10 May 2007

Everybody's Stalling For Time

John Howard says the next month or so will be "critical" for his Party. He's not the only one watching the clock.

Bush says the same about Iraq. Wolfowitz has been given yet another week to explain why he should not be fired. Alberto Gonzales is facing the Senate again, still hoping to run out the clock (only 20 months to go). Even Tony Blair has given himself another month to tidy his office.

The Democrats are giving Bush time on Iraq instead of forcing a showdown:
The Democrats' bill in the House would provide the US military with $US42.8 billion ($A51.79 billion) to keep operations going through July, buy equipment and train Iraqi and Afghan security forces. Congress would decide shortly before its August recess whether to release an additional $US52.8 billion ($A63.89 billion) for war spending through September.

A dozen or so members in Congress are attempting to strike a bipartisan compromise. Few have come forward with concrete plans, perhaps out of reluctance to champion a proposal until they know that it could succeed. None of the proposals put in plain view have picked up steam.
Murray Waas has the latest on Gonzales:
The Bush administration has withheld a series of e-mails from Congress showing that senior White House and Justice Department officials worked together to conceal the role of Karl Rove in installing Timothy Griffin, a protégé of Rove's, as U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas.
Yeah, let's not forget Rove.

Or Condi Rice, still struggling to bring peace to the Middle East, or anywhere else, any day now.... She's now warning the world that Putin is a dangerous despot. Go tell your boss, Condi, who "looked into the man's soul" and liked what he saw.

Then there's Dick Cheney, who is rumoured to be on that DC Madam's list. I wonder what lengths he would go to, in order to keep her quiet? Time for another pre-emptive strike, Dick?

And here's Greg Palast on Wolfowitz:
This is serious stuff. I can tell you, as a former government racketeering investigator: if you are wrong, well, stuff happens. But if you say one thing under oath but knew something very different, that, Mr. Wolfowitz, is perjury. Perjury's a felony, Wolf, and you know it. Indeed, your neo-con buddy, Elliott Abrams, was convicted in 1991 for lying to Congress about Reagan's arms-for-hostage swap.

So, did Wolfowitz perjure himself -- or just get it wrong? While the question never crossed the mind of the Sheep-o-witz U.S. press, which repeated Wolf's no-cost-invasion claim unchallenged, my producer at BBC Television asked me to investigate.

I learned that Wolfowitz, then Deputy Secretary of Defense, would have gotten his numbers from the expert official designated to measure Iraq's oil, Guy Caruso. Caruso once ran the CIA's oil ops; now he's the head of Bush's Energy Information Administration. A source close to Caruso (in Saudi intelligence, no less) told me the ex-spook heard Wolfowitz's testimony and said, "What are they getting this from?"

In 2004, I confronted Caruso in his Department of Energy office in Washington. Nice man. Caruso knows his stuff. And, after an hour of technical jibberish, he told me the info he gave Wolfowitz's department -- and the numbers didn't add up to anything close to Wolfowitz's Iraq oil windfall.
Palast says that, under the circumstances, Wolfowitz's perjury would amount to homicide - but, of course, he was never under oath. None of them ever are.

Finally, speaking of time limits, here's Tony Blair's rationale for resigning:
"I have been Prime Minister of this country for just over ten years. I think that is long enough, not only for me, but also for the country."
Take a hint, Johnny. Lay down your office, put your hands in the air, and step away from the Lodge.