Saturday, February 16, 2008

A Must See C-Span Video- Ellsberg vs.Kristol

I came across this video while viewing my email, today. It is startling and that is putting it mildly. I don't know how William Kristol can go about his daily existence without shame. Many words come to mind when I think about this man... delusional, hallucinatory, mad, psychoneurotic, schizoid, schizophrenic. Whatever disorder best describes him; there is no doubt William Kristol is suffering from some sort of frontal lobe damage. What makes this so alarming and quite tragic, is the fact that he was allowed major input, if not the main collaborator, in one of America's worst disasters, The Iraq War. Only he, could come up with the think-tank PNAC.

In 1997, Kristol and Robert Kagan cofounded the Project for the New American Century (PNAC). Kristol is a member of the board of trustees for the think tank Manhattan Institute. Kristol is also a member of the Policy Advisory Board for the neoconservative think tank Ethics and Public Policy Center. Kristol has also been an attendee at Bilderberg Group conferences.
From this site

New American Century (PNAC)

Manhattan Institute

Ethics and Public Policy Center

Bilderberg Group - The Invisible Power House

These "THINK TANKS" of the right-wing, neoconservative movement will give evidence, as to why, America has been so besmirched and our democracy so gutted. I hope beyond hope this will all end soon. Their time in the sun should cease, if America is to survive! Please watch the video below. Also below, is a transcript of the C-Span video. thanks, thinkingblue


Mr. Ellsberg and Mr. Kristol talked about the war with Iraq, protests against the war, the 1991 Gulf War, and related issues. They responded to audience telephone calls, faxes, and electronic mail.

Mr. Ellsberg is the author of Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon
Papers, published by Viking Press. Mr. Kristol is the co-author of The War over
Iraq: Saddam’s Tyranny and America’s Mission, published by Encounter Books.--------

What the New York Times Bought
By Jonathan Schwarz
Imagine that there were a Beatles record only a few people knew existed. And imagine you got the chance to listen to it, and as you did, your excitement grew, note by note. You realized it wasn't merely as good as Rubber Soul, or Revolver, or Sgt. Pepper's. It was much, much better. And now, imagine how badly you'd want to tell other Beatles fans all about it.

That's how I feel for my fellow William Kristol fans. You loved it when Bill said invading Iraq was going to have "terrifically good effects throughout the Middle East"? You have the original recording of him explaining the war would make us "respected around the world" and his classic statement that there's "almost no evidence" of Iraq experiencing Sunni-Shia conflict? Well, I've got something that will blow your mind!

I'm talking about Kristol's two-hour appearance on C-Span's Washington Journalon March 28, 2003, just nine days after the President launched his invasion of Iraq. No one remembers it today. You can't even fish it out of LexisNexis. It's not there. Yet it's a masterpiece, a double album of smarm, horrifying ignorance, and bald-faced deceit. While you've heard him play those instruments before, he never again reached such heights. It's a performance for the history books -- particularly that chapter about how the American Empire collapsed.

At the time Kristol was merely the son of prominent neoconservative Irving Kristol, former chief of staff to Vice President Dan Quayle (aka "Quayle's brain"), the editor of Rupert Murdoch's Weekly Standard, and a frequent Fox News commentator. He hadn't yet added New York Times columnist to his resumé. Opposite Kristol on the segment was Daniel Ellsberg, famed for leaking the Pentagon Papers in the Vietnam era. Their discussion jumped back and forth across 40 years of U.S.-Iraqi relations, and is easiest to understand if rearranged chronologically.

So, sit back, relax, and let me play a little of it for you.

To start with, Ellsberg made the reasonable point that Iraqis might not view the invading Americans as "liberators," since the U.S. had been instrumental in Saddam Hussein's rise to power: Here's how he put it: CLICK HERE OR VIEW BELOW

Having problems viewing, CLICK HERE to go to C-Span site

The Lost Kristol Tapes

"ELLSBERG: People in Iraq... perceive Hussein as a dictator... But as a dictator
the Americans chose for them.

"KRISTOL: That's just not true. We've had mistakes in our Iraq policy. It's just
ludicrous -- we didn't choose Hussein. We didn't put him in power.

"ELLSBERG: In 1963, when there was a brief uprising of the Ba'ath, we supplied
specifically Saddam with lists, as we did in Indonesia, lists of people to be
eliminated. And since he's a murderous thug, but at that time our murderous
thug, he eliminated them...

"KRISTOL: [surprised] Is that right?...

"ELLSBERG: The same thing went on in '68. He was our thug, just as [Panamanian
dictator Manuel] Noriega, and lots of other people who were on the leash until
they got off the leash and then we eliminated them. Like [Vietnamese president]
Ngo Dinh Diem."

Ellsberg here is referring to U.S. support for a 1963 coup involving the
Ba'athist party, for which Saddam was already a prominent enforcer -- and then
another coup in 1968 when the Ba'athists consolidated control, after which
Saddam became the power behind the nominal president. According to one of the
1963 plotters, "We came to power on a CIA train." (Beyond providing lists of
communists and leftists to be murdered, the U.S. also gave the new regime napalm to help them put down a Kurdish uprising we'd previously encouraged.) James Crichtfield, then head of the CIA in the Middle East, said, "We really had the t's crossed on what was happening" This turned out not to be quite right, since factional infighting among top Iraqis required the second plot five years later
for which, explained key participant Abd al-Razzaq al-Nayyif, "you must [also]
look to Washington."

Yet it appears clear on video that Kristol is genuinely startled by what
Ellsberg was saying.

Consider the significance of this. Any ordinary citizen could easily have
learned about the American role in those two coups -- former National Security
Council staffer Roger Morris had written about it on the New York Times op-ed
page just two weeks before the Kristol-Ellsberg broadcast. And Kristol was far
more than an ordinary citizen. He'd been near the apex of government as Quayle's chief of staff during the first Gulf War in 1991. He'd been advocating the
overthrow of the Saddam regime for years. He'd co-written an entire book, The
War Over Iraq: Saddam's Tyranny and America's Mission, calling for an invasion
of that country.

Nevertheless, Kristol was ignorant of basic, critical information about
U.S.-Iraq history. Iraqis themselves were not. In a September 2003 article, a
returning refugee explained the growing resistance to the occupation: "One of
the popular sayings I repeatedly heard in Baghdad, describing the relations
between the U.S. and Saddam's regime, is 'Rah el sani', ija el ussta' -- 'Gone
is the apprentice, in comes the master.'"

What this suggests about the people running America is far worse than if they
were simply malevolent super-geniuses: They don't know the backstory and
couldn't care less. It's as though we're riding in the back seat of a car driven
by people who demanded the wheel but aren't sure what the gas pedal does or what a stop sign actually looks like.

Moreover, when Ellsberg tells Kristol this information, he demonstrates no
desire to learn more; nor, as best as can be discovered, has he ever mentioned
it again. Really? Those colored lights mean something about whether I'm supposed to stop or go? Huh. Anyway, let's talk more about how all of you complaining in the back seat hate freedom.

Later, when the discussion gets closer to the present. Kristol's demeanor changes. He appears to be better informed and therefore shifts to straightforward lies:

"ELLSBERG: Why did we support Saddam as recently as when you were in the
administration? And the answer is--

"KRISTOL: We didn't support Saddam when I was in the administration.

"ELLSBERG: When were you in the administration?

"KRISTOL: 89 to 93."

This is preposterously false. First of all, Kristol worked in the Reagan
administration as Education Secretary William Bennett's chief of staff -- when
the U.S. famously supported Saddam's war against Iran with loans, munitions,
intelligence, and diplomatic protection for his use of chemical weapons. After
George H.W. Bush was elected in 1988, Kristol moved to the same position in Vice
President Quayle's office. During the transition, Bush's advisors examined the
country's Iraq policy and wrote a memo explaining to the incoming President the
choice he faced. In a nutshell, this was "to decide whether to treat Iraq as a
distasteful dictatorship to be shunned when possible, or to recognize Iraq's
present and potential power in the region and accord it relatively high
priority. We strongly urge the latter view."

And Bush chose. Internal State Department guidelines from the period stated, "In
no way should we associate ourselves with the 60 year-old Kurdish rebellion in
Iraq or oppose Iraq's legitimate attempts to suppress it." (Saddam's gassing of
the Kurdish town of Halabja has occurred less than a year before.) Analysts
warning of Iraq's burgeoning nuclear program were squelched. The Commerce
Department loosened restrictions on dual-use WMD material, while Bush the elder approved new government lines of credit for Saddam over congressional

And Saddam was receiving private money as well: most notably from the Atlanta
branch of Italian bank BNL. BNL staff would later report that companies wanting
to sell to Iraq were referred to them by Kristol's then-boss, Vice President
Quayle. One Quayle family friend would end up constructing a refinery for Saddam to recycle Iraq's spent artillery shells. The Bush Justice Department prevented investigators from examining transactions like this, while Commerce Department employees were ordered to falsify export licenses.

As Kristol and Ellsberg discuss the buildup to the 1991 Gulf War, Kristol, of
course, continues to fiddle with reality:

"KRISTOL: So you were against the liberation of Kuwait.

"ELLSBERG: No, on the contrary. At that time, a number of four star military people, former chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who were foursquare for containing Saddam, preventing him by military means from getting into Saudi Arabia... When it came to expelling him from Kuwait, they wanted to give the
blockade and the embargo [more time], on the belief of people like Admiral Crowe that that would be preferable to the deaths that would be involved in trying to expel him militarily. We didn't test that theory.

"KRISTOL: The argument was not that the sanctions could get him out of Kuwait.
The argument was that we could keep him out of Saudi Arabia. Who seriously
thought he could be expelled from Kuwait by sanctions?

"ELLSBERG: Practically everyone who testified before Senator Nunn, who is no left-wing radical. And Senator Nunn himself. You've forgotten the history of that.

"KRISTOL: I remember the history vividly."

Ellsberg is correct, of course: On November 28, 1990, former Joint Chiefs of
Staff Chairman Admiral William Crowe testified in front of the Senate Armed
Services Committee and its chairman Sen. Sam Nunn (D-Ga.). Crowe stated: "[W]e should give sanctions a fair chance... I personally believe they will bring [Saddam] to his knees" -- by which Crowe meant Iraq would be "pushed out of Kuwait." The same message was delivered by General David Jones, another former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman. The next day, the lede in a page one New York Times story was that Crowe and Jones had "urged the Bush Administration today to postpone military action against Iraq and to give economic sanctions a year or more to work."

It's not like Kristol could have missed all this, since the Bush administration
immediately disputed such commentary -- and one of its point men for the push
back was none other than Dan Quayle. An early December 1990 article about a
Quayle speech reported: "[Quayle] specifically cited the Senate Armed Services
and Foreign Relations Committee" where "voices have argued that the Bush
Administration should allow time for economic sanctions against Iraq to work,
getting President Saddam Hussein to leave Kuwait voluntarily rather than using
force to dislodge him." (Unfortunately, there's no available reporting on
whether Quayle's chief of staff wrote this speech for him.)

Then there's Kristol's curious explanation of his views on how the Gulf War
ended -- that moment when George H.W. Bush called upon the Iraqi people to
overthrow Saddam and then, despite having smashed Saddam's army and controlling Iraq's air space, let the dictator's helicopter gunships take to the air and crush a Shiite uprising. There were even reports the administration forbade the Saudis from aiding the uprising and that U.S. troops blew up caches of Iraqi
weapons rather than allow the rebels to use them.

Kristol, however, uses his courtier's skills to remake reality more pleasingly:

"KRISTOL: I was unhappy in 1991 when we stopped the war and left this brutal
tyrant in power. I think we betrayed the people who rose up against Saddam, a
genuine popular uprising. That was a big mistake on the part of the Bush
administration. A political mistake and a moral mistake."

So that's clear: Kristol feels the decision was immoral. Or... was it?

"KRISTOL: I don't think these were simply immoral decisions by the president.
These were judgment calls. There were reasons. There were arguments. There
weren't simply --

"ELLSBERG: But they were immoral --

"KRISTOL: Well, no, that's not so easy to call a political decision an immoral

That's fancy footwork for you! On the one hand, Kristol wants us to know that
the decision was indeed "a moral mistake." The implication is that he should be
respected in the post-invasion moment of 2003 as the sort of sensitive tough guy
who would indeed invade Iraq to make up for past decisions that lacked morality.
On the other hand, we're talking about a former Republican president and the
present President's father. A straightforward declaration of "immorality," if
pursued far enough, could easily hurt future employment prospects. Kristol has
absolutely perfect pitch, managing to strike a blow for moral beauty in politics
while maintaining career viability.

Ellsberg then asks questions aimed at just this issue:

"ELLSBERG: Did you consider doing more than disagree? Perhaps putting out the
word of your dissent? Perhaps resigning with documents and revealing those to
the press and the Congress?

"KRISTOL [scoffing]: I had no documents to put out. There were no secrets about
the President's policy... We didn't want to occupy Baghdad. The rebellion would
have failed anyway. We would have gotten in deeper."

Hmmm. No secrets about Bush the elder's policy. Yet there was something that
most certainly was secret about the rebellions at the end of the Gulf War:
Saddam was using chemical weapons to put down the Shiite uprising in the south. Rumored since 1991, this has been confirmed by the most impeccable source
imaginable -- the CIA's final 2004 report on Iraq's WMD. According to the
report, the Iraqi military used Sarin nerve agent, dropped from the helicopters
the U.S. had given them permission to fly.

The CIA goes on to to suggest the U.S. government knew about this at the time,
describing "reports of attacks in 1991 from refugees and Iraqi military
deserters." And Gulf War veterans have said they passed such reports up the
chain of command. Did Kristol know it then? Probably not. But even today there's
no sign he knows: he and the Weekly Standard appear never to have mentioned it.
As with the coups in 1963 and 1968, Kristol's ignorance is of a peculiarly
convenient variety.

In any case, here's what Kristol did know: the Bush administration made the
choices it did at war's end not because, as Kristol says, they felt "the
rebellion would have failed." Their fear was exactly the opposite: that the
rebellion would succeed. Yes, the Bush administration preferred Saddam gone, but it wanted him replaced by some other, more amenable group or leader from the Sunni military elite. It most certainly did not want a popular uprising that
might leave a largely Shiite government in power in Baghdad, potentially close
to Iran. Even worse was the possibility Iraq could fracture, with power shifting
to the oil-rich Shiite south. As an administration official told Peter
Galbraith, then a Senate Foreign Relations Committee staffer, "[O]ur policy is
to get rid of Saddam Hussein, not the regime." Later, New York Times columnist
Thomas Friedman explained that Washington was looking for "the best of all
worlds: an iron-fisted Iraqi junta without Saddam Hussein."

Kristol's predictions that March day in 2003 are every bit as on target as his
descriptions of the past. When Ellsberg raises the possibility of the new Iraq
war coming to resemble Vietnam in some fashion, Kristol insists that this is
utterly preposterous: "It's not going to happen. This is going to be a two-month

Here's the exchange when they turn to what will happen to Iraq's Kurds:

"ELLSBERG: The Kurds have every reason to believe they will be betrayed again by
the United States, as so often in the past. The spectacle of our inviting Turks
into this war... could not have been reassuring to the Kurds...

"KRISTOL: I'm against betraying the Kurds. Surely your point isn't that because
we betrayed them in the past we should betray them this time?

"ELLSBERG: Not that we should, just that we will.

"KRISTOL: We will not. We will not."

This past December, we did. The Bush administration officially looked the other
way while Turkey carried out a 50-plane bombing raid on Iraqi Kurdistan against
the PKK, a Kurdish rebel group. Ken Silverstein of Harper's reprinted an email
from a former U.S. official there that said, in part:

"The blowback here in Kurdistan is building against the U.S. government because
of its help with the Turkish air strikes. The theme is shock and betrayal... The
people killed and wounded were villagers, not PKK fighters or support people…
The initial explanation from Washington that the United States did not authorize the Turkish strike is bullshit, and every Kurd here knows it."

No mention of the bombing has appeared in the Weekly Standard. It's fair to
assume, however, that Kristol will eventually call America's actions there "a
moral mistake," while emphasizing that "these were judgment calls. There were
reasons. There were arguments."

Back in 2003, Kristol was also quite certain, almost touchingly so, that the
Bush administration would be well served by relying on Iraqi exiles:

"KRISTOL: We have tens of thousands of Shia exiles [who] have come back to help contribute to the liberation of Iraq.

"ELLSBERG: I'm afraid the people who propose this war have failed one lesson of
intelligence history, which is not to rely too much on the knowledge of people
who have left the country... The people who've come to this country may very
well underestimate the desire of those people not to be governed by foreigners."
This lesson of history goes back a long way. Book II, Chapter XXXI of
Machiavelli's Discourses on Livy is titled "How Dangerous It Is to Believe

"It ought to be considered, therefore, how vain are the faith and promises of
those who find themselves deprived of their country... such is the extreme
desire in them to return home, that they naturally believe many things that are
false and add many others by art, so that between those they believe and those
they say they believe, they fill you with hope, so that relying on them you will
incur expenses in vain, or you undertake an enterprise in which you ruin
yourself... A Prince, therefore, ought to go slowly in undertaking an enterprise
upon the representations of an exile, for most of the times he will be left
either with shame or very grave injury."

The Weekly Standard's archives show Kristol has published quite a few articles
on how political correctness in elite U.S. universities is strangling the
teaching of the Western canon. And you can understand where he's coming from:
While Kristol himself received a PhD in government from Harvard, it obviously
was during a period when radical multiculturalists had completely expunged
Machiavelli from the curriculum. When will the PC brigade ever learn? Teaching
Toni Morrison starts wars.

Finally, there's the most telling moment of the entire two hours, when a caller
asks Kristol something he does not at all expect:

"CALLER: I wonder how we reconcile these views with how we treat the American Indians?

"KRISTOL: [raising eyebrows, chuckling] Well, I think the American Indians are
now full citizens of the United States of America. We have injustices in our
past in treating the American Indians. I'm for equal rights for American Indians
and for liberating the people of Iraq from this horrible tyranny."

Kristol obviously finds the caller's perspective ridiculous. But the man had, in
fact, asked the most profound question possible.

After all, there is a deep cultural connection running from our conquest of the
continent to the invasion of Iraq. While Americans have mostly forgotten this,
the early settlers did not perceive themselves as simply pushing Indians out of
the way. Rather, they came here with the very best of intentions. The 1629 seal
of the Massachusetts Bay Colony is a picture of an American Indian, who is
saying, "Come over and help us." Three hundred seventy-three years later in
2002, Ahmed Chalabi was being paid by the U.S. government to tell Americans to
come over and "help the Iraqi people." In his book The Winning of the West,
Teddy Roosevelt wrote that no nation "has ever treated the original savage
owners of the soil with such generosity as has the United States." In 2004, Fred
Barnes wrote (in the Weekly Standard) that the invasion of Iraq might be "the
greatest act of benevolence one country has ever done for another."

Kristol finishes the C-Span show with a crescendo:

"The moral credentials of this war are strong. We'll see if we follow through. I
agree with Mr. Ellsberg on this, if we're not serious about helping the Iraqi
people rebuild their country and about helping promote decent democratic
government in Iraq... it will be a much less morally satisfying and fully
defensible war... I'm happy to be held to a moral standard. I ask that it be a
serious moral standard."

So, there you have it: a complex, rich experience to be savored by anyone who
enjoys watching a master at the very peak of his craft.

Yet trying to encapsulate Kristol's now almost five year-old chilling
performance by turning it into a bitter joke only takes us so far. After all,
the joke is on us.

Kristol indeed has been held to a moral standard, but it's the moral standard of
Rupert Murdoch and, more recently, the New York Times. What we learn from this dusty vinyl LP is that some of the most powerful men and institutions in our
country are genuinely depraved. They provide Kristol with his prominence not in spite of performances like this one, but precisely because of them. Kristol is
giving them just what they want. The fact that he's a propagandist straight out
of Pravda's archives makes the same impression on them as the fact that John
Lennon was a great songwriter might make on you or me.

Of course he is. That's why we bought the album.

Jonathan Schwarz is a frequent contributor to Mother Jones and co-author with
Michael Gerber of Our Kampf, a collection of their humor from the New Yorker,
the Atlantic, and Saturday Night Live. His website is named after a saying of
George Orwell's: "Every joke is a tiny revolution."

Copyright 2008 Jonathan Schwarz


Supreme Court's Rightward Lurch Will Motivate Right in 2008



CAROLYNCONNETION - I've got a mind and I'm going to use it!

thinkingBlue blogspot