HE SPOKE WITH GREATER AGITATION THAN USUAL. He fumbled nervously with a paper, turning it over and over with his left hand, this way and that, like a little child about to get caught in mischief. Then Harry Reid began swinging his right arm wildly, stating he was closing the Senate doors, forcing Senators to relinquish their cell phones and Blackberrys for the sake of “national security.” Reid squelched the work of the American people for three hours in order to harangue Republicans with insane accusations like this:
The [Lewis] Libby indictment provides a window into what this is really about: How the administration manufactured and manipulated intelligence in order to sell the war in Iraq and attempted to destroy those who dared to challenge its actions. As a result of its improper conduct, a cloud now hangs over this administration.
Of course, the Libby indictment doesn’t do anything of the kind. Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald specifically stated, “This indictment is not about the war.” It shows that Libby could not remember clearly, or did not want to remember clearly, the details of a number of discussions about Valerie Plame’s CIA job several months before. Plamegate is about a British intelligence report that Saddam was seeking fissionable uranium in Niger, a report that the Brits still stand by and that Joe Wilson’s oral account bolstered. The Libby “window” only opens speculation that the British may have manufactured of manipulated intelligence if, like Harry Reid and his Democratic nutcases, you regularly indulge in fits of acute paranoia.
Reid’s analysis has the other shoe on the wrong foot, too. It’s Democrats who have attempted to destroy to the character, reputation, and credibility of George W. Bush for more than two years and to criminalize their political differences with him over the war. Recall that the removal of Saddam Hussein was demanded by two presidents, one of them – Bill Clinton – a Democrat, and was authorized by a majority of Democrats in multiple Congresses. The last three Democratic presidential candidates have considered Saddam’s WMDs a major national security threat. Recall that the authorization for the use of force to remove Saddam was passed by Democratic majorities in both houses and that John Kerry – a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee with access to all the intelligence information that the Bush administration had – spoke eloquently on behalf of the authorization to remove Saddam by force. Recall that full membership of the Security Council voted on November 8, 2002, to give Saddam a 30 day ultimatum to report on what he had done with the tons – that’s thousands of pounds, Harry – of nerve gas and other WMDs that UN inspectors had already established he had manufactured; and that Saddam failed to do so. That’s why we went to war. Recall that even Russian and Jordanian intelligence said Saddam had WMDs, as did the intelligence agencies of a dozen other nations (and the Russians should know).
The Democrats are liars. They have defected from a war they themselves authorized and they have blackened the reputation of Americans more effectively than al-Jazeera. These leftist partisan hacks have put politics above principle so securely that they give al-Jazeera and the terrorists confirmation of America’s evil intentions “from the mouth of the beast.”
For example, Reid claimed Bush “consistently and repeatedly manipulated the facts” before the war. Dick Durbin seconded, averring, “Intelligence information was distorted, was misused, and we have seen as late as last week the lengths which this administration has gone to try to silence and discredit their critics of the misuse of this intelligence information.” Durbin threatened daily invocations of Rule 21 until the committee complied. “Be prepared for this motion every day until you face the reality,” he said.
After his national temper tantrum, Harry Reid faced a crowd of reporters, where he thundered, “If the administration had all the information that they have now back then, they wouldn't even have brought it to the Congress for a vote.” What would Sen. Reid have us do – reinstate Saddam as president of Iraq? Reopen the rape rooms and fire up the plastic shredders? The United States has toppled a monster, given a captive people their freedom, and sunk the dagger of democracy deep into the heart of the Muslim world. Millions of Iraqis – including members of the Sunni Triangle – voted for a pluralistic, democratic future, a major setback for the terrorists. Libya came to an unexpected arms agreement, thanks to the threat of force in Iraq. Lebanon demanded its right to self-determination. Syria initiated a pullout after 30 years of occupation, and Egypt began democratization of its own. In the face of these developments, the best foreign policy the Democratic Party’s Senate leadership can offer is: Ba’athists forever.
Reid rattled on, indicting the war he and his party supported:
We know that there were no [WMDs] now in Iraq. We didn't know it at the time. We know now that we didn't know at the time that there was no al-Qaeda connection. We know now that we didn't know then that there was no 9/11 connection. We know now that they had no plan for winning the peace. We didn't know that at the time.
We know nothing about the cargo trucked by an ominous-looking Russian-led caravan across the Syrian border before the beginning of the war. Reams of intelligence ties Saddam Hussein to al-Qaeda before the war, not least including the fact that its terrorist affiliate Ansar al-Islam conducted training in northern Iraq during his reign of terror. And the White House has consistently stated there was no connection between Iraq and 9/11.
What we know is that the Left’s military alternative would have ended in disaster. There is no way we could have maintained 200,000 troops on the Iraqi border in perpetuity, as Ted Kennedy proposed. The American people’s complacency after one of the most rapidly successful military campaigns in modern history is troubling enough. If terrorists pouring in from Syria, Iran, and Saudi Arabia had begun sniping at U.S. soldiers stationed on the border – as we know now they would have – it would have made Nick DeGenova’s dream of a million Mogadishus come true. Popular support would have imploded, as it did in Beirut and Somalia, and the Left would have forced us to retreat yet again, emboldening the terrorists, and leaving Saddam Hussein further in their debt. How would he have rewarded their service when he finally acquired WMDs, as the Duefler Report confirms was his long-range plan?
In response to this Harry Reid and Dick Durbin seek a new Nye Commission. Senate leftists seek to scapegoat a war they voted to authorize on their political enemy, who happens to be commander in chief of the armed forces and leader of the free world. Since Karl Rove escaped unscathed by the indictment scandal, they have to force a phony scandal by other means, because they have no alternate plan, except to abandon Iraq and the Middle East to the terrorists, ultimately allowing them to regroup and face down the Great Satan in the United States.
They hunger for this investigation has nothing to do with truth, since the 9/11 Commission and other inquiries have repeatedly cleared the Bush administration of charges it pressured intelligence agents to produce pro-war reports or massaged their estimates. If anything, Bush and Cheney downplayed some the raw information handed them by the CIA, for which the CIA attempted to hang the blame for its own incompetence on Bush.
Yesterday’s stunt was also unnecessary, since Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-KS, said he already told Senate Democrats his committee would wrap up the second phase of the investigation by next week.
That investigation stalled – not because of Roberts or the Republicans – but because the Rockefeller Memo laid bare the left-wingers’ desire to twist the committee’s findings for crass partisan advantage. This after the Democrats, under repudiated Minority Leader Tom Daschle, politicized the Intelligence Committee, breaking up its nonpartisan composition following the 2002 elections.
Not just members of both political parties, but every intelligence agency in every nation in the world, believed Saddam Hussein had WMDs. Harry Reid, John Kerry, John Edwards and others decided they did not want to be on the wrong side of a war in 2002. Now, their actions undermine the troops they placed in harm’s way and the cause for which those troops are fighting and dying: to establish an Iraq that is peaceful, democratic, and no longer a threat to its neighbors or the United States. Instead of supporting their mission, Reid and his followers seek indictments or resignations from everyone who disagree with them and indulge baseless conspiracy theories to smear their enemies. They have become unhinged in their pursuit of political blood – but it is American soliders who will pay with their blood for the Left’s efforts to delegitimize their efforts.