Sunday, July 17, 2005

Let's Cook the Election and Say We Didn't 

Courtesy of our revered colleague Pissed-Off Patricia at BlondeSense: although the story is likely to be ignored in the ongoing Rove-Libby-Cooper-Miller-Plame-Wilson brouhaha, Seymour Hersh will report in next week's New Yorker that President Bush, in a shocking departure from administration S.O.P., decided not to game the Iraqi elections by disseminating covert funds through the usual assortment of NGO's and cutouts. Or at least decided to pretend he wouldn't:
In the months before the Iraqi elections in January, President Bush approved a plan to provide covert support to certain Iraqi candidates and political parties, but rescinded the proposal because of Congressional opposition, current and former government officials said Saturday.

In a statement issued in response to questions about a report in the next issue of The New Yorker, Frederick Jones, the spokesman for the National Security Council, said that "in the final analysis, the president determined and the United States government adopted a policy that we would not try - and did not try - to influence the outcome of the Iraqi election by covertly helping individual candidates for office" . . . .

The statement appeared to leave open the question of whether any covert help was provided to parties favored by Washington, an issue about which the White House declined to elaborate.

Any clandestine American effort to influence the Iraqi elections, or to provide particular support to candidates or parties seen as amenable to working with the United States, would have run counter to the Bush administration's assertions that the vote would be free and unfettered.

Mr. Bush, in his public statements, has insisted that the United States will help promote conditions for democracy in the region but will live with whatever governments emerge in free elections.
Readers whose memories stretch back to November of 2004 will recall that the President, doubtless hoping to spare himself future embarrassment, wisely refrained from making any such rash promises to the voters of Ohio.

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