The Information War

In a recent post I wrote about the trial of Scooter Libby, Xark wrote a nice, long comment arguing against some of the points made in my post. In my response, I commented that, among other things, the Bush administration has long since lost the information battle in both the war against the Jihadists, and the war against the Democrats (okay, war may be too strong in the case of the Dems, but Geoff may disagree). If I may quote myself:

I have, I believe, long maintained that the correctness of the Bush
Administration’s positions has been severely hamstrung by their
frustratingly inept inability to respond to criticism or attacks. The
list of missteps on virtually every policy dispute is a dreary
collection of fumbling efforts too long to recite. As we are losing the
information war on the Jihadic front, so too is the Bush administration
losing the war of ideas on the home front. AND IT’S A SHAME! Opponents
have been allowed to develop their own theses about important issues,
have spread their opinions far and wide, and the great American public
has embraced the tenets of the opposition position as TRUTH, in the
absence of a reasoned rebuttal or counter-proposal.

I mean what I write, however poorly, and along comes an article from National Review Online, courtesy of Michael Barone, that illustrates my point. He says, in part:

Most of us still see the events of the first two-thirds of the 20th
century through the words of gifted New Deal historians like the late
Arthur Schlesinger Jr., who told the story as Franklin Roosevelt hoped
and expected it to be told. And, to judge from the response to two
recent criminal proceedings, Democrats are doing it better in this
century, too.

Barone points to the prosecutions of two men entrusted with the secrets of high office in the recent past: Scooter Libby and Sandy Berger. He points out their crimes and the resultant punishment, and asks the question: Why is one crime so prominent and the other so obscure? Could it be, he asks, that the Democrats have done a better job of controlling the publicity of events?

Of Berger’s malfeasance, he writes:

The first of these criminal proceedings, not much noticed, was the plea
bargain of former national security adviser Sandy Berger for removing
classified documents from the National Archives, where he had been
reviewing them under the authorization of Bill Clinton in preparation
for testimony about 9/11.

What he admitted to doing, after first
denying it, is extraordinary. On multiple occasions he removed
documents from the room where he was reading them, concealed them in
his pants and socks, hid them at a construction site outside the
building, took them home, and, in some cases, destroyed them.

of these documents may have been unique and may have contained
handwritten comments that could have looked bad in light of what
happened on September 11. I have known Berger more than 30 years and
find it unlikely that he would have done something like this on his own.

Of Libby’s criminality, Barone says:

Berger’s treatment was light compared with that of Dick Cheney’s former
chief of staff, Scooter Libby. Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald
prosecuted him for perjury and obstruction of justice for making
statements contradicted by journalists Tim Russert and Matt Cooper, and
last week, the 11-member jury found him guilty on four counts. He could
face years in jail. The case arose out of attempts by Libby and others
to refute the charges of retired diplomat Joseph Wilson that the
administration had manipulated intelligence before the Iraq war.

is the Titus Oates of our time, a liar whose lies served the needs of a
political faction. Oates’s lie was that there was a “popish plot” to
murder King Charles II; Wilson’s lie was part of the “Bush lied and
people died” mantra that has become the canonical version of history to
much of the mainstream media and the Democratic party.

Wilson’s story, retailed to journalists and then presented in a column in the New York Times,
was that he had debunked evidence that Iraq was seeking uranium from
Niger and that his report had circulated in the highest levels of the
administration; he suggested that he had been sent to Niger in response
to a request by Cheney.

In fact, as a 2004 bipartisan report of
the Senate Intelligence Committee found, all those claims were false,
as well as his denial that his wife had recommended him for the Niger

Still, the “Bush lied and people died” mantra resonates.
Yet there was no lie. Given Saddam Hussein’s previous use of weapons of
mass destruction and his refusal to cooperate with weapons inspectors,
George W. Bush had to assume he had WMDs, just as Bill Clinton had
before him — as we were reminded by Hillary Rodham Clinton’s speech in
favor of the Iraq war resolution.

The Libby verdict in no way undercuts that. But the Republicans are running behind in the battle to write history.

If both men are guilty, and if each acted to protect their superior, which must be the only motive, is one crime worse than the other, or deserving of a different punishment? Does the punishment fit the crime in each case?

I’m just asking…..

UPDATE: TigerHawk has more…


One Reply to “The Information War”

  1. “Democrats have done a better job of controlling the publicity of events?”

    Absolutely! I was thinking earlier how sad most of country don’t feel as they did right after the terror attacks on 9/11. Even Dan Rather was on Letterman crying about we should all get behind the president. Everything seems to be working out, but its so sad we are all divided.

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