OVER THE LINE: Hsu, Joe Lieberman, and Bush-Bremer


I think I’m going to initiate a new regular feature at The Washington Note called “Over the Line.” This will just be stuff that goes a notch or ten too far. Some funny. Some tragic.
I have three items today.
First, big Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton donor Norman Hsu didn’t show up for his bail hearing today — repeating his no show performance 15 years ago.

, I just received this note from a friend in the Senate. Joe Lieberman has decided to share with his Senate colleagues an opportunity to meet one of the Bush administration’s must ideologically predictable advocates in favor of the Iraq War, the surge, and expansion of that war to include Iran.
Lieberman Chief of Staff Clarine Nardi Riddle writes:

Invitation for your boss from Senator Lieberman
Senator Lieberman will be hosting a briefing for Senators with military historian Fred Kagan, who recently returned from extensive travel in Iraq, to discuss new developments in the situation there and the way ahead.
Having taught for ten years as an associate professor at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Fred Kagan is currently a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, and the author of a forthcoming report, examining several prospective plans for the drawdown of U.S. forces and the transition of their mission in Iraq. Fred holds a Ph.D. in history from Yale University and has written numerous articles on defense and foreign policy issues for Foreign Affairs, the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Policy Review, Commentary, Parameters, and other periodicals.
The briefing with Fred Kagan will be held on September 7, at 1:00 pm. Location TBD.
Please let the Senator’s scheduler, Rayanne Bostick, or me know if your boss plans to attend. Thank you.

I can just imagine the beginning of Kagan’s talk: “I have to admit surprise at agreeing with the recent assessment by Ken Pollack and Michael O’Hanlon that. . .”
If Lieberman would listen, I’d really like to suggest to the Senator a roster of people who also publish in the leading journals of opinion in this country who might provide a view of Iraq that at minimum would provide balance to Fred Kagan and very possibly get to a more real truth about the mess there.
And then third, finally, the other day several commentators, including James Fallows and myself, expressed shock that Bush seemed to be so unaware of the details surrounding the disbandonment of the Iraqi military.
The next day, L. Paul Bremer shot back at Bush and released to the New York Times documents showing that Bremer had had an exchange of letters — so to speak — with Bush about the subject of disbanding the military.
What is bizarre is how air-headish Bush’s letters were, leading me to believe he never paid much attention to Bremer’s note.
This seems to validate that Bush was not in the driver seat on the war and not involved in crucial decisions but that as Lawrence Wilkerson has said, a Cheney-Rumsfeld cabal had usurped power and decision-making while the President and his National Security Advisor just acquiesced.
But what is also strange is that given the devastating consequences of disbanding the military that Bremer says he would have done it again. Huh? Is infallibility all these people care about?
Let’s send Bremer to some funerals so that he can repeat those words to the families of American men and women killed by insurgents fighting American occupation when they might otherwise have been members of Iraq’s military fighting to preserve and defend a new Iraq with us on the sidelines.
— Steve Clemons


10 comments on “OVER THE LINE: Hsu, Joe Lieberman, and Bush-Bremer

  1. rollingmyeyes says:

    Fred Kagan should be stationed in Iraq for the next, oh say, two years–just imagine how much knowledge he would aquire for his next book! Really, he owes it to our troops!


  2. Kathleen says:

    I’m all for sending Bremer to a funeral, preferrably his own.


  3. Ben Rosengart says:

    It seems to me that people are too willing to assume that keeping Iraq’s army together would have been the right thing. I would be interested in reading more about what could have gone wrong in the other case. It may well have been that either decision would have been equally disastrous, given the context of absolute fecklessness.


  4. pauline says:

    The Purpose of Homeland Security
    by emptywheel
    Silly GAO! Silly bloggers! The purpose of the Department of Homeland Security is not to gather together all the resources of homeland security in one coordinated whole. The purpose of DHS is not to improve off of our performance on 9/11. And so you really shouldn’t worry too much about any silly little GAO report.
    The GAO states that after the largest government merger in more than half a century, the DHS met fewer than half of its performance objectives, or 78 of 171 directives identified by President Bush, Congress and the department’s own strategic plans. The department strongly disputed the report.
    In one of its harshest conclusions, the 320-page document states that the DHS has made the least progress toward some of the fundamental goals identified after the 2001 attacks and again after Hurricane Katrina in August 2005: improving emergency preparedness; capitalizing on the nation’s wealth and scientific prowess through “Manhattan project”-style research initiatives; and eliminating bureaucratic and technical barriers to information-sharing.
    Rather, the purpose of DHS is to gather together a bunch of contracting money under one partisan hack to create another government funding outlet for crony capitalists. Which is why Senator Lieberman’s stance on the report is a truly heroic attempt to make more money available for the crony capitalists.
    Yesterday, Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) said that although the DHS “has made important progress,” it requires more focused attention and money.
    And the purpose of DHS is to eliminate the collective bargaining rights of thousands of government employees so we make sure those on the front line remain poor and over-worked.
    Silly people, don’t you see that you’re grading all the wrong benchmarks?


  5. shb says:

    Great comments.
    I am a consistent reader, and I like your point of view, even though I don’t always agree with you.
    But please refrain from using the words “myself” or “yourself” until you have memorized the pertinent pages of the Harbrace Handbook. You used “myself” when “I” was the correct choice, and not for the first time.


  6. jhm says:

    Not to disagree with the above admonishments, but I think one should consider that as L. Paul “Jerry Bremer’s was beginning his tenure in Baghdad, the President* considered the war to be essentially over, and he was too busy counting his unhatched chicks to be concerned with affairs that he had already delegated to others.


  7. Diane says:

    Couple comments on your third item:
    1. If George Bush’s policy was to keep the army intact and someone disbanded it…..”this is the policy, what happened?” what an idiotic “oh well” answer to what has been the most significant fuckup in a long, long series of fuckups. Any other President would have FIRED someone who changed his policy, Bush’s answer is simply STUPID. Why was he not fired? Oh wait, it’s Bush policy to keep all loyalists no matter what they do. Or Cheney told him not to???
    2. According to Gordon’s piece, Peter Pace said the Joint Chiefs were not asked to comment on the action.”Gen. Peter Pace, then the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at a meeting of the Council on Foreign Relations in February 2004 that the decision to disband the Iraqi Army was made without the input of the joint chiefs. “We were not asked for a recommendation or for advice,” he said.”
    A couple paragraphs later Bremer says “He said he received detailed comments back from the joint chiefs, leaving no doubt in his mind that they understood the plan.” ….so which one is it? Who is lying?


  8. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “He proves that there is no center, only fellating right-wing balls under the guise of being a “maverick.””
    I didn’t know you could fellate balls. Now carrots or asparagus, thats another story.


  9. Joe is a neocon ho says:

    Joe Lieberman is proof of the utter bankruptcy of centrist politics. He proves that there is no center, only fellating right-wing balls under the guise of being a “maverick.” He is a disgrace to the American political system and unfit to represent the people of Connecticut. He is as bad as Richard Perle: he will not “listen” as you hope because he is a fundamentalist who is utterly rigid in his views and would under no circumstances let facts get in the way of them.


  10. look it up says:

    In ‘Faith or Fear’, Abrams (Eliot) remarks “Outside the land of Israel, there can be no doubt that Jews, faithful to the covenant between God and Abraham, are to stand apart from the nation in which they live.”
    Lieberman adheres to the same credo. And this guy almost became Vice President…..


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