Column No. 70 By Steven Jonas, MD, MPH - August 5, 2005
Presently (or at least as I write this), Karl Rove’s name is entangled with leaks, tweaks, possible law-breaking, possible treason, possible firing, possible resignation, possible impeachment. However, whether Karl Rove stays in or goes from his present position, whether he is indicted for one crime or another or is not, the Georgite policies that he has done so much to develop, along with the highly effective propaganda organization he has also developed, will remain firmly entrenched. They will be at the center of the Georgite regime and what it does, both day-to-day and long-term. Further, if Rove goes, unless it is to prison, he will be very much involved with the regime on an on-going basis, just without an official title, without a White House pass (presumably), and without a government salary. As to the latter, of course he will be doing much better on his “lobbyist’s” salary or whatever they want to call it that will surely be provided by wealthy Bush-backers.
This column is thus not about the current affaire Rove. It is about something much more significant: the content and meaning of the speech the man gave to an assembly of the New York State Conservative Party on Wednesday, June 22, 2005. That speech provided a rare look into both the strategy and the tactics of the Republican Religious Right. Although one can be certain that Rove did not engineer the current flap over his central role in outing Valerie Plame, funnily enough it bears all the hallmarks of a classic Rove-distraction that he has engineered so many times over the course of the Georgite occupation of the White House. Although Rove could not possibly have wanted one possible outcome of “PlameGate” so badly that he would put his own head in the noose, it has served to distract attention from that highly significant speech.
Advance warning: this is scary stuff, scarier even than the likely fact that Rove did out Plame, not as an act of revenge (that too, but minor) but as my friend and colleague Michael Carmichael has pointed out in “Some dare call it treason,” http://planetmove.blogspot.com/ and these pages as well, as a warning to future whistleblowers. “You do it, and we’ll figure out a way to put your lives at stake,” in this case by blowing the cover of a long-time CIA agent and many of her contacts around the world as well, working in the highly dangerous real (as opposed to the Georgite fictional) world of Weapons of Mass Destruction. (Rove does deal with one type of WMD, extremely well: Weapons of Mass Distraction.) However, what Rove said in that speech is scary for everyone, not just potential whistleblowers. Thus if you do not like tales of horror, do not read any further.
I am not going to provide extensive quotes from the speech here. For those readers not familiar with it, I refer you to articles in the Washington Post of 6/23/05 by Dan Froomkin and 6/24/05 by Dan Balz, and Patrick Martin at the World Socialist website (http://www.wsws.org) of 6/25/05. The full text was published at the washingtonpost.com on 6/22/05 but may well no longer be there. In summary, Rove said that “liberals” were wimps on the 9/11 attacks, that “conservatives” were tough on them; that “conservatives” wanted to “summon our national will” and “brandish steel” while “liberals” didn’t; that Howard Dean, Michael Moore, and Moveon.org did not want “to defeat our enemies;” that Sen. Durbin’s (totally correct) charge that the U.S. is using Nazi/Stalinist-type arbitrary arrest/indefinite imprisonment without charges, representation, or trial/routine-use-of-torture tactics in its treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo “put America’s men and women in uniform in greater danger. No more needs to be said about the motives of liberals.”
This was a totally remarkable speech, and will remain remarkable whether Karl Rove stays or goes from his current position, or even if he eventually ends up in prison. First of all, at least up to this recent flap, Karl Rove, usually the quintessential behind-the-scenes guy, has been appearing in public more often. The speech was preceded the day before by an appearance with David Gregory on MSNBC and followed on the day after it by an appearance with the right-wing commentator Joe Scarborough, also on MSNBC. Why should this be happening? Well, if you were a Georgite would you be happy with the way Bush articulates, or rather is completely inarticulate about, their positions? These appearances indicate to me that the Bush puppet-masters are beginning to think that their Charlie McCarthy is getting a bit limp and that Edgar Bergen needs to step directly up to the plate.
Second, Rove told flat-out lies. For example, the TV commercial he said Moveon.org put out right after the 9/11 tragedy simply doesn’t, and didn’t ever, exist. Lying and misrepresentation have been stock in trade for the Republicans for decades. Adlai Stevenson once famously said that “if the Republicans would promise to stop telling lies about the Democrats, I will promise to stop telling the truth about them.” However, here they are coming directly from the White House.
Third, to make this speech Rove appeared before the New York Conservative Party. Never mind that regardless of what they did in a given general election, it has been on the attack against New York’s Republican governor, Pataki, ever since he was elected. Rove knows just how his minority-President got to be President, by creating a Republican/Christian Alliance, of which the members of the New York Conservative Party are natural elements. That is the Georgite base, and Rove was talking to them, not a New York State party (which happens to be the official Republican one) that however, on paper at least, supports abortion rights and (with limits) gay rights.
Fourth, Bush is in political trouble (the War on Iraq, Social Security, gas prices, etc.). So Rove thinks: “let’s go to the distraction tactic. Since we cannot use the War, let us go back to what worked for us so beautifully the last time we were in serous political trouble: 9/11. And now that it starting to fade in memory a bit, we can make up even more things about it than we have done previously.”
Fifth, Rove is now well into demonizing the Georgites’ political enemies. Over the years, the Republicans have managed to make “liberal” into a dirty word, sort of like “commie” used to be. Then he conflates “Democrats” (Dean, Durbin) with “liberals” (Michael Moore, Moveon.org). Just a turn of phrase, you think? Hardly. Ann Coulter made a mint, and a reputation in certain quarters, by writing a book that shows her true believers that “liberal” equals “traitor.” Treason calls for the death penalty. According to the way these people think, anyone who disagrees with them is a “liberal,” any liberal is a traitor, and you can easily see where that leads. It’s one thing for Coulter to say it. Quite something else for the leading policy formulator and Minister of Propaganda for the Regime to say it: if you are against us, you are a liberal, and liberals are traitors. Just Ashcroft said the same thing right after 9/11 and the theme was quickly dropped in the face of the then-outcry. It is now back, with a vengeance. And what do you do with traitors? Why lock them up, and then kill them, just like the Nazis did, of course.
Sixth, the speech does give a clear insight into just what Bush’s concept of “freedom and democracy” is. For starters, it does not include any disagreement over Georgite policy. But then again, over the gate at Auschwitz is the famous sign with the slogan “Arbeit Macht Frei:” “Work Makes You Free.”
Finally, one major state of affairs that the Rove speech was intended to distract attention from, to indeed cover up from the public’s gaze, is the true state of national security under the Georgites. It’s terrible. First, these guys were asleep at the switch when 9/11 happened. Not that they necessarily could have stopped it like Clinton stopped the 12-airliners plot in 1998 or the Millennium Bomb plot in 2000. But if they had paid attention to Richard Clarke, the 8/6/01 Presidential Daily Briefing, the Acting Director of the FBI, the FBI’s own counter-terrorism unit for which Ashcroft denied a funding increase on 9/10/01, and so on and so forth, they might well have. Bush has not destroyed al Qaeda or even caught bin Laden. Cheney’s wished-for gas pipeline partners, the Taliban, are back in business in Afghanistan. The US military is being wasted away in Iraq. Report after report on a variety of aspects of domestic security (ports, railroads, chemical factories, atomic energy plants) show woeful inadequacies. The institutionalized violence in U.S. prisons for Muslim captives who have zero rights just creates more terrorists, just as does U.S. support of Sharonist policy in Israel.
There it is, all laid out for us, nice and neat, the Georgite plan for dealing with the opposition, that is, us. As I said above, it’s scary stuff, ain’t it?
Junkie: For those TPJ readers who may find Dr. Jonas’ warnings unimaginable, read this article released last week -- The Iran War Buildup by Michael T. Klare.
Since Dr. Jonas’ article was published, Justin Raimondo of Antiwar.com has published an article revealing detailed plans by the Bush administration to invade Iran. Raimondo provides a quote from a recent American Conservative magazine article (not online) authored by Philip Giraldi (emphasis added):
"The Pentagon, acting under instructions from Vice President Dick Cheney's office, has tasked the United States Strategic Command (STRATCOM) with drawing up a contingency plan to be employed in response to another 9/11-type terrorist attack on the United States. The plan includes a large-scale air assault on Iran employing both conventional and tactical nuclear weapons. Within Iran there are more than 450 major strategic targets, including numerous suspected nuclear-weapons-program development sites. Many of the targets are hardened or are deep underground and could not be taken out by conventional weapons, hence the nuclear option. As in the case of Iraq, the response is not conditional on Iran actually being involved in the act of terrorism directed against the United States. Several senior Air Force officers involved in the planning are reportedly appalled at the implications of what they are doing – that Iran is being set up for an unprovoked nuclear attack – but no one is prepared to damage his career by posing any objections."
Philip Giraldi is a former CIA clandestine officer and co-publisher of "Intelligence Brief." Giraldi is quoted in an interview earlier this year saying:
Some kind of U-S attack on Iran is likely . . . .
Probably the wind has gone out of the sails of the people that would be inclined toward a full-scale invasion after what has happened in Iraq. Iran is after all much bigger and more populous than Iraq. I think basically what we are going to see is an escalating covert campaign. – Voice of America
Dr. Jonas asked the question if the US was prepared to use nuclear weapons in Iran. It appears that the answer to his question is emerging.