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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Who is Andrew H. Card?

Speaking tonight at Loyola University, Former Chief of Staff 2000-2006 Andrew H. Card Jr., when asked whether U.S. intelligence going into the Iraq War was faulty responded "Intelligence is not fact. Intelligence is analysis for policy makers." Perhaps Kairos missed an opportunity to protest and illuminate the real Card.

Let's recall that in Dec. 2003 Wolf Blitzer interviewed Card on CNN 'Late Edition'.
"BLITZER: Was U.S. intelligence going into the war faulty?

CARD: Well, intelligence -- I think, first of all, there was plenty of justification to go to war. He had stiffed the United Nations many, many times. He was a threat to his own people and a threat to the region. He was a threat to our interests. And we had called for -- as a country, we had called for regime change under the previous administration.

"But when you go there today and you see some of the mass graves that are there, where he murdered his own people, you just can't help but think that we are much better off with Saddam there. So, I think that's a moot point."
Correct, he called the question of intelligence for going to war a "moot point."

He has a reputation for lip service. Laughed at in an interview with "Morning Joe", he called a time line to end the Iraq War dangerous, while condoning a necessary 'time horizon'. In his own words tonight, "I am an analogue" proud of his speaking abilities. In John Woodward's Book covering the Administration State of Denial he says of himself, "I was frequently the person trying to take sand out of people’s underwear, which is a very difficult task if it’s not your underwear.”

Not always is he a fan favorite. Booed off the commencement stage at UMass in 2006, Andrew Card was received by a subdued Loyola audience. He treated the crowd to an opening on the meaning of being a citizen, comparing the long wait endured by a naturalized citizen to what, presumably, the rest of us take for granted.

Advertised as a commentary on Obama's first 100 days, Card would draw largely from the transition year of 2000. When some still questioned the verdict of the vote, Card would say that "Every president who takes the oath arrives smarter than he was when he received the right to take office." Certainly, George W. Bush had a plan "We had a script for the first 100 days."

He opposed Obama's stimulus plan: "I wish that he had something like the discipline of needs." Though lamenting its packaging of "pork barrel," his definition of needs appears not to include Healthcare. Card was quoted by USATODAY March 10 of this month calling Healthcare neither a right, nor a need.

He approved of the indication by the Obama administration to leave the revised Patriot Act intact. But, though emphasizing the need for an Administrations speedy access to information, he made no acknowlegement of failures to protect that information during his tenure. In regard to a White House leak that endangered covert CIA officer Valerie Plame Wilson, Congressional Oversight Committee convened April 23, 2007, calling him for testimony. The letter to Card cited a failure to safeguard classified information at the White House, during and after his tenure as the White House Chief of Staff. The disclosure by White House officials of the officers covert status was, according to Chief Security Officer at the White House, James Knodell, neither 1) internally investigated 2) "correctively prevented" nor 3) "sanctioned or reprimanded". He said to Andrea Mitchell of Morning Joe "I consider the public's discussion of this as cheeting the President's ability to consider lots of good information before making a decision."

Gee, so much for tonight's pitch about the crucial importance of the First Amendment. As you said, it really does defend your right to say what you want about the government.

When he resigned in 2006 Sen. Dick Durbin said "You could trust Andy Card." Currently he serves as director of Union Pacific, a Forbes fortune 400 company. In contrast, colleagues such as John Woo, who drafted legal briefs to justify torture, currently face charges in Spain for war crimes.

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