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June 18, 2005



I rather enjoyed Milbanks' article and even referred to the "democrats' silly rehearsal" over at Tom Carter's place today. After reading Conyers' letter, I feel like schmuck. :) I did rather enjoy it also... also.

Oh, and Ray McGovern is NOT NOT NOT anti-Semitic, which was my main point for Tom.


Also, I don't think most on the left and in the middle understand just how "eliminationist" the GOP is. I know most bloggers get it, but I'm referring to the public at large. This is a good story to store for a spell and break out the next time the GOP pulls something similar. The left could play the victims for a change. The GOP has perfected hyping its victimization. If the Left could borrow from that, with these kinds of examples, and generate a little discussion about what the effective result of eliminationism could be... well, it may be an excellent approach to drawing attention (maybe some fear and distrust) to the tactics and motives of the GOP. Just an after midnight groggy thought.

Ronald Rutherford

In the short 1/2 hour I got to see the "hearing", I heard it mentioned the Israeli connection by more than one speaker and Conyers made no rebuttal or presented no other points of view.
First, let me be clear: I consider myself to be friend and supporter of Israel and there were a number of other staunchly pro-Israel members who were in attendance at the hearing. I do not agree with, support, or condone any comments asserting Israeli control over U.S. policy, and I find any allegation that Israel is trying to dominate the world or had anything to do with the September 11 tragedy disgusting and offensive. That said, to give such emphasis to 100 seconds of a 3 hour and five minute hearing
(Source URL: http://blog.dccc.org/mt/archives/002990.html#comments)
And I wonder how he timed his 100 seconds, since it seemed to dominate much of the conversation I had listened to.
As to:
"the Republican Leadership scheduled an almost unprecedented number of 11 consecutive floor votes, making it next to impossible for most Members to participate in the first hour and one half of the hearing."
I guess the Leadership should close down voting as long as Conyers is acting as "Chairman".
And Zap, why would you feel like a Schmuck?


Without having seen the hearing, or known squat about it, I sort of got sucked into the tone of Milbanks' baseless reporting. I didn't expect a writer I am fairly familiar with to have such disregard for the truth, so I I figured the hearing was as lame as Milbanks said. So, for getting duped by the initial report, I feel dumb.

Um, on the Israel comments. Sooner or later this country is going to have to be able to have a reasonable conversation about the very powerful influence Israel has on our foreign policy without the shrill anti-Semitic accusation. It's real. When Paul Oniel (Treasury), Richard Clarke (counterterrorism for 4 presidents), Ray McGovern (CIA), Philip Zelikow (State Department), Robert Baer (CIA), and many others who are obviously not anti-Semitic, and are friends of Israel, try to talk honestly about the influence they are either discredited, silenced, or villified. I offered the following on another blog speaking to this topic, and I will copy it here:
WASHINGTON, Mar 29 (IPS) - IPS uncovered the remarks by Philip Zelikow, who is now the executive director of the body set up to investigate the terrorist attacks on the United States in September 2001 -- the 9/11 commission -- in which he suggests a prime motive for the invasion just over one year ago was to eliminate a threat to Israel, a staunch U.S. ally in the Middle East.

Zelikow's casting of the attack on Iraq as one launched to protect Israel appears at odds with the public position of President George W. Bush and his administration, which has never overtly drawn the link between its war on the regime of former president Hussein and its concern for Israel's security.

The administration has instead insisted it launched the war to liberate the Iraqi people, destroy Iraq's weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and to protect the United States.

Zelikow made his statements about ”the unstated threat” during his tenure on a highly knowledgeable and well-connected body known as the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB), which reports directly to the president.

He served on the board between 2001 and 2003.

”Why would Iraq attack America or use nuclear weapons against us? I'll tell you what I think the real threat (is) and actually has been since 1990 -- it's the threat against Israel,” Zelikow told a crowd at the University of Virginia on Sep. 10, 2002, speaking on a panel of foreign policy experts assessing the impact of 9/11 and the future of the war on the al-Qaeda terrorist organisation.

”And this is the threat that dare not speak its name, because the Europeans don't care deeply about that threat, I will tell you frankly. And the American government doesn't want to lean too hard on it rhetorically, because it is not a popular sell,” said Zelikow.

The statements are the first to surface from a source closely linked to the Bush administration acknowledging that the war, which has so far cost the lives of nearly 600 U.S. troops and thousands of Iraqis, was motivated by Washington's desire to defend the Jewish state.


To which I added:

Zelikow isn't anti-Semitic, quite the opposite as a matter of fact. He's pro-Likud, pro-Zion, pro-Iraq war, and very much part of the neoconservative intelligentsia. He ran the 9-11 Commisssion, went back to his think tank, then took a position at State as Condi's right hand. He also co-authored a book with Condi in the mid-90s.

Ray McGovern, who made the offending comments while the Democrats rehearsed their silly fantasy, isn't anti-Semitic. Suggesting an honest premise for war in Iraq was a defense of Israel among other US interests is simple honesty from both Zelikow and McGovern, both of whom are privy to more inside information than any of us.

10,000 Jews, mostly Rabbis from an anti-Zion organization, protested Iraq and made damned clear that they too believed Iraq had a pro-Zion premise.

The only thing that bothers me about this topic is our collective denial as a nation, and the disingenuous accusation that being honest about this is anti-Semitic.

For what it's worth, I'm a bit like Zelikow. I support the Israeli state, I lament the troubles between Israel and Palestine, and I'm not afraid to acknowledge that my country is most certainly acting in the interest of Israel.

This is not part of holocaust denial, white supremacist delusions, or any of that ugly anti-Semitism that flows through the paranoid notion that Jews are somehow running the world. It's all they can do to run an embattled nation, and we're there to help. They're our friends.

If that can of worms is uncomfortable, I'm sorry. It's the truth. Just go back and read the myriad opinion papers bounced around the media and the White House by neoconservatives during the Clinton years. It's long been established that the things McGovern and Zelikow honestly and openly acknowledge are premises for this current war. Many of the same people who wrote those papers for PNAC, AEI and many others are in the White House today.


anti-Semite! Jew-hater!

Ronald Rutherford

Though I am not familiar with Dana Milbank, I don't think it is fair to characterize it as "baseless reporting and to have such disregard for the truth".
Conyers in one of his longest and most important paragraphs points out that other mentions were made of the Downing Street Minutes on the floor of either the House or Senate. While this is true and Milbank only states "A search of the congressional record yesterday".
(Source URL: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/06/16/
As both were dated on the 17th both could be correct. While the facts are correct, Milbank could have taken a extra effort to look into comments by Senator Boxer (A legislator truly out of mainstream).
All my other points mentioned before are still valid with one addition that Conyers makes this statement "Milbank literally makes up another cheap shot that I "was having so much fun that [I] ignored aides' entreaties to end the session." Since C-Span did not aire the entirety of "Chairmans" meeting there was some commotion and talking before the cameras were taken off. Milbank assumed correctly or incorrectly that they were his aides.
Milbanks facts were correct, but his tone and insinuation are more suited for the editorial pages.


"Milbanks facts were correct, but his tone and insinuation are more suited for the editorial pages."

2 points:

1) I don't think I agree with the first half of that statement, and it also dodges the reality that it was poor reporting to discuss the environment in which the meeting was held, without discussing WHY it was held there.

2) The second half of your sentence is definitely true, and is to me the most important part--it's fine for editorial comment to be a part of media reporting, but not to REPLACE straight news. Since as far as Conyers alleges this is the ONLY reportage on the event from the Post the day after, it is exceedingly bad form IMO.

Ronald Rutherford

Milbanks comment on why it was held there also leads to the conclusion that it should be on editorial page.
As in:
In the Capitol basement yesterday, long-suffering House Democrats took a trip to the land of make-believe....
House Democratic leaders did not join in Conyers's session, and Senate Democrats, who have the power to hold such events in real committee rooms, have not troubled themselves.
(Source URL: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/
So in conclusion as to WHY they were there was the fact that the moonbats wanted a party. And of course that is an editorial!


Ronald, they were there because the GOP refused to let them use committee rooms.

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