Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Frontline Surveys Bush's War(s)

I just watched last night's Frontline. And it's worth the investment of time. It deepened my understanding. No. I felt no better about any of it, especially in light of the resurging violence today in Iraq. I did at times scream at the television.

And I disagreed with yesterday's New York Times review which dismissed this series as "palace intrigues" conveyed by underlings. It's the underlings that really understand how things run (or malfunction), one and two, if palace intrigues led (can lead) us into war, they are essential to understand. The review yesterday was brief and stupid (in my humble view).

There are some new interviews - most dirturbing is the one with the British Ambassador to the United States at the time of the 9/11 attacks, Sir Christopher Myers. I also had to look up one word that Richard Armitage used - FUBAR. (That'll come in handy)

  1. Part One dealt with how we got in. I'm relatively well informed, and I learned some new things. Covers how the turf wars within the Bush administration started pre-9/11.
  2. The legal memo and legal frameworks for all sorts of actions and behavior (Yoo vs. Goldsmith) The screw ups and end runs that Cheney pulled around the State department.
  3. The profound ignorance (Rice sounds like she didn't know where Afghanistan was before 9/11 - I still find that hard to believe).
  4. And it very much relates the war in Afghanistan and the war in Iraq and how the latter adversely affected the former.
The program should be titled Bush's Wars - not War. Interviews with Jane Mayer of The New Yorker, Evan Thomas of Newsweek, Bob Woodward of the Washington Post, among others, are included.

Part two, airing tonight, is about the mishandling after the invasion, which in context seems inevitable.

At the program related web site you can watch the whole thing. You can listen to an interview with the producer, which includes some new information, here.

One last related point: Diane Rehm interviewed Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Nebraska) this morning about his new book and touched on my of the same topics and events. You can listen here.
  1. Regarding the Veterans of Foreign Wars speech Cheney gave in August 2002, Hagel called it a "clear war speech," and called up Powell to find out what was gong on (this is about 10 minutes into the interview).
  2. Rehm and Hagel quibble about whether the administration misrepresented or lied (a viewer later jumps in on this).
  3. Finally of interest, Hagel discusses what effect a Powell resignation would have had (about 24 minutes in). Hagel said that would have had "significant consequences."
  4. At the end of the hour, their discussion does look forward in a way that the Frontline has not (yet). Hagel predicts a "massive correction" in this upcoming election.
Politico posted a story yesterday entitled, Tsunami Turnout. In 2004, turn out was 61%, the highest since 1968. 2008 is estimated to be 80% based on primary turn out and registrations. That would be unbelievable.

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