Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

This afternoon, after John Kerry said that Iyad Allawi was painting an overly rosy picture of the situation in Iraq, Dick Cheney said "John Kerry is trying to tear down all the good that has been accomplished, and his words are destructive to our effort in Iraq and in the global war on terror."

In other words, democracy in America is harmful to building democracy in Iraq.

Not that we really need to revisit this cudgel-issue of which candidate has more endorsements of foreign leaders, but on this issue pundits have shortchanged the incumbent.

Those who claim that Kerry has a lock on the support of foreign leaders have, rather unfairly, lumped all foreign leaders together into one pool, rather than dividing them into different subsets and weighting them accordingly. The issue is sort of like that raised by Ruy Teixeira about public opinion polls which have oversampled Republican voters.

If you take this more specific view, you see that among those foreign leaders President Bush has himself appointed to office his rate of support runs extremely high -- probably approaching 100%.

"Foreign terrorists are still pouring in, and they're <$NoAd$>trying to inflict damage on Iraq to undermine Iraq and to undermine the process, democratic process in Iraq, and, indeed, this is their last stand. So they are putting a very severe fight on Iraq. We are winning. We will continue to win, and we are going to prevail."

Iyad Allawi Prime Minister of Iraq September 19th, 2004 This Week, ABC NEWS

"Yes, the American troops have advanced further. This will only make it easier for us to defeat them."

Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf (aka "Baghdad Bob") former Iraqi Information Minister

[ed.note: I found the Sahaf quote on this famed Sahaf fan appreciation site. I tried to confirm it using Nexis. And I found several instances of it in reputable publications, such as the Times of London. But in each case these other publications seem to have sourced their usage to this same Sahaf fan website. So caveat lector. But you get the idea.]

Why so many fringy right-wing nutball sites on GoogleNews? J.D. Lasica reports so you can decide.

Talk about unorthodox.

A journalist -- Marc Sandalow, Washington Bureau Chief <$NoAd$>of the San Francisco Chronicle -- decided to discuss charges that John Kerry has waffled on Iraq policy by actually going back and reviewing his record as expressed in policy statements, speeches and votes.

Not surprisingly, he found Kerry has had pretty much the same position since the whole Iraq debate started ...

[A]n examination of Kerry's words in more than 200 speeches and statements, comments during candidate forums and answers to reporters' questions does not support the accusation [of flip-flopping]. As foreign policy emerged as a dominant issue in the Democratic primaries and later in the general election, Kerry clung to a nuanced, middle-of-the road -- yet largely consistent -- approach to Iraq ...

[T]aken as a whole, Kerry has offered the same message ever since talk of attacking Iraq became a national conversation more than two years ago.

Someone's got to talk to this Sandalow guy and straighten him out. Maybe someone from CNN?

"The path to our safety and to Iraq's future as a democratic nation lies in the resolute defense of freedom. If we stop fighting the terrorists in Iraq, they would be free to plot and plan attacks elsewhere, in America and other free nations. To retreat now would betray our mission, our word, and our friends."

That's President Bush from his appearance today with Prime Minister Allawi of Iraq.

Sentence one is certainly an arguable proposition and not without some merit, though it's bundled with so much rhetoricical mush as to have little concrete meaning. I think you can say the same thing for sentence three.

But surely sentence number two is pure foolishness. "If we stop fighting the terrorists in Iraq, they would be free to plot and plan attacks elsewhere, in America and other free nations."

Does anyone even possibly believe this is true? They're trapped in Iraq? We've got them pinned down so they can't hatch plots against US or European targets? 'The terrorists' are so busy with the insurgency in Iraq that they can't spare a few Mohammad Attas to blow stuff up over here?

Think about ...

Another poll, Fox News/Opinion Dynamics: Bush 45%, Kerry 43% among likely voters. And this is in line with other recent 'likely voter' poll numbers. Of the five soundings of likely voters from the last week, the most recent (albeit a Dem poll) had a tie. Before that there was one with a four point spread (NBC/WSJ), two with a three point spreads (Zogby and IBD) and another with a four point spread (GWU Battleground).

Is Prime Minister Allawi actually part of the Bush campaign? Or is he registered as a 527?

In Newsweek this afternoon, Mike Isikoff and Mark Hosenball have a piece that touches on the fact that the FBI still hasn't managed to interview Rocco Martino, the guy at the center of the forged Niger uranium documents story. They put the question to the FBI and were told by a "U.S. law-enforcement official ... [that] the FBI is seeking to interview Martino, but has not yet received permission to do so from the Italian government."


The Bureau may well be looking to interview Martino now that they've been put on the spot.

But are they really willing to take 'no' for an answer from the Italians?

And more to the point, if it's really a jurisdictional issue, why didn't they try to interview Martino last month when he was in New York?

Or if not then, how about when he flew here in June?

The White House is now saying that it's imperative to get to the bottom of who's behind the CBS Memo forgeries. And they're right. But the US government has never made any serious effort to find out who is behind the Niger uranium forgeries.

Why not?

The article in today's Post on the indictments of three top aides to House Majority Leader Tom DeLay mentions that one of them is John Colyandro, the executive director of DeLay's political action committee, Texans for a Republican Majority (aka TRMPAC -- an acronym which might perhaps be a subtle homage to DeLay's earlier partying days).

What it doesn't mention is that Colyandro is a one-time right-hand-shark to Karl Rove.

In fact Colyandro was at the center of one of Rove's uglier dirty-tricks from his Texas political days -- a story that is told in all its lizardly detail in a magazine article that's coming out about Rove next week.

Actually, after reading the article, you'll start to see that the whole Swift Boat business was pretty mild for what Rove is capable of.

If (or maybe 'when'?) he really wanted to lower the boom, or imitate past practice, we'd probably be hearing that Kerry was running his Swift Boat like an after-party for a Village People concert circa 1979. Or that when Kerry really wanted to party on the Delta he'd head to the local orphanage for a good time.