Saturday, December 16, 2006

White House censors critical op-ed

The unmitigated gall of this administration continues to astound me. The White House didn't like an op-ed on Iran that had to be screened through the CIA because it was written by a retired CIA officer. The CIA signed off on it as containing no classified information. The White House blocked publication under its usual state's secret criteria. That seems to be if they don't like it, you can't see it, hear it or print it.
Middle East analyst Flynt Leverett, who served under President Bush on the National Security Council and is now a fellow at the New America Foundation, revealed today that the White House has been blocking the publication of an op-ed he wrote for the New York Times. The column is critical of the administration’s refusal to engage Iran.

...According to Leverett the op-ed was “all based on stuff that Secretary Powell, Secretary Rice, Deputy Secretary Armitage have talked about publicly. It’s been extensively reported in the media.” Leverett says the incident shows “just how low people like Elliot Abrams at the NSC [National Security Council] will stoop to try and limit the dissemination of arguments critical of the administration’s policy.”
The op-ed advised offering Iran full diplomatic and economic relations and a security guarantee in return for forswearing nuclear weapons. Sounds like a more reasonable solution than nuking the entire country into glass ashtrays, hoping we hit all their nuclear facilities to me. Which I suppose the White House doesn't anyone else to see it. Perhaps it would generate more public pressure for common sense at a time Our Great Decider is busily thinking about what he is going to decide to do.

What a way to run a democracy -- into the ground. If you don't like something, ignore it, delete it, ban it and prosecute anyone who dares divulge it.

The Carpetbagger has a short list of other inconvenient truths the Bush team has suppressed. Like the number of insurgent based attacks per month in Iraq, the number of terrorist incidents worldwide, which government programs work to assist the poor, factory closings, stats on federal shortchanging of state's funding and the underperformance of charter schools. That's, of course, an incomplete accounting. Just off the top of my head, I could add climate disruption and other EPA reports on environmental damage and FDA data. I'm sure you could think of more yourself.
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Blogger Bubblehead said...

Full diplomatic relations with Iran? Will we be able to use our old embassy?

11:25:00 AM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Nah. We'll probably just use our new base in Libya. I'm sure Moammar Gadhafi will loan us his private jet for daily transport, now that he's our buddy.

And aren't you avoiding the point on state censorship or has the free press been declared a quaint concept by the White House along with the Constitution and the Geneva conventions?

12:08:00 PM  
Blogger Bubblehead said...

Actually, now that you mention it, Leverett's story really doesn't pass the smell test. If what he's saying is true, then it's clearly a case of someone overstepping their bounds, and they should be punished.
The thing is, it's so far over the line, that some legal beagle should have spanked them fairly significantly -- if Leverett is telling the whole truth. If they say you can't print something, it's their responsibility to excise the offending parts of the document and return it. My guess is he's maybe omitting some salient facts.
As much as people would like to think that Vice President Cheney is sitting in his office personally censoring people trying to Speak Truth To Power, my guess is the real explanation is much more prosaic.
And I think we should establish full diplomatic relations with Iran as soon as they apologize for taking our diplomats hostage, punish the hostage-takers, pay restitution to the hostages, and pay for a new embassy for us. After all, they demanded an apology from us for the 1953 coup -- fair's fair.

12:14:00 AM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

I don't know how you can suggest Leverett is lying. He's published over 30 other pieces that went through without WH review. Why is it only this one piece, that addresses an issue that's bedeviling the WH, that is being censored?

As far as harping on the hostages, that was 25 years ago. How long are you going to hold a grudge? And besides, it was students who held the hostages, not the government, although Khomeni didn't stop them, he's long gone too. Should we punish the people of Iran for the sins of their previous rulers? It seems to me under that logic, US citizens would have a lot to answer for too. Our government is not exactly angelic. Perhaps you remember Iran-Contra which happened subsequent to that ordeal. And I might mention, the hostages weren't killed.

Look to the future Bubblehead. Stop living in the past. The world has changed a lot in 25 years and we have to deal with it in new ways.

9:38:00 AM  
Blogger Bubblehead said...

"It was students who held the hostages"... do you really believe that, Libby? Were the Algiers Accords negotiated with the "students"?

Besides, if the Arab world can live in the past, why can't we? Or are we held to a higher standard?

9:18:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Bubblehead, I'd say yes, we should hold ourselves to higher standard or else what's the point? If we're trying to become just like "them" then they have won already without a fight.

And yeah, I believe it was the students who held them initially. It wasn't supposed to last more than a few days and it grew into something bigger. I'm working today through Thurs so I don't have time to get into it but I wonder how much attention you paid to it at the time it happened. How old were you? 17 or 18? Did you care about it then?

I think the difference between our perspective stems largely from our life experience. I lived through Vietnam. I was already politically aware when they lied about the Bay of Tonkin. I lived through Watergate. I lived through Iran Contra and a few other various altercations. That historical perspective colors my view of the government and the world.

I not saying that makes me right, I'm just saying I have more experience with the world.

3:41:00 PM  
Blogger Bubblehead said...

Libby: I'm glad to see you say we should hold ourselves to a higher standard -- that's much better than the "all cultures are equal" stuff one sometimes sees from progressives.
I actually paid quite a lot of attention to the Iran Hostage crisis - I was quite politically aware as a teen.
I agree we have different perspectives on the world, and that's why I like discussing things with you. In my 21+ years in the Navy, I saw quite a bit of the world, and interacted with people (mostly military, of course) from many countries. I've come to understand that there are bad people in the world who want to do us harm, for whatever reason -- and a political philosophy of "If we're nice to them, they'll be nice to us" is naive to the extreme. (I'm not saying that's your philosoply, but it's one many progressives seem to have.)

6:21:00 PM  
Blogger Bubblehead said...

Congresswoman Slaughter is on the case; I note that she is claiming that portions were redacted, although she also says they "forbid the publication" of it -- which is it? Also, what the heck is a "National Security Council Advisory" anyway?

10:50:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Bubblehead, I also enjoy discussing the issues with you because of your different life experience and it's always great to find a conservative who can debate the issues without resorting to name calling. I think maybe we're both more moderate than either one of us thinks.

I'm still working today so I can't read the other link until later but I have no idea what an NSC advisory is.

7:35:00 AM  
Blogger Bubblehead said...

Libby -- I'm pretty sure it's an NSC Advisor, only with a typo in the letter she supposedly sent to President Bush.

It's just a personal thing, but I enjoy mocking and belittling Congresspersons who can't spell and/or proofread.

9:20:00 AM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

LOL Bubblehead. I'm more tolerant of typos, being that I all too often am guilty of them myself when I'm posting on the fly.

10:41:00 AM  

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