Friday, May 04, 2007
But Sudan remains on the State Department’s list as a state sponsor of terror. And as a result of state-sponsored genocide, hundreds of thousands of people have died in Darfur and 2.5 million more have been forced to flee their homes. On April 18 in a speech at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, President Bush criticized the Sudanese government:
Sudan’s government has moved arms to Darfur, conducted bombing raids on villages, they’ve used military vehicles and aircraft that are painted white — which makes them look like those deployed by humanitarian agencies and peacekeeping forces.
Sens. Ron Wyden (D-OR), Russ Feingold (D-WI), Olympia Snow (R-ME), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) wrote a letter today to National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell questioning the basis for the administration’s claim that Sudan “is a strong partner in the war on terror.” Feingold issued the following statement:
The Administration needs to explain why its recent terrorism report described the government of Sudan, a state sponsor of terrorism which has been behind the genocide in Darfur, as a “strong partner in the War on Terror.” As we seek to stop the genocide, it is critical that Congress have all necessary information related to this administration’s policies and priorities in Sudan.
In November 2001, Bush said partners in the war against terror networks would be put to a simple test: “You’re either with us or against us in the fight against terror.” But today, when asked about the discrepancy in its Sudan policy, White House spokesman Tony Fratto replied: “Look, the situation in Sudan is complicated.”
Doesn't Sudan have some natural resources we might be interested in? Oh yeah....Oil. ~Uncle Salty
Thursday, May 03, 2007
"Christian" Right Attacks Hate Crimes Bill. Attacks Hate Crimes Legislation as punishing "thought" ignores that it only punishes Motive.
by Joe Solmonese at Huffpo
In New York City, a few months ago, Michael Sandy was killed in an antigay assault where he was beaten, chased into traffic, hit by a car, and then dragged off the road and attacked a second time by his assailants. On March 14th, 2007, twenty-five year old Ryan Skipper was fatally stabbed twenty times and beaten in Polk County Florida in an anti-gay hate crime and robbery. His body was dumped on the side of the road.
As gruesome and tragic as these stories are, they are but two heart-wrenching examples of thousands of hate crimes that occur all over our country every year. According to the FBI, 25 Americans each day are victims of hate crimes - that means approximately one hate crime is committed every hour. One in six hate crimes are motivated by the victim's sexual orientation.
Every act of violence is tragic and harmful in its consequences, but not all crime is based on hate. A bias-motivated crime affects not only the victim and his or her family but an entire community or category of people. In the most basic terms, hate crimes run counter to everything we believe in and fight for as Americans - freedom, equality, and justice for all.
The current federal hate-crimes law, enacted nearly 40 years ago, covers only bias attacks based on race, ethnicity, national origin, and religion. In the case of a hate crime based on gender, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity, our government's hands are tied -- it doesn't have the authority to prosecute these violent crimes. It's time to update the law to protect everyone, and this year marks our best chance yet to get it done.
This afternoon the House will vote on The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which has broad public and bipartisan support -- including 73% of the American people and more than 210 law enforcement, civil rights, civic and religious organizations. The legislation does two things: it updates the law by covering ALL Americans, and it puts crucial federal resources into the hands of local law enforcement.
This legislation has previously passed both houses of Congress in recent years, but was ultimately derailed by Republican leadership bowing to pressure from Republican extremists.
Predictably, anti-gay extremist organizations are at it again. Marking a new low in politics, these groups have embraced the work of a known white supremacist filmmaker, callously invoked the Virginia Tech massacre, blatantly lied about the Congressional record and even used the name and image of Jesus Christ in vain -- all in order to block passage of a bill that does nothing but provide equal protection under the law for every American.
In an action alert to members nationwide, Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, incredibly used the memory of the Virginia Tech massacre to rally his troops against the hate crimes bill, stating that its passage would provide "a homosexual would have more federal protection under the law than the 32 victims of last week's massacre."
The Traditional Values Coalition created and disseminated a fake transcript of last week's House Judiciary Committee hearing on the Hate Crimes bill to "prove" that the legislation would punish anti-gay thoughts. The falsified transcript doesn't even remotely resemble the official transcript of the proceeding. They even produced a "wanted poster" in which Jesus Christ, wearing a crown of thorns, is wanted for violating the proposed hate crimes bill. The poster states that Christ is "wanted for revealing the truth about homosexuality in 'The Bible' and encouraging his followers not to offend God by committing such behavior." Is abusing the image of Christ in order to divide and discriminate really the Christian way?
These extremists have nothing to fear. Even after the hate crimes legislation is passed, the religious right will continue to have the federally protected right to preach hatred from the pulpit and disseminate the videos of white supremacists.
But what they should fear is average Americans who have grown tired of the desperate politics of divide and distort. They rejected it in 2006, and they'll reject it again.
Today, when the hate crimes bill comes to a vote, we know that some right wing Republicans will play procedural games to divide the House and derail the bill. House members need to ask themselves -- do their constituents want them to fight for what's right and just, or do they want them to be tools of the most divisive and desperate political groups of our time?
James C. Dobson sent out a message to his followers last night asking a quarter-million Americans to take action against this bill.
That means we need a quarter-million Americans plus one to fight against Dobson and his crew, or simply some principled and courageous members on the house floor tomorrow to stand up and say enough is enough. I vote for the latter.
*** Editor's Note: Hate Crimes Legislation doesn't punish an offender for thought. It punishes an offender for Motive. The Christian Right just doesn't want anyone to acknowledge this simple fact, so they hide behind the idea that the bill would punish thought. Motive has been a deciding factor in Criminal Punishment for as long as legal theory has existed. Killing someone because you sneezed and your car hit a pedestrian is very different from choosing to run someone over because you don't like them. Motive. Remember this argument whenever you hear the right blasting "hate crimes" and claiming that they punish thought. It's a distraction to get you to agree with them. They will lie to get your support. I don't think that's very "Christian." Just my thoughts, Hugs and kisses, The Punisher.
This picture still just cracks me up. More appropriate than ever.
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
Illegal Immigrants: It's time to legalize them.
Allowing them to apply to become permanent residents would solve the "security" issues that people have because they would be fingerprinted and background checks would be done. This would also free up government resources to spend time finding people who don't want to be found instead of harassing people who just want a job.
This would also solve the "they took our jobs" crowd because the employers would now be forced pay undocumented workers the minimum wage and the workers would have the same legal protections as you and I with regards to employment. They would no longer be exploited workers.
And the argument that any type of "amnesty" would just lure more undocumented workers doesn't make sense because the government has been making immigration more restrictive in the last two decades and all it has done is increase the number of undocumented workers. Restricting immigration doesn't stop people from coming. In fact they stay longer because it's more dangerous to travel back and forth, and they bring their entire families with them because it's harder to cross the border.
So I say the solution is to legalize them. It's the only solution that will work. Any other solution will only create a permanent underclass that will eventually become a danger to our democracy.
Nobody said this was gonna be easy, but it's time to tear down the wall.
Just my thoughts,
Hugs and Kisses.
Republican "Berlin Wall" between Mexico and U.S. is a Stupid idea.
"General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization, come here to this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" -- Ronald Reagan at Brandenburg Gate, June 12, 1987.
McALLEN, Texas — A new map showing President Bush's planned border fence has riled Rio Grande Valley officials, who say the proposed barrier reneges on assurances that the river would remain accessible to farmers, wildlife and recreation.
City officials in the heavily populated valley had anticipated a "virtual" fence of surveillance cameras and border patrols.
Instead, a Customs and Border Protection map depicts a structure running piecemeal along a 600-mile stretch of Texas from Presidio to Brownsville, a border region where daily life is binational.
"We were given the impression that they were not going to be building walls, that there would be more cameras, surveillance, boots on the ground," said Mike Allen, head of McAllen Economic Development Corp.
"This is going to seriously affect the farmers," he said. "They will not have access to water. It's just going to create bedlam."
The map, obtained by The Associated Press, was attached to a memo addressed to "Dear Texas Homeland Security Partner." It outlines a plan to build 370 miles of fence and 200 miles of vehicle barriers, such as concrete barriers, by the end of 2008.
Of the 370 miles of fence, Texas is to have 153, Arizona 129, California 76, and New Mexico 12. Most of the vehicle barriers will be in Arizona and New Mexico.
Russ Knocke, a spokesman for Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, said that the so-called virtual fence won't work in urban areas and that the federal government has delivered a consistent message to local officials.
"We are utilizing traditional fencing at the border generally in those areas including metropolitan areas where it is easier for an alien ... to conceal themselves in a home or a business," he said.
Agents would use technology including sensors, radar and aerial drones in remote border areas, Knocke said.
Environmentalists fear the fence will block Rio Grande water access to endangered cats such as ocelots and jaguarundi and ruin key feeding and resting areas for migratory birds.
Environmental assessments are being conducted, but border security outweighs such concerns, Knocke said.
"For more than two decades this has been a problem that has been bubbling up," he said. "There's an expectation by the American people that we secure our borders."
Chertoff has already waived requirements to get permits in environmentally sensitive areas in order to expedite construction, Knocke said.
Hidalgo County Judge J.D. Salinas said the fence would damage the regional economy, which thrives on cross-border commerce.
Mexicans cross daily to make bank deposits, buy real estate, shop and work _ activities Salinas said would be threatened by the ill feelings generated in Mexico by the fence.
"Irrigation, that's one concern," Salinas said. "The other is the indirect message you're sending to you neighbor to the south."
President Bush called for 700 miles of fence during his national address last May on immigration reform, and Congress approved it. Of the $1.2 billion Congress approved, at least $400 million has been released.
The new Democratic majority in Congress could modify the law or withhold funding, Texas Congressman Henry Cuellar said.
"It's going to be difficult, but we're sure going to do everything we can," he said.
Texas' senators, both Republicans, said they expected federal officials to heed local concerns.
"I would be very concerned if they are not being listened to," said Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. "We should have local input, and private property rights should be taken into account."
Sen. John Cornyn said he would "insist that local officials, property owners and stakeholders have a voice in how we ultimately secure the border."
Cornyn said he and Hutchison had tried to require local input in legislation authorizing the fence but failed.
McAllen Mayor Richard Cortez doubts a fence would be effective. He said he has seen people forming human ladders and jumping off international bridges into the United States in full daylight and within view of agents.
"No physical wall is going to keep people from coming in," he said. "The core of the problem is an economic issue. We have integrated all of the markets in North America, but we have failed to integrate the labor market. It's the market forces that are bringing people here to work."
Officials said Chertoff had assured them they would be consulted before any fence went up.
"We met with Secretary Chertoff and we were given a commitment that he would talk to the locals before building a wall, so we're surprised that this is happening," Salinas said. "We feel there is already a structure there, which is the Rio Grande river."
(This version CORRECTS that at least $400M for the fence has been released, not appropriated.)
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
MISSION ACCOMPLISHED May 1, 2003. April 2007 U.S. death toll passes 100.
April death toll for U.S. in Iraq passes 100
Bloodiest month for Americans this year; bomber kills at least 32 in Khalis
The Associated Press
April 30, 2007
BAGHDAD - Five U.S. troops were killed over the weekend in Iraq, the military said Monday, pushing the death toll for April past 100 in the deadliest month for American forces this year.
A suicide bomber, meanwhile, blew himself up during a Shiite funeral in a volatile area north of Baghdad, the deadliest in a series of attacks that killed at least 51 people nationwide.
The bomber detonated his explosives about 6:30 p.m. inside a tent where mourners were gathered in Khalis, a flashpoint Shiite enclave in Diyala province, where U.S.-Iraqi forces have seen fierce fighting with Sunni and Shiite militants.
Officials in Diyala and Baghdad said at least 32 people were killed and 63 wounded in the blast, which occurred four days after a suicide car bomber killed 10 Iraqi soldiers at a checkpoint in the city, 50 miles north of Baghdad.
Al-Qaida in Iraq claimed responsibility for that attack in an area where Sunni Arab insurgents are thought to have fled to escape the security crackdown in Baghdad that U.S. and Iraqi troops launched Feb. 14.
The killings of the Americans came as U.S. troops have been increasingly deployed on the streets of Baghdad and housed with Iraqi troops in joint security operations away from their heavily fortified bases, raising their vulnerability to attacks.
Blasts rock Baghdad; smoke in Green Zone
A series of explosions rocked central Baghdad Monday night and witnesses reported seeing smoke rising from the heavily fortified Green Zone. The U.S. military said it had no immediate information on the blasts.
About a dozen blasts began about 10 p.m. and lasted about five minutes.
Iraqi police said several mortar shells landed in the Green Zone, which houses the U.S. and British embassies, the Iraqi government headquarters and thousands of American troops on the west bank of the Tigris River.
Three American soldiers and an Iraqi interpreter were killed by a roadside bomb while on a combat patrol Sunday in eastern Baghdad, the military said. A U.S. soldier was slain Saturday by small arms fire in the same part of the city — a predominantly Shiite area where American and Iraqi forces have stepped up operations as part of the nearly 11-week-old operation to quell sectarian violence.
A Marine also was killed Sunday in Anbar province, a Sunni insurgent stronghold west of the capital, the military said.
An al-Qaida-linked group vowed Monday to pursue a “long-term war of attrition” in Anbar against U.S. forces and an alliance of Sunni tribal leaders who have turned against the terror network.
Underscoring the threat, a tanker truck exploded near a restaurant just west of the Anbar provincial capital of Ramadi, killing four people and wounding six, police said.
Tide may be turning in Anbar
U.S.-backed Sunni sheiks and tribal leaders have begun turning against al-Qaida in Anbar, forming the Anbar Salvation Council. That has helped reduce violence in Ramadi and elsewhere, but has triggered clashes for control of the vast desert area that borders Syria, Saudi Arabia and Jordan.
The Islamic State in Iraq, an umbrella group that includes al-Qaida, warned militants were developing long-term plans and tactics for a “long-term war of attrition” against the Americans, in a statement posted on a militant Web site.
“The Marines do not confront the militants face-to-face, but they hide themselves behind thieves and highway robbers,” the group said in an apparent reference to the tribal alliance. “The mujahedeen are ongoing in their fights against the enemies of God.”
Bombings, shootings and mortar attacks struck a series of other targets Monday, including a car bomb that exploded just before 5 p.m. in a residential area in the mixed Sunni-Shiite neighborhood of Baiyaa, killing five civilians and wounding 10, police said.
Another car bomb struck a commercial area at about the same time in the eastern Baghdad area of Talibiyah, killing two civilians and wounding eight, police said.
Hours earlier after a suicide car bomber struck an Iraqi checkpoint as he emerged from an underpass in a predominantly Sunni area in western Baghdad, killing four people and wounding 10, police said.
The blast, which occurred at 10 a.m. at an Interior Ministry checkpoint in Nisour Square in the Harthiyah neighborhood, caused part of the road to buckle and destroyed the underpass, killing the two commandos and two civilians.
Iran to join conference
On Sunday, Iran agreed to join the U.S. and other countries at a conference on Iraq this week, raising hopes the government in Tehran would help stabilize its neighbor and stem the flow of guns and bombs over the border.
Senior Iranian envoy Ali Larijani flew to Baghdad on Sunday for talks with Iraqi leaders ahead of this week’s meetings in Egypt — the highest-ranking Iranian official to visit Iraq since the collapse of Saddam Hussein’s regime in 2003.
Larijani met Monday with Iraq’s Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari and offered Iranian support for the Iraqi government, saying “we see that Iraq’s territories and unity must be preserved.”
Zebari stressed the importance of the meetings Thursday and Friday in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheik.
“It is true that it aims to help the Iraqi government in improving security and stability, but it also has regional and international dimensions. It is in Iraq’s interest that the atmosphere be good,” Zebari said.
Worst month for U.S. since December
The U.S. deaths raised to at least 104 American troops who have died in Iraq as April draws to a close, the deadliest month since December, when 112 Americans died. The U.S. monthly death toll has topped 100 five other times since the Iraq war began in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count based on military figures.
At least 3,351 members of the U.S. military have died since the war started, according to the AP count.
President Bush has committed some 30,000 extra American troops to the security operation in Baghdad, but he is facing legislation by the Democratic-led Congress calling for the Americans to begin withdrawing from Iraq by Oct. 1. Bush has promised to veto the measure.
It also has been the deadliest month for British forces in Iraq since the first month of the war. The 11 British troops deaths reported this month is surpassed only by 27 who died in March 2003, reflecting increasing violence in southern Iraq where they are based, particularly among Shiite groups vying for influence as Britain prepares to reduce its forces.
The area is mainly Shiite and rarely sees the car bombs usually blamed on Sunni insurgents, although rival Shiite militias frequently clash and stage attacks.
Suspected death-squad leader held
On Monday, Iraqi commandos detained a suspected Shiite militia leader linked to death squad activities in the Basra area, according to a U.S. military statement.
The U.S. military also said a joint American-Iraqi raid Sunday was aimed at capturing “high-value individuals” in Baghdad’s heavily Shiite district of Kazimiyah and the resulting clash killed one Iraqi soldier and eight gunmen.
Iraqi police in the area said the raid targeted a local office of radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and guards had clashed with the troops. The U.S. statement said none of the individuals targeted by the raid were captured.
Hundreds of Shiites waving Iraqi flags and posters of al-Sadr and his late father rallied Monday outside a revered Shiite mosque in Kazimiyah to protest the raid as funerals were held for those killed.
In northern Iraq, a parked car bomb struck a police patrol in the Raas al-Jada, a mainly Sunni Arab area in Mosul, killing one policeman and wounding two others, police Brig. Gen. Mohammed Idan al-Jubouri said.
The attack occurred at 8 a.m., about four hours after some 50 gunmen attacked a police station in the same area, prompting a firefight and clashes as police chased the gunmen through the narrow streets. Four of the gunmen were killed and two others detained, while one policeman was wounded, police said.
In other violence reported by police:
# Mortar attacks targeting a residential area and a coffee shop killed at least two civilians and wounded 14 in northeastern Baghdad.
# A roadside bomb killed one civilian and wounded two others in the Baiyaa area in Baghdad.
# Gunmen killed a retired brigadier from Saddam Hussein’s former army as he was driving in southwestern Baghdad.
# A member of the main Kurdish political party, the Kurdistan Democratic Party, was shot to death in a drive-by shooting near Mosul.
# At least eight bullet-riddled bodies, many bearing signs of torture, also were found in different cities, including the body of another Kurdish Democratic Party member who had been kidnapped last week in Mosul.
One of the exigencies of eliminationist rhetoric is that ineluctably, by its nature, it is woven out of whole cloth -- it is almost purely fantasy, though sometimes it is wrapped around tiny grains of "fact" that, on closer examination, are mostly perceptions rather than truths.
Witness, for instance, the case of the Utah Republican Party poobah who wentr for the Grand Twofer: casting both illegal immigrants and liberals as the veritable Spawn of Satan his own bad self:
- Utah County Republicans ended their convention on Saturday by debating Satan's influence on illegal immigrants.
The group was unable to take official action because not enough members stuck around long enough to vote, despite the pleadings of party officials. The convention was held at Canyon View Junior High School.
Don Larsen, chairman of legislative District 65 for the Utah County Republican Party, had submitted a resolution warning that Satan's minions want to eliminate national borders and do away with sovereignty.
In a speech at the convention, Larsen told those gathered that illegal immigrants "hate American people" and "are determined to destroy this country, and there is nothing they won't do."
Illegal aliens are in control of the media, and working in tandem with Democrats, are trying to "destroy Christian America" and replace it with "a godless new world order -- and that is not extremism, that is fact," Larsen said.
At the end of his speech, Larsen began to cry, saying illegal immigrants were trying to bring about the destruction of the U.S. "by self invasion."
Republican officials then allowed speakers to defend and refute the resolution. One speaker, who was identified as "Joe," said illegal immigrants were Marxist and under the influence of the devil. Another, who declined to give her name to the Daily Herald, said illegal immigrants should not be allowed because "they are not going to become Republicans and stop flying the flag upside down. ... If they want to be Americans, they should learn to speak English and fly their flag like we do."
Senator Howard Stephenson, R-Draper, spoke against the resolution, saying Larsen, whom he called a "true patriot and a close friend," was embarrassing the Republican Party.
"I agree with 95 percent of this resolution but it has some language that is divisive and not inspiring other people to its vision," he said. "This only gives fodder to the liberal media to give negative attention to the Republican Party."
... Larsen was allowed to finish the debate with a one-minute speech.
"If the Democrats take over the country, we will be dead, and we will have abortion and partial-birth abortion and the Republican Party will go into extinction," he said. "Nancy Pelosi and the ACLU would oppose this (resolution)."
As we saw in Montana last week, the spread of vile, hateful rhetoric specifically intended to dehumanize liberals, illegal immigrants and Muslims is hardly relegated to the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter. That's just where it starts.
[Hat tip to Hartmut in comments.]
Monday, April 30, 2007
Stephen Hadley Still Seeking "War Czar" the job "Stephan Hadley would do, if Stephen Hadley had the time." Bueller? Bueller?
SHERYL GAY STOLBERG
WASHINGTON, April 29 — Stephen J. Hadley would be the first to tell you he does not have star power. But Mr. Hadley, the bespectacled, gray-haired, exceedingly precise Washington lawyer who is President Bush’s national security adviser, is in the market for someone who does — with the hope of saving Iraq.
Mr. Hadley is interviewing candidates, including military generals, for a new high-profile job that people in Washington are calling the war czar. The official (Mr. Hadley, ever cautious, prefers “implementation and execution manager”) would brief Mr. Bush every morning on Iraq and Afghanistan, then prod cabinet secretaries into carrying out White House orders.
It is the kind of task — a little bit of internal diplomacy and a lot of head-knocking, fortified by direct access to the president — that would ordinarily fall to Mr. Hadley himself. After all, he oversaw the review that produced Mr. Bush’s troop buildup in Iraq. But his responsibilities encompass issues around the globe, and he has concluded that he needs someone “up close to the president” to work “full time, 24/7” to put the policy into effect. He hopes to fill the job soon.
“What we need,” he said in a recent interview, “is someone with a lot of stature within the government who can make things happen.”
Even so, the idea that the national security adviser is subcontracting responsibility for the nation’s most pressing foreign policy crisis — and must recruit someone of stature to get the attention of the cabinet — is provoking criticism of Mr. Hadley himself, and how he has navigated the delicate internal politics of a White House famous for its feuding.
“Steve Hadley is an intelligent, capable guy, but I don’t think this reflects very well on him,” said David J. Rothkopf, author of “Running the World,” a book about the National Security Council. “I wouldn’t even call it a Hail Mary pass. It’s kind of a desperation move.”
Mr. Rothkopf sees the new position as “a tactic to separate the national security adviser from Iraq” — a way to save Mr. Hadley’s reputation. Ivo Daalder, a former Clinton administration official who is co-writing a book on national security advisers, said the proposal “raises profound questions” about Mr. Hadley’s “ability to put heads together and make sure that the president’s wishes are in fact his commands.”
At 60, Mr. Hadley has been around Washington long enough to know pretty much everyone in town. He arrived in 1972 to work at the Pentagon (after attending law school at Yale with Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York) and has served Republicans since Richard Nixon. His relationships with Vice President Dick Cheney and Donald H. Rumsfeld, the former secretary of defense, date from the Ford administration.
He is regarded as a sharp negotiator, more of a pragmatic conservative than a neoconservative. Despite his mild-mannered appearance, he has shown flashes of toughness on those rare occasions when the White House curtain is pulled back. By one account, which he does not deny, Mr. Hadley pressed for the ouster of Mr. Rumsfeld early in Mr. Bush’s second term. He delivered a stinging assessment of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki in a confidential memo to the president last year.
Today, after serving as deputy to Condoleezza Rice when she was national security adviser, and then replacing her when she became secretary of state, Mr. Hadley is one of Mr. Bush’s closest advisers. He is the first person the president sees in the Oval Office each morning and a constant, sober presence on international trips. Yet he is so relentlessly low-profile that it is difficult to get a fix on his views. Even his admirers have a hard time assessing his performance.
“I’m a big fan of Steve Hadley,” said Kurt Campbell, founder of the Center for New American Security, an independent research organization in Washington. “Whether he’s in the right job, and whether it’s too difficult, I’m not really sure.”
In a city filled with people who crave the spotlight, Mr. Hadley is an aberration. Every once in a while, Dan Bartlett, the chief White House communications strategist, prods him into appearing on a Sunday morning news program, if only, Mr. Bartlett says, because he comes across as so “even-handed and credible.” Friends lament that no one sees the warm, witty Mr. Hadley that they know.
“He seems like a functionary when I watch him on television — he’s very controlled,” said Amy Dickinson, author of the syndicated Ask Amy advice column, who knows Mr. Hadley from church. “But he’s somebody who I think of in other contexts as being very warm, very funny.”
And strait-laced. One story around the White House — Mr. Hadley calls it “one of the great urban myths” — is that he wore penny loafers to cut brush with the president on his Texas ranch. Last year, during Mr. Bush’s surprise trip to Baghdad, Mr. Hadley’s concession to comfort on the overnight flight was to change out of his business suit into gray flannel pants.
“We got him to at least take his jacket off,” Mr. Bartlett said.
On Capitol Hill, Mr. Hadley has become sort of a fix-it man for the Bush White House. When Republicans like Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina revolted over the legislation creating military commissions to try terrorism suspects, Mr. Hadley was sent to Capitol Hill to straighten out the mess.
“He is a cross between a law school professor, an accountant and — ” Mr. Graham said, pausing for a few seconds before adding, “Jon Stewart.” Mr. Hadley, upon hearing this, did not bat an eye at being compared to the host of the Comedy Central news show but complained about the accountant reference. “An accountant?” he asked. “I’m not that great with numbers.”
But to the public, Mr. Hadley is nearly invisible. He has transformed a position once inhabited by some of the most vivid personalities in foreign affairs — among them Henry A. Kissinger, Zbigniew Brzezinski and Ms. Rice — into one that many Americans do not know exists.
“No one is ever going to talk about the Hadley era in U.S. national security,” Mr. Rothkopf said. “He is definitely this administration’s man in the gray flannel suit.”
Mr. Brzezinski said: “He’s straightforward, nice, to the point. But there’s a kind of bureaucratic regularity to him.”
That is precisely the way Mr. Hadley wants it. Some, like Mr. Kissinger and Mr. Brzezinski, have taken an expansive approach to the job, using it as a platform to advance their own ideas. Mr. Hadley, like Ms. Rice before him, sees himself as “an honest broker,” he said, “somebody who is not pushing a particular policy view.” When the big egos of the White House — the vice president, secretary of state or defense chief — disagree, he says, he presents opposing views, and Mr. Bush decides.
The White House was rife with such disputes when Mr. Hadley took his job at the beginning of the second term, and former colleagues say he quickly set about bridging the gaps — and pushing himself into the background.
“He made a very deliberate decision to let Rice be the face of foreign policy,” said Michael Green, a former top Asia specialist at the National Security Council. He also tried to smooth relations with Mr. Rumsfeld by bringing Pentagon officials onto the security council staff. But when the defense secretary fired off lengthy memos, dubbed snowflakes, to the council, Mr. Hadley firmly fired snowflakes back.
Still, questions about whether he had the backbone for the job persisted.
“A lot of people wonder, how will Hadley stand up to Cheney or Rumsfeld or Rice,” Mr. Hadley said last year, in a rare interview in which he talked about himself. “The answer is: you don’t have to. They are 600-pound gorillas, but I work for the 1,500-pound gorilla.”
That was before the 1,500 pound gorilla — Mr. Bush — fired Mr. Rumsfeld after the November midterm elections. In his book “State of Denial,” the journalist Bob Woodward writes that Mr. Hadley argued for Mr. Rumsfeld’s ouster much earlier. Mr. Hadley showed a rare flash of anger when asked about it. But, asked if it was true, he did not deny it.
“One of the things I try not to do,” he said stiffly, “is talk publicly about my advice to the president.”
With Mr. Rumsfeld gone and Mr. Bush taking a more assertive role in managing the war, people inside and outside the White House say the balance of power has shifted, and Mr. Hadley has emerged as more of a force. As Fred Kagan, a military historian who is considered the co-author of the troop buildup strategy, said, “I get the sense of a guy who is trying to do his job at a very difficult time and is actually being allowed to do it for the first time.”
That is one reason the war czar proposal has left some in Washington scratching their heads. At a recent press conference, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates described it this way: “This is what Steve Hadley would do if Steve Hadley had the time.”
But Mr. Daalder, who is now a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, was mystified. “If Hadley doesn’t have time for this,” he asked, “what does he have time for? Our policy toward Nicaragua?”