and confident that their grip on Bush (and through Bush ultimate power in this country) will insulate them from any backlash in response to their brazen deceptions. I don't know about you, but I find this scary, scary in the extreme. It suggests the neocons believe they have nothing to lose, and care not at all that the rest of us have so much to lose.

Here's one last, brief audio clip of Glenn and Gaffe on the Colmes show.

Listen at the end of the clip as Gaffney resorts to a silly schoolyard "wanna bet" taunt in a pitiful attempt to lend a patina of bluster to his absurd distortions. I doubt Glenn would take up Gaffney on his offer to wager (it doesn't seem like Glenn's style), or that Gaffney's offer to wager even remains open. But we already know that Frank Gaffney, like Jonah Goldberg (Gaffney's fellow neocon lackey with a penchant to parlay), would certainly have lost his bet.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Attention Democrats!

This is how it is done. This is how an opposition party calls out the idiocies and atrocities of a nation's leader.

Lieberman Is Undermining The War Effort

Joe Klein, generally drum major in the "suckin' up to Lieberman" parade, takes a new look at Joe in his column in this week's edition of Time (sorry, no link - Klein's column is not online yet).

Lieberman steered Petraeus toward his objective--a clear statement from the general that such a resolution would hurt the morale of our troops in Iraq and give the enemy "encouragement." Petraeus, clearly uncomfortable with this line of questioning, refused to give a direct answer: "A commander in such an endeavor would obviously like the enemy to feel there was no hope."

In the initial debate on Iraq war resolutions last week, Lieberman was at it again. The notably mild Warner-Levin resolution of disapproval would "discourage our troops and hearten our enemies," he said.

"You have to ask who is really undermining this mission?" says Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island, a West Point graduate. "Didn't the Bush Administration undermine it from the start by going to war without sufficient cause, without sufficient planning, without sufficient equipment for our troops? Even now, I would argue that the Bush Administration is undermining this surge by focusing merely on the military part of the mission, ignoring the need to reform the Iraqi government, to find a regional diplomatic solution and, of course, ignoring the real facts on the ground."

"We're on the brink of a decisive battle for Baghdad," Lieberman said on the Senate floor. But that was wrong too: the counterinsurgency tactics General Petraeus will use are gradual, not "decisive" in the traditional military sense. We are not on the brink of anything except a long hard slog. I suspect Lieberman understands this but is hyping the mission for dramatic effect. If so, he is raising unfair expectations for the troops and the nation. I'd say that comes pretty damn close to undermining the mission.
I would take Klein's analysis a step further and argue that Lieberman has been undermining the war effort for years by offering rosy assessments of conditions in Iraq that the public couldn't reconcile with the ever increasing carnage. Americans have gradually come to realize they are being fed bullshit, and they understand Lieberman (and Cheney, et al) wouldn't be feeding them bullshit unless things were really bad in Iraq. As each "turning point" has come and gone without any improvement in Iraq, as "last throes" have become death throes, the confidence and trust of the public in our pro-war leaders has eroded, and their repeated disappointments have congealed into a sullen and increasingly angry rejection of the war and the warmongers in our government. That is how war efforts are undermined. That's what destroyed public support for the Vietnam war, and it's what has destroyed support for the Iraq war.

And we have Joe Lieberman to thank for it. Keep the lies comin', Joe. Hell, if you get Gerstein on the job 24/7 we may have the troop home by September.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

The Iraq Flim Flam

Noam Chomsky, from a recent interview.

US policy should be that of all aggressors: (1) pay reparations; (2) attend to the will of the victims; (3) hold the guilty parties accountable, in accord with the Nuremberg principles, the UN Charter, and other international instruments. A more practical proposal is to work to change the domestic society and culture substantially enough so that what should be done can at least become a topic for discussion. That is a large task, not only on this issue, though I think élite opposition is far more ferocious than that of the general public.
There were no WMD in Iraq. Iraq had nothing to do with the attack on 9/11. Reparations are owed. But the war criminals, the neocons, their republican enablers and even many democrats can be expected to argue that our putatively noble intentions exempt us from a reparation obligation, or that our gift of the misshapen and stunted democracy in Iraq is reparation enough. How completely absurd. We've destroyed their country, killed hundreds of thousands of innocents, and did so without any justification whatsoever, but like some flim-flam man, some plaid-suited huckster, we'll try to sell those Iraqi rubes on the notion that purple fingers are reparation enough. "Sorry 'bout that whole WMD thing; sorry 'bout that mistaken belief that you were involved in 9/11; but ain't democracy grand?"

"...Even Worse..."

Jonathan Chait has a column in this morning's L.A. Times slamming the utter vacuousness of the arguments made by those, like Lieberman, who appear to favor endless war. It's entitled "At This Point, It's Kamikaze Strategy In Iraq." Of course, no such editorial could be complete without discussing the man who has become the very symbol of endless war:

What do the administration's supporters say to this? Let's look at a brief survey. Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), one of the most vocal supporters of Bush's strategy, has made two major statements on the war in 2007. In the first, a letter in January, he wrote that "withdrawing from the fight is not a sound, long-term policy for the national security of the United States. Withdrawing from the fight is a recipe for defeat." How did Lieberman envision us winning? What about the reports that our actions are simply fueling the civil war? His letter had nothing to say.

Since then, Lieberman delivered a speech on the war, and that was even worse. The entire point of it was that a Senate vote of no confidence in Bush would demoralize our allies and embolden the enemy. Nothing at all about how the Bush strategy could work.
Chait's kamikaze metaphor is perfectly apt. Like the crazed militarists in Japan at the end of WW II, they can neither promise nor deliver victory, but continue to send people to their deaths simply because they cannot accept defeat. It was a strategy conceived by war criminals then, and it is a strategy conceived by war criminals today.

On the bright side, although Lieberman may be delighted at having been adopted by bush and the 30% of Americans who can't get enought war in Iraq, he has become the face of a corrupt and failed Iraq war for the remaining 70% of America. Our own Joe Lieberman, with his witless Islamophobia and disgraceful slandering of dissent, is every day helping more and more Americans to realize not only that there is no victory in Iraq, but that there is no honor in continued support for the war.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Lieberman Officially Declared "National Joke"

Thank you, Stephen Colbert. Joe Lieberman is now a national joke.

Colbert reveals Lieberman for the laughingstock he has become. But in all fairness Gen. Pace beat Colbert to the punch, arguing ealier this week that "the dialogue here in Washington strengthens our democracy - period." Gen. Pace said even if our enemies somehow were to take comfort from ostensible division in our government, they "don't have a clue how democracy works." As Colbert and Gen. Pace both point out, it is utterly absurd to surrender our constitutional right (and for Senators to abrogate their constitutional obligation) to discuss and debate Iraq war policy merely because a lunatic/fanatic half-a-world away might misconstrue the glory of democracy as a weakness.

How completely ridiculous. Just like Joe.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Money Don't Buy Everything, It's True...

...but what it don't buy, neocons can't use.

Does anyone else see the parallel between spreading around 363 tons of legal tender in Iraq and Joe's $387,000 greasing of urban Connecticut?

Embarrassingly Transparent

Man, now this is a righteous condemnation of Lyin' Joe. John Schneider of New Milford says it all in this letter to the editor of the Danbury News-Times. Here's the opening paragraph of John's letter:
The lies are embarrassingly transparent. The supporters of the illegal, immoral invasion and occupation of Iraq, including Connecticut's own special-interest sponge, Joe Lieberman, are now telling us that opposing the escalation of this conflict gives comfort to the enemy and hurts our troops.
I urge everyone to click on the link above and read John's letter in its entirety.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


These are indeed halcyon days for those of us attempting to unmask Joe Lieberman. The last two days offer real hope that the nation as a whole will soon recognize Joe for what he is: a sanctimonious and cynical warmonger of a neoconservative stripe; the most partisan and least civil national political figure on the contemporary scene.

Jeffrey Goldberg's profile of Lieberman in The New Yorker went online yesterday. I was remiss in not immediately linking to it. A brief excerpt:

As Lieberman spoke, Clinton’s mask of equanimity seemed to slip for a moment, until she could assimilate the idea that Lieberman had, in essence, accused the Democratic Party of encouraging America’s enemies.

When it was her turn to respond, Clinton spoke with heat: “I very sincerely but wholeheartedly disagree with those who are trying to once again up the rhetoric about our position in Iraq instead of taking a hard look about what will actually, on the ground, change the behavior and actions of this Iraqi government.” What she wanted, she said, was “to send a very clear message to the Iraqi government that they cannot rely on the blood and treasure of America any longer.”

Then she delivered a polite rebuke to Lieberman, saying that she rejected the idea put forward by her “friends on the panel who think that statements of disapproval are somehow going to undermine our effort, when I think they will send the clearest message.” (Last week, Democrats agreed to a milder, compromise resolution, sponsored by the Republican Warner; Lieberman still opposed it.)

Three days after the hearing, I went to see Lieberman in his office. He was cheerful and easygoing and more convinced than usual of the essential rightness of his vision. I asked him if he thought that Democrats who voted for the resolution would truly be giving encouragement to the enemy. “The enemy believes—Ahmadinejad has said this repeatedly—that we don’t have the will anymore for a long battle,” he said, referring to the President of Iran.

When I asked him if he understood why Hillary Clinton might have reacted the way she did, he said, “I can’t explain why she did that.” Then he shook his head, apparently in sorrow.

Glenn Greenwald was more alert than I and quickly posted on Goldberg's striking profile of Lieberman. Again, here's a money excerpt from Glenn's post:

That is about as vivid a profile of the neoconservative warrior mentality as one can get: paranoid and frightened guys who derive personal and emotional fulfillment by giddily cheering on military destruction from a safe and comfortable distance -- who see war as a fun video game to play, through which one can feel the pulsating sensations of power and triumph -- combined with an obsessive focus on, really a paranoia of, the threat of Islamic fantacism to the seeming exclusion of every other issue and danger.

Combine those two traits and one not only finds the principal sentiment that drove us into Iraq and will keep us there for the foreseeable future, but also the primary reason why a majority of Americans now believe that the U.S. will soon be at war with Iran. Lieberman also smears unnamed colleagues who are opposed to the "surge" by claiming: “A lot of Democrats are essentially pacifists and somewhat isolationist," even though there is not a single Democrat, at least not in the Senate, who could be accurately described that way. Lieberman now even wields the lowest smear tactics used by people like Mark Steyn.

And finally Chris Floyd of Empire Burlesque skewers Joe in his own inimitable fashion in a post entitled "Sick Joke: Joe Lieberman in the Dark." Chris's take on Lieberman is nearest my own.

I must confess something here. I honestly thought that Joe Lieberman was a cynical operator through and through, on the Dick Cheney model. Sure, he had the same bees in his bonnet about power, privilege and domination that Dick and Rummy and the boys have, but I thought that Lieberman, like that those twin terrors from Nixon's nursery, could see through his own bullshit, and knew that he was laying down a line of twaddle for the rubes while covertly pushing the Dominationist agenda

I didn't really comprehend, until now, how genuinely ignorant, dull-witted
and emotionally stunted he is.

Chris goes on to suggest that Lieberman may be more simple than cynical, a man who actually believes his own tripe and takes it seriously, tripe so transparent that it could only be taken seriously by rubes. But I would argue to Chris that Joe Lieberman is at once both a cynic and a true believer, and that this is the wonder of Lieberman.

The Most Uncivil Man In Washington

Here is yet another example of Joe Lieberman's inability to discuss any issue without impugning the character, patriotism or morality of his opponent.

The above video clip is approximately 90 seconds long. Lieberman had been allotted ten minutes during the Senate debate yesterday afternoon, and after twice requesting (and receiving) additional time had finally finished his remarks. He had harshly criticized the Warner-Levin Resolution and compared it unfavorably to the proposed McCain-Lieberman resolution. But it turns out that the McCain-Lieberman resolution had never been filed with the clerk for the Senate, and therefore had not been distributed by officers of the Senate to each Senator. After Joe had finished his extended remarks Warner inquired whether the McCain-Lieberman resolution could be filed with "the desk" in the Senate. This may strike some as an overly technical point, but the Senate, like a courtroom, has certain rules of procedure, and Lieberman's repeated references to a resolution that had not been filed with the clerk prompted Warner to inquire (in his very courtly manner) whether there was any "possiblity" that the McCain-Lieberman resolution could be so filed "so that all Senators could have the benefit" of having the proposed resolution in hand. Lieberman smiled and assured Warner that filing of the McCain-Lieberman resolution was not only a possibility "but a promise."

Joe seemed to think his assurance would satisfy Warner, but Warner immediately asked "at what time might the promise be executed." Joe seemed a little taken aback by Warner's persistence, and the warm Lieberman smile that had greeted Warner's initial inquiry gave way to one of those Lieberman grimaces masquerading as a smile. Joe, using his best "I'm humoring Grandpa" delivery, assured Warner that the McCain-Lieberman resolution was publicly available and that he would supply Warner with a copy. He hadn't yet finished his condescending response to Warner when Warner interjected "and I'll be glad to give you my copy [of the Warner-Levin amendment], but I feel it would be presumptuous of me to address [the McCain-Lieberman resolution] unless it is properly before the Senate."

Perhaps Joe felt that Warner was belaboring Joe's neglect to properly file the resolution, and that Warner was being overly punctilious about Senate paperwork. Perhaps he felt Warner's tone was too reproachful for such a minor procedural pecadillo. Perhaps Joe felt Warner should have simply accepted his assurance that the resolution would be filed rather than demanding to know when it would be filed. One need not have insight into Joe's state of mind, however, to recognize Lieberman's next reply to Warner as a gratuitous (and typically Lieberman) attempt to impugn Sen. Warner's integrity.

"I thank my friend. The difference, of course, is that ours is as non-binding as yours but ours is a statement of support for our troops and benchmarks for the Iraqis."

Suddenly a discussion of a very dry and arcane procedural point of Senate order had elicited a very pointed response from Lieberman in which he was arguing not merely that the McCain-Lieberman resolution supported the troops, but that it differed from the Warner-Levin resolution in that regard! Lieberman had to know Warner wouldn't let that one get by. Many Senators (particularly republican Senators like Hagel and Collins) have insisted in recent days that any insinuation that support for a resolution opposing the escalation constitutes a failure to "support the troops" is a canard and a scurrilous argument. Collins acknowledged late last week that the air has been quite charged in the republican caucus and said that she had personally responded with indignation to insinuations by certain of her colleagues that support for the Warner-Levin resolution was tantamount to betraying the troops (see the last minute of this interview with Chris Matthews in which Collins said "I am really offended when people say that those of who are in favor of the [Warner-Levin] resolution are somehow betraying the troops"). Lieberman was no doubt aware of this highly charged atmosphere and therefore aware of the context in which Warner would receive Joe's attempt to contrast his own purported "support the troops" resolution with Warner's alleged "fuck the troops" resolution. Warner responded as one may have expected him to respond.

"I assure you that I would forcefully argue that ours is in support of the troops and there is no suggestion that one is less patriotic than the other, if I may say to my dear friend," Warner cautioned Lieberman.

I know enough of the Senate to know that these kinds of exchanges are always exceedingly decorous, and that even the most pointed disagreements are couched in language that is genteel, sometimes risibly so. And so I expected Lieberman would merely concur with Warner's surmise that there had been no intent to question the patriotism of anyone who would support the Warner-Levin amendment; that Lieberman would graciously accept Warner's invitation to acknowledge that no invidious comparison of the relative patriotism of the two resolutions had been intended. Even the most aggressive and sharp-tongued debaters in the Senate would generally take the opportunity to unequivocally confirm the unquestioned patriotism of a Senate colleague. But not Joe Lieberman.

"One is not less patriotic than the other," Lieberman conceded, "but actions have consequences, and as I said during my remarks, for the Senate to take this unprecedented action on a non-binding resolution to disavow - disapprove - a mission that our troops are being asked to carry out right now cannot help their morale."

Joe's smile was gone by the time he delivered this last shot at Warner, replaced by the pinched, pursed lips look that signals Joe's disapproval of your moral failings, and he left no doubt that he believed Warner (and those that would support his resolution) were knowingly undertaking to undermine the morale of our troops.

This is always the way it is with Lieberman. He is never content to debate the merits of a political issue, or restrict his argument to the substance of a proposal. He will invariably suggest, in tone politely but in terms that unmistakably reveal his disdain for your moral inferiority, that his is the only morally acceptable position. In a chamber that is sometimes choked with sanctimony, Lieberman is the undisputed champion of sanctimonious umbrage. All Senators of course insist that they are right. Some Senators are occasionally willing to invoke a moral dimension to the debate. But only Joe Lieberman will consistently argue that one morally transgresses when one oppposes him.

Let me suggest to Sen. Warner and Sen. Hagel and Sen. Collins and any other Senators who have had enough of Joe's moral conceit that it may be appropriate at this point, and in the context of this debate over Iraq, to suggest to some of their friends in the press that this fraud who so assiduously cultivates a reputation for civility is the most uncivil man in the Senate.

UPDATE: Think Progress noted the "testy exchange" between Lieberman and Warner yesterday, and makes the salient point that Warner is a veteran who served in the navy in WW II and in the marines during the Korean conflict. He was also Secretary of the Navy in the early/mid '70's. But Lieberman accuses him of demoralizing the troops in Iraq. People are sitting up and taking notice of the fact that Joe Lieberman is not a nice fellow.

Friday, February 02, 2007

The Most Partisan Man In Washington

This is the definition of "partisan" (from the Oxford English Dictionary): "An adherent or proponent of a party, cause, person, etc.; esp. a devoted or zealous supporter; Also with unfavourable connotation: an unreasoning, prejudiced, or blindly fanatical adherent. "

As we all know, "partisan" is one of Lieberman's favorite words. He bemoans excessive partisanship in Washington at almost every opportunity (I defy anyone to find one of his many appearances on a Sunday morning gabfest over the preceding 12 months in which he did not whine about partisanship). Partisanship is fundamentally an unreasoning adherence to a cause. In its most advanced form, partisanship will even involve rejecting objectivity altogether where facts and empiricism threaten to defeat the cause.

If, therefore, a measure of partisanship is the degree to which one will deviate from reason and objectivity in advocating a position, then I would humbly submit that Joe Lieberman is the most partisan man in Washington. If absolute absurdism is the sine qua non of the truly most partisan, the goal to which any hopeful for the title "most partisan" must aspire, then Joe Lieberman's descriptions of conditions in Iraq over the last three years rank right up there with Bill Frist's long-distance diagnosis of Terry Schiavo. Both were marked by an almost grotesque glee in proclaiming the vitality and vibrancy of patients that were completely unresponsive to treatment; an almost perverse delight in characterizing the attributes of morbidity as the very essence of life.

I (and others) have catalogued Lieberman's rosy Iraq assessments, assessments that have not only been revealed by subsequent events to have been flatly incorrect, but were widely recognized at the time as fantasies. Rather than note the rejection of Lieberman's assessments by others, let me again note that Lieberman rejected his own prior assessment by conceding that when he had claimed progress in Iraq last summer - progress so great we could likely begin withdrawing troops by year end - conditions in Iraq had been in fact "heartbreakingly bad."

I will stipulate that Joe Lieberman sincerely believes in the cause of the Iraq war, and the justice of the cause, although I believe the injustice of the avowed causes are manifest. Apparently, in Lieberman's estimation, this gives him the right (perhaps even the obligation) to cheerlead this cause by resorting to characterizations of conditions in Iraq that could only be the product of an unreasoning adherence to the cause or some cognitive disorder. I suppose Lieberman, to the extent he has conceded that his assessments were wildly off the mark, would contend that he was motivated solely by a desire to encourage our resolve when things were becoming very difficult in Iraq. Lieberman could have, like FDR and Churchill, conceded desperate circumstances and grievous setbacks but argued the greatness of the cause and faith that prevailing policies and strategies would produce success. He chose instead to deny the desperate circumstances and refuse to acknowledge the grievous setbacks. And so when exploding sectarian violence in Iraq last summer threatened our avowed objective of a peaceful Iraq governed by a stable and democratic government, Lieberman simply insisted that we continued to near our objective, and that the undeniable rising threat to our ends was really progress toward those ends.

Lieberman's assessments of the Iraq war, his claims of progress, his steadfast support for policies and strategies that were failing, were as false, deceptive and venal as Clinton's "I did not have sex with that woman." But this wasn't about a blow job.

Quite simply, this is where I part ways with Lieberman and his supporters. They believe the ends justify their means, even if the means involve misleading your constituents about conditions in Iraq and lying about your Iraq policy. I don't. He could have told us the truth about conditions in Iraq and appealed for our support, but instead he misled us about those conditions and questioned our patriotism if we didn't offer our support.

All of which makes rather disingenuous Dan Gerstein's insistence that opposition to Lieberman can only be explained by blind hatred of Bush and Joe.

And all of which makes Joe Lieberman the most partisan man in Washington.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Dan Gerstein, Liar for Hire

Shameless Lieberman shill Dan Gerstein has a piece at RealClearP0litics this morning. Reading it is a little like wading through sewage up to your neck. It's the kind of cowardly hit job that begins by referring to the Democratic Party as "our party' and then launches into a vile and loathesome attack on Democrats, characterizing the two-thirds of Connecticut Democrats who voted against Lieberman as hateful, dishonest smear-artists who have been "radicalized" by "hatred and contempt for Bush and the Republican leadership." It's the kind of intellectual filth that blames the democrats for not being sufficiently cooperative with Bush and has not a single harsh word for the most arrogant and partisan administration in our history.

Is Gerstein's screed worth a detailed response? I've concluded that it is not, and that Dan Gerstein's reputation as a $30,000 per month professional liar is well-established. If anyone feels differently, and would like to relate some of their favorite Gerstein lies from the campaign, just leave them in the comments section.