Monday, June 04, 2007

Hillary's Iraq War vote: she didn't bother to read intel report that showed how thin evidence was

This focuses on Hillary because she said she would still vote the same way with the same information though it brings up that Dodd, Biden, and Edwards are only in slightly better shape since they also had access to the NIE that cast doubts on whether Saddam had WMD. The most damning line though is that then intel committee chair Bob Graham went as far as to have CIA director George Tenet declassify part of his behind closed door testimony and give it to the press, and he urged other Democratic senators to read the NIE that had the grave reservations about whether Saddam had WMD, but few bothered to read it before they voted.

As some one old enough to remember the Cold War but still younger than all the candidates, even if the only info on WMD they had was what we all heard on TV, they would know exactly what Tenet was forced to say in what he released to the press: even if Saddam had nukes, he would only use them as a last resort while being attacked. He may have been an evil man, but he was not retarded. He knew full well like every other world leader that if a nuke went off here and we had a return address (or even if we didn't) the country that launched or smuggled it would be burned off the map and we would still have plenty of nukes left to do the same to every other country on earth four or five times.

Everyone who voted for the war resolution is old enough to remember that, and if they pretend they thought Saddam was a threat, they are lying. They may be telling nicer lies than the Bushies, and may not step on our civil rights as badly if they become president, but if they lie about something so important, they are likely still susceptible to doing the real decision making behind closed doors and making up fairy tales to tell us in public so that democracy is as effectively neutered on foreign policy as it is under Bush.


posted June 1, 2007 (web only)

Hillary's Political Horror Story

Nicholas von Hoffman

Slowly, very slowly, Hillary Clinton's vote to invade Iraq is turning into a political horror story. It is the moldering hand of a murder victim coming out of the grave to grab her by the ankle.


She may be concerned that a retraction will make her look weak. So her line of defense has been, "My vote was a sincere vote based on the facts and assurances that I had at the time." She says it over and over again.

The facts she had and the facts she could have had before she cast her vote for the war are two different things. We learn that from an article in The New York Times Magazine by Jeff Gerth and Don Van Natta Jr.

These two, who have made a career out of investigating Hillary, have dug up a couple of facts the Senator is going to have a hard time ignoring. The big fact is that she had access at the time to a highly classified report, the National Intelligence Estimate, which contained authoritative doubts that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.

Gerth and Van Natta have established that she did not read this report. Because it was classified, senators wishing to read it had to sign in, and Hillary did not. Although one of her Democratic colleagues, Bob Graham, then chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, urged Hillary and all the other Democratic senators to read it, few did. Graham, however, read the ninety-page document and was so shaken by the questionable evidence for the existence of WMDs that he voted against going to war.


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