Visit the Group News Blog operated by friends of Steve:

Steve Gilliard, 1964-2007

It is with tremendous sadness that we must convey the news that Steve Gilliard, editor and publisher of The News Blog, passed away June 2, 2007. He was 42.

To those who have come to trust The News Blog and its insightful, brash and unapologetic editorial tone, we have Steve to thank from the bottom of our hearts. Steve helped lead many discussions that mattered to all of us, and he tackled subjects and interest categories where others feared to tread.

Please keep Steve's friends and family in your thoughts and prayers.

Steve meant so much to us.

We will miss him terribly.

photo by lindsay beyerstein


First Draft's Athenae: "Why Feith Matters"


Thank you to Athenae of First Draft for this great reminder of why the Feith story matters - THANKS A!

As I've made the rounds this past week, talkin' Doug and books and blogs and why we were all on this story of the intelligence mangling and the Office of Special Plans when everybody in the Washington press was standing around, scuffing their toes in the dirt, acting like they hadn't been wrong about the whole "war in Iraq" thing, there's a question that I keep addressing.

Who the hell cares?

I mean, why is it important now, two years after everybody knew this guy was wrong about everything, two years after he resigned in disgrace, two years after Larry
was passing around classified information like it was herpes, why should anybody care?

Why isn't this story over?

It's not just that the IG's report [.pdf file] came out. It's that Feith, and what he represents, are still important.

Douglas Feith is an important figure precisely because he didn't have a flashy title and an imposing media presence. He's important because of what he did, the real heavy lifting of the intelligence manipulation that went on in this administration. And he's important because, despite the heroic work of all the bloggers included in our book, he was able to accomplish that manipulation, that twisting of "facts" and coloring of reports and outright ignoring of contrary opinions, without anybody stopping him.

The IG's report said that Feith's actions were not "illegal or unauthorized." Feith's seized on all that in an effort to prove he's been vindicated. It's like a game with the Bush administration: Stay out of jail, and you win! Never mind the bodies. Never mind the smoke. Never mind the entire country you turned to rubble. Feh. It was a sucky place to vacation anyway, and at least you won't be criminally charged! Let's
whack a pinata and sing some songs in celebration of your continued non-felon status.

This story isn't over because the IG's report read, "not unauthorized." Okay, let's haul before Congress the guy who authorized Feith. Let's get to the bottom of who authorized HIM to do his work. And so on up the chain until we finally get some answers. To this day, Douglas Feith and his fellow war planners, Paul Wolfowitz and Donald Rumsfeld and Richard Perle, have been allowed to walk away with little to no real consequences for their actions.

Oh, sure, they've been scrutinized by people like you and I, by our readers, by those well-informed enough to follow the news. They've gotten spanked by Congress a few times, maybe some Senator said something mean about them on TV.

But it's not like they're ever going to be out of work. It's not like they're ever going to miss a meal. It's not like they're ever going to sit up nights wondering how they're gonna pay for their kids' braces. They won't be shuffled off in the street when they ask for some change. They won't have to learn to walk again, with a leg made of metal, or recover from PTSD in rooms riddled with mold. Their children won't
come home in boxes. They won't see their relatives blasted to bits by suicide bombers.

This story isn't over because it's still happening, again and again, around and around. When the news about Feith first came out, two years and more ago, Matt Yglesias wrote:

It's hard to think of a more important security issue facing the country than our capacity to gather reliable intelligence about who is, and who is not, collaborating with al-Qaeda. Feith's operation has cut directly against this and, as the report documents, been used to mislead Congress about the state of American intelligence on the subject.

This story isn't over because we still need to know how much of the information coming from this administration is reliable. This story isn't over because thanks to Feith, and the people who "authorized" his work, we're in a place where the American public can't trust that they're not being lied to, not about politics (they're kind of used to that) but about the true nature of threats to our security.

This story won't be over until there's some kind of accountability for that.

- posted by First Draft's Athenae

Labels: , ,