The Blogging of the President - Seven Days in July

Stirling Newberry says:

Two years ago, in seven days in July, the polished Bush executive machine - which could tilt elections, and send America to an illegal war, unravelled. These seven days in July do not constitute the worst acts of the Bush executive - whose damage bill will run to trillions of dollars. But they do represent the actions which produced an investigation on whose shoals the entire slip of state is foundering on.

What happened in the seven days in July - between 8 July 2003 and 14 July 2003 - which caused them to so fatally miscalculate the boundaries?

...whistleblowing in the wake of 911 has died a quiet death. No one has ever explained how waves of evidence washed up on FBI headquarters and was left unnoticed, in no small part because much of it was ignored by people who had been told to do something else. Their lives would be ruined for following orders. Not possible in organizations to penalize people for doing what they are told, even if it breaks the rules, since bosses want to be able to give that kind of order.

Every so often, particularly in a corrupt organization, someone has to fall on their sword to protect the organization... Plame is the moment when a lot of people are being asked to take the shaft.

The attempt to blame "bad intelligence" for WMD, particularly when CIA has already been put underneath a new neo-con master who reports directly to the political authority rather than the executive authority - created the first incentive not to go along.

But without Fitzgerald, and the judges that have backed his investigation, the CIA leaks would be the nibbling of anonymice at the corners. They would not be important, except to feed the doubts of those who already doubted. Fitzgerald and others have clearly found wrong doing which they cannot stomach, and which Fitzgerald's bosses at Justice can't can without fear of consequences. Simply put, too much is floating around, and should the investigation be terminated, it will all come out...

So that is why the Seven days are being used as the political primary to explode the host of doubts about the direction of the country.

..how a machine that was able to turn the most massive security failure in US history into a 90% approval rating, suddenly stumbled [How indeed ??] - even as the country was largely accepting of Iraq. Remember in July of 2003, America was coming off of a successful insertion of US forces into Iraq, and this lent credibility to everything. The public was willing to give time for "inspections in force".

That there was such a desperation to nail Wilson during this wave of victory means something very simple: the executive branch knew, or was at least reasonably certain, that the hunt for WMD in Iraq, or even credible evidence of a threatening program was a dry hole.

Between over the course of the seven days, dozens of reporters were called, contacted or primed with the information on Wilson and Plame. So many means that it was not a matter of torpedoing Wilson - one would have been enough, and it could have been "drudged" out weeks before - that is handed to a right wing rumor mill and then exploded outward. It means that the entire message rested on torping the entire line of questioning.

This was no sbutle manipulation - no juggling of economic numbers to make growth look good - no quiet leaking on background - this was an invitation to smear Wilson. Since Wilson and Plame are not in possession of the truly leathal pieces of information, it is also clear that the only problem with them was that they were in the way of the message. This was the kind of hasty blitz that is attached to trying to hook someone off the stage...

while the Downing Street Memos are far more damning, it is this investigation - into the partisanization of the government - that will be the most dangerous. This is because a third of the country doesn't belive party is necessary to run the government. They are wrong, but they are right in demanding that the party runs the government, but not that the government is run for the benefit of the party. As soon as this third of the public smells the point where party has become faction - they rebel, and rightfully so.

And in Seven Days in July of 2003, a desperate White House, trying to shove an incovenience off the stage, broke that rule. The desire to photo-op everything got in the way - Wilson was getting in the way of a Bush photo-op, one where he flew to Africa and gave a speech that nailed the coffin shut on questions about the justness of the war. Wilson got in the way, of George's revenge.

Thus it is appropriate that in seven days in July, the story has wound out in reverse - Miller and Cooper were threatened with jail, Time Magazine and Cooper buckled, and despite the pieties of the press in its self-interest, the result is the right result - the whole sorry plot is coming to light. In no small part because much of what is being revealed was known by insiders, and the question was only whether the public deserved to be told...

The two parts of this are then that the people inside are no longer corrupt enough to run it. The Pentagon Papers came out, simply because an insider could no longer bear the grinding of gears between his ethical sense and his moral devotion to his organization. The same is true here, Cooper is no liberal, nor friend of the Democratic Party. Nor is Fitzgerald. Nor are the people who run Time Magazine. They simply cannot bear the gap between what they think they are fighting for, and what they have to do to fight for it. In Cooper's case it lead to a collapse of the will, in Fitzgerald's a redirection to burn out the sources of it.

A system can be no smarter, nor any more dishonest, than the people who must carry it out. In the end, this is what killed the old liberal order - it required to many compromises. Since it had higher ethical standards, it was easier to topple. Nixon's political insight was "when all else fails, lower your standards." When in doubt, lie. However, the continuous strain of living in lies and living with lies is not one that most people can bear, the game of verbal limbo and compartmentaliation tears apart those who play it, popping intellectual joints out of place. It got to Clinton, it is finally getting to the people around Bush.

What kills in Plamegate is not that some vast secret was being hidden - but, in fact, the reverse - the stakes were small, and the force so disproportionate. The modus opperandi of the Bush executive requires that they control the megaphone when they are doing their sales drive. Wilson was pushed over simply because he stepped on a time table, not because he really had all that much important to offer. The current sales drive - an improved economy, a big push against the insurgency backed by a new security apparatus in Iraq - is tripping over Downing Street, Rovegate - and as imporantly, [by the cash donators abandoning Bush as an old tool that outlit's usefulness -- law]

The Blogging of the President


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