Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Way To Go Dems!

Yesterday, outnumbered Democrats used a rarely invoked Senate rule to force a closed-door session as a way to capture the attention of the Republican majority and the American people to the assertions that the Bush administration misused intelligence in the run-up to war in Iraq.

“This administration manufactured and manipulated intelligence in order to sell the war in Iraq and attempted to destroy those who dared to challenge its actions,” Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said.

It was the first time in more than two decades that the Senate chambers were emptied and sealed in the implementation of the obscure Rule 21, which dates back to 1795. Though Republicans cried foul, they had no choice but to comply.

The Intelligence Committee’s investigation into Iraq was two-fold: was the rationale that weapons of mass destruction were threatening American interests the reason for going to war, and, did the Bush administration twist the evidence in order to make a convincing, if deceptive, argument? Pertaining to the first question, the committee concluded last year that there were no weapons of mass destruction and therefore the war-drums were beaten erroneously. The second phase’s investigation was more tricky, and Republican lawmakers began to stall.

“They have repeatedly chosen to protect the Republican administration rather than get to the bottom of what happened and why,” Reid said Tuesday.

Democrats forced the closed door session in order to get assurance that the Intelligence Committee would complete the second phase of its investigation. A six-member task force — three members from each party — was appointed to review the Intelligence Committee's work and report to their respective leaders by November 14th.

Way to go, Dems!


Blogger E.J. Desormeaux said...

October 9th, 1999 Letter to President Clinton Signed by Senators Levin, Lieberman, Lautenberg, Dodd, Kerrey, Feinstein, Mikulski, Daschle, Breaux, Johnson, Inouye, Landrieu, Ford and Kerry -- all Democrats:

"We urge you, after consulting with Congress and consistent with the US Constitution and laws, to take necessary actions, including, if appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq's refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs."

John Kerry, January 23rd, 2003:
"Without question we need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator leading an impressive regime. He presents a particularly grievous threat because he is so consistently prone to miscalculation. And now he's miscalculating America's response to his continued deceit and his consistent grasp for weapons of mass destruction. His consistent grasp for weapons of mass destruction."

Bill Clinton, February 17th, 1998:
"If Saddam rejects peace, and we have to use force, our purpose is clear: We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program."

Sandy Berger February 18th, 1998:
"He''ll use those weapons of mass destruction again as he has 10 times since 1983."

Senator Carl Levin September 19th, 2002:
"We begin with a common belief that Saddam Hussein is a tyrant and a threat to the peace and stability of the region. He has ignored the mandate of the United Nations, is building weapons of mass destruction and the means of delivering them."

Senator Hillary Clinton, October 10th of 2002:
"In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock. His missile delivery capability, his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists including Al-Qaeda members. It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons."

Madeleine Albright November 10th, 1999:
"Hussein has chosen to spend his money on building weapons of mass destruction and palaces for his cronies."

Robert Byrd October 3rd, 2002:
"The last UN weapons inspectors left Iraq in October of '98. We are confident that Saddam Hussein retains some stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons and that he has since embarked on a crash course to build up his chemical and biological warfare capabilities. Intelligence reports indicate that he is seeking nuclear weapons."

Al Gore, September 23rd, 2002:
"Iraq's search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to deter, and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power."

Madeleine Albright, February 1st, 2003:
"We must stop Saddam from ever again jeopardizing the stability and the security of his neighbors with weapons of mass destruction."

Nancy Pelosi December 16th, 1998:
"Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology, which is a threat to countries in the region, and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process."

Al Gore September 23rd, 2002:
"We know that he has stored nuclear supplies, secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country."

John Kerry October 9th, 2002:
"I will be voting to give the president of the US the authority to use force if necessary to disarm Saddam because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security."

Ted Kennedy September 27th, 2002:
"We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction."

Jay Rockefeller October 10th, 2002:
"There was unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years. We also should remember that we have always underestimated the progress Saddam has made in development of weapons of mass destruction."

Senator Bob Graham December 2002:
"We are in possession of what I think to be compelling evidence that Saddam Hussein has and has had for a number of years a developing capacity for the production and storage of weapons of mass destruction."

7:03 PM  
Blogger Brandon Fibbs said...

And your point is?!?!

Are you really arguing from the perspective of: "Yeah, but all these guys were wrong too!"

Please! That's the dumbest validation I've ever heard. If you want to discuss the fact that other people, besides the President, were wrong as well, fine. But don't parade it as a serious, legitimate rebutal!

Besides, your argument fits into Phase One of this investigation. It's Phase Two that is the focus now, and that one fall squarly on the sholders of the administration.

7:13 PM  
Blogger Jon said...

You are too quick to trivialize Eric's post Brandon. His quotes include dates before Bush was even running for president. His quotes include members of the previous administration. I think what Eric is trying to say (and correct me if I'm wrong here Eric) is that the Democracts aren't really interested in a search for the truth regarding pre-war intelligence, rather they are on a Republican witch hunt.

My personal view is there is little real difference between the parties, and if Gore had won in 2000 then we still would have gone into Iraq (assumeing the same series of events had transpired) and it would be the Republicans crying bloody murder at the Democrats.

Maybe I'm just to jaded, but I don't think for a second that the Dems are fighting against corruption in the Republican party, they're simply trying to ensure their brand of corruption is sitting in the hot seat next exlection.

Nothing is going to come of this-NOTHING! Just like nothing came of the 9-11 omission report (siq). And to be frank, it pisses me off when the people who pay their salaries get kicked out so that we can't see or hear whats going on. If the Dems have something to say, let them criticise the Reprobates, I mean Republicans in the full view of all americans (or at least those who watch C-SPAN).

For what it's worth. Take it or leave it.


12:40 AM  
Anonymous Nate said...

I'm kind of with Jon on this one. At least the part about Democrats being less concerned with nobility than about a witch hunt.

I think calling for the closed session CAN be a dramatic media attention grabber to shift the focus back toward the investigation, which team Bush had successfully diverted us from for at least two days with the Alito nom and avian flu program (granted, both things that had to happen at some point; they just really benefited the administration just now).

A stunt, yes, but maybe a necessary one?

As far as e.j.'s quotes, that would be pretty damning evidence about the rudderlessness (I think of politicians in general) if there were more information included with the quotes. Where did these people say these things? What speech? What venue? What interview? To whom? It's not that I don't trust the post...well, no actually, I don't trust the post.
I'm sure some if not all the quotes are legitimate, but we have no way of knowing. We just have to take you at your word! And that is what irritates me about so much of the dialogue these days. It's just a bunch of no-he-didn't, yes-he-did, shouting. We are in the middle of a full blown information war, people. The real new frontier. And this isn't a conspiracy theory, Fibbers. There is no top-down entity controlling it. It's every individual with an agenda and a keyboard. We are just beginning to see its effects this decade.
So, e.j., while these all read as very plausible quotes, (particularly since a couple of them come from known "wafflers"), until I find time out of my workday to Google this stuff I have no way of knowing whether they are legitimate or you just cut and pasted it from an email you received once and saved. Who knows who wrote the original. And who has the time to be a full time investigative reporter? It's kinda scary when you think about it.

Because I see this stuff every day and often, after a quick check, it is demonstrably false. (And how do I know that? Well...I don't)

So, please, besides dates, could you quote some publications or provide some links? I'm willing to swallow it if you do it.

This is not an argument, merely a plea for accountability for information, which is more important now than ever.

12:30 PM  
Blogger Brandon Fibbs said...

Yeah, Jonathan is making very valid points, as he often does. I'm sure they are less concerned with nobility than with a witch hunt. However, like Nate, I feel it is a necessary one. I'll use thier self-serving machinations all day if it gets us closer to the truth.

12:43 PM  
Blogger E.J. Desormeaux said...

Was Bush wrong? Yes. Was the CIA wrong? Yes. Were the Democrats and Republicans wrong? Yes.

Why did I post those quotes? Because the Democrats on the Hill are not accusing President Bush and his administration of being wrong. They are accusing him of LYING. Everyone...regardless if you are a Republican or Democrat (and for the record, I'm a Libertarian) knows that is the accusation: BUSH LIED. Well, my old friend, if President Bush (for whom I'm not a huge fan) lied so did ALL THOSE F*ING Democrats whose quotes I posted.

You proved my point with your earlier response to my comment. Thanks. :)

12:41 AM  
Blogger Jon said...

Personally Eric, I have no problem thinking that both parties are liars and willing to say and do whatever solidfies their power. If that means falsifying intelligence, so be it. If that means going along with what you know to be falsified intelligence and then crying treason later, they'll do that to.

When, oh when will we get a Libertarian President. Hold on a second, the pigs are trying to fly away again. DOWN PIGS! DOWN! STAY! Stupid pigs. I wish I never cloned them with wings now.

LIBERTARIANS RULE...modestly over their own lives only.

I found a pretty cool flash on Libertarianism the other day. You can check it out here:

I think it was made for kids, but I think it holds just as much power for adults.

8:16 AM  
Blogger Brandon Fibbs said...

The difference, to me seems obvious, but allow me to extrapolate.

Every single one of those quotes are from before the war. If you want to accuse those Democrats of being ignorant, do it, it’ll stick. If you want to charge those Democrats with being stupid, do it, it’ll stick. If you want to accuse those Democrats of being misleading, don’t do it, you’ll fail.

Like it or not, those Democrats weren’t in office and didn’t initiate the war. The Bush Administration did. Like the old military rule, the captain is wholly and personally responsible for everything that goes on during his watch. Right, wrong, ignorant, misinformed, whatever—he is responsible and he is held accountable. Those other voices, mistaken and misguided as they may have been, didn’t ultimately give the go order.

And perhaps what is most damning of all is that, when the evidence just wasn’t there to support any of their misconceptions, they didn’t manipulate the evidence, they didn’t rely on half-baked and irresponsible evidence, they didn’t spin small rumors into large lies, they didn’t try to cover up their deceptions when they were caught, they didn’t try to silence dissenters and endanger their lives in the process. Bush did.

That’s the point.

8:56 AM  
Blogger Brandon Fibbs said...

Monday news:

US military intelligence warned the Bush administration as early as February 2002 that its key source on Al-Qaeda's relationship with Iraq had provided
"intentionally misleading" data, according to a declassified report.

Nevertheless, eight months later, President George W. Bush went public with charges that the Iraqi government of Saddam Hussein had trained members of Osama bin Laden's terror network in manufacturing deadly poisons and gases.

These same accusations had found their way into then-secretary of state Colin Powell's February 2003 speech before the UN Security Council, in which he outlined the US rationale for military action against Iraq.

8:12 PM  

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