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September 11, 2006

NewsFlash! In 2003, Rockafeller Saw Connection Between Iraq, Al Qaeda

Watching the almost surreal revisionism practiced by Democrat Senators on the subject of Iraq this Fall has been far more entertaining (and often bloodier) than preseason football. First up was the Junior Senator from Massachusetts, John Kerry (D, Vietnam).

As usual, the Boston Fog Machine was a walking advertisement for cognitive dissonance. Was this the same man who, after relentlessly campaigning as a war hero on the strength of wounds more serious than a paper cut but less fatal than decapitation, solemnly said to fellow Democrat Bob Kerry (who'd lost a leg to the Viet Cong):

'I am saddened that Vietnam has yet again been inserted into the campaign'?

Hey - don't mention it. That was then, this is now. In 1998 on ABC New's This Week, Kerry was ready to raize Iraq in a fashion reminiscent of Kofi Annan, armed with little more than those medals he didn't chuck onto the Capitol Steps and an odd looking Cambodian Hat:

"I think there is a disconnect between the depth of the threat that Saddam Hussein presents to the world and what we are at the moment talking about doing. If indeed he is as significant a threat, as you heard him characterized by the president (Clinton), the secretary of state, the secretary of defense-can threaten London, threaten the peace of the Middle East, that he is really a war criminal who is already at war with the civilized world-then we have to be prepared to go the full distance, which is to do everything possible to disrupt his regime and to encourage the forces of democracy."

Kerry also voices his support for sending ground troops to Iraq because a mere bombing attack would not end the threat. "I am way ahead of the commander in chief, and I'm probably way ahead of my colleagues and certainly of much of the country," Kerry declares. "But I believe this." Further, "If we don't face this today, we will face it at some point down the road."

Or perhaps, not at all. When you're John Kerry, confrontation can always be avoided by means of a never ending series of rolling deadlines. First, it was May 15, 2006. Then it was January 1st, 2007 (hint: when a 19 year old moderate Democrat calls what your proposal an "utterly inexcusable and an unjustifiable act of arrogant ego", it may be time to rethink your exit strategy). Now, the fount of Post Cartesian Multvariate Co-directionality has changed course again. We have a new date for re-deployment...err... : the establishment of an "over-the-horizon" force. But wait! There's more! The real path toward lessening the resentment of those Arab terrorists, is the total ruination of their economy!

Third, we are threatened not just by gun barrels, but by oil barrels. The great treasury of jihadist terrorism is Mideast oil. We fund both sides in the war on terror every time we fill up our gas tanks. We must liberate the Middle East from the tyranny of dependence on petroleum, so that the region is no longer isolated from the global economy. Nothing will change if autocratic regimes are kept in power by pumping prosperity out of the ground and paying off their own people with petrodollar welfare checks. We must end the empire of oil. We need a comprehensive strategy to break our oil addiction.

That's first-class thinking, there. The kind of visionary thinking we can expect from a Kerry presidency. Stop prosperity in the Middle East (their only export, in fact) and we'll stop terrorism dead in its tracks. We're sure there'll be no hard feelings. Then there's Jay Rockefeller, who back in 2001 thundered from the heights of Mt. Olympus:

There has been some debate over how "imminent" a threat Iraq poses. I do believe that Iraq poses an imminent threat, but I also believe that after September 11, that question is increasingly outdated.

As recently as 2002, Senator Rockafeller was still bullish on Iraq:

Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV): "There is 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 we have always underestimated the progress Saddam has made in development of weapons of mass destruction." (Sen. Jay Rockefeller, Congressional Record, 10/10/02, p. S10305)

And in 2003, Senator Rockafeller (wonder of wonders!) was quite sure there was a substantial connection between Iraq and al Qaeda:

...asked about an Iraq-al Qaeda relationship by CNN's Wolf Blitzer on February 5, 2003, Rockefeller agreed with Republican Senator Pat Roberts that Abu Musab al Zarqawi's presence in Iraq before the war and his links to a poison camp in northern Iraq were troubling. Rockefeller continued: "The fact that Zarqawi certainly is related to the death of the U.S. aid officer and that he is very close to bin Laden puts at rest, in fairly dramatic terms, that there is at least a substantial connection between Saddam and al Qaeda."

But in the great tradition of Democrat Senators, the blank slate of history can always be wiped clean.

As cynical as post-9/11 politics have have us, we never thought we'd see the day when Democrat Congressmen would demand a TV network alter the content of a fictionalized historical docudrama to match a government-approved version of history. But that is what happened. Government censorship. Approved by liberals.

The interesting question is, which "government approved version" of history should Hollywood adhere to? The SSCI report the media have virtually ignored now for two years? The one that found numerous links between Iraq and al Qaeda and concluded that Joe Wilson lied to both the Senate and the Washington Post? Or the new, improved SSCI report that finds absolutely no link between Iraq and al Qaeda, and which (oddly enough) contains conclusions that are completely at variance with the underlying data?

I spent my lunch break in a teleconference regarding the release of two reports from the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence -- the so-called Phase II reports....

The main controversy appears to come in the second report regarding the INC. This report wound up getting a series of conclusions added through Democratic insistence that reportedly doesn't really match up with the data in the report. Chuck Hagel and Olympia Snowe sided with the Democrats, giving them enough of a majority to win out. This prompted a series of "additional views" by Chairman Pat Roberts and other members of the SSCI, apart and together. It turns the report into a partisan squabble, which given the atmosphere in the past decade or more, surprises no one.

The report on general intel also has created controversy. AJ Strata and Thomas Jocelyn have outlined major omissions in the data regarding the lack of further evidence for Iraq/AQ ties. More to the point, AJ shows where the report openly states that the committee didn't really pursue questions of Iraq's links to terrorism outside of the scope of their mission, ie, comparing pre-war intel to post-war intel...

How on earth did the same committee look at the same historical record and come up with two diametrically opposed conclusions on the subject of Iraq/al Qaeda links?

Just ask Senator Rockafeller. Up until March of 2003, he, the entire intelligence community, and the SSCI thought Iraq was an imminent threat and was actively pursuing nuclear weapons and WMDs.

Now, of course, he says Bush misled the nation.

Bush. Not him. Not the CIA. Not Saddam himself.

Nevermind those stirring words on the Senate floor in 2002:

...after a great deal of consultation and soul-searching, I have come to the conclusion that the risks of doing nothing -- for our citizens and for our nation -- are too great to bear.

There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years. And that may happen sooner if he can obtain access to enriched uranium from foreign sources -- something that is not that difficult in the current world. We also should remember we have always underestimated the progress Saddam has made in development of weapons of mass destruction.

When Saddam Hussein obtains nuclear capabilities, the constraints he feels will diminish dramatically, and the risk to America’s homeland, as well as to America’s allies, will increase even more dramatically. Our existing policies to contain or counter Saddam will become irrelevant.

Americans will return to a situation like that we faced in the Cold War, waking each morning knowing we are at risk from nuclear blackmail by a dictatorship that has declared itself to be our enemy. Only, back then, our communist foes were a rational and predictable bureaucracy; this time, our nuclear foe would be an unpredictable and often irrational individual, a dictator who has demonstrated that he is prepared to violate international law and initiate unprovoked attacks when he feels it serves his purposes to do so.

The global community -- in the form of the United Nations -- has declared repeatedly, through multiple resolutions, that the frightening prospect of a nuclear-armed Saddam cannot come to pass. But the U.N. has been unable to enforce those resolutions. We must eliminate that threat now, before it is too late.

But this isn’t just a future threat. Saddam’s existing biological and chemical weapons capabilities pose a very real threat to America, now. Saddam has used chemical weapons before, both against Iraq’s enemies and against his own people. He is working to develop delivery systems like missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles that could bring these deadly weapons against U.S. forces and U.S. facilities in the Middle East.

And he could make those weapons available to many terrorist groups which have contact with his government, and those groups could bring those weapons into the U.S. and unleash a devastating attack against our citizens. I fear that greatly.

We cannot know for certain that Saddam will use the weapons of mass destruction he currently possesses, or that he will use them against us. But we do know Saddam has the capability. Rebuilding that capability has been a higher priority for Saddam than the welfare of his own people -- and he has ill-will toward America.

I am forced to conclude, on all the evidence, that Saddam poses a significant risk.

Some argue it would be totally irrational for Saddam Hussein to initiate an attack against the mainland United States, and they believe he would not do it. But if Saddam thought he could attack America through terrorist proxies and cover the trail back to Baghdad, he might not think it so irrational.

If he thought, as he got older and looked around an impoverished and isolated Iraq, that his principal legacy to the Arab world would be a brutal attack on the United States, he might not think it so irrational. And if he thought the U.S. would be too paralyzed with fear to respond, he might not think it so irrational.

Saddam has misjudged what he can get away with, and how the United States and the world will respond, many times before. At the end of the day, we cannot let the security of American citizens rest in the hands of someone whose track record gives us every reason to fear that he is prepared to use the weapons he has against his enemies.

As the attacks of September 11 demonstrated, the immense destructiveness of modern technology means we can no longer afford to wait around for a smoking gun. September 11 demonstrated that the fact that an attack on our homeland has not yet occurred cannot give us any false sense of security that one will not occur in the future. We no longer have that luxury.

September 11 changed America. It made us realize we must deal differently with the very real threat of terrorism, whether it comes from shadowy groups operating in the mountains of Afghanistan or in 70 other countries around the world, including our own.

There has been some debate over how "imminent" a threat Iraq poses. I do believe that Iraq poses an imminent threat, but I also believe that after September 11, that question is increasingly outdated. It is in the nature of these weapons, and the way they are targeted against civilian populations, that documented capability and demonstrated intent may be the only warning we get. To insist on further evidence could put some of our fellow Americans at risk. Can we afford to take that chance? We cannot!

The President has rightly called Saddam Hussein’s efforts to develop weapons of mass destruction a grave and gathering threat to Americans. The global community has tried but failed to address that threat over the past decade. I have come to the inescapable conclusion that the threat posed to America by Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction is so serious that despite the risks -- and we should not minimize the risks -- we must authorize the President to take the necessary steps to deal with that threat. And so I will vote for the Lieberman/McCain resolution.

And he did, and then in the grand tradition of Democrat Senators, came the Deniability. Iraq was never even a threat, let alone an Imminent Threat (which we note with some amusement was the term Senator Rockafeller used to describe Saddam. And we further note the good Senator has preserved for posterity the term the President actually used to describe Hussein's Iraq: a grave and gathering threat). So given that several Congressional inquiries have looked at the question of whether intelligence was manipulated by the White House and have concluded that it was not, just who duped whom?

That is a question we suspect the good Senator will be in no hurry to answer. Then, or now.

Posted by Cassandra at September 11, 2006 05:32 AM


How disappointing that on a day of heavy hearts you feel obliged to play the "gotcha" game.

How telling too.

Posted by: rayman at September 11, 2006 04:17 PM

How telling that these men would contradict themselves and lie as this day approached -- purely to avoid taking responsibility for their own words.

Posted by: KJ at September 12, 2006 02:00 PM

KJ, you ignorant slut.

Only Rethugs can prostitute the memory of 9/11 for political gain. What the heck is wrong with you?

Posted by: Cassandra at September 12, 2006 02:09 PM

Hey, am I a prostitute or a slut? Make up your mind already.

Posted by: KJ at September 12, 2006 03:18 PM

I'm having waaaaaay too much fun with that mental image, counselor.


You just cheered up a very grey day :)

Posted by: Cassandra at September 12, 2006 03:20 PM

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