Monday, June 09, 2003

As I surf around the blogisphere, I see a lot of people are angry. Really REALLY angry. I'm angry too.

Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-Illinois) is angry:

They [Chimpco] lie with impunity. Let's fact it. They're liars. They lied about the reason they took our sons and daughters to war. They spend millions of dollars in campaign ads saying they are for a prescription drug benefit under Medicare. They call their dirty air legislation "Clear Skies" and their plan to give the timber companies our trees, "Healthy Forests." They call their job-killing economic program a "jobs program." They say they are for peace when they are for war. Millions of children are left behind under their miserly "No Child Left Behind" education bill. They tout a child tax credit and then silently drop it in favor of more tax cuts for millionaires.

And perhaps most important, they are unafraid and unabashed and unapologetic about pushing their right-wing agenda, no matter what. They are always playing offense. I used to think, oh they can't be serious about this or that – another huge tax cut, eliminating Title IX, continuing tax breaks for companies that move their offices to Bermuda, locking up immigrants indefinitely without due process, using Federal dollars to build churches – it's just a trial balloon. Forget it. They mean what they say and they don't give up until they get it.

Geov Parrish is angry:

If proven -- and they can, in fact, be proven as such -- the Bush Administration's lies to the United Nations, to the American people, and to Congress in last October's effort to win authority to invade, all constitute an either unwitting or witting effort to put American soldiers in harm's way, guaranteeing the deaths of some. America's military was deployed for reasons Bush and his entire foreign policy apparatus either knew or should have known were fallacious.

They did so anyway, in the service of a war whose unprovoked nature was a sharp departure from international law and norms. Bush claimed as his legal authority last October's Congressional vote. On the eve of that vote, in a major speech aimed at Congress, Bush claimed satellite photos gave irrefutable evidence that Iraq was rebuilding its nuclear weapons program, and claimed -- mere days after intelligence agencies put the date at 2010 -- that Iraq would have such weapons ready to deploy within a year. "Facing clear evidence of peril," Bush told Congress, America, and the world, "we cannot wait for the final proof that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud."

All this was nonsense, and plenty of the administration's own experts had told the White House it was nonsense. From August to March, Bush and his team first insisted they had evidence that did not in fact exist, and then presented evidence, such as Colin Powell's U.N. citations of a forged bill of sales and a plagiarized ten-year-old graduate student paper, that was patently false. In doing so to win approval for an unprovoked and legally unjustifiable war, Bush and his top officials -- including Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, and Paul Wolfowitz -- have done something that (unlike, say, violating international law) is considered an extremely serious affront by much of the American public, Republicans as well as Democrats. They have caused the unnecessary deaths of a lot of U.S. soldiers.


If he did know it, he has lied to Congress -- just like Clinton -- and to America and the world, but repeatedly and on a far more serious matter than the definition of "sex." Bush, instead, used his lies to intentionally sacrifice the lives of American soldiers -- along with other coalition soldiers and countless Iraqis, soldier and civilian alike.

For this egregious abuse of his oath of office, George W. Bush should be impeached.

EJ Dionne is angry:

But the president's defenders have it exactly backward. The people who should worry most about the credibility gap are those who support Bush's foreign policy.

If no weapons are found, and if the administration does not come clean about why it said what it said before the war, America's ability to rally the rest of the world against future threats will be greatly weakened. So will the president's ability to rally his own nation.

Citizens in a democracy accept deceiving an enemy during war. What is not acceptable is for a free government to mislead its own people to bring them around to supporting a war.

John Dean, who knows a few things about presidential scandal, isn't real angry but he's got this to say:

New York Times columnist, Paul Krugman, has taken Bush sharply to task, asserting that it is "long past time for this administration to be held accountable." "The public was told that Saddam posed an imminent threat," Krugman argued. "If that claim was fraudulent," he continued, "the selling of the war is arguably the worst scandal in American political history -- worse than Watergate, worse than Iran-contra." But most media outlets have reserved judgment as the search for WMDs in Iraq continues.

Krugman is right to suggest a possible comparison to Watergate. In the three decades since Watergate, this is the first potential scandal I have seen that could make Watergate pale by comparison. If the Bush Administration intentionally manipulated or misrepresented intelligence to get Congress to authorize, and the public to support, military action to take control of Iraq, then that would be a monstrous misdeed.

This administration may be due for a scandal. While Bush narrowly escaped being dragged into Enron, which was not, in any event, his doing. But the war in Iraq is all Bush's doing, and it is appropriate that he be held accountable.

To put it bluntly, if Bush has taken Congress and the nation into war based on bogus information, he is cooked. Manipulation or deliberate misuse of national security intelligence data, if proven, could be "a high crime" under the Constitution's impeachment clause. It would also be a violation of federal criminal law, including the broad federal anti-conspiracy statute, which renders it a felony "to defraud the United States, or any agency thereof in any manner or for any purpose."

It's important to recall that when Richard Nixon resigned, he was about to be impeached by the House of Representatives for misusing the CIA and FBI. After Watergate, all presidents are on notice that manipulating or misusing any agency of the executive branch improperly is a serious abuse of presidential power.

I think Bob Graham is angry:

Sen. Bob Graham -- a former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee -- told CNN's Aaron Brown, that while he still hopes they finds WMDs or at least evidence thereof, he has also contemplated three other possible alternative scenarios:

One is that [the WMDs] were spirited out of Iraq, which maybe is the worst of all possibilities, because now the very thing that we were trying to avoid, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, could be in the hands of dozens of groups. Second, that we had bad intelligence. Or third, that the intelligence was satisfactory but that it was manipulated, so as just to present to the American people and to the world those things that made the case for the necessity of war against Iraq.

Sen. Graham seems to believe there is a serious chance that it is the final scenario that reflects reality. Indeed, Graham told CNN "there's been a pattern of manipulation by this administration."

Graham has good reason to complain. According to the New York Times, he was one of the few members of the Senate who saw the national intelligence estimate that was the basis for Bush's decisions. After reviewing it, Graham requested that the Bush administration declassify the information before the Senate voted on the administration's resolution requesting use of the military in Iraq.

But rather than do so, CIA Director Tenet merely sent Graham a letter discussing the findings. Graham then complained that Tenet's letter only addressed "findings that supported the administration's position on Iraq," and ignored information that raised questions about intelligence. In short, Graham suggested that the Administration, by cherrypicking only evidence to its own liking, had manipulated the information to support its conclusion.

There are plenty more and you don't have to look real hard to find them either. I'm very angry. We sent about 200 US soldiers to their deaths in Iraq for what reason?