Bob Graham blasts Bush on pre-war intelligence

Everyone had the same intelligence. This bogus claim has been repeated over and over again by President Bush, Vice President Cheney and the entire GOP spin machine in their defense of pre-war WMD claims by the administration. This is not true. It’s a ridiculous claim, and the fact that they are repeating it cast even more doubt on the administrations credibility about pre-war claims.

Senator Bob Graham had a front-row seat during the runup to the Iraq war given his position on the Senate Intelligence Committee. Calling Bush’s claims “outrageous,” on Sunday he made it clear that most Democrats did NOT have access to the same intelligence as the administration. This should be obvious to everyone. Legislators NEVER have the same access to information, and the Bush administration is notorious for being one of the most secretive administrations since the Nixon years.

If the administration’s main defense is so patently false, how can we trust them? Do they have any credibility left? Graham says no:

The president has undermined trust. No longer will the members of Congress be entitled to accept his veracity. Caveat emptor has become the word. Every member of Congress is on his or her own to determine the truth.

Jean Schmidt is a disgrace

In a shrill speech in the House of Representatives, GOP representative Jean Schmidt from Ohio made the following statement:

A few minutes ago I received a call from Colonel Danny Bop, Ohio Representative from the 88th district in the House of Representatives. He asked me to send Congress a message: Stay the course. He also asked me to send Congressman Murtha a message, that cowards cut and run, Marines never do. Danny and the rest of America and the world want the assurance from this body – that we will see this through.

The House erupted as Schmidt made this ridiculous statement, and Schmidt was forced to retract it. In calling Murtha a “coward,” Schmidt demonstrated that she has no shame and she’s an embarassment to her district. Murtha spent 37 years in the military, winning two Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star with a Combat “V” and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry. Murtha is a war hero. Schmidt is a disgrace.

The GOP attacks were not limited to Schmidt. Yestdersay, Rep. Geoff Davis (R-KY)made the following remarks in response to Rep. John Murtha’s call for an immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq:

Ayman Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden’s deputy, as well as Abu Musab Zarqawi, have made it quite clear in their internal propaganda that they cannot win unless they can drive the Americans out. And they know that they can’t do that there, so they’ve brought the battlefield to the halls of Congress.

And, frankly, the liberal leadership have put politics ahead of sound, fiscal and national security policy. And what they have done is cooperated with our enemies and are emboldening our enemies.

Yes, the old “traitor” argument is back. They can’t defend how we got into this war, how the administration botched the war or how the GOP congress abdicated its oversight responsibility. Instead, they make these pathetic attacks. Disagree with their policies, and you’re a traitor. Again, pathetic.

The political firestorm is just getting started. Democrats were beaten into submission by Bush and Rove, but now they’re fighting back, and having a hawk like Murtha challenge the war will embolden more Democrats to speak up.

As for Schmidt, her accusation against Murtha is already playing back in Ohio. Tim Russo is reporting at BuckeyePolitics.net, our affiliate site, that Senate Candidate Paul Hackett, the Iraq war veteran that Schmidt barely beat in a safe Republican district earlier this year, is asking GOP Senator Mike DeWine to join him in demanding that Schmidt apologize to Murtha for her reprehensible comments.

Krauthammer vs. Kansas

Another princlipled conservative takes on the extremists on the religious right. Money quote:

How ridiculous to make evolution the enemy of God. What could be more elegant, more simple, more brilliant, more economical, more creative, indeed more divine than a planet with millions of life forms, distinct and yet interactive, all ultimately derived from accumulated variations in a single double-stranded molecule, pliable and fecund enough to give us mollusks and mice, Newton and Einstein? Even if it did give us the Kansas State Board of Education too.

Chicken hawks attack Murtha

You knew it would happen. As soon as Jack Murtha called for a withdrawel from Iraq, right wing congressmen who never served in the military started going after Murtha, using terms like “cowardly” and “aiding the enemy.”

As a Democratic congressman from Pennsylvania for the past 31 years, he has been a fierce hawk, championing conflicts in Central America and the Persian Gulf.

On Thursday, he was called a coward.

After Murtha stunned the Capitol with a news conference calling for a pullout from Iraq because our “troops have done all they can,” the denunciations came quickly and furiously.

House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., accused Murtha of delivering “the highest insult” to the troops. “We must not cower,” Hastert told the former Marine.

Majority Leader Roy Blunt, R-Mo., told Murtha that his views “only embolden our enemies” and lamented that “Democrats undermine our troops in Iraq from the security of their Washington, D.C., offices.”

Rep. J.D. Hayworth, R-Ariz., told the 73-year-old Murtha that “the American people are made of sterner stuff.” And Rep. John Carter, R-Texas, said the likes of Murtha want to take “the cowardly way out.”

Murtha, whose brand of hawkishness has never been qualified by the word “chicken,” was expecting the attacks: “I like guys who’ve never been there that criticize us who’ve been there. I like that.”

Carter, Hastert, Blunt and Hayworth have no military service record.

John Kerry is now on the floor of the U.S. Senate, blasting these clowns and Dick Cheney for these attacks on Murtha. There’s nothing wrong with a debate on what we should do to deal with this mess in Iraq, but anyone who dares to present an alternative to the disastrous policies of this incompetent administration is attacked mercilessly. What a joke.

GOP is a mess

George Will is leading a growing chorus of commentators arguing that the GOP is destroying the conservative movment. For years I’ve been hearing pundits (including Will) brag about the conservative revolution overtaking this country, but the success of the GOP has more to do with political tactics (see Karl Rove) and the inept Democrats (see Kerry, Gore, Daschle and Gephardt) than the power of conservative principles.

The most obvious example involves spending. The GOP controls the Oval Office and both houses of Congress, yet George Bush and his Republican buddies are spending like crazy and reversing the fiscal sanity of the Clinton years. Bush loves to throw around the word “irresponsible,” yet this term is one of the first that would come to mind when describing Bush (along with “incompetent”). The GOP is winning elections not by challenging liberalism, but by offering goodies like prescription drugs and massive tax cuts and dividing the country on the issue of security. Barry Goldwater has to be turning in his grave. If they offered small government conservatism to the public, their winning streak at the ballot box would surely come to an end. George Bush learned this the hard way when he interpreted the 2004 election as a mandate for gutting Social Security. His approval ratings have been in a free fall following that brilliant determination.

My favorite new phrase is “big-government conservatives.” Huh? Are you kidding me? Will addresses what’s really happening – the religious conservatives are taking over the GOP. Fortunately, principled small-government conservatives like Will are getting fed up. Silly issues like “intelligent design” might force a split in the party. The mess in Iraq isn’t helping. Now, can the Democrats seize this opportunity?

Hardball . . . finally

While it’s coming several years too late, Chris Matthews deserves credit for taking on the Bush administration and pointing out how the pre-war statements of Bush, Cheney and other senior officials were not consistent with the caveats being expressed by the CIA and our own government officials.

Tonight, after Dick Cheney’s ridiculous rant against war critics, Hardball replayed Dick Cheney’s statements over the past several years that were clearly untrue, AND which ignored caveats expressed AT THE TIME by our own intelligence officials. How can anyone argue that on issues like nuclear weapons and the alleged link to al Qaeda that these guys didn’t mislead the country?

I just wish that Matthews and other members of the press would have been this diligent and bold in 2002 and 2003.

Murtha calls for withdrawal from Iraq

Rep. John Murtha, D-Pennsylvania, one of Congress’ most hawkish Democrats, is calling for the immediate withdrawal of American troops from Iraq. Murtha voted for the war but now argues that the war is not going as advertised and that “it is a flawed policy wrapped in illusion.”

Murtha’s statement is significant because he has earned bipartisan respect for his grasp of military issues over three decades in Congress.

The support for Bush’s war is crumbling, and this development will accerate the inevitable. Most now realize that this war is not winnable with the current course set by this incompetent administration. John McCain is calling for MORE troops, but that ship sailed long ago. Most experts believed when the war began that significantly more troops were needed, but the Bush administration ignored this sound advice. Two years later, with our military stretched thin, increasing the troop levels is not a viable option, and at this point would probably do nothing to change the situation on the ground. The window of opportunity closed long ago.

Meanwhile, Bush, Cheney and their cronies are trying to convince the public that they did not deliberately mislead the public and Congress when they were selling the war. Fat chance.

The Plot Thickens

Bob Woodward has been dragged into the Plamegate scandal after acknowledging to the Washington Post that a senior administration official had discussed Joe Wilson’s wife with him more than two years ago.

Woodward has been a critic of the investigation into the leak of Valerie Wilson’s name, yet he never disclsed his own involvement in the story. Woodward has apologized to the Post for withholding this information.

This stinks. Woodward should have kept his mouth shut and refrained from commenting on this case in light of these facts. He was already starting to come across as an apologist for the Bush administration, and this new disclosure further tarnishes his golden reputation.

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