Saturday :: Aug 26, 2006

Tangled Threads

by Duckman GR

I just read this over at FDL, and it got me to thinking about the long post i'm writing about that hideous article in the NYT the other day that's growing like explanations for bush's war. You know, the Judy Miller-esque fact free third person hearsay garbage printed for a purpose, not the content so much, as the message. Penance under duress from the Times for spilling the beans on the NSA spying on Americans of all stripes, I figure.

As Froomkin noted, (my highlights-DGR)

Once again, powerful neoconservative politicians who just know in their hearts that there is a terrible threat posed by a Middle Eastern country they have identified as part of the axis of evil are frustrated by the lack of conclusive evidence that would support a bellicose approach. So they are pressuring the nation's intelligence community to find facts that will support their argument.

This time, that scenario is being played out right in front of our [effing] eyes. Maybe that will make a difference?

The Post had a far better written article, apparently written by an actual reporter you see, that contained this piece of important context:

The 29-page report, principally written by a Republican staff member on the House intelligence committee who holds a hard-line view on Iran, fully backs the White House position that the Islamic republic is moving forward with a nuclear weapons program and that it poses a significant danger to the United States.

More Froomkin, to further contextualize things,

Linzer writes that "the principal author was Frederick Fleitz, a former CIA officer who had been a special assistant to John R. Bolton, the administration's former point man on Iran at the State Department."

Translation: That means he's Vice President Cheney's man.

What the FDL piece ties to is this bit of nostalgia, and a common practice of entrenched politicians.

Michael D. Brown, relieved of his hurricane relief duties Friday, didn't get much scrutiny from the Senate at a 2002 confirmation hearing.

The head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency appeared before the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, then chaired by Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, D-Conn., when he was nominated as the agency's deputy director. The polite 42-minute hearing attracted only four senators, and before it was over, Lieberman offered his support.

Not atypical, many nominees for government positions get minimal scrutiny from the Senate, and/or rely on committee staff to do most of the work. As well as an expectation that the nominee has some qualifications for the job, or that the patronage is for a non-vital position, like Ambassador to Luxembourg.

An expectation that bushco had the judgment to be trusted on these things. But clearly, they cannot.

What kind of judgment is it to nominate Brownie for the FEMA job, what kind of judgment have they shown in their conduct of the Iraq Invasion? Dismissing the Army, not securing the Government Buildings and Museums and oil fields save the Oil Minstry, not having enough troops to run the occupation, where's their judgment there? What kind of judgment is it that doesn't recognize the split nature of Iraqi muslims, Sunni and Shiite for example, george? How about the judgment to let Afghan Freedom Fighters take the lead at Tora Bora, and let Wanted Dead or Alive bin Laden but Don't Think About Him Much get away?

On one hand we have Beltway Elitism and Complacency, embodied by lieberman, the DLC, and all the Corrupt republicans, (and yes, it should be an issue and mentioned at every opportunity) and on the other we have sheer incompetence as demonstrated by this story I read over at the Muckraker.

As head of the 24/7/365 Homeland Security Operations Center (HSOC), Broderick controlled the "eyes and ears" of the Department [...]

The ops center Broderick ran features 24-hour watchstanders, 16 50" flat-panel monitors, and access to real-time information from all over the government and the nation. DHS describes it this way:

The Homeland Security Operations Center (HSOC) serves as the nation’s nerve center for information sharing and domestic incident management. . . . [T]he HSOC provides real-time situational awareness and monitoring of the homeland, coordinates incidents and response activities. . . . HSOC staff can apply imagery capability by cross-referencing informational data against geospatial data that can then pinpoint an image down to an exact location.

As the world has since learned, New Orleans' levees and floodwalls were collapsing in the early morning of Monday, Aug. 29, 2005. However, Broderick insisted for the next 30 hours that no breaches had occurred, and the levees had merely been "overtopped" -- "normal, typical, hurricane background stuff," he later told Senate investigators.

It wasn't until noon the next day when he confirmed news of the catastrophe to DHS Secretary Mike Chertoff.

Block and Cooper write (excerpted by the Wall Street Journal):

By 5:00 p.m. Washington time on Monday, Broderick's shop had received no fewer than nine reports that the city's flood control system had been breached. Moreover, the HSOC had received at least eight other reports that huge swaths of the city were underwater and that hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people were awaiting rescue in the sultry summer heat.

But Broderick's final report of the evening, sent out at 6:13 p.m. Washington time, shot down the idea that floodwaters had pushed their way through the city's levees. "Preliminary reports indicate the levees have not been breached," his report declared. […]

When Broderick was asked months later by Senate staffers why he had stated so declaratively late Monday that the city's flood control structures were intact, the former Marine general said, improbably, that he had never received a single report during the day that suggested otherwise. The Senate investigator asking the question, Jeffrey Greene, was so stunned at the response that he initially asked if Broderick had misheard him.

But Broderick hadn't misheard. "If I had heard there was a breach in a levee Monday evening, I would have -- had I been aware of it, I would have been all over it," he said.

But we know now that numerous reports of the breaches -- and catastrophic suffering -- had come in to the watch center. What information was Broderick relying on? Again, Cooper and Block:

Broderick [told] investigators that he rarely looked at his e-mail and had received seven hundred e-mail messages during the disaster that he had never even bothered to open. He admitted that he didn't read the New Orleans newspaper, the Times-Picayune, which on the day Katrina hit had treated the collapse of the 17th Street Canal as fact and had written a long story describing the scene after two reporters on bicycles had visited the area. . . .

Finally, asked by exasperated Senate investigators what evidence he had collected showing the levees had not breached, Broderick said he had relied exclusively on two sources. The first was the Army Corps of Engineers, but the former general suspected even that agency of hyping the situation, since it had reported "extensive" flooding in New Orleans and "'extensive' is all relative," Broderick said.

The second source, Broderick allowed, was unimpeachable: CNN Headline News. Late Monday afternoon, the network aired a report from New Orleans. The focus of the video snippet was a scene on Bourbon Street, near the highest spot in the city, where people "seemed to be having a party," Broderick said.

"The one data point that I really had, personally, visually, was the celebration in the streets of New Orleans, of people drinking beer and partying because -- and they used, they came up with the word -- 'we dodged the bullet,'" Broderick said. "So that's a pretty good indicator right there."

That underlined piece is so telling, the gut, god talks to me, deciderer mentality. And this is the kind of judgment bushco uses, demonstrates, daily.

Granted, the underlying motivation is power and money and their incompetence serves to garner those two items for bushco, but for those less clear about things it's the appearence of what a government should be doing, and again, for people not interested in governing it's a moot point, but for real Americans whose own judgment is being challenged by the incompetence evidenced by bushco, and by the political leaders in the opposition, what are you to think and why would you support such poor judgment?

Are we to countenence that judgment again, trust these peoples judgment on the same kind of manipulated intelligence that was wrong about all those WMD’s in Iraq, in order to start ANOTHER WAR, this time in an unsanctioned and unbombed Iran?

Koresh on a hurricane blown Hobie Cat.

Duckman GR :: 11:08 AM :: Comments (7) :: Digg It!