Thursday, July 17, 2003

Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity... INSANE??

It didn't take long for my conservative buddy over at the Naked Villainy blog to reply to the open letter I displayed. The Naked Villain's source is OpinionJournal, of the Wall Street Journal. I think you have to subscribe to this, so I don't feel I'm at liberty to quote OpinionJournal in full. I'll paste in the relevant bits, though.

[excerpt follows]

Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, a group of retired spies, issued an open letter to Bush Monday reflecting the view of many in the intelligence community that the central culprit is Vice President Dick Cheney. The open letter called for Cheney's resignation.

So who are these purported voices for "sanity" and against "politicization"? Blogger William Sjornstrom did some online sleuthing, and here's what he found:

VIPS does not seem to have a website, but its email is, and their open letter appears to have been published at CounterPunch (run by Alexander Cockburn, the Nation columnist), an outfit whose staple is stuff comparing Bush to Hitler. VIPS also published an open letter in opposition to the war at Common Dreams back in February. The spokesman for VIPS is Raymond McGovern, a retired CIA analyst. McGovern's email is also at CounterPunch. He is giving a briefing today [Tuesday] with Rep. Dennis Kucinich. McGovern has compared the Iraq war to Vietnam, even saying that it could lead to nuclear war. He has charged that if WMDs are found in Iraq, they may well have been planted. He believes Tenet's job is safe because if Tenet were fired, he would reveal that the White House ignored intelligence warnings pre-9/11. McGovern has urged CIA analysts to illegally release classified documents to show what he believes to be true, specifically citing Daniel Ellsberg.

Another member of the VIPS steering committee is William Christison, who among other things believes that the Bush administration is attempting to colonize the Middle East, jointly with Israel. He believes that the war on terror is being used to turn the US into a military dictatorship. He is also a backer of the left-wing UrgentCall, along with people such as Noam Chomsky, Barbara Kingsolver, Julian Bond, and Jonathan Schell.

None of this proves that VIPS is evil, or even wrong. It does say that Kristof is trying to pass off a fairly left-wing group as a group of non-partisan "professionals." The question is: Was Kristof merely duped, or is this part of a broader pattern of dishonesty and delusion at the New York Times?

[end excerpt; boldface mine]

OK, full disclosure: the OpinionJournal contained more items than just the VIPS flap. I simply deleted those items and have quoted the VIPS material in full, and am counting it as the lone "excerpt." Hee hee. Well, technically, I did delete most of the OpinionJournal.

Anyway, there ya' go. No comments at this point from me. Feel free to write in, though.

OK, maybe one comment. The above isn't a substantive reply to the arguments against Cheney; it's simply calling into question how seriously we should take the arguments, given who's arguing.

My two cents for the day.

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