10/14/2005

White House Iraq Group recap by Susan Hu

Daily Kos: Glengarry Glen Rove: "Glengarry Glen Rove
by SusanHu
Wed Oct 12, 2005 at 07:39:21 PM CDT

.. there's all this buzz about the little-known White House Iraq Group whose documents -- as I quoted yesterday from a 2004 Newsday article -- were subpoenaed clear back in 2004 by Patrick Fitzgerald (Grand Jury List of Witnesses & Documents, Oct. 11, 2005)..


In the spirit of entertaining speculation, let's look at some snapshots of the primary members of the nearly secret WHIG that sold the American people, the media, and the Congress on the Iraq war. And how. ..

WHIG FOUNDER -- and presidential cheeseburger fetcher1 -- is President Bush's Chief of Staff Andrew Card.

Quotable Card, on selling the war in Iraq: "From a marketing point of view you don't introduce new products in August."

Dishing: Writes Billmon, "If Howard Fineman is right, and Andrew Card really is making a move to topple Karl Rove, then this country could be in a heap of trouble. ... "I'm not a very smart person," Card says. "I have to work really hard at remembering things." ... "When I interviewed him, I could tell fairly quickly that [he] definitely wasn't the sharpest chisel in the White House toolbox."..

NEXT, the profiles of the other ruthless, relentless WHIGs who sold the war: Karl Rove, Karen Hughes, Mary Matalin, James R. Wilkinson, Nicholas E. Calio, Condoleezza Rice, Stephen Hadley and I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby ..

WHIG MEMBER: Karen Hughes -- who returned to D.C. this year, and was confirmed as Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs -- left her post as "counselor to the president" in July 2002.

Did her 2002 return to motherhood and apple pies in Texas mean that Hughes was no longer in the loop, or a strategist for WHIG?

Not at all. According to the AP in April 2003 (shortly after the war began):

Hughes remains tapped into Washington. As part of a contract with the Republican National Committee, Hughes continues to advise the president. She said she talks with him "several times a week."

She also maintains close contact with Dan Bartlett, her successor at the White House, as well as national security adviser Condoleezza Rice [WHIG member] and chief of staff Andrew Card [WHIG founder].

"People ask me all the time, `How's retirement?' " she told the Houston Chronicle in Sunday's editions. "I never said anything about retiring."

Quotable about Hughes: "During a "town hall" meeting for State Department employees held on September 8, 2005, she described her plans to improve US image abroad in militaristic phrases, outlining a "rapid-response unit" and "forward-deploy regional SWAT teams" to "formulate a more strategic and focused approach to all our public diplomacy assets." (Sourcewatch) ..

WHIG MEMBER: James R. Wilkinson, former director of strategic communications for General Tommy R. Franks, and deputy national security advisor for communications as of December 2003. (Sourcewatch)

Dish -- Talk about Dish!
(SIGH -- Jim looks like SUCH A NICE YOUNG MAN -- especially in those MANLY CAMOUFLAGE FATIGUES that he wears to work!):

* "Former Bush campaign aide Jim Wilkinson, (forever seared into the American psyche as the spokesman for GOP Miami-based protesters clamoring to stop the Florida ballot re-count during the 2000 election) has been hired as Tommy Frank's top spokesperson at the media center, and will be responsible for overseeing 42 military public affairs officers charged with managing hundreds of international correspondents covering the war. ... (Sourcewatch)
* "Wilkinson first left his mark on the 2000 Presidential race in March 1999, when he helped package and promote the notion that Al Gore claimed to have 'invented the Internet.' Then the Texan popped up in Miami to defend Republican protesters shutting down a recount: 'We find it interesting that when Jesse Jackson has thousands of protesters in the streets, it's O.K., but when a small number of Republicans exercise their First Amendment rights, the Democrats don't seem to like it,' he told the Associated Press." (Sourcewatch)
* In Qatar, he became the point man on the rescue of Pvt. Jessica Lynch and delivered the most memorable and sellable quote of Gulf War II: 'America doesn't leave its heroes behind,' he told reporters at a late-night briefing." (Sourcewatch)
* 22 October 2003, Salon.com: Karl Rove's "choice as director of communications for the convention is none other than Jim Wilkinson, the flack who left so many reporters furious last spring when he handled Pentagon press relations at the Iraq War headquarters, U.S. Central Command in Doha, Qatar." (Sourcewatch)
* "In other words, the media center that's been built by the military, has been designed, in part, by the Hollywood art director who adds the Orwellian ambiance to George Bush's speeches. And to make matters worse, this entire public affairs operation is headed Jim Wilkinson, one of the thugs who protested the Florida recount.
"Ever the good soldier, (though a civilian, Wilkinson reportedly wears a military desert camouflage uniform to work), Wilkinson is poised to 'manage' journalists working at the center, many of whom are currently enjoying Ritz-Carlton accommodations, open bars and free buffets and belly dancing. 'It's a first-class war,' said Peter Lloyd, correspondent for Australian Broadcasting Corp." (Sourcewatch)

Quotable: "President Saddam Hussein is seeking uniforms that are 'identical down to the last detail' to those worn by American and British troops, so that atrocities carried out by Iraqi forces could be blamed on the allies, a senior Defense Department official said Thursday. ... James R. Wilkinson, chief spokesman for the U.S. Central Command, said Hussein had ordered the uniforms for use by members of his paramilitary force, Fedayeen Saddam. ...
These forces, Wilkinson said, 'would wear them when conducting reprisals against the Iraqi people so that they could pass the atrocities off as the work of the United States and the United Kingdom.'" (Sourcewatch)

(Jesus! He's certifiable!)

WHIG MEMBER: Mary Matalin, former assistant to President George W. Bush and counselor to Vice President Dick Cheney, and the first White House official to hold a double title." (Sourcewatch)

Quotable: '[S]he worked closely with Scooter Libby -- the Vice President's chief of staff who was one of Matt Cooper's sources." (ThinkProgress)

Dish: "Matalin also co-authored the best-selling political campaign book All's Fair: Love, War and Running for President with her husband, James Carville, who was the chief campaign strategist for Clinton/Gore in 1992."

WHIG MEMBER Nicholas E. Calio: Now Citigroup's Senior Vice President for Global Government Affairs, Mr. Calio served in the White House as Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs from January 2001 to January 2003. (Citigroup bio)

In other words, Mr. Calio sold the war to Congress.

With his sales job completed --"The Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002, Public Law 107-243," was issued on October 16, 2002 -- he left the White House in January 2003.

Dish: "Mr. Calio was a partner at O'Brien & Calio, a law and lobbying firm he co-founded in 1993. A 1998 'Fortune' magazine survey of Members of Congress, Congressional staff, Administration staff, and Washington lobbyists rated the firm as one of 'the ten most powerful' in Washington. Mr. Calio started the firm after leaving the first Bush Administration, during which he also served as Deputy Assistant to the President in charge of relations with the House of Representatives" (1989-1991)." (Sourcewatch)

WHIG MEMBER: Condoleezza Rice..

WHIG MEMBER: Stephen Hadley, National Security Advisor (WaPo) who fell on his sword over the yellow cake uranium claims

Dish: " Hadley Came Clean After CIA Memos Surfaced, TheLeftCoaster, July 22, 2003: "Now we know why Stephen Hadley suddenly came clean today: the CIA reminded the White House that they had not one but two memos that proved the Administration was in fact alerted to Agency concerns about the reliability of the African uranium claims months before the SOTU, memos which undermined most of the White House shifting blame jobs of the last two weeks. And memos that showed that Condi Rice has in fact been lying that no one at a senior level in the Administration has known about these concerns until recently...

WHIG MEMBER: Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff to Vice President Dick Cheney (Sourcewatch)

Quotable: Libby told special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald that he first learned Plame's identity from Tim Russert. Russert said in a statement last year that he told the prosecutor that "he did not know Ms. Plame's name or that she was a CIA operative" and that he did not provide such information to Libby in July 2003. [Bloomberg, 7/22/05] (ThinkProgress)

Dish: Cheney and Libby visited the CIA headquarters to engage the CIA analysts directly on this issue of uranium acquisition in Africa, "creating an environment in which some analysts felt they were being pressured to make their assessments fit with the Bush administration's policy objectives." [Washington Post, 6/5/03]
MEMBER OF THE WHITE HOUSE IRAQ GROUP: Libby was a regular participant in the weekly meetings of the Bush Administration's White House Iraq Group. The main purpose of the group was the systematic coordination of the "marketing" of going to war with Iraq as well as selling the war here at home. One clear example of this fact is that "the escalation of nuclear rhetoric" during the pre-war stage, "including the introduction of the term `mushroom cloud' into the debate, coincided with the formation" of WHIG. The group included the other individual who has been confirmed as a leaker, Karl Rove. [Washington Post, 8/10/03] (ThinkProgress)

WHIG CHAIR: Karl Rove, deputy White House chief of staff.

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