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Between the Lines

October 20, 2004

New CIA report names names

about who was asleep at the switch before 9/11. But don't expect to find out which names until after Nov. 2. The CIA is withholding the report, though it seems to have no legal basis for doing so.

The [intelligence] official stressed that the report was more blunt and more specific than the earlier bipartisan reports produced by the Bush-appointed Sept. 11 commission and Congress.

"What all the other reports on 9/11 did not do is point the finger at individuals, and give the how and what of their responsibility. This report does that," said the intelligence official. "The report found very senior-level officials responsible."

By law, the only legitimate reason the CIA director has for holding back such a report is national security. Yet neither [new CIA chief and former GOP congressman Porter] Goss nor [CIA deputy chief John] McLaughlin has invoked national security as an explanation for not delivering the report to Congress.

"It surely does not involve issues of national security," said the intelligence official.

Very senior-level officials. I wonder who they could be. Well, we certainly have no need to know before we vote, do we?

Posted by tbrown at 12:35 PM


Faith-based war

Insights into George Bush sometimes come from strange places. TV preacher Pat Robertson showed up on Paula Zahn's show the other day and recounted a meeting he had with our president before the war began:

"You remember Mark Twain said, 'He looks like a contented Christian with four aces.' I mean he was just sitting there like, 'I'm on top of the world,' " Robertson said on the CNN show, "Paula Zahn Now."

"And I warned him about this war. I had deep misgivings about this war, deep misgivings. And I was trying to say, 'Mr. President, you had better prepare the American people for casualties.' "

Robertson said the president then told him, "Oh, no, we're not going to have any casualties."

**

"I mean, the Lord told me it was going to be A, a disaster, and B, messy," Robertson said. "I warned him about casualties."

I know, Pat Robertson is not the most reliable recorder of reality we have. Nonetheless, this does sound just like the kind of thing Bush would say. The scarier question is how much of it he believed.

For some detailed reporting on how Bush's "faith-based certainty" influences how he does his job, don't miss Ron Suskind's piece in The New York Times Magazine, "Without a Doubt" (free Times site registration may be required).

Posted by tbrown at 12:32 PM


The trouble with John

In a weird way, John Kerry is even more inarticulate than George Bush. Chris Suellentrop puts his finger on it at Slate:

Kerry proves incapable of reading simple declarative sentences. He inserts dependent clauses and prepositional phrases until every sentence is a watery mess. Kerry couldn't read a Dick and Jane book to schoolchildren without transforming its sentences into complex run-ons worthy of David Foster Wallace. Kerry's speechwriters routinely insert the line "We can bring back that mighty dream," near the conclusion of his speeches, presumably as an echo of Ted Kennedy's Shrum-penned "the dream will never die" speech from the 1980 Democratic convention. Kerry saps the line of its power. Here's his version from Monday's speech in Tampa: "We can bring back the mighty dream of this country, that's what's at stake in these next two weeks."
Posted by tbrown at 12:30 PM


If you love a horse race

here are some good sites.

Poll roundups:2.004k.com and Real Clear Politics.

Electoral-vote predictions (which, of course, are based on polls): Slate and Electoral Vote Predictor.

Interestingly, both electoral-vote sites now have Kerry winning, though Bush continues to have a slight edge in most national polls. I think the real wild card in this race is the large number of new voters being registered across the country. More about this next week.

Posted by tbrown at 12:29 PM


Endorsements

One of the problems with John Kerry, for some people, is that the Germans and, especially, the French might like him.

Well, how about these endorsements for our president:

Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Iran's hard-line ruling mullahs.

Let's see.

Putin is a former KGB officer who has been steadily undercutting democracy in Russia.

Iran's mullahs are on the State Department's list of state sponsors of terrorism, view the U.S. as "the great Satan" and are thought to be actively working to develop nuclear weapons.

Posted by tbrown at 12:24 PM




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