Carol Platt Liebau: It's About Time

Friday, November 11, 2005

It's About Time

President Bush came out swinging today, finally calling the Democrats on the lies that some have been telling -- and others have been allowing them to get away with.

While it's perfectly legitimate to criticize my decision or the conduct of the war, it is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began.

Some Democrats and anti-war critics are now claiming we manipulated the intelligence and misled the American people about why we went to war. These critics are fully aware that a bipartisan Senate investigation found no evidence of political pressure to change the intelligence community's judgments related to Iraq's weapons programs.

They also know that intelligence agencies from around the world agreed with our assessment of Saddam Hussein. They know the United Nations passed more than a dozen resolutions, citing his development and possession of weapons of mass destruction.

Many of these critics supported my opponent during the last election, who explained his position to support the resolution in the Congress this way: "When I vote to give the president of the United States the authority to use force, if necessary, to disarm Saddam Hussein, it is because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a threat and a grave threat to our security."

That's why more than 100 Democrats in the House and the Senate, who had access to the same intelligence, voted to support removing Saddam Hussein from power.

The stakes in the global war on terror are too high and the national interest is too important for politicians to throw out false charges. These baseless attacks send the wrong signal to our troops and to an enemy that is questioning America's will.

As our troops fight a ruthless enemy determined to destroy our way of life, they deserve to know that their elected leaders who voted to send them to war continue to stand behind them. Our troops deserve to know that this support will remain firm when the going gets tough.

And our troops deserve to know that, whatever our differences in Washington, our will is strong, our nation is united and we will settle for nothing less than victory.


Read the full text here.

16 Comments:

Blogger wile e coyote said...

WMD was a pretext for the war on Iraq. Our enemy was and remains Saudi society, which produces and maintains and exports Al Qaida and other forms of Moslem fanaticism.

Our invasion of Iraq was an attack by proxy against Saudi Arabia. Our goal was to establish a pluralistic and market-enbracing alternative to the absolute dictatorships of Saudi Arabia and other Arab regimes.

For this reason, my view is that the Bush Administration sincerely believed there were WMD in Iraq. After all, why use a pretext that isn't true?

12:37 PM  
Blogger Draino said...

rzafft said: After all, why use a pretext that isn't true?

Here are 4 quick reasons.

1.) being a War President gives you political power and political cover that peacetime president's don't have.

2.) Simple unfettered Imperialism.

3.) The military industrial complex which many felt was dormant for too long.

4.) Oil profits.

There are many other reasons. Whether you agree or not is irrelevant. To argue there is simply no motive to go to war under false pretenses is pretty naive don't you think?

Bush's lashing out is typical. What else is he going to do? He has locked himself in the war bunker and is surrounded by yes-men. He is clearly out of touch. Hence his deteriorating popularity.

3:19 PM  
Anonymous LQ said...

Right on, Mr. President!!

One question: what took you so long?

5:22 PM  
Blogger cookie jill said...

Carol -

This administration is the one manipulating intelligence and lying about why we went to war.

But Dubya learned early on from his father to lie about going to war.

Remember Nayirah?

Google her name along with Knowlton & Hill and refresh your memory.

How DARE that lying SOB call Democrats unpatriotic.

He has the blood of 2000+ Americans KILLED NEEDLESSLY on his hands. Bush is not going to go to his beloved "heaven". He's going straight to hell along with all the others who have lied to the World.

7:33 PM  
Anonymous ssg74 said...

Killed needlessly, eh? Tell that to the Iraqis and the many families of the warriors killed in action who still SUPPORT the GWOT. I think they know a little more about what's going on than you do.

I'm a veteran...on this Veteran's Day, I feel I can call Democratic politicians playing their reindeer games just about anything I want to, thank you very much. And that includes unpatriotic and slimy. They hate being out of power so much that they will compromise any integrity that they had when they voted FOR going to war against Saddam Hussein in order to bring down the President now. They all had the same information that the President did.

Imperialism. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha...remind me that we're imperialists when Iraq becomes the 51st state. Or is it the 60th state after we added Germany, Japan and a host of other nations to our roster after WWII? And I forgot, isn't South Korea also a state of ours? Hmmm, and Kuwait. Bosnia?

As for keeping our imperialist selves out of everyone else's business...well, December 7, 1941. Much good THAT policy of isolationism did us. It's not always in our best interest (and our best interest affects the interests of the entire world. You're delusional if you can't see that) to keep our fingers out of the cookie jar. If we are imperialistic, we're the nicest imperialists the world has ever known (at least in this century and most of the last). If we step out the way, there'll be a vacuum many an evil man will want to fill (and many are already trying.)

Oh, and if you want to tell me to "Google" (which I did, by the way), then "Google" this: "US gets most of its oil". You tell ME what it says. As if typing something into google will produce the absolute truth on any given subject.

Who thought the military industrial complex had been dormant for too long? What a hilariously vague comment. Examples??? I'm a loggie; the complex is alive and well and was alive and well long before this war ever started. Some of the older companies are having their troubles, but any new technology that seems to have "appeared" out of nowhere in the past few years is the product of literally DECADES of work within that "dormant" military industrial complex.

As for Nayirah...yep, that was embarassing. Guess the Kuwaitis felt a little desperate? Some really evil guy was trying to overrun their borders and take over their little country. I'd hire a PR company to do a little propaganda for me, too, if I saw that kind of threat and wasn't sure who my allies were.

This is interesting (don't know where he got it because there's no trackback, and I'm too tired to chase after it, but it should give any reasonable person pause, and if you have time to research, prove me wrong): (http://scoop.agonist.org/story/2005/11/7/145419/287

Here is the interesting part:
"Hill and Knowlton did not produce the deception under a federal contract, but rather on behalf of the oil-rich Kuwaiti government. An appearance of U.S. government validation, however, came from a hearing of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus on Oct. 10, 1990.
In his 1992 book "Second Front: Censorship and Propaganda in the Gulf War," Harpers magazine publisher John R. MacArthur wrote that the caucus is not a committee of Congress, before which it would be a crime to lie under oath. "Lying from under the cover of anonymity to a caucus is merely public relations."
The 15-year-old star witness was indeed anonymous, identified only by her first name of Nayirah. "According to the caucus, Nayirah's full name was being kept confidential to prevent Iraqi reprisals against her family in occupied Kuwait," MacArthur wrote.
In fact, she was a member of the Kuwaiti royal family, and her father -- ambassador to the United States Saud Nasir al-Sabah -- sat listening in the hearing room. Sobbing, Nayirah described how she, as a volunteer at al-Addan Hospital in Kuwait City, had seen Iraqi soldiers remove 312 babies from their incubators and leave them to die on the floor.
On Jan. 12, 1991, the U.S. Senate approved support of the war against Iraq by a narrow, five-vote margin."

Not a highlight (actually, pretty stupid) in our country's history, true. But it's not as if Kuwait WASN'T being overrun. By a guy who had no right to overrun it. !

But you're right, that propaganda was totally unbelievable. There were no OTHER indications that Saddam Hussein might be a psychopathic lunatic capable of committing those atrocities (about the babies in incubators), were there? In hind sight, MASS GRAVES IN IRAQ mean nothing. Millions of Kurds annihilated, no big deal.

Nothing to see here, people. Ignore the problem, sweep it under the carpet and move along.

9:24 PM  
Blogger Mr. Twister said...

It is pathetic to see a President lie and mislead the public in order to defend himself against charges of lying and misleading the public. I wish I could say that was surprising, but with the Bush Administration lies and misleading statements are par for the course.

That's why more than 100 Democrats in the House and the Senate, who had access to the same intelligence, voted to support removing Saddam Hussein from power.

This is, of course, a lie. The Admonistration cherry picked the evidence it presented to Congress. The House and Senate did not have access to and of the Presidential Daily Briefings, including those that dealt with Iraq. The House and Senate were not given access to the many initial discussions and revisions of the National Intelligence Estimate, which contained much stronger caveats against a number of the assertions in the final version.

Some Democrats and anti-war critics are now claiming we manipulated the intelligence and misled the American people about why we went to war. These critics are fully aware that a bipartisan Senate investigation found no evidence of political pressure to change the intelligence community's judgments related to Iraq's weapons programs.

How much more misleading can one person be? The critics are complaining about cherry picking the evidence to put forward a misleading case. The President then mentions the Senate Intellignce committee (or maybe Robb Silbermann) finding of no political pressure to change intelliegecne to buttress his claim. The two are, at best, tangentially related. The critics are complaining that the Administration misused the evidence that was provided. Both the Senate Intelligence and the Robb Silbermann reports clearly note that they were not authorized to invesitigate the (mis)use of intelligence by the administration.

5:37 AM  
Blogger eLarson said...

Draino said...

rzafft said: After all, why use a pretext that isn't true?

Here are 4 quick reasons.

Where in "draino" recites from the leftwing meme-book:

1.) being a War President gives you political power and political cover that peacetime president's don't have.
2.) Simple unfettered Imperialism.
3.) The military industrial complex which many felt was dormant for too long.

1, 2 & 3 go to the "GOP as Boogeyman" theory. Here "draino's" tinfoil hat is clearly showing. It is a good thing that he posts under a pseudonym because we will clearly be out to get him for re-education after exposing our brilliantly devious plan to... er... OH! It's in point #4:

4.) Oil profits.

This is preposterous on economic grounds. Given the cost of a war it would have been far and away cheaper to simply buy oil from Iraq.

5:41 AM  
Blogger Mr. Twister said...

rzafft asks After all, why use a pretext that isn't true?

Rzafft, do you really think the United States public would have supported a war of choice to spread Jeffersonian democracy to Iraq as an attack by proxy against Saudi Arabia? Of course not, but they would support a war for self defense.

Viola, Bush's war of choice gets argued for on the twin pillars of WMD and Iraqi support for Al Queada. Simple, really.

5:44 AM  
Blogger eLarson said...

Incidentally even Walter Pincus and Dana Milbank concede this:

The administration's overarching point is true: Intelligence agencies overwhelmingly believed that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, and very few members of Congress from either party were skeptical about this belief before the war began in 2003. Indeed, top lawmakers in both parties were emphatic and certain in their public statements.
source

5:46 AM  
Blogger Mr. Twister said...

eLarson quotes the Pincus and Milbanks article approvingly. If you go to the next paragraph of that article we read,

But Bush and his aides had access to much more voluminous intelligence information than did lawmakers, who were dependent on the administration to provide the material. And the commissions cited by officials, though concluding that the administration did not pressure intelligence analysts to change their conclusions, were not authorized to determine whether the administration exaggerated or distorted those conclusions.

I'm just adding additional eLarson Approved(tm) support for my claims above that the President lied and attempted to mislead people in his Veteran's day speech.

5:54 AM  
Blogger eLarson said...

And the commissions cited by officials, though concluding that the administration did not pressure intelligence analysts to change their conclusions

So if there was no pressure to change the conclusions... exactly what is the fuss.

Are seriously suggesting that somewhere in the "voluminous" intel there was exactly contradictory material?

In other words, do you believe -- and it isn't in the article that Milbanks and Pincus believe it -- that there was something materially different in the President's briefings that Congress would not have gotten?

If so... how do you know?

6:15 AM  
Blogger wile e coyote said...

Tough crowd.

My point was that given a choise between a pretext that's true and a pretext which is untrue, why not pick the latter?

If the Administration's critics believe the Administration is capable of cooking up all this intelligence in a vast conspiracy, why wouldn't the Administration be capable of finding a different pretext, one that actually was true? Draino's 4 quick reasons would still apply, and the Administration wouldn't have to be doing all this damage control.

I also don't believe the Administration's goal was to spread Jeffersonian democracy. A pluralistic Iraq with a market economy capable of pumping oil to drive the price down below $20/barrel would have done nicely.

Also, as I read the comment on this site, I have a request. Can we please keep things civil?

7:46 AM  
Blogger Mr. Twister said...

eLarson wrote, So if there was no pressure to change the conclusions... exactly what is the fuss.

The fuss is that there were caveats and contradictory intelligence in the voluminous material that was not presented to the Congress or presented with less than 24 hours to go until the vote.

Are seriously suggesting that somewhere in the "voluminous" intel there was exactly contradictory material?

Finally, some light starts to break through. This is part of what I have been saying. In addition, even when not exactly contradictory the caveats could have given a sensible person a reason for pause. The Administration went with the "Present a Strong Case" file instead of the "Present our Best Information" file. He mislead the Congress and took this nation to a war of his choosing.

In other words, do you believe -- and it isn't in the article that Milbanks and Pincus believe it -- that there was something materially different in the President's briefings that Congress would not have gotten?

Yes, I believe precisely that. And had you read a bit further, it is clear that Milbank and Pincus also believe that. They state in the article that you cited "In addition, there were doubts within the intelligence community not included in the NIE." (The National Intelligence Estimate was the CIA's report provided to the President and Congress prior to the vote on the force resolution.)

Now that I have answered your questions (and even respectfully), I would like to ask you one (I'll limit it to one)...

If you really think the Administration played every straight and aboveboard, why is the Administration and the Republican Congress dead set against an investigation into how the politics of how the intelligence was used pre-war? Why did Harry Reid have to shut down the Senate to get the Republican majority to honor a commitment they made in 2003 to investigate the Adminsitration's use of pre-war intelligence? To me "good guys" would want to clear their good name and this appears to be nothing more than a prime example of stonewalling, what say you?

6:13 PM  
Blogger Mr. Twister said...

rzafft wrote, I also don't believe the Administration's goal was to spread Jeffersonian democracy. A pluralistic Iraq with a market economy capable of pumping oil to drive the price down below $20/barrel would have done nicely.

So you are claiming that the Administrations current reason for invading Iraq, (i.e., to free them people) is also nothing more than a ruse? Are you really claiming that the sole reason the Bush Administration went to war was to secure a source of cheap oil?

6:17 PM  
Blogger eLarson said...

"The fuss is that there were caveats and contradictory intelligence in the voluminous material that was not presented to the Congress or presented with less than 24 hours to go until the vote."

And you know this... how?

According to the Robb commission, if anything the material the President saw was even more scary with respect to Iraq.

Recall Sen. Rockeller's use of the word 'imminent'? That's a word even the administration wouldn't use, except in the context of "we can't wait until a threat is imminent" of course.

Recall about week ago when Chuck Schumer said "Well the President believed this even more than I did."

I have no doubt he did.

If you really think the Administration played every straight and aboveboard, why is the Administration and the Republican Congress dead set against an investigation into how the politics of how the intelligence was used pre-war? Why did Harry Reid have to shut down the Senate to get the Republican majority to honor a commitment they made in 2003 to investigate the Adminsitration's use of pre-war intelligence? To me "good guys" would want to clear their good name and this appears to be nothing more than a prime example of stonewalling, what say you?
That's two (or maybe 3)... but I'll give the answer to the substantive ones:
1) Because it isn't helpful to the here-and-now. If there's politics being played, it's been played constantly (and a bit ham-fistedly, if you ask me) by the Dems since 2003. It didn't work in 2004, but when the only tool the party has is a hammer, by all means keep searching for the nail.

2) "Why did Harry Reid have to shut down the Senate to get the Republican majority to honor a commitment they made in 2003 to investigate the Adminsitration's use of pre-war intelligence?"

By pulling off a splashy stunt, Reid could appease the fund-raising base of the party (the MoveOn.org crowd). Reid wanted to be be seen as standing up and being tough. It's doubtful the majority of citizens of the nation even noticed, but that wasn't his target market, as it were.

Incidentally I see two reasons for the political game:
1) the Dems desperately want to regain power, but...
2) they have no agenda they feel they can honestly state to the American people. (If they had one they'd have presented it by now, a la Newt Gingrich's Contract With America.)

Therefore they are using part of the Gingrich's Clinton-era tactic. I believe their mission is to gin up enough support for articles of impeachment. And the only reason for that is simple tit-for-tat. Goes back to 1998.

7:50 AM  
Blogger Mr. Twister said...

I wrote that there was material intelligence the President had available to him that was not made available to Congress.

eLarson asked, "And you know this... how?"

Uh, because I can read. Here is a link to a current article that provides specifics for a few highlighted cases. There have been enough other articles over the past three years that if you were really interested in the answer you would already have it.

The fact that the administration played fast and loose with the intelligence isn't exactly a big secret. The President delivered a State of the Union in 2003 that claimed that Iraq was shopping for Uranium from Africe, when he knew that was a lie. The President lied to Congress and to the American people to push his war of choice. I am sorry that you are in denial over this fact.

9:47 PM  

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