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February 26, 2007

Shedding The Spotlight On Dishonest Democrats

coz the boys in the hood are always hard
you come talkin that trash, an' we'll pull ya card
knowin' nuttin in life but to be legit'
dont quote me boy coz i aint said sh*t

You want to watch that 'tude, Bob:

The panel was discussing the recent nonbinding resolutions voted on in Congress, when Bob Woodward said something that few in the media would dare utter with cameras rolling:

One of the things that we forget as we’re caught in the heat of the current debate: this is a legal war. The Congress three to one in 2002 said, gave Bush the right to go to war. He decided to do it. So, you know what really amazes me is that Bush, and Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid don’t get together and say, “We’ve got to come up with a bipartisan strategy and consensus on this.” We’re all in to a certain extent in this war. And we owe it to the troops.

Amazing. Matthews then asked: “Do you think the Democrats are willing to be party to this war, or they’re trying to get disengaged from it?”

Woodward shockingly responded: “They are a party to this war. They voted for it.”

Borger then said something maybe equally astounding:

They don’t want ownership of this war, Chris. I mean, I think the Democrats are trying to have it both ways. If you definitely cut off funding, then you have ownership of what comes next.

Moments later, the following remarkable discussion ensued:

Woodward: If everyone’s thinking about politics and not the troops on the ground. Those people are our surrogates, and we owe them everything, and we can’t even reach political consensus in this country.

Matthews: But what happens when you have a country that is so divided if you just poll regular people about this war, so much against this war, but yet the commander-in-chief is for the war. How do you reach a consensus between a majority who don’t want the war, and a president who wants one? How do you do it?

Woodward: I think that people have to rise above politics and party here. And, think, I’ve talked to these people who have come back from Iraq, and in communication with some there, and they wonder: “What the hell is going on in America? What? You know, we’re here, they sent us here. And we’re talking about cutting off funding.”

Why doesn't this kind of conversation take place more often in our purportedly unbiased media? Where is the honest scrutiny of government that our Fourth Estate is supposed to be conducting, or is that reserved only for one half of Congress: the Republican half?

On the one hand we've got Congressional Democrats telling the American people they were lied to by the President, that the intelligence was manipulated despite not one, but THREE Congressional investigations (paid for with your tax dollars, folks) that determined they were NOT lied to, nor was the intelligence manipulated. Where are the media on this? AWOL, or aiding and abetting:

The Intelligence Community did not accurately or adequately explain to policymakers the uncertainties behind the judgments in the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate.

In the cases in the NTE where the IC did express uncertainty about its assessments concerning Iraq's WMD capabilities, those explanations suggested, in some cases, that Iraq's capabilities were even greater than the NIE judged. For example, the key judgments of the NIE said "we judge that we are seeing only a portion of Iraq's WMD efforts, owing to Baghdad's vigorous denial and deception efforts. Revelations after the Gulf War starkly demonstrate the extensive efforts undertaken by Iraq to deny information.

To make matters worse, we have pundits and journalists like EJ Dionne, who surely know better, but continue to spread Joseph Wilson's smear campaign against the White House in direct contravention of the facts, without the slightest attempt to balance the slate with anything so mundane as material facts:

Thanks to Patrick Fitzgerald, the painstaking prosecutor, we know that Cheney was beside himself over former ambassador Joseph Wilson's July 6, 2003, New York Times op-ed article undercutting the administration's claim that Saddam Hussein had sought nuclear materials in Niger.

But Wilson's op-ed did NOT undercut the administration's claim. Of course, Mr. Dionne does not bother to tell you that because this particular Inconvenient Truth would undercut his entire thesis that it's a "vicious smear" to point out the simple truth: Joseph Wilson lied, not once, but multiple times.

In all fairness, at this point the Editorial staff feels we should state for the record that by no stretch of the imagination is Dionne is "smearing" anyone by lying himself, nor by spreading Wilson's long discredited fairy tales. Perish the thought.

What he is doing is called good "opinion writing" - please ignore all so-called "evidence" to the contrary in the name of the larger emotional truth Mr. Wilson so brave risked exactly nothing to tell the American people:

Former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, dispatched by the CIA in February 2002 to investigate reports that Iraq sought to reconstitute its nuclear weapons program with uranium from Africa, was specifically recommended for the mission by his wife, a CIA employee, contrary to what he has said publicly.

Wilson last year launched a public firestorm with his accusations that the administration had manipulated intelligence to build a case for war. He has said that his trip to Niger should have laid to rest any notion that Iraq sought uranium there and has said his findings were ignored by the White House.

Wilson's assertions -- both about what he found in Niger and what the Bush administration did with the information -- were undermined yesterday in a bipartisan Senate intelligence committee report.

The panel found that Wilson's report, rather than debunking intelligence about purported uranium sales to Iraq, as he has said, bolstered the case for most intelligence analysts. And contrary to Wilson's assertions and even the government's previous statements, the CIA did not tell the White House it had qualms about the reliability of the Africa intelligence that made its way into 16 fateful words in President Bush's January 2003 State of the Union address


And then there's that troubling matter of the British Butler Report, which Dionne doesn't bother to mention either (no doubt because he feels you really don't need to know):

We conclude that, on the basis of the intelligence assessments at the time, covering both Niger and the Democratic Republic of Congo, the statements on Iraqi attempts to buy uranium from Africa in the Government's dossier, and by the Prime Minister in the House of Commons, were well-founded. By extension, we conclude also that the statement in President Bush's State of the Union Address of 28 January 2003 that: The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa was well-founded.

Facts are inconvenient things, as is the historical record. But folks like Dionne and Congressional Democrats hope you're not paying attention. Perhaps Carl Levin was hoping the same thing when he made this statement:

SEN. LEVIN: Hopefully, we’re going to come up with a resolution which is going to modify, in effect, the previous resolution, which was very broad, told the president that he had authority to do basically whatever he wanted to in Iraq, and to come up with wording which would modify that broad resolution and broad authority so that we would be in a supporting role, rather than a in combat role, in Iraq. Things have changed in Iraq. We don’t believe that it’s going to be possible to remove all of our troops from Iraq because there’s going to be a limited purpose that they’re going to need to serve, including a training, continued training of the Iraqi army, support for logistics in the Iraqi army, a counterterrorism purpose or a mission because there’s about 5,000 al-Qaida in Iraq. So we want to—we want to transform, or we want to modify that earlier resolution to more limited purpose.

OK, Mr. Levin. Now that Congress has relieved the President of the United States as commander-in-chief of the armed forces and substituted a much more effective leader (Congress), who gets to decide how many troops are needed to carry out the new mission our military's new commander has mandated?

Well, just as Congress didn't want to stop the war... just cut funding and pass non-binding resolutions, and didn't want to defund the "unconstitutional" NSA terrorist surveillance program... just whine impotently that it was an outrage, Senator Levin doesn't want to actually set a goal either. He does, however, want to bring most of the troops home:

MR. RUSSERT: So how many troops would that be, of March of next year, would be taken out?

...SEN. LEVIN: I would say most.

Okay. Now we're getting somewhere. So what we're talking about is leaving a few troops there to stand helplessly by and witness a bloodbath. Just so we have that straight:

MR. RUSSERT: What would be left behind?

SEN. LEVIN: It would be a limited number, which would...

MR. RUSSERT: Ten thousand, 20,000?

SEN. LEVIN: I don’t want to put a specific number on it because that really should be left to the commanders who decide how many would be needed to carry out those limited functions.

Got it. And these are the people "Americans trust more than the President" to run the war?

We are in trouble.

Posted by Cassandra at February 26, 2007 12:10 PM

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At the risk of creating another comments void, I'll throw out one more:

But what happens when you have a country that is so divided if you just poll regular people about this war, so much against this war, but yet the commander-in-chief is for the war. How do you reach a consensus between a majority who don’t want the war, and a president who wants one? How do you do it?

I think that's why we have presidential elections. Didn't the people have an opportunity to weigh in on this very issue a little more than two years ago?

Posted by: daveg at February 26, 2007 01:48 PM

...not to mention that several polls don't exactly have a majority wanting us to leave before the job is done.

Who will rid us of these troublesome facts?

Posted by: Just Say No To Facts at February 26, 2007 01:52 PM

Excellent article and excellent points.

When, exactly, did we decide that the POTUS is supposed to set national security policy based on public opinion polls? I find this probably the most frightening thing of all, that POLLS are cited as reasons for setting policy.

I am starting to believe that it's the root of the politicizing of this war. These Dems want to make political hay over what they think, "the people," believe.

Of course, as pointed out, Matthews conveniently ignores those polls that show that, "the majority of Americans," who are supposedly, "against the war," are also against pulling out of Iraq. Ironically, these are the same hypocrites who accuse the President of, "cherrypicking," the intelligence.

Posted by: JannyMae at February 26, 2007 02:32 PM

Lord Butler was handpicked by Tony Blair and his intelligence review was only supported by one political party — Tony Blair's!

Simply not serious.

Posted by: Passingthrough at February 26, 2007 03:37 PM

It is simply not serious to accuse - in hindsight, no less - the White House of being "dishonest" or "manipulating intelligence" when they used the products of their own intelligence service, which - by the way, happened to mirror the conclusions of virtually EVERY OTHER INTELLIGENCE SERVICE OUT THERE AT THE TIME...

Oh. But later, we learned differently. This, we now learn, is a "lie".

Got it.

What a maroon. And if you can say "Oooh! The other party finds it politically convenient, because they're trying to get themselves elected, to shoot darts at the results of the review, it must be wrong, facts be damned!"

That's really first class thinking there.

Posted by: Just Say No To Facts at February 26, 2007 03:46 PM

Who was righter on WMD? Blix and Ritter, or Cheney and Feith? Why were they righter? Honesty.

Posted by: dgf at February 26, 2007 03:52 PM

Is 'righter' a word?

And the point was not that there was certainty about Iraq's possession of WMD's dgf. The point was Saddam himself said he had them and that after 12 years, so long as Hussein continued to thwart UN inspections and defy UN resolutions, we could never be sure and that was too great a risk to take. All he needed to do was comply with the UN.

If you go around bragging that you have a loaded gun, you probably should not be too terribly surprised when people view you as a menace.

Pretty obvious, unless of course you are dgf and think all the choices in life come without a price tag.

Nice red herring.

Posted by: Cassandra at February 26, 2007 04:10 PM

Blind friggin' luck. Nobody really knew what was going on with Iraq's WMD program. A lot of "experts" thought they knew.

Not Hans Blix, or Scott Ritter

Or even some of Saddam Hussein's own generals, or Saddam Hussein himself.

The last cards still have not been shown on this matter.

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at February 26, 2007 04:10 PM

Well, now that I've picked myself up off the floor after reading Woodward's comments. I mean, really, what was in his coffee??! I never would've thought the man would say anything like he did!

Excellent post Cass. I'll be passing it along!


Posted by: Nina at February 26, 2007 04:10 PM

Who was righter on WMD? Blix and Ritter, or Cheney and Feith? Why were they righter? Honesty.

Posted by: dgf

First of all, we don't know who was closer to the truth on the WMD. There is a great deal of evidence that they may exist, but have not been found...you know, due to deliberately being HIDDEN? I'm certainly skeptical that Saddam had so few, especially the way he and his minions were thwarting the inspectors at every turn.

As far as Hans Blix, DGF, do you know what he actually said?

I'd suggest you do some research before you make such assumptions.
Friday, June 6, 2003 Posted: 7:33 AM EDT (1133 GMT)

Before the war:

Mr. President, Iraq, with a highly developed administrative system, should be able to provide more documentary evidence about its proscribed weapons programs. Only a few new such documents have come to light so far and been handed over since we began inspections. It was a disappointment that Iraq's declaration of the 7th of December did not bring new documentary evidence.

details here

After the war began:

LONDON, England -- Chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix says he would not be surprised if coalition forces found chemical or biological weapons in Iraq.

Blix also says the coalition had "other motivations" for invading Iraq besides Saddam Hussein's alleged weapons of mass destruction programs.
details here

Blix, who had actually been in Iraq, as an inspector, was far from certain about the status of the WMD that the entire world believed Saddam had. I wouldn't tout him as being more, "honest," than the President and his administration.

Posted by: JannyMae at February 26, 2007 04:50 PM

Sorry, I messed up my format. The Friday, June 6, 2003 Posted: 7:33 AM EDT (1133 GMT) belongs down with the second set of quotes.

Posted by: JannyMae at February 26, 2007 04:52 PM

Who was righter on WMD? Blix and Ritter...

Which Scott Ritter? This one, in 1999?

I have grown convinced that there has been a total breakdown in the willingness of the international community to disarm Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction. Saddam Hussein is well on the road to getting his sanctions lifted and keeping his weapons in the bargain. A resurgent Iraq, reinvigorated economically and politically by standing up successfully to the United States and the United Nations, will be a very dangerous Iraq—one that sooner or later will have to be confronted by American military might.

Later that same year, after quitting in a snit:

Iraq has lied to the Special Commission and the world since day one concerning the true scope and nature of its proscribed programs and weapons and systems. This lie has been perpetuated over the years through systematic acts of concealment.

This investigation [I went on] has led the commission to the doorstep of Iraq’s hidden retained capability, and yet the commission has been frustrated by Iraq’s continued refusal to abide by its obligations.

This level of inconsistency is typical of the breed:

Senator John Kerry said that Saddam’s aim was to continue to build weapons of mass destruction at any cost. The US should be prepared to use force to achieve its goals, Kerry said ... sliding into a policy of containment, he emphasized, was disastrous ...

I won't even get started on the rest of the cabal.

Don't you find it at all difficult to lend any credence to people whose "strongly held beliefs" are so easily swayed by the flavor of the party in power? Kinda makes it all look like a politics inspired farce, doesn't it?

Posted by: daveg at February 26, 2007 05:39 PM

Who was righter on WMD? Blix and Ritter, or Cheney and Feith? Why were they righter? Honesty.

Posted by: dgf

I ain't saying as such...but don't you ever get the feeling that dgf is just a little too cute for her boots? What decision is she arguing was "righter?" That there were were no WMD to be found in Iraq after the invasion, or that the U.S. should have accepted Hans Blix's word that there was no WMD in Iraq before the invasion? Which is "honesty?" I'll take the former.

Posted by: spd rdr at February 26, 2007 06:11 PM

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