RUSH: There’s a fabulous piece by Robert Kagan. Robert Kagan is currently a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He’s also the Transatlantic Fellow at the German Marshall Fund and he writes a monthly column for the Washington Post. The Transatlantic Fellow at the German Marshall Fund. Boy, I’ll tell you, these think tank guys and the titles they get for themselves. Here at the Limbaugh Institute we don’t have any Transatlantic Fellows because we are here. We have all domestic fellows. That’s right. (Laughing) Transatlantic Fellow at the German Marshall Fund. Well, you take work where you can get it. But he has a great piece here and it goes right at the media’s template. The headline of his story is: It Wasn’t Just Miller’s Story. Now, somebody, just out of a sense of compassion, needs to show this story to Chris Matthews.
By the way, Chris Matthews, I must tell you, has a great interview today with Gail Shister in the Philadelphia… what does she write, Daily News or Inquirer? (interruption) Well, you would have to register for that, you don’t pay anything, you probably have a way around it, I haven’t spent the time. (interruption) See, that’s not true, I have those papers down in Florida, but up here my computer doesn’t know the password that I’ve used and I don’t want to create a new password up here because that would mean I’d have to change it down there and it’s not worth all that. Well, if I can’t remember the password they create a new one. So, anyway, but I got a rundown on the story, and apparently Chris Matthews– (interruption) okay, Gail Shister is with the Philadelphia Inquirer and it’s an interview with Matthews in which he apparently, uh, ladies and gentlemen, waxes eloquently on how tough it is and what you do, how to secure an audience of 250,000 people, as though he’s an expert here in amassing and acquiring audience. But anyway he’s been out there on his program basically saying for the last three or four days that it was the purposeful lying by the administration to Judy Miller and the New York Times that started the Iraq war, because you can’t go to war without the New York Times being on your side. If you’re going to go to war you have to have the New York Times on your side otherwise you can’t go and you can’t win. So the whole administration effort was to lie to the New York Times, to lie to Judith Miller, and that’s why we went to war in Iraq, and Robert Kagan’s piece here in the Washington Post thoroughly nukes that.
Let’s go back here to Robert Kagan’s piece in the Washington Post today. “The Judith Miller-Valerie Plame-Scooter Libby imbroglio is being reduced to a simple narrative about the origins of the Iraq war. Miller, the story goes, was an anti-Saddam Hussein, weapons-of-mass-destruction-hunting zealot and was either an eager participant or an unwitting dupe in a campaign by Bush administration officials and Iraqi exiles to justify the invasion. The New York Times now characterizes the affair as ‘just one skirmish in the continuing battle over the Bush administration’s justification for the war in Iraq.’ Miller may be ‘best known for her role in a series of Times articles in 2002 and 2003 that strongly suggested Saddam Hussein already had or was acquiring an arsenal of weapons of mass destruction.’ According to the Times’s critique, she credulously reported information passed on by ‘a circle of Iraqi informants, defectors and exiles bent on “regime change” in Iraq,’ which was then ‘eagerly confirmed by United States officials convinced of the need to intervene in Iraq.’ Many critics outside the Times suggest that Miller’s eagerness to publish the Bush administration’s line was the primary reason Americans went to war. The Times itself is edging closer to this version of events. There is a big problem with this simple narrative. It is that the Times, along with The Post and other news organizations, ran many alarming stories about Iraq’s weapons programs before the election of George W. Bush. A quick search through the Times archives before 2001 produces such headlines as ‘Iraq Has Network of Outside Help on Arms, Experts Say'(November 1998)–”
See, everybody forgets that this whole scenario was started in 1998 during the Clinton administration and one of its purposes then was to divert everybody’s attention from the blue dress and Monica Lewinsky and cigars, pizza deliveries in the Oval Office. But we have the Clinton quotes, and we played them and shared them with you. We talked about how Tom Daschle and the Democrats back in that day echoed what Clinton was saying, Iraq was a horrible place. Now, 1998 is two years before George W. Bush even began to run. Well, one year before he began to run for the presidency, so again, here’s the New York Times archive: “‘Iraq Has Network of Outside Help on Arms, Experts Say’ (November 1998), ‘U.S. Says Iraq Aided Production of Chemical Weapons in Sudan’ (August 1998), ‘Iraq Suspected of Secret Germ War Effort’ (February 2000), ‘Signs of Iraqi Arms Buildup Bedevil U.S. Administration’ (February 2000), ‘Flight Tests Show Iraq Has Resumed a Missile Program’ (July 2000). (A somewhat shorter list can be compiled from The Post’s archives, including a September 1998 headline: ‘Iraqi Work Toward A-Bomb Reported.’) The Times stories were written by Barbara Crossette, Tim Weiner and Steven Lee Myers; Miller shared a byline on one.”
Okay, so this paragraph right here illustrates that in 1998 through 2000, the New York Times was running gobs of stories about the potential threat posed by Iraq’s acquisition of weapons of mass destruction. Judith Miller wrote one of them. The idea that this whole idea to go to war in Iraq had to be funneled through the New York Times and get them on Bush’s side, that Judith Miller was brought in to lay down on the couch and have a little relationship with Scooter Libby or whoever to get it done is just absolutely infantile, folks, it’s irresponsible. It is utterly irresponsible and yet the media of today have a convenient memory loss when it comes to their own work and their own reporting.
“Many such stories appeared before and after the Clinton administration bombed Iraq for four days in late 1998 in what it insisted was an effort to degrade Iraqi weapons programs. Philip Shenon reported official concerns that Iraq would be ‘capable within months — and possibly just weeks or days — of threatening its neighbors with an arsenal of chemical, biological and even nuclear weapons.'” This is again another New York Times 1998 story. “He reported that Iraq was thought to be ‘still hiding tons of nerve gas’ and was ‘seeking to obtain uranium from a rogue nation or terrorist groups to complete as many as four nuclear warheads.’ Tim Weiner and Steven Erlanger reported that Hussein was closer than ever ‘to what he wants most: keeping a secret cache of biological and chemical weapons.’ ‘To maintain his chemical and biological weapons — and the ability to build more,’ they reported, Hussein had sacrificed over $120 billion in oil revenue and ‘devoted his intelligence service to an endless game of cat and mouse to hide his suspected weapons caches from United Nations inspections.'”
Now, people tend to forget all of this was reported in ’98. They tend to forget how eagerly Clinton was talking about this, how eagerly the Democrats agreed with Clinton about this. But here you have — I mean, somebody needs to show this story to Chris Matthews. How in the world can the major focus of an investigation of a responsible prosecutor like Patrick Fitzgerald focus on the fact that the Bush White House lied about circumstances to get us into Iraq when this stuff was being reported five years before Bush started talking about it. Well, four years before Bush started talking about it. The record is the record. It’s here. And here you have the Democratic Party and its willing accomplices in the press so off base, so singularly focused on destroying this administration that they are ignoring the record, not supposition and not somebody’s questionable memory, but the record. These stories, these headlines, the president in 1998, Bill Clinton making these claims, that alone is sufficient to throw out the whole notion in any responsible person’s mind that this administration lied about it. At the very least, if this is what the intelligence was in 1998, and all the Democrats were on board because Bill Clinton was — well, most of the Democrats were. And, by the way, back in 1998 when this was going on the Republicans were supportive of Bill Clinton on this. When that’s the case, how in the world do you get from this factual record to “Bush lied”? Which, folks, is the central theme of the rallying point of the new kook left base of the Democratic Party. It is their central theme toward getting reelected in 2006 and 2008. Bush lied, and because Bush lied, soldiers died. And now, by the way, we’re up to 1,999, and they’re breathlessly waiting for that magical figure of 2,000, and when that is reached we’re going to have protest marches and we’re going to have parades and we’re going to have all kinds of things, as the left defines a parade, such as Cindy Sheehan tying herself to the nearest tree to celebrate this so as to further the notion that Bush lied, and Bush lied, and people died.
Well, if Bush lied, then the New York Times lied, Bill Clinton lied, and the Democrats in ’98 lied. This is all a matter of record. They’re continuing to stand in quicksand on this. They’re sinking as rapidly as possible. There’s not even a branch for them to grab onto. They are so desperate now that their whole future was linked to Bill Burkett, then it was linked to Richard Clarke, then it was linked to 9/11, then it was linked to Cindy Sheehan. Now it’s linked to Joseph Wilson. Can you imagine, of all the people, all the scalawags there are out there to try attach yourself to, and to try to ride yourself to victory, Joseph Wilson, who is documented now in the Washington Post to be a top-to-bottom, up-and-down liar, and his little wife, who was pretty good at manipulating the bureaucracy at the CIA, and Dan Rather and all these people, Ronnie Earle, these are the people you are going to ride to victory in ’06 and ’08? I say bring it on. Quick time-out. By the way, I’m not even halfway through Kagan’s story, with details about other news organizations and their headlines and their reporting in 1998. This is just so far the New York Times. So the idea that Bush had to lie to the New York Times in 2002 to get them on board, the Times had already been on the record and it wasn’t even Judith Miller writing the stories about the weapons-of-mass-destruction threat posed by Saddam Hussein.
I love it when we’re on the eve of media crash and burn, folks, and we’re on the eve of media crash and burn with virtually every major story they report, from all roads leading to the Travis County, Texas, to the 9/11 Commission that led to Able Danger, and now we’ve got the Katrina aftermath where everything they did was wrong. This is especially over the top because nothing officially is known about anything, and yet if you’ve been paying attention — and, by the way, I’ve been getting a lot of e-mail from you people, “Rush, we here out in the red states don’t care anything about this–” Well, that’s why I’m here. You can’t sit idly by on this, and I’m telling you, the mainstream press has already got their story written, and I’m here to tell you, if there are no indictments, there will be no change in the way the press reports this. Cheney is still a bad guy, still leaked all this information, exposed this poor woman, outed this poor woman, this poor desk jockey operative, or, uh, analyst, sorry. I’m here to tell you that we are witnessing desperation on the left. We are witnessing recklessness on the left, and when you are in desperate straits and you behave recklessly, seldom do things turn out your way, folks, as you may know from your own personal experiences in life. Last two paragraphs of Bob Kagan’s story today in the Washington Post.
“The Times was not alone, of course. On Jan. 29, 2001, The Post editorialized that ‘of all the booby traps left behind by the Clinton administration, none is more dangerous — or more urgent — than the situation in Iraq. Over the last year, Mr. Clinton and his team quietly avoided dealing with, or calling attention to, the almost complete unraveling of a decade’s efforts to isolate the regime of Saddam Hussein and prevent it from rebuilding its weapons of mass destruction. That leaves President Bush to confront a dismaying panorama in the Persian Gulf,’ including ‘intelligence photos that show the reconstruction of factories long suspected of producing chemical and biological weapons.'”
Now, folks, don’t try to sidetrack me on this, if you’re thinking of calling me. Don’t try to sidetrack me, “Rush, where are the weapons of mass destruction, then, huh?” That’s not the point we’re talking about, folks. That’s not what we’re talking about. We’re talking about a current news story in which the theme is, a news cycle in which the theme is that there were no weapons of mass destruction and Bush knew it and lied about it and convinced the New York Times that it was all true, and this took us to war and now 2,000 American soldiers are dead. That is as irresponsible a timeline as possible to construct because what I’m demonstrating here with Robert Kagan’s piece in the Washington Post is that the same media constructing this new fiction reported identically the details the Bush administration used in the run-up to the war in Iraq back in 1998. The New York Times, the Washington Post, the networks as well.
So it’s not about where are they or if they were there. It’s about the new theme that’s been set: Bush lied. It is impossible for Bush to have lied unless Clinton lied, and unless everybody who agreed with Clinton lied, and unless the British lied, and unless the Australians lied and Interpol and whatever other international intelligence agency agreed with all this. But the idea that Bush lied, had to convince the New York Times, New York Times got convinced because of a bad reporter who was too tight with Iraqi exiles — all of this is BS, folks, it’s absolute flatulence. I just tell you it’s methane, it’s absolute flatulence, the whole foundation on which the current media cycle is based is BS. As Kagan writes, “This was the consensus before Bush took office, before Scooter Libby assumed his post and before Judith Miller did most of the reporting for which she is now, uniquely, criticized. It was based on reporting by a large of number of journalists who in turn based their stories on the judgments of international intelligence analysts, Clinton officials and weapons inspectors. As we wage what the Times now calls ‘the continuing battle over the Bush administration’s justification for the war in Iraq,’ we will have to grapple with the stubborn fact that the underlying rationale for the war was already in place when this administration arrived.”
So what do we have? We have a news media that is totally out of control. We have a news media utterly willing to knowingly lie, to make up the start date of this story so that they can say that the whole story is false, while ignoring the very record they themselves created years prior. Now, if you try this at your job, you’re gone, folks. You try this in school as a student, you are gone, but the mainstream press can ignore their own record, create a false start date, create lies about that false start date, and base an entire news cycle on it and then tell you without one shred of firsthand knowledge what indictments are coming during a special counsel investigation. This is utter irresponsibility and if you ask me, it is an ongoing media scandal.