This post will be updated throughout the day.
Three explosions rocked the London tubes this morning and one tore open a packed double-decker bus during today's rush hour, sending victims fleeing after what Tony Blair called "barbaric" terrorist attacks. London Mayor Ken Livingstone, in Singapore where he supported London's successful bid to host the 2012 Olympics, said the blasts that ripped through his city were "mass murder" carried out by terrorists bent on "indiscriminate slaughter." (A group called The Secret Organisation of al-Qaeda in Europe said it carried out the series of blasts in retaliation for Britain's involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.)
There are conflicting reports over how many people were killed and injured but a US law enforcement official is being widely quoted saying that at least 40 people were killed and London hospitals have reported more than 700 wounded. Whatever the exact numbers, it's clear that this is Britain's worst-ever terrorist attack.
Click here to read The Guardian's continuing coverage and watch the The Nation online for further reporting on events.
(If you need information on someone who may have been injured in the attack, the British police have listed this emergency hotline number: 44-0870-1566-344)
Maybe we need sportscasters to ask informed, incisive questions of our pundits and politicians? It certainly was refreshing to watch Bob Costas sub for Larry King the night of Bush's Iraq speech. I happened to flick on CNN's premier talk show, expecting the usual vapid questions and platitudinous replies, and found the veteran sportscaster asking some smart and (relatively) tough questions. (Click here to read the transcript.)
Costas: ...There were no weapons of mass destruction. There has been no contact or connection between Iraq and al Qaeda or 9/11 established. Vice President Cheney says the insurgency is in its final throes. Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld says the insurgency could last a decade or more. Does the the Bush Administration now face a credibility gap?" (Both Time's Jay Carney and Newsweek's Richard Wolffe said yes.)
I sat up and started listening.
Then, Senator Kerry came on.
Costas: In the aftermath of 9/11, did Democrats, yourself included, do a poor job of playing the role of the loyal opposition? Were they too docile and too compliant, and did they fail to ask the skeptical questions and raise the objections they should have in the run-up to war?
Now I was sitting straight up and listening carefully.
Kerry mumbled, "I plead guilty. And I think a lot of people in the party would. But I think a lot of Americans would."
Senator McCain came on.
Costas: You are, no doubt, familiar with what your Senate colleague, Chuck Hagel, Republican of Nebraska, said recently. But to refresh the memories of our audience, I 'll read it. 'Things are getting worse. The White is completely disconnected from reality. It's like they're just making it up as they go along. The reality is, we are losing in Iraq.' What say you to that?"
Even the usually unflappable McCain looked a little shaken, as if he missed Larry King's softball questions.
Costas continued: "Senator McCain, I hope this question doesn't seem impertinent, but we often hear that if these terrorists are not confronted in Iraq, they'll be in New York or wherever. What is to stop them from being in New York simultaneously, if they could get here?"
I was rooting for more impertinent, informed questions.
Costas: Are we up against a situation here that maybe we should take a big-picture look at? Iraq isn't really a natural country. It was cobbled together by force after World War I. There are different regional and religious factions. It was always held together by brutal central governments. And might it not naturally go the way of the Soviet Union or Yugoslavia, where these factions just naturally break off once that central force is removed? ..Are we trying to hold together a country that has no democratic tradition and is not really, in the true sense, a country?
McCain looked like he wanted to throttle Costas.
Costas: Senator McCain, we now find that more than 60 percent of Americans recently polled think that President Bush has no clear plan for victory in Iraq, and now more than fifty percent believe it was a mistake to go there in the first place. What would you say to a mother or father whose son or daughter is being recruited--there is no draft--is being recruited to join the military under these circumstances?
Congressman Christopher Shays (R, CT) came on.
Costas: Congressman Shays, you're aware that Lindsey Graham, Republican from South Carolina, recently said: 'Public support in my state is turning.' Congressman Walter Jones of North Carolina, Republican congressman, is among those who have submitted a bipartisan resolution that would call upon the US to begin troop withdrawals from Iraq no later than 2006. This isn't the Michael Moore wing of the Democratic Party. These are solid Republicans, and they and their constituents are increasingly concerned about where we're doing here.
By this time, I was ready to launch a bye-bye Larry (King) campaign.
Last month, CNN President Jonathan Klein made Costas a regular substitute anchor for the show. (The odious Nancy "You're Guilty Before You're Innocent" Grace was also named a regular sub.)
Maybe Costas towered that night because of the barrenness of the landscape around him, but he certainly was a refreshing antidote to the info-tainment featured on prime cable talk/ news programs these days. If CNN wants to become a news outlet again, one step would be devise an exit strategy for Larry and install Costas as King.
CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Reactions to President Bush's SpeechAired June 28, 2005 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITSFINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Whenthe history of this period is written, the liberationof Afghanistan and the liberation of Iraq will beremembered as great turning points in the story offreedom.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOB COSTAS, GUEST HOST: Tonight, President Bush tellsAmericans there's difficult and dangerous work to doin Iraq, but it's worth it. Can he persuade anincreasingly skeptical public that his strategy canand will prevail?
Among those joining us, exclusively, former Democraticpresidential candidate and decorated Vietnam veteran,Senator John Kerry, and Republican Senator JohnMcCain, war hero and former White House hopefulhimself. Their views and much more, next, on LARRYKING LIVE.
Continuing with reactions now in the aftermath ofPresident Bush's address to the nation from Ft. Bragg.Bob Costas sitting in tonight for Larry King.
Senator John Kerry's time is short. We will go rightto him. He joins us from our Washington bureau. He isof course, the former Democratic presidentialcandidate, a member of the Senate Foreign RelationsCommittee. This morning, in "The New York Times," heauthored an op-ed piece called "The Speech thePresident Should Give."
Senator Kerry, did President Bush give anything likethe speech you would have liked to have seen him givetonight?
SEN. JOHN KERRY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Not quite, no. Ithink the president had an opportunity tonight toreally speak more of the truth of what has happened inIraq and where we need to go.
Let me give you an example. Really, tonight, we heardsort of transformation into the third most significantrationale for the war itself. The first, of course,was weapons of mass destruction. The second wasdemocracy. And now tonight, it's to combat the hotbed> of terrorism.>> But most Americans are aware that the hotbed ofterrorism never existed in Iraq until we got there,and it has in fact grown increasingly as we are there.So the question tonight is not the speech itself. Thequestion is really, did the president lay out a policythat is going to guarantee that our troops are as safeas they could be and that we're doing all that ispossible to be able to have a success?
I believe there is much more that I laid out today.The training, the use of our neighbors, the bordersecurity, the transformation of the Sunni politicalreconciliation. All of these things could be done morerapidly and more effectively.
COSTAS: If you had been elected president lastNovember, by this point what would President JohnKerry have done in Iraq?
KERRY: Well, I laid out -- you know, I don't want toget in -- I mean, I think that's not quite the way togo at it. What I said continually is that you have toput the training on a wartime footing.
I visited Iraq in January. I visited with the leadersof the region, and I was really dumbfounded to listento the king of Jordan or the president of Egypt or thechancellor of Germany or the president of France allsay that they were prepared to do more in terms ofassisting in the training, but they couldn'tunderstand why the administration hadn't taken them upon it.
We now have a requirement that all of that training bein country, in Iraq. That is a huge stumbling block tobe able to produce the number of troops and the levelof training necessary to protect our troops as rapidlyas possible.
We could do more with respect to the Sunni neighbors.They have a huge stake in the outcome and the successof what happens in Iraq. But many of them feel they'renot consulted with. Many of them feel they're not partof a larger process. I think there is much more thatwe can do on a more active basis. All of us want tosucceed. And I think the president did not lay out thefull measure of those things that he will embrace.
And maybe he will do it in the weeks ahead. Maybetonight he stood his ground, and we'll see atransformation. But I think a lot of people in Americaare looking for less talk about the progress and moretalk about what we're specifically going to do to beable to be successful in creating stability and bringour troops home.
COSTAS: In the aftermaths of 9/11, did Democrats,yourself included, do a poor job of playing the roleof the loyal opposition? Were they too docile and toocompliant, and did they fail to ask the skepticalquestions and raise the objections they should have inthe run-up to war?
KERRY: Many of the questions were raised, but notenough. I plead guilty. And I think a lot of people inthe party would. But I think a lot of Americans would.
The fact is that we all were unified. I think this isreally important in light of Karl Rove's comments theother day. We were all unified as Americans. I mean, Iwill never forget sitting in a leadership meeting inthe Capitol a little after 9:00, when this loudexplosion took place off our right side, and we lookedout and saw this plume of black smoke coming from thePentagon, and we almost simultaneously received wordthat the White House was evacuating and we shouldevacuate.
And I'll never forget the emotions heading out of theCapitol and turning to a friend and saying, "we're atwar." That was our emotion that was shared by allAmericans. And we banded together. All members of theSenate present voted unanimously to give the presidentwhatever he needed and to use force to retaliate. Weall agreed we should go to Afghanistan.
I think questions were raised, however, when thepresident began to raise the specter of going intoIraq. But he guaranteed us in going to the UnitedNations and going through an inspections process, thatwe would go to war as a last resort. I think everybodywould say today we did not do that, and the war wasmorphed from the war of weapons of mass destructioninto democracy, and now, as I said, into the thirdrationale.
And I think a lot of Americans are very uneasy aboutthe current way in which the president keeps talkingin the same language.
Take the training of troops tonight. He says they're167,000. He said there are a lesser number prepared tofight. Well, it's about less than 3,000. There are10,000 to 15,000 that might be able to do somethingwith us.
I think two years after the invasion, Americans have aright to expect a higher level of accomplishment, anda higher level of safety and security.
COSTAS: You know all about the fog of war.Representative Chris Shays will be on this programlater, has made several trips to Iraq, and he contendsthat the significant progress, the successes of Bushpolicy are being lost amid the day-to-day reports fromthe war zone. Is that a valid point? I mean, no onethinks that Iraq is going to be Switzerland, butSaddam is gone. There is a democracy of some kind inplace. The vast majority of the Kurds in the north anda substantial majority of the Shiites in the southwould probably say they're better off than they werejust a couple of years ago. Is Bush getting an unfairshake here?
KERRY: To some degree, I think that's true. And I'vesaid that publicly. We've made progress. There's noquestion we have made some progress.
But the measure here is not whether or not you've madesome progress. The measure is, are you doing allthat's necessary and appropriate and available inorder to provide the best policy for our troops?
You know, the president said tonight that what we cando on July 4th is fly the flag and honor the troops.Well, every American that I know of flies the flag onJuly 4th and we always honor our troops. The questionof honoring the troops, it seems to me, is to providethem with the best protection possible. And when youdon't address the borders that are sieves, when youdon't deal with this training issue, to provideadequate transformation on a rapid basis, we're notdoing all that is possible.
When you underfund the VA by a billion dollars and tryto hide it, you're not doing all that's necessary tohonor the troops.
So, I think Americans are smart. They know how tomeasure this. And, increasingly, as they're beginningto become aware of the gaps in the performance fromthe promise, people want to demand more. We owe thosetroops more. We owe the American people more.
Yes, there is progress, but the measure is, again, todo the best that we can do. And I think a lot ofpeople feel we're failing to do that.
COSTAS: We have less than a minute here, Senator. Inhearings with Defense Secretary Rumsfeld last week,your fellow Democratic senator from Massachusetts, TedKennedy, said that Iraq is becoming, quote, "seeminglyan intractable quagmire." Quagmire, that's thatVietnam-era word that you know much about. Was thatover the top, or was it close to accurate?
KERRY: No, I don't believe it is that yet today. Butit could become that if we don't make the rightchoices. And the key, what I laid out today, were aseries of steps on the border, the inclusion of theneighbors in the region, the building of a strongerregional security plan, the training of troops, theinvestment -- not of the donor countries. It's notjust donors we're looking for. It's investment fromvarious businesses other than Halliburton.
There's a very significant amount that we could dowith respect to border security, and there is more wecould do in the region in the long run to reduce thepotential of radicals joining in to the jihadistmovement.
A lot of those things have been left on the table, andI think what Americans, again, want is the effort tobest honor the troops by providing them with themaximum set of options possible.
We can do better. We owe them the leadership that'sequal to their sacrifice. And I think we have yet toprovide that.
COSTAS: Senator Kerry, thank you for your timetonight.
KERRY: Thank you.
COSTAS: As we continue on LARRY KING LIVE, stillahead, a few moments from now, Senator John McCainwill be with us. LARRY KING LIVE continues from NewYork and from Washington after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: We have more work to do. And there will be toughmoments that test America's resolve. We're fightingagainst men with blind hatred and armed with lethalweapons who are capable of any atrocity.
COSTAS: Bob Costas for Larry King on this Tuesdaynight in New York. And from Washington, Jay Carney,the deputy Washington bureau chief of "Time" magazineis joining us. Richard Wolffe, chief White Housecorrespondent from "Newsweek," and from CNN's Baghdadbureau, CNN correspondent Jennifer Eccleston.
Jennifer, let's start with you. From the vantage pointof the Iraqis and the U.S. military personnel watchingin Baghdad, did they hear tonight what most of themhad hoped to hear from President Bush?
JENNIFER ECCLESTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I thinkfrom the vantage point of the Iraqis, they will bewaking up this morning and they will frame this speechwithin the context of how it's going to improve theirday-to-day lives. And you know, despite the undeniableprogress here in Iraq one year after the handover ofsovereignty today, the grinding violence, the lack ofpersonal security, the day- to-day hardships, notenough water, not enough power, inadequate sanitation-- this limits most Iraqis' abilities to believe thattheir government and the American assertations thatlife is indeed improving, it's hard for them to see,for lack of a better phrase, the forest through thetrees, because day-to-day living is just so tough.
And as far as the American troops are concerned,indeed, they will be out listening from the variousposts around this country. They want to hear thatlevel of support. They want to hear it from theirpresident. All US forces overseas want to know thatthey are facing support, not only from theirpresident, but also from the American people. And ifthat speech tonight went some ways to do that, then,indeed, they will see that as a very positive sign --Bob.
COSTAS: Jay Carney and Richard Wolffe in our D.C.bureau, there's an element of theater in anypresidential address. So the president in this casegoes to Ft. Bragg, well aware that the American publicsupports the troops. A majority now, we are told,according to recent polls, of the American public doesnot support President Bush's policy. He's clearlytrying to blur the distinction between support for thetroops and support for his policy. Was he successfulin that regard?
JAY CARNEY, DEPUTY WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, "TIME":Well, I think, Bob, there were a lot of distinctionsblurred tonight, as has been pointed out, the, youknow, the fact that the president once againreintroduced and sort of conflated 9/11, the events of9/11 with what's happening in Iraq, and I think thatwhile that has worked for him in the past, making thewar on terror one broad event, that began on September11th, 2001 and continues to this day in Iraq, hasworked for him politically, I'm not sure it willcontinue to work for him. And then there was theblurring of distinctions on, you know, the troops, asyou say, versus what he needs to get done in Iraq andthe plummeting support for the war.
And the problem that the president faces really isthat he's trying to make a public relations pitch,showing that he understands the concerns the Americanshave, but he cannot effect with this speech what'shappening on the ground, and that's what mostAmericans have been watching on television and readingin the newspapers. And unless the situation improveson the ground, I don't think his plight, politically,will improve.
COSTAS: Richard Wolffe, your reaction?
RICHARD WOLFFE, "NEWSWEEK": Yeah, look, there's areason why he has gone after the terrorism angle onthis, because that's the one number the president hasthat has held up over all this period. When you lookat the numbers of people who say, was the war worth itor not? That number has been on the slide since April,May of last year. It really took a downward turn inSeptember, before the president got reelected.
One speech isn't going to turn that around. But yes,he's trying to blur it, he's trying to draw on his ownsupport, but the numbers really don't look good, andthey have been on a bad path for a long time.
COSTAS: Again, to both of you, with less than a minutehere, because Senator McCain is standing by, the word"quagmire" came up in the last segment, a Vietnam-eraword. We are also hearing the term "credibility gap."There were no weapons of mass destruction. There hasbeen no contact or connection between Iraq and alQaeda or 9/11 established. Vice President Cheney saysthe insurgency is in its final throes. Secretary ofDefense Rumsfeld says the insurgency could last adecade or more. Does the Bush administration now facea credibility gap?
CARNEY: I think so. I think that in fact, if you lookat these poll numbers, that's where the president hashis most serious problem, is that if he has come to apoint where the public will not believe what he saysabout Iraq anymore, then no matter what he says or nomatter what the format of his speeches are, hissituation won't improve.
WOLFFE: And on the question of the terrorists, whichis what he presented his whole speech as, you know,the American people are going to be confused, frankly,because for a long time, we were told that the peoplewho were on the other side in Iraq were thedead-enders, the Baathists, and there's a basicproblem there in terms of what the public understands,what it's been told up to this point, and what thepresident said tonight.
COSTAS: Richard, Jay, Jennifer, thanks to all three ofyou.
When we come back on LARRY KING LIVE, we'll be joinedby Senator John McCain.
COSTAS: Senator John McCain of Arizona joins us nowfrom Capitol Hill. Senator McCain, you are, no doubt,familiar with what your Senate colleague, Chuck Hagel,Republican of Nebraska, said recently. But to refreshthe memories of our audience, I'll read it. "Thingsaren't getting any better. Things are getting worse.The White House is completely disconnected fromreality. It's like they're just making it up as theygo along. The reality is, we are losing in Iraq."
What say you to that?
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Well, with respect tomy friend -- and he's a dear friend -- I completelydisagree. There are signs of progress. Yes, it'stough, and it's hard, and we've made mistakes and wepaid a heavy price for those mistakes. Unfortunately,in wars, serious mistakes are made.
But we've seen a number of signs of progress,including that of the capabilities of the Iraqimilitary, agreement with the Sunnis as framing the constitution, a decrease in suicide bombers fromIraqis and more and more coming in from the outside.By the way, that's the good news and bad news piece ofit.
And there is a legitimacy to the Iraqi governmentthat, frankly, the government of South Vietnam neverhad.
So, I think that there is progress.
We cannot afford to fail. I think the president saidthat very articulately tonight, and the benefits ofsuccess throughout the region are already being felt.
COSTAS: Are you satisfied with the message PresidentBush delivered tonight and the way in which hedelivered it?
MCCAIN: I am, and I would like to comment. I watchedJay Carney and Mr. Wolffe there earlier. The reasonwhy I think the president made a reference toterrorists is that those people that are coming in,that I just referred to, that are coming in from theoutside of Iraq through Syria, they are terrorists.They're the same guys who would be in New York if wedon't win in Iraq. And so, we are facing a certainelement of terrorism.
We're also facing an element of people who wouldwantonly take the lives of innocent people. And I dobelieve that that kind of activity, over time, cannotsustain the support of the public. And the reason whythey're focusing most of their attention on the Iraqimilitary and security forces, they know if theysucceed -- those forces succeed, the insurgents fail.
COSTAS: Senator McCain, I hope this question doesn'tseem impertinent, but we often hear that if theseterrorists are not confronted in Iraq, they'll be inNew York or wherever. What is to stop them from beingin New York simultaneously, if they could get here? Weknow that they would if they could, and they stillmight.
MCCAIN: Because I believe, Bob, that Iraq would turninto a hotbed of radical Islamist extremism andtraining, with equipping. It would be a center for> Islamic extremism, and also a failure on the part ofthe United States would set a chain of events inmotion, particularly in the Middle East, that wouldeventually reach the shores of the United States, Ibelieve.
COSTAS: Are we up against a situation here that maybewe should take a big-picture look at? Iraq isn'treally a natural country. It was cobbled together byforce after World War I. There are different regionaland religious factions. It was always held together bybrutal central governments. And might it not naturallygo the way of the Soviet Union or Yugoslavia, wherethese factions just naturally break off once thatcentral force is removed? Now, I realize that woulddestabilize -- in the view of many, would destabilizethe Middle East, but are we trying to hold together acountry that has no democratic tradition and is notreally, in the true sense, a country?
MCCAIN: I don't think so. Most polls that we see,Iraqis identify themselves as Iraqi first, and Kurdsecond, Sunni, Shiite third -- I mean, second. But I-- I -- and I believe that what this has more to dowith power within the country of Iraq rather than adesire to break it up. The Shias, as you know, havebeen the underdogs for centuries, and the Sunnis havegoverned.
Someone very smart likened this to a 1950s state ofAlabama. All of a sudden, the African-Americans beginto rule the state. This would be -- this is a hugechange. And yet, I don't see the Sunnis now saying,we're going to have an independent Sunni entity. Theywant power, and many of them are sympathetic to theinsurgents, because they believe that may be a way toregain it.
So, yes, those lines were drawn in an attempt byBritish colonels around 1917 or 1918, but I thinkthey've been a country long enough that that is notthe forces that would drive them apart. I believe whatwould drive them apart is a belief, for example, onthe Kurds' part that they had no rights in agovernment. And that's what I think would cause aproblem like you described.
COSTAS: Are you hopeful about the attempt to splitsome of the Sunnis who support the insurgency, tosplit them away from the outside terrorists who havecome across the borders, to make them feel as if theyhave a place in the mainstream, to change some of theprocedures so they're likely to have more seats inparliament, and thereby, reduce the size of theinsurgency? Is that a realistic hope?
MCCAIN: Yes, and I do believe that the Sunnis'agreement to enter into the framing of theconstitution was a significant step forward.
But I'm a little nervous about including some of theseinsurgent factions into the government and giving themamnesty. There are some pretty bad people out there.So, yes, we want to bring Sunnis in, but I would becareful about some kind of blanket amnesty for somepretty atrocious things that have happened. So I wouldbe a little nervous about it, but clearly, we have toget the majority of the Sunnis into participating inthis new, this young democracy.
COSTAS: Senator McCain, we are where we are, and mostpeople believe that if we just up and left, chaoswould ensue. But suppose, for the purposes of thisexercise, there were two buttons in front of you. Youcould only push one. If you push button number one,the best possible realistic outcome, as we speak now,ensues in Iraq. If you push button number two, wenever went there in the first place. Which buttonwould you push?
MCCAIN: Oh, by far, button number one. Look, I believewe're making progress towards a democracy in Iraq.That's already having an effect in the region. Kuwait,Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Libya has already had an effect.There was a bad guy. Weapons of mass destruction or noweapons of mass destruction, the sanctions wereeroding, and if Saddam Hussein were still in power, hewould be attempting to acquire and use weapons of massdestruction.
I think the president laid out tonight an excellentscenario of what the realities are and what we face.They needed that. Now we need to show some progress onthe ground.
COSTAS: We have a minute left here, Senator McCain. Wenow find that more than 60 percent of Americansrecently polled think that President Bush has no clearplan for victory in Iraq, and now more than 50 percentbelieve it was a mistake to go there in the firstplace. What would you say to a father or mother whoseson or daughter is being recruited -- there is nodraft -- is being recruited to join the military underthese circumstances?
MCCAIN: First of all, I think the president laid itout pretty well tonight. And I think he did a good jobin his praise of the men and women of the military,and appeal to a cause greater than our self-interest.
If we can bring about a functioning democracy in Iraq,it will be a legacy for generations in the MiddleEast. We will have freed innocent people of the yokeof a cruel and despotic dictator. We will have movedthe effort of democracy and freedom throughout theMiddle East. And, you know, the noblest tradition ofthe United States of America is fighting and sometimessacrificing in defense of someone else's freedom.
COSTAS: We don't have to ask about your own service.So, I take it in this hypothetical, if you had a childwho was liable to be sent to Iraq, you would send himor her there not just proudly, but believe that he orshe was putting his or her life on the line for aworthy and noble cause?
MCCAIN: I cannot tell you the pride I would feel ifone of my children served in that fashion. But I alsocan't tell you that I wouldn't be nervous and worriedas any other parent is.
COSTAS: Senator McCain, as always, a pleasure to speakwith you.
MCCAIN: Thank you.
COSTAS: Thank you for being with us.
MCCAIN: Thank you.
COSTAS: When we come back, we'll be joined by SenatorsJohn Warner and Evan Bayh. Stay with us on LARRY KINGLIVE. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: We fight today because terrorists want to attackour country and kill our citizens, and Iraq is wherethey are making their stand. So, we'll fight themthere. We'll fight them across the world. And we willstay in the fight until the fight is won.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSTAS: Senator John Warner is the chairman of theSenate Armed Services Committee. Senator Evan Bayh ofIndiana is a member of that committee. Senator Bye,you asked President Bush, earlier this week, topresent and unvarnished version of the situation inIraq.
Did he do that tonight?
SEN. EVAN BAYH (D), INDIANA: Well, Bob, he did a goodjob of saying things that the American people alreadyagree on; all of us Democrats and Republicans. We allwant to be successful in Iraq. We all support thetroops. We all want to be successful in the War onTerror. What the president didn't do as well at, Bob,was to lay out a clear plan with benchmarks forprogress that will end in success and I think that'swhat the American people were looking for and that'sessential that we do that to maintain the moral thatwill be necessary to stay in the course here. And in aword, Bob, we need accountability for progress and Ithink he could've done much better about that tonight.
COSTAS: Senator Bayh, at this point, what defines,realistically, success in Iraq?
BAYH: A country that does not threaten its neighbors,a country that does not harbor terrorists that couldstrike us or the rest of the civilized world, and acountry that is Democratic and more representative,certainly, than Iraq has been in the past. I don'tthink we can expect perfection, Bob, but a combinationof those three things, I think, we would constitute assuccess and would certainly enable to us to come homewith pride.
COSTAS: Senator Warner, are you more satisfied, thanyou were an hour or so ago about the way PresidentBush now stands with his the American public? Did hedo a good job of making his case tonight?
SEN. JOHN WARNER (R), VIRGINIA: Well, let the Americanpublic answer that. I'll give you my own thoughts andthey are very clearly that I spoke -- as the presidentspoke with a great confidence, a strong resolve tostay the course and I disagree with my good friendover here. There's more than enough benchmarks forprogress.
Show me one area in which the terrorists have achievedtheir goals. They tried to stop and disrupt theelections; they were held on time. They have tried, inmany ways, to destroy the police force and each timethey inflict terrible harm on police, killing them andso forth, twice the numbers show up the next day tovolunteer to take their places. You can see many, manyexamples of a slow, but steady progress and at thesame time, we're not unmindful for a minute of thelosses of our own men and women in uniform and thosethat are injured.
It's very is at the heart of the president, but I haveto say that if we stay the course and if we take anattitude back home in everything we say and do,whether we're Democrats or Republican, Evan, and nottalk about quagmires and not talk about how maybe theconservatives are more patriotic than the liberals andbe more respectful and send a strong bipartisanmessage that we're behind the men and women of ourarmed forces and the coalition forces and for theIraqi people to move ahead and make steady progresswith their new government and not, hopefully, let thatAugust 15th deadline for the constitution slip.
Those are the types of benchmarks that we look to, tosignal that progress is being made and we don't wantto set any deadlines and the American people spokestrongly today in the polls. They don't want to cutand run, and we're not going to do it.
COSTAS: But in those same polls, more than 60 percentsaid that they felt President Bush had no clear planfor victory in Iraq and now, more than 50 percent sayit was a mistake to go there in the first place. I saythis respectfully. Virtually all Americans stronglysupport the troops. All Americans were horrified by9/11. All Americans know that we face evil andruthless enemies. They're united in their option tothe likes of Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda. What theydiffer on, in good conscience; loyal, patrioticAmericans differ about Bush policy.
WARNER: All right. First, you gave two examples, thatthey feel we shouldn't have gone there, but the factsare, as you said earlier in the program, we're wherewe are and we have paid a heavy price in men andwomen, lost lives and those that have been injured andthe families who have suffered tremendously.
Secondly, the president stepped up to the platetonight and in a very convincing way, I believe, saidto the American people: Look, if we don't stop theterrorists where they are in these remote places ofthe world, be it Afghanistan or Iraq, they're likelyto come here in greater numbers.
You pointed out earlier: Well, what's to stop themfrom coming now? Well, I think we've done a great dealin terms of our homeland defense and we've put upchecks and balances and deterrents and we thank thedear Lord, it seems to be working.
But if we do not contain terrorism abroad and send astrong signal that America, together with itscoalition partners, are going to stay the course anddefeat their attempts to bring more harm tocivilization, whether it's in Afghanistan or Iraq orwherever it is, they will most certainly come back atus.
COSTAS: Senator Warner, Senator Bayh, stay with us.
We're going to take a break and when we return, we'llbe joined by Congressman Chris Shays of Connecticutand Congresswoman Jane Harman of California.
So, there will be four on our panel from Capitol Hill,when we continue on LARRY KING LIVE after thesemessages.
COSTAS: Bob Costas sitting in tonight for Larry King.Congresswoman Jane Harman of California sent herregrets a moment ago. There was a congressional votegoing on. If she can cast her vote and get back to ourstudios in time, she'll join us before the end of thehour, but we are joined now by Connecticut RepublicanCongressman Christopher Shays. He is the chairman ofthe Government Reform Subcommittee on NationalSecurity, Emerging Threats and InternationalRelations. He's made eight trips to Iraq in the past25 months, the most recent being in late May, and it'syour contention, Congressman Shays, that the reportsof daily carnage, which are significant and newsworthyand awful, but nonetheless that they have skewedperspective on Iraq and American policy in Iraq. Isthat a fair summary of your view?
REP. CHRISTOPHER SHAYS (R), CONNECTICUT: I mean,that's part of the issue. The other part is wetransferred power in June of last year. The presidentwas determined to do it, and all of his critics saidhe shouldn't do it. And then when that succeeded, theywent to another criticism, that we shouldn't have theelections when we did. We had the elections, I wasthere on election day. I saw Iraqi women force theirmen to come vote with them, because they were going tovote. Now we're seeing a constitutional convectiontake place. We're seeing the Sunnis, we are seeing theKurds reach out -- excuse me, we are seeing the Shiasand the Kurds reach out to the Sunnis.
The Sunnis have a problem, though. They had 100percent of the power. They say, OK, we'll compromise,we only want 50 percent. But they're only 20 percentof the population. So that's an issue.
The president made it very clear -- we're working onit in two levels. We are training their security,their police, their border patrol, their army. We'retraining them. They are able to take our places indifferent ways, and they're getting the equipment nowthat they need. And there's far more than SenatorKerry said that are capable. We're doing that.
At the same time, we're negotiating with the Sunnis tosay, back off.
The only people who need an exit plan, in my judgment,are the Syrians and the Saudi Arabians and theIranians. They're the ones that need to find a way toexit out of the mess they're getting themselves into.
COSTAS: Congressman Shays, you're aware that LindseyGraham, Republican from South Carolina, recently said:"Public support in my state is turning." CongressmanWalker Jones of North Carolina, Republicancongressman, is among those who have submitted abipartisan resolution that would call upon the U.S. tobegin troop withdrawals from Iraq no later than 2006.This isn't the Michael Moore wing of the DemocraticParty. These are solid Republicans, and they and theirconstituents are increasingly concerned about wherewe're going here.
SHAYS: Well, they're good people. And you know what?Abraham Lincoln would have lost the election if it wasa few weeks or months before the actual election. So,public opinion is obviously huge. And the presidentneeds to bring that public opinion back.
But, you know, what the Iraqis -- the Iraqis aren'tasking us to leave. In fact, when I say what's yourbiggest fear, it's not the Sunnis, it's not thefighting. They say that you will leave us. That'stheir biggest fear, that we will leave them.
COSTAS: Congressman Shays, I put this to you, becauseit is best put, I think, to a member of Congress.President Bush is obviously in his second term. Asituation different from that of most vice presidents,Dick Cheney is not viewed as a presidential hopeful.He has made that clear.
So neither of them will stand for reelection, butRepublican members of Congress will, and with publicsupport for American policy dwindling, this has to bea concern and there has to be some pressure beingbrought to bear behind the scenes by loyal Republicansto President Bush and Vice President Cheney,expressing concern that this is going to doom them orat least effect them in some way in upcomingelections.
SHAYS: Well, I think that's true. I think we all feelimpacted by this war. And some may lose because oftheir position, but I think they're taking the rightposition. And I think the president needs to get offSocial Security a bit, and recognize that when youhave men overseas risking their lives, that itdeserves more of his attention and dialogue andinteraction with the American people.
COSTAS: Senator Bayh, like every other member of thepanel, you voted in favor of the resolution in 2002...
SHAYS: I think I'm going to get on my way.
COSTAS: Congressman Shays has just told us -- I don'tknow if the audience could hear us -- that he isheading for the same congressional vote CongresswomanHarman is presently a part of, and we thank him fortaking a few moments to be with us.
So now it is Senator Bayh and Senator Warner whoremain with us.
Senator Bayh, back in 2002, you voted for theresolution that would empower the president, if he sochose, to use force in Iraq. Do you now regret votingin favor?
BAYH: I think we can still be successful in Iraq, Bob.And I think we need to do everything humanly possibleto achieve that goal. If we are successful, I thinkhistory will record that it's the right thing to do.But in order to get there, we need a game plan forsuccess. My colleague, John Warner, said stay thecourse. And I understand that, but we need sign postsalong the course to tell us that we are, in fact,making progress. The president, for example, tonight,Bob, mentioned 160,000 troops. How many should we havethis time next year? There are about 450 attacks everyweek in Iraq. How many should there be in six monthsor a year, so that we can tell whether we're makingprogress? And, Bob, most importantly of all, thatthere is accountability for success in making thatprogress.
I think there has been much too little of that. And ifwe have that, then we can be successful, and this willbe a contribution to peace and stability.
COSTAS: Senator Bayh, in your view, what is the singlebiggest mistake or miscalculation that theadministration has made?
BAYH: When I was with my friend, Senator Warner, inIraq in December, our top intelligence official saidat that time to us that things would be 100 percentbetter, 100 percent better, Bob, in Iraq today if wehad only not sent the Iraqi army home. These werehundreds of thousands of young, heavily armed men,unemployed. And we sent them home. We needed to removethe generals, the human rights violators, but theprivates, the sergeants, the corporals, they shouldhave been kept in place. We should have said to them-- most of them were Sunnis -- we should have said tothem, this is your country, too. We need you toprovide stability and law and order for your country,even as we're helping you reconstitute a democraticgovernment.
That was a tragic mistake.
COSTAS: Senator Warner, do you buy that?
WARNER: Well, factually, and I followed that conflictdaily, many of the Iraqi troops didn't stand andfight. They dropped their weapons, and put on theirrobes and fled to the desert themselves, in fear ofthe shock and awe of the American forces.
Now, the senator is correct that perhaps some of theleaders we could have recruited and put back in. Notthose that were the hard- line Saddam Hussein, but theprofessional army. And, undoubtedly, history willreflect that perhaps we didn't think through ascarefully as we should the aftermath of the fall ofBaghdad. Because much remained, and we've learned alesson.
But, you know, here we are. And I want to refocus backhere at home, that we need a stronger bipartisan voiceon both sides of the aisle, Republicans and Democrats,in support of our troops, and I think backing ourpresident, who spoke out very courageously tonight. Hedidn't pull any punches. He didn't give a rosypicture. He said it's going to be a long, hard, toughslog, but we're going to stay the course, and we willachieve the goal of enabling the Iraqi people to takeover their nation, have the security forces tomaintain what they need to do to preserve theirsovereignty, and to join the democratic nations in theworld in some form. And I think Americans will lookback on this chapter as one of the most important incontemporary American history.
COSTAS: We'll continue with Senators John Warner fromVirginia and Evan Bayh from Indiana right after thisbreak. You're watching LARRY KING LIVE.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: The only way our enemies can succeed is if weforget the lessons of September the 11th, if weabandon the Iraqi people to men like Zarqawi, and ifwe yield the future of the Middle East to men like binLaden.
For the sake of our nation's security, this will nothappen on my watch.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSTAS: Back on LARRY KING LIVE, Bob Costas sittingin. A few more moments here with Senators John Warnerfrom Virginia and Evan Bayh from Indiana.
As you both know, army recruitment is down, belowprojected levels. I put this question to each of you.Is there any circumstance under which you could see areturn to the draft? Senator Bayh?
BAYH: No, in a word, Bob. It would take somethingcompletely unexpected. I think a crisis in North Koreaor Iran, for example.
I am worried, however, that we're not doing enough toparticularly shore up the guard and the reserveforces, which are being strained in the maximum.That's why some of us have worked on trying toalleviate the financial hardships that those familiesare facing, so that these service men and women aren'tput in the unconscionable position of having to choosebetween doing right by their families and doing rightby our country. We need to enable them to do both, andwe should do more along those lines.
COSTAS: Senator Warner?
WARNER: I was privileged to be secretary of the Navywhen the decision was made to abandon the draft. Andthat was in the latter stages of the Vietnam conflict,and it was the right decision. It was a toughdecision. And out of that decision grew the finestarmed forces in the history of mankind in manyrespects. A magnificent, all-volunteer force. Everyone of those individuals, brave men and women, whoproudly wear that uniform, raised their hands andsaid, "I volunteer to defend my nation."
But let me just point out, I am concerned. And I'm notgoing to try and gloss over it. I am greatly concernedabout the recruiting, and, as Evan said, the impact onthe guard and the reserve. And it is a function of theArmed Services Committee, on which both of us proudlyserve, to remedy that problem, to work with theDepartment of Defense, and turn that curve around.
COSTAS: Senator Warner, Senator Bayh, our thanks toyou both. When we return in the final segment of thisedition of LARRY KING LIVE, we'll be joined by themothers of two soldiers, each of whom lost his life inIraq. One still supports Bush administration policy.The other was opposed from the outset. They'llarticulate their positions when we come back.
COSTAS: We've just received a CNN-"USA Today" flashpoll of 323 adult Americans, all of whom watchedPresident Bush's speech tonight. This is significant,and the pollsters have asked us to make note of it.The audience was 50 percent Republican, 23 percentDemocratic, 27 percent independent. And the reactionof those 323 adult Americans, very positive reactionto the president's speech tonight -- 46 percent.Somewhat positive, 28 percent. Negative reaction, 24percent. A flash poll from CNN and "USA Today."
We're joined now by Cindy Sheehan, who is theco-founder of Gold Star Families for Peace. Her24-year-old son, Army Specialist Casey Sheehan, waskilled in action in Baghdad on April 4th, 2004. He hadbeen deployed in Iraq for only two weeks.
Glenda Kiser's son, Chuck Kiser, 37-year-old staffsergeant, was killed in Iraq a year ago last week, onJune 24th, 2004. She says her son believed he wasbringing freedom to the Iraqis, that he diedprotecting his comrades and doing his duty.
So, I take it, Ms. Kiser, that you are still insupport of American involvement in Iraq?
GLENDA KISER, ARMY SON KILLED IN IRAQ: Verydefinitely. I do support them. I support our presidentand what he's doing.
COSTAS: Mrs. Kiser, President Bush has met with thefamilies of some of those who have been killed inAfghanistan and Iraq. Have you had an opportunity tospeak with the president?
KISER: Yes, I did.
COSTAS: And how did that exchange go?
KISER: I met with him personally.
COSTAS: How did that exchange go?
KISER: It was very good. I couldn't have asked for amore sincere person than talking to our presidentabout losing our son.
COSTAS: Cindy Sheehan, you are the co-founder of GoldStar Families for Peace. You say you hold PresidentBush responsible for your son's death, and you saythat your son opposed the war, although he went anddid his duty, and you opposed the war before hisdeath? Not -- you didn't change your point of viewafter your tragic loss?
CINDY SHEEHAN, SON KILLED IN IRAQ; CO-FOUNDER, GOLDSTAR FAMILIES FOR PEACE: Correct. It was a war basedon deceptions. They told us Saddam had weapons of massdestruction. He didn't have any weapons of massdestruction. He said that -- they said that there wasa link between September 11th and Saddam. There was nolink. And something that people have been mentioningover and over again here tonight, is if we don't fightthem over here, we're going to fight them over here.Why are we making the innocent Iraqi people pay forour battles? We are bringing terrorism to theircountry, and their country is being destroyed?Innocent Iraqi people are being killed. Our ownsoldiers are being killed. And why is that OK to fightour battles on their soil?
This invasion never should have happened. It was amistake from the beginning, and if it was a mistake tobegin with, then it should end as soon as possible. Weshould allow the Iraqi people to rebuild their owncountry, and rebuild their democracy, and buildwhatever government that they want to have, becauseit's their country, and -- and we shouldn't befighting our battles on other people's soil, and weshould bring our troops home.
And that's the way we can support our troops. We alllove our troops. They are doing the best they can. Myson was doing the best he can. And the way we cansupport them now and to honor my son's sacrifice is tobring our troops home.
COSTAS: I apologize that our time is short. GlendaKiser, having heard what Cindy Sheehan just said, youare united in your respective losses. What would yousay in response to what you just heard?
KISER: I totally disagree with her, because my son wasin the military police. He totally believed in what hewas doing. And he saved many lives, and he was so veryproud of what he -- he was doing. And I feel sorrythat she does not -- we shouldn't be fighting overhere. My son felt like he was over there fighting forthe Iraqi freedom, and also for our freedom over herein the States.
COSTAS: Ms. Sheehan, we have to leave it...
KISER: And he totally believed in that.
COSTAS: We have to leave it at that. Cindy Sheehan,Glenda Kiser, we thank you both for being with us, andof course extend our condolences for your loss.
SHEEHAN: Thank you.
COSTAS: That brings us to the end of this edition ofLARRY KING LIVE. Standing by, as always, Aaron Brown,and just guessing here, I believe his program shouldcontain significant speculation and reaction aboutwhat transpired tonight at Ft. Bragg. Am I right inthat assumption, Mr. Brown?
AARON BROWN, HOST, "NEWSNIGHT": Good to see you.
TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORMLOCATED AT www.fdch.com
Is it Karl Rove?
This past weekend, a pundit and a journalist each reported that Rove, Bush's uber-strategist (and now, officially, the deputy White House chief of staff), was a source for Time magazine's Matt Cooper, who has resisted cooperating with a court order to reveal his sources to Patrick Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor investigating the Bush administration leak that revealed undercover CIA officer Valerie Plame. (Plame, a.k.a Valerie Wilson, is the wife of former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, a Bush administration critic). Last week, after the Supreme Court refused to consider an appeal from Cooper and New York Times reporter Judith Miller (who also was subpoenaed by Fitzgerald for her sources), Time magazine decided to cooperate with Fitzgerald and turn over Cooper's notes and emails. (Cooper said he disagreed with--but understood--his employer's decision; Miller and the Times vowed to continue resisting.) Appearing on The McLaughlin Group--which was taped on Friday--commentator Lawrence O'Donnell said that the documents handed over byTime to Fitzgerald would reveal that Rove had been Cooper's source. The next day, Michael Isikoff of Newsweek posted a piece that reported,
The e- mails surrendered by Time Inc., which are largely between Cooper and his editors, show that one of Cooper's sources was White House deputy chief of staff Karl Rove, according to two lawyers who asked not to be identified because they are representing witnesses sympathetic to the White House. Cooper and a Time spokeswoman declined to comment. But in an interview with NEWSWEEK, Rove's lawyer, Robert Luskin, confirmed that Rove had been interviewed by Cooper for the article.
O'Donnell's comment and Isikoff's report set off a wave of reaction. I received numerous emails proclaiming "Rove is it, he's the [deleted] who revealed Plame's identity." But a careful reading of the available facts leads to this unsatisfying conclusion: not so fast.
The issue at hand is the identity of who told conservative columnist Robert Novak that Plame was an undercover CIA official working on counterproliferation (that is, anti-WMD) matters. On July 14, 2003, Novak published a piece that was essentially a conveyor belt for White House criticism of Joseph Wilson. A week earlier, Wilson had written a much-noticed op-ed piece in The New York Times that argued that George W. Bush had misled the nation in his January 2003 State of the Union speech by claiming that Iraq had been shopping in Africa for uranium to be used in a nuclear weapons program. In his article, Wilson revealed for the first time that he had been dispatched to Niger in February 2002 to investigate rumors of such Iraqi activity and had reported back that it was highly unlikely that Iraq was procuring weapons-related uranium there. Wilson's article--which followed his previous criticism of the administration for launching the war in Iraq--placed him in the line of fire. Republican and conservative allies of the White House blasted away. In the course of this attack, Novak wrote the piece that outed Wilson's wife and suggested that Wilson's trip to Niger had been a nepotistic junket of some sort.
Novak seemed to attribute his disclosure about Plame (which destroyed her career and perhaps threatened anti-WMD operations) to two unnamed "senior administration officials." (I use the word "seemed" because the attribution was technically indirect, though it appears clear these were Novak's sources.) Two days after Novak's column was published, I became the first journalist to write that these two Bush administration sources might have violated the Intelligence Identities Protection act of 1982, which makes it illegal for a government official (not a reporter) to reveal the identity of an undercover intelligence official. (It would not be until September 2003 that the CIA would ask the Justice Department to investigate this leak and an official inquiry would begin. ) Then on July 17, 2003, Time posted a piece by Matthew Cooper, Massimo Calabresi and John Dickerson headlined "A War on Wilson?" The article noted,
And some government officials have noted to TIME in interviews, (as well as to syndicated columnist Robert Novak) that Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, is a CIA official who monitors the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. These officials have suggested that she was involved in her husband's being dispatched [to] Niger to investigate reports that Saddam Hussein's government had sought to purchase large quantities of uranium ore, sometimes referred to as yellow cake, which is used to build nuclear devices.
This passage raises several obvious questions. Who told Time about Plame? Were these "government officials" the same as Novak's "two senior administration officials"? And when did these government officials tell Time about Plame? Presumably it was before Novak's column appeared, though these two sentences don't say that outright.
Which brings us to Rove.
His name has emerged in this scandal before. In the summer of 2003, Joseph Wilson appeared at a public event in Seattle and was asked about the investigation of the Plame leak. Wilson replied, "Wouldn't it be fun to see Karl Rove frog-marched out of the White House in handcuffs?" Wilson subsequently conceded that he had no basis for accusing Rove of leaking his wife's CIA identity. But to explain his wish to see Rove in prison, he pointed to a news report that maintained that Rove had told Hardball's Chris Matthews after the leak that Wilson's wife was "fair game." On October 10, 2003, White House press secretary Scott McClellan was asked if Rove and two other White House aides had ever discussed Valerie Plame with reporters. McClellan said he had spoken to Rove and the others and that they had "assured me they were not involved in this."
Don't forget about DAVID CORN's BLOG at www.davidcorn.com. Read recent postings on the Fourth of July, McCain's disingenuous targetting, and Limbaugh's gal pal.
So does the recent revelation place Rove in jeopardy?
Luskin, Rove's lawyer, told Isikoff that Rove spoke to Cooper three or four days before the Novak column appeared but that Rove "never knowingly disclosed classified information" and that "he did not tell any reporter that Valerie Plame worked for the CIA." He also noted that Rove had appeared before Fitzgerald's grand jury and had signed a waiver that would permit reporters to set aside any confidentiality agreement they had with him and testify about what Rove had told them.
If Luskin is telling the truth, Rove has nothing to fear. But defense lawyers have been known to spin the facts. The contents of Cooper's emails and notes might support or challenge Luskin's account. They might be inconclusive. (You should see my notes sometimes.) That Rove, a top White House aide, spoke to Cooper, who was covering the White House for a major newsmagazine, during this white-hot episode would not be unusual. And the piece Cooper co-wrote covers far more ground than Plame's post at the CIA (which accounted for only two sentences). It is certainly conceivable that Rove was tossing other anti-Wilson information at Cooper (and others) at this point. Lewis (Scooter) Libby, Dick Cheney's chief of staff, also talked to Time for this article, and he was quoted by name saying that Cheney had been interested in the Niger allegation but didn't know about Wilson's trip to Niger. (After Libby gave permission to Cooper to tell Fitzgerald about their conversations, Cooper did so.)
Rove talking to Cooper days before his piece--and Novak's--was written is an intriguing lead for Fitzgerald. But this does not solve the mystery. Before anyone can expect to see Rove frog-marching, Fitzgerald will have to determine what was said in these conversations. (Perhaps Fitzgerald will continue to pursue Cooper on this point.) [UPDATE: On Tueday, Fitzgerald did just that. He demanded that Cooper testify before his grand jury despite Time's decision to surrender Cooper's emails and notes to Fitzgerald.]
But all the hubbub stirred by the disclosure that Rove was a source for Cooper raises other interesting questions.
* Both the Novak column and the Time piece refer to a plural number of sources for the Plame information. Novak cited "two"; Time referred to "officials." Apparently Rove--or whoever--did not act alone. Shouldn't Fitzgerald be seeking more than one name from Time, Cooper, and the coauthors? Are there other names in the material turned over by Time? Or must Fitzgerald continue his pursuit of Time?
* The Time magazine article, as I've noted, had three co-authors. Why no subpoenas for Cooper's co-writers? Does this suggest that Fitzgerald chased after Cooper because he had information in addition to the article--such as emails, phone logs, etc.--from suspects?
* Rove's lawyer stated that Rove did not "knowingly" disclose classified information. Does this mean he "unknowingly" revealed such information? The distinction is important because the Intelligence Identities Protection Act essentially says that for a crime to have been committed the offender must have realized that he or she was disclosing top-secret information. (Otherwise someone could be prosecuted for making an honest mistake.) True, Rove's mouthpiece also said that Rove "did not tell any reporter that Valerie Plame worked for the CIA." But his use of the word "knowingly" can be read by those wishing to see Rove frog-marching as the start of a criminal defense strategy.
It is not too difficult to envision such a defense being concocted should any White House official come to be officially accused. The law only covers government officials with "authorized access to classified information" and who "intentionally" disclose information revealing the identity of "a covert agent...that the United States is taking affirmative measures to conceal." Consider this scenario. Rove--let's just use him as an example--hears someone at a meeting say, "Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, does counterproliferation work at the CIA and we hear she was involved in sending him to Niger." Then he tells this information to Novak, not realizing that Plame is officially undercover (after all, not every CIA officials work undercover). He could then argue that he did not break the law. (In October 2003, I wrote a piece that reported that a CIA colleague of Plame was working at the National Security Council at the time of the Plame leak. This person might have told White House aides about Plame's connection to Wilson's Niger trip. I suggested that Fitzgerald ought to make sure to interview this possible witness. I did not name the person, who was still working undercover. Since then, I have seen no reference to this person in any news accounts.)
Fitzgerald has a difficult mission. He has to determine (a) who in the administration spoke to Novak and Time--and perhaps other media outfits, like The New York Times--about Wilson, (b) what precisely was said in these conversations, and (c) whether the get-Wilson leakers knew they were slipping classified information to the journalists.
The news about Rove might be of use to Fitzgerald, though I suspect he already knew about Rove and Cooper. And, of course, unless the notes say something like, K.R.: JW's wife--Valerie Plame--works undercover at CIA and this is TOP SECRET, the material turned over by Time may not make the case. Optimistic Bush-bashers can hope that Fitzgerald is also investigating perjury or obstruction of justice violations--which would probably be easier to prove. If White House Aide X testified before the grand jury that s/he did not speak to Reporter Y and notes or emails show otherwise, Fitzgerald could have an easy indictment.
But this is all speculation. And that is mostly what Plame-leak-watchers have had to work with from the start. Fitzgerald's investigation has been remarkably low on leaks. But the recent Rove revelations--whether they aid Fitzgerald or not--have served a valuable purpose. They have focused attention on the original sin: the leak. Ever since Fitzgerald started to go after reporters other than Novak (who apparently has cooperated in some fashion with Fitzgerald for he was not subpoenaed by the prosecutor), this case has been discussed primarily as a media-and-the-law matter. Can reporters shield their sources? What will happen to journalism if Fitzgerald forces Time and The New York Times to give up their sources or if Cooper or Miller have to go to jail to protect these sources?
Those are indeed damn important questions. But the news about Rove has shifted the discussion back to the leak itself and the question, whodunit? It's been two years since the leak occurred. In that time, Bush has expressed little outrage about this despicable act. His White House took no steps of its own to determine who leaked the Plame information. At one point, Bush practically joked that finding the leaker would be rather hard. Even if the leak, for reasons I noted above, does not meet the threshold for a prosecution, it still was a thuggish act and a firing offense. Does Bush want on his staff people who out CIA officials (who are working to protect the nation from the WMD threat) in order to score political points? If Fitzgerald, at the end of the day, says he does not have enough evidence to indict anyone, will Bush take actions of his own to find and boot the leakers? He has given no indication he feels so compelled. On Capitol Hill, the House and Senate intelligence committees, controlled by Republicans, never mounted investigations of their own. And, by the way, Fitzgerald, should he fail to bring indictments, has no obligation at the end of his inquiry to produce a public report that explains what he did and did not uncover.
Rove may be in trouble. Or this could be a false alert. But this did-Rove-do-it bubble is a useful reminder. Two years ago, senior Bush administration officials revealed classified information, undid the career of a national security official, and endangered ongoing anti-WMD programs in order to pursue a political vendetta against a critic, and to date there has been no accountability.
IT REMAINS RELEVANT, ALAS. SO DON'T FORGET ABOUT DAVID CORN'S BOOK, The Lies of George W. Bush: Mastering the Politics of Deception (Crown Publishers). A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER! An UPDATED and EXPANDED EDITION is AVAILABLE in PAPERBACK. The Washington Post says, "This is a fierce polemic, but it is based on an immense amount of research.... [I]t does present a serious case for the president's partisans to answer.... Readers can hardly avoid drawing...troubling conclusions from Corn's painstaking indictment." The Los Angeles Times says, "David Corn's The Lies of George W. Bush is as hard-hitting an attack as has been leveled against the current president. He compares what Bush said with the known facts of a given situation and ends up making a persuasive case." The Library Journal says, "Corn chronicles to devastating effect the lies, falsehoods, and misrepresentations.... Corn has painstakingly unearthed a bill of particulars against the president that is as damaging as it is thorough." And GEORGE W. BUSH SAYS, "I'd like to tell you I've read [ The Lies of George W. Bush], but that'd be a lie."
For more information and a sample, go to www.davidcorn.com. And see his WEBLOG there.
Organized labor is opposed to the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA).
Progressive farm groups are opposed to CAFTA.
Environmental groups are opposed to CAFTA.
Civil rights groups are opposed to CAFTA.
Human rights groups are opposed to CAFTA.
Virtually all of the organizations that are associated with what is loosely defined as the Democratic coalition are opposed to the trade deal that Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin says "will hurt American workers, hurt the workers of Central America and create instability in Central America that will force more immigration into the United States."
So, of course, Senate Democrats must have been united in opposition to the Bush administration's proposal to expand on the failed model of the North American Free Trade Agreement -- which has wrecked havoc with the economies of the U.S., Mexico and Canada -- to create a free trade zone that extends from the Panama Canal to the Arctic Circle. Right?
Just before the July 4 Congressional break, when the Senate voted on CAFTA, a dozen Republicans abandoned the administration to vote "no." That meant that, if Democrats had been united in their opposition, the trade deal would have been easily defeated and the president's plan to make it easier for multinational corporations to exploit workers, communities and the environment throughout the hemisphere would have been dealt a fatal blow.
Instead, ten Democrats -- New Mexico's Jeff Bingaman, Washington's Maria Cantwell, Delaware's Tom Carper, California's Dianne Feinstein, Arkansas's Blanche Lincoln, Washington's Patty Murray, Florida's Bill Nelson, Nebraska's Ben Nelson, Arkansas's Mark Pryor and, Oregon's Ron Wyden, as well as Vermont Independent Jim Jeffords, who caucuses with the Democrats, voted for the president's proposal.
As a result, CAFTA won by a 55-45 margin.
Make no mistake, it was a failure of focus on the part of Democrats that gave Bush's trade policies Senate approval.
Fortunately, the fight is not done. Opposition to CAFTA is more widespread in the House of Representatives, which still must vote on the measure. More House Republicans have broken with the president on the issue and House Democrats appear to be more united in their opposition than ever before.
As U.S. Senator Russ Feingold, D-Wisconsin, a steadfast foe of corporate-sponsored free trade deals notes, opposition to CAFTA has grown as members of both chambers "who (once) blindly accepted these agreements are now beginning to read the fine print."
Feingold's right. The trend is against CAFTA.
The sad thing is that, because 10 Democrats and Jeffords are still blindly accepting the flawed arguments of the Bush administration -- just as they did the flawed arguments of the Clinton administration before it – a trade pact that could do severe harm to workers, farmers and the environment in the U.S. and abroad cleared the Senate. Had those Bush Democrats bothered to read the fine print -- and to make a break with the corporate funders of so many of their campaigns -- the CAFTA fight would already be done.
This July 4th, a diverse coalition of groups including the Center for Constitutional Rights, Code Pink, The Culture Project, Not In Our Name, United For Peace and Justice, and WEDO (Women's Environment & Development Organization) are asking people across the United States to join the call to shut down the Guantánamo prison camp and demand an immediate independent investigation into the widespread allegations of abuse taking place there. Click here to check out CCR's Guantánamo Action Center, where you can sign petitions, contact your elected reps, download fliers and stickers and find other ways to get involved in the growing campaign to shut down Gitmo.
Sandra Day O'Connor's resignation has launched an epic struggle over the direction of the Supreme Court. Potentially at stake are the future of legal abortions, affirmative action for minority groups, government aid to religious schools and other issues that have long divided US society. Justice O'Connor was often the crucial swing vote on a court where many of the biggest rulings have come on 5-4 decisions, as public interest groups from both left and right have been busy pointing out.
The Alliance for Justice and the People for the American Way are both working overtime to rally opposition to what is widely expected to be a divisive, far-right appointment by the President. Click here to find out what you can do to help.
On this July 4th, when it comes to challenges facing America, the Bush Administration demonstrates that the conservative agenda is, to borrow a phrase, part of the problem, not the solution. But progressives need to seize the opening created by the reckless, reactionary and divisive rightwing policies to put forth positive initiatives that address the challenges facing the country.
These initiatives not only need to be large enough to address the festering problems facing us, but also broad enough to engage new allies and attract new supporters, and clear enough to be both compelling and comprehensible.
Anyone interested in a savvy primer on good progressive ideas would have found it at a featured panel--"Five Initiatives for a More Perfect Union,"--at the Campaign for America's "Taking Back America" conference last month in Washington, DC.
Five leading thinkers and organizers argued--as Yale Professor Jacob Hacker put it--that while conservative policies are "in shambles," the Right has managed to "transform the straw of slim margins and unpopular policies into the gold of big policy victories." Progressives, then, need to communicate to the American people that they have good ideas, and that government has a critical role to play in "a new and uncertain era."
Here, then, are five initiatives for the next time you hear some ethically challenged rightwinger (think Tom DeLay) claim that progressives are obstructionists with no good ideas:
1) "America Needs a Raise." Stewart Acuff, the organizing director of the AFL-CIO, called attention to the value of a bill called the Employee Free Choice Act. Among other things, it would require employers to recognize unions when workers signed cards and petitions seeking union representation. Acuff stressed that it was vital that we mobilize and empower workers and secure workers' rights in a new economy and in the face of Bush's ruthless and systematic attack on American labor. (Click here to read Acuff's Nation editorial on the legislation.)
2) "Pre-school for All: The Best Economic Development Investment." Julie Burton, director of Project Kid Smart with People for the American Way, cited the benefits of providing pre-school for every American child. Pre-school would improve kids' lives. Studies in Chicago and Michigan, for instance, found that kids who attend a quality pre-school learn to read faster, are more likely to attend college, earn higher salaries, have more stable marriages and, perhaps not coincidentally, are also less likely to commit a crime.
Equally important is that pre-school, as Burton explained, is also a terrific investment in America's economic future. People who attend pre-school develop the skills necessary in a modern workforce, and every dollar spent on pre-school reaps the nation $7 down the road. Pre-school generates higher tax revenues and requires less spending on "remedial services."
3) "Affordable Healthcare for All." Hacker's solution to the health care crisis with 45 million uninsured in this country is to expand Medicare--A program Americans know well and those in it like it a lot. Hacker proposes that employers be required either to provide workers with health care coverage or to enroll their employees in Medicare for a modest fee. This plan would cover virtually all of the uninsured and cost less than other leading health care proposals. This doesn't mean that progressives should stop fighting for universal health care (or what is sometimes --and clunkily-- known as single-payer); yet this idea represents a good step on the road to a more civilized society.
4) "A True Family Values Agenda." Sen. Barack Obama's policy director Karen Kornbluh argues that contrary to the rightwing drumbeat, progressives are the ones who stand up and fight for family values. Progressives need to address the kitchen-table problems that married women and single mothers grapple with every day--and offer solutions that will make a real difference in their lives. Mothers are now working longer hours, commuting more, and have less time to spend with their kids. Kornbluh urges progressives to rally behind ideas like refundable credits that will help families pay for child care and education; early education and after-school programs and lengthening the school year; making college tuition affordable; providing seven days of sick leave for all workers, and ensuring that workers get to keep their pensions and health insurance if they become part-time workers or take off time to care for their kids.
5) "Apollo: New Energy for America." The United Mine Workers' President Cecil Roberts urged the adoption of an Apollo Project to end our nation's crippling dependence on foreign oil. He laid out an agenda crafted by the Apollo Alliance--a coalition of labor unions, environmental groups and urban leaders--which would organize a 10 year drive for energy independence that would create 3 million new jobs and set America free from foreign oil.
This new strategy to achieve energy independence, as Roberts argues, would break the zero-sum framework of jobs vs. the environment and instead make the case that America can simultaneously create good-paying union work while promoting clean air and clean water in communities nationwide.
ApolloAlliance.org reports that Washington State passed the nation's first eco-friendly legislation that will slash utility costs, increase employee production and save taxpayers' money by using state-of-the-art building construction techniques. And Democratic governors from Michigan, Pennsylvania and New Mexico have all urged the White House to "embark on an unprecedented national mission to achieve energy independence within the decade by boldly investing in efficiency, new technology, and alternative energy."
In the end, then, these five initiatives form some of the building blocks that will help define a forward looking domestic progressive agenda and win over people disillusioned with Bush's anti-worker, anti-family policies. Enjoy your July Fourth. Then work to build a country that is healthier, fairer, cleaner and more secure.
This morning, President Bush said he will make a quick decision on a nominee to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and issued a thinly veiled warning to the US Senate not to block his choice. In response, public interest groups and concerned citizens are sounding the alarm on what could be Bush's biggest opportunity yet to cement his reactionary agenda for years to come.
As Nan Aron, executive director of the Alliance for Justice, said today, "The impact of Justice O'Connor's replacement will affect the lives of all Americans not just for four years but for forty. A new justice--a lifetime appointee--has the awesome power of deciding critical issues affecting our workplaces, our civil rights, our environment and our privacy"
The Alliance as well as the People for the American Way are both working to rally opposition to what is widely expected to be a divisive, far-right appointment by the President. Check out their websites (here and here) for info on what's expected next and what you can help do about it.
As the 229th anniversary of the founding of the American experiment approached, President Bush provided a painful reminder of how far the United States has drifted from the ideals of her youth.
Speaking to soldiers who would soon be dispatched to occupy Iraq, Bush sounded an awfully lot like the King George against whom George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and the other revolutionaries of 1776 led their revolt.
America was founded in opposition to empire. The Declaration of Independence was a manifesto against colonialism. And the wisest of the founding generations abhorred imperialism.
Their opposition to empire was not merely rooted in their own bitter experience. It was, as well, rooted in a faith that American freedoms and democracy would suffer if the nation embarked upon a career of empire.
So, while Bush suggests that other lands must be occupied to preserve liberty at home, the patriots of our time recall will do well to recall words spoken on another July 4.
When America was younger and truer to her ideals, on Independence Day, 1821, Secretary of State John Quincy Adams appeared before the US House of Representatives and declared:
And now, friends and countrymen, if the wise and learned philosophers of the elder world, the first observers of nutation and aberration, the discoverers of maddening ether and invisible planets, the inventors of Congreve rockets and Shrapnel shells, should find their hearts disposed to enquire what has America done for the benefit of mankind?
Let our answer be this: America, with the same voice which spoke herself into existence as a nation, proclaimed to mankind the inextinguishable rights of human nature, and the only lawful foundations of government. America, in the assembly of nations, since her admission among them, has invariably, though often fruitlessly, held forth to them the hand of honest friendship, of equal freedom, of generous reciprocity.
She has uniformly spoken among them, though often to heedless and often to disdainful ears, the language of equal liberty, of equal justice, and of equal rights.
She has, in the lapse of nearly half a century, without a single exception, respected the independence of other nations while asserting and maintaining her own.
She has abstained from interference in the concerns of others, even when conflict has been for principles to which she clings, as to the last vital drop that visits the heart.
She has seen that probably for centuries to come, all the contests of that Aceldama the European world, will be contests of inveterate power, and emerging right.
Wherever the standard of freedom and Independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be.
But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy.
She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all.
She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.
She will commend the general cause by the countenance of her voice, and the benignant sympathy of her example.
She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom.
The fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force....
She might become the dictatress of the world. She would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit....
[America's] glory is not dominion, but liberty. Her march is the march of the mind. She has a spear and a shield: but the motto upon her shield is, Freedom, Independence, Peace. This has been her Declaration: this has been, as far as her necessary intercourse with the rest of mankind would permit, her practice.
John Nichols's new book, Against the Beast: A Documentary History of American Opposition to Empire (Nation Books) was published January 30. Howard Zinn says, "At exactly the when we need it most, John Nichols gives us a special gift--a collection of writings, speeches, poems and songs from thoughout American history--that reminds us that our revulsion to war and empire has a long and noble tradition in this country." Frances Moore Lappe calls Against the Beast, "Brilliant! A perfect book for an empire in denial." Against the Beast can be found at independent bookstores nationwide and can be obtained online by tapping the above reference or at www.amazon.com
"A nation's success or failure in achieving democracy is judged in part by how well it responds to those at the bottom and the margins of the social order.... The very problems that democratic change brings--social tension, heightened expectations, political unrest--are also strengths. Discord is a sign of progress afoot; unease is an indication that a society has let go of what it knows and is working out something better and new."
Those are not the thoughts of a great civil rights leader, nor of a prominent progressive reformer.
They are the words of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, the "swing" vote on the US Supreme Court, who on Friday announced that she is stepping down.
O'Connor joined the Court as an ideological conservative and, for the most part, served as such. But, as the above quote from her 2003 memoir, The Majesty of the Law: Reflections of a Supreme Court Justice, suggests, the first woman to serve on the nation's highest court was a conservative of the modern age.
Her nuanced stances on issues such as abortion rights--she defended the court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion as "a rule of law and a component of liberty we cannot renounce"--distinguished her from the Court's conservative judicial activists, Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. (To get a full sense of what is at stake, see the list of 5-to-4 decisions where O'Connor cast the deciding vote, which follows this piece.)
With O'Connor's exit, the Court will move in one of two directions. No, not right or left. With O'Connor out, the Court will either go backward or forward.
If President Bush nominates and the Senate confirms an activist soul mate for Scalia and Thomas, the Court will not simply become more conservative.
It will move back toward the days before Presidents Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower used their nominations in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s to wrench the judicial branch out of a dark and undistinguished past. Those selections made the Supreme Court a functional branch of government, rather than an obstructionist defender of an often corrupt old order.
People for the American Way President Ralph Neas put it best when he said Friday, "A Scalia-Thomas majority would not only reverse more than seven decades of Supreme Court legal precedents but could also return us to a situation America faced in the first third of the twentieth century, when progressive legislation, like child labor laws, was adopted by Congress and signed by the President but repeatedly rejected on constitutional grounds by the Supreme Court."
Neas understands his history well. The contemporary image of the Supreme Court as a defender of civil liberties and civil rights, and an ally of progress, is one that developed over the course of the twentieth century. It was not always so. And there are no guarantees that it will remain so.
As such, this is not merely a battle over a Court vacancy, nor even over the balance on the bench.
If the Court moves backward to the bad old days, so too will the nation.
With a Court guided by a majority determined to reverse the progress made on issues ranging from reproductive freedom to privacy rights, affirmative action, church-state separation, environmental protection, consumer safeguards and worker rights, Neas warns, America would return to a time when the judicial branch took as its mandate the preservation of the status quo against the march of social progress.
"A Supreme Court with additional justices who do not meet consensus standards could radically rewrite our nation's fundamental definitions of justice," says Neas.
In so doing, it could also rewrite our sense of time. Instead of living in 2005, Americans could find themselves dragged backward to those nineteenth-century days when the Supreme Court was the nation's primary barrier to social and economic justice.****************************************************************
People for the American Way has compiled a list of 5-to-4 rulings in which Sandra Day O'Connor was the decisive Justice. Here are some of the decisions that the group says are in danger of being overturned:
1. Grutter v. Bollinger (2003): Affirmed the right of state colleges and universities to use affirmative action in their admissions policies to increase educational opportunities for minorities and promote racial diversity on campus.
2. Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation v. EPA (2004): Said the Environmental Protection Agency could step in and take action to reduce air pollution under the Clean Air Act when a state conservation agency fails to act.
3. Rush Prudential HMO, Inc. v. Moran (2002): Upheld state laws giving people the right to a second doctor's opinion if their HMOs tried to deny them treatment.
4. Hunt v. Cromartie (2001): Affirmed the right of state legislators to take race into account to secure minority voting rights in redistricting.
5. Tennessee v. Lane (2004): Upheld the constitutionality of Title II of the Americans With Disabilities Act and required that courtrooms be physically accessible to the disabled.
6. Hibbs v. Winn (2004): Subjected discriminatory and unconstitutional state tax laws to review by the federal judiciary.
7. Zadvydas v. Davis (2001): Told the government it could not indefinitely detain an immigrant who was under final order of removal even if no other country would accept that person.
8. Brentwood Academy v. Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association (2001): Affirmed that civil rights laws apply to associations regulating interscholastic sports.
9. Lee v. Weisman (1992): Continued the tradition of government neutrality toward religion, finding that government-sponsored prayer is unacceptable at graduations and other public school events.
10. Brown v. Legal Foundation of Washington (2003): Maintained a key source of funding for legal assistance for the poor.
11. Morse v. Republican Party of Virginia (1996): Said key antidiscrimination provisions of the Voting Rights Act apply to political conventions that choose party candidates.
12. Federal Election Commission v. Colorado Republican Federal Campaign Committee (2001): Upheld laws that limit political party expenditures that are coordinated with a candidate and seek to evade campaign contribution limits.
13. McConnell v. Federal Election Commission (2003): Upheld most of the landmark McCain-Feingold campaign finance law, including its ban on political parties' use of unlimited soft-money contributions.
14. Stenberg v. Carhart (2000): Overturned a state ban on so-called partial birth abortion.
15. McCreary County v. ACLU of Kentucky (2005): Upheld the principle of government neutrality toward religion and ruled unconstitutional Ten Commandments displays in several courthouses.