Prior to the war, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld claimed the Iraq war might last “five days or five weeks or five months, but it certainly isn’t going to last any longer than that.” But as the war has intensified and escalated into a “long, hard slog,” some of the critical details have faded from our memories.
Today on ABC’s This Week, Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) rejected the administration’s upbeat rhetoric on the Iraq war, claiming that its “mindless banter” hides the real picture of what’s going on in the region. Watch it:
STEPHANOPOULOS: So we have to start thinking about a staged withdrawal?
HAGEL: Well, we always should be thinking about that. But somehow we are going to have to bring into the mix here the obligations, responsibility, not just of the Iraqi people but of the region.
And this mindless kind of banter about, well, if we leave, the whole place falls apart; we can’t leave; we can’t even think about leaving. Wait a minute: You just showed on your screen the cost to the American people of the last three years.
It’s helping bankrupt this country, by the way. We didn’t think about any of that and not just the high cost of lives and the continuation of that but our standing in the world.
And I would define it this way. Are we better off today than we were three years ago? Is the Middle East more stable than it was three years ago? Absolutely not. It’s more unstable.
Crooks & Liars highlights Hagel’s comments about the ongoing civil war in Iraq.
Today on Face the Nation, Vice President Cheney defended his dubious pre-war and post-war claims by blaming the media:
[T]here is a constant sort of perception if you will that’s created because what is newsworthy is the carbomb in Baghdad, it’s not all the work that went on that day in 15 other provinces in terms of making progress in rebuilding Iraq.
On Meet the Press, Tim Russert asked Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) about the administration’s repeated attempts to blame the media. Watch it:
RUSSERT: Some in the administration say the media is distorting the good news that’s coming out of Iraq.
MURTHA: They said the same thing about Vietnam. They said the same thing over and over and over about Vietnam. They said we’re winning the war in Vietnam. You could go back and get quotes from Vietnam and you’ll see the same kind of reports. The media is the one that’s distorting. Everything is going fine in Vietnam. Well, everything is not going fine in Iraq. They have to realize it. When the whole world is against you, when our international reputation has been diminished so substantially, when all the countries in the region say we’d be better off without us being in Iraq, when the people themselves in Iraq say — and American people say it, I mean, who is right?
Go to Crooks and Liars to watch Murtha’s entire appearance.
This morning on Face the Nation, Cheney stubbornly defended his pre-war claim that U.S. troops would be “greeted as liberators” and his May ’05 claim that the insurgency was “in its last throes.” Watch it:
SCHIEFFER: Mr. Vice President, all along the government has been very optimistic. You remain optimistic. But I remember when you were saying we’d be greeted as liberators, you played down the insurgency ten months ago. You said it was in its last throes. Do you believe that these optimistic statements may be one of the reasons that people seem to be more skeptical in this country about whether we ought to be in Iraq?
CHENEY: No, I think it has less to do with the statements we’ve made, which I think were basically accurate and reflect reality, than it does the fact that there is a constant sort of perception if you will that’s created because what is newsworthy is the carbomb in Baghdad, it’s not all the work that went on that day in 15 other provinces in terms of making progress in rebuilding Iraq.
Hume Lies: ‘No Politician Briefed’ On Warrantless Wiretapping ‘Claims The Briefings Were Insufficient’
Today on Fox News Sunday, Brit Hume angrily asserted that no one briefed on the President’s warrantless domestic wiretapping program has said the briefings were inadequate. Watch it:
That is absurd. No politician among those who have been thoroughly briefed on this claims the briefings were insufficient and vague. Rockefeller does not claim that. Rockefeller has said many things about this program, but he’s — but he has never said that he wasn’t fully briefed that I know of.
That’s false. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, the Vice-Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, did complain the briefings were inadequate. From Rockefeller’s letter to Dick Cheney after the briefing:
Clearly, the activities we discussed raised profound oversight issues.I feel unable to evaluate, much less endorse, these activities- without more information. I simply cannot satisfy lingering concerns raised by the briefing.
Also, Sen. Bob Graham the former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee said his briefing was inadequate. From the Miami Herald:
“¦Graham recalled being summoned to a classified briefing by Vice President Dick Cheney in late 2001 or early 2002. He was informed about a presidential directive that let the National Security Agency eavesdrop on overseas calls that moved through U.S. communications lines — not people speaking on the phone inside the United States.
“¦ [D]uring his chairmanship of the Intelligence Committee in 2001 and 2002, [Graham] said, “I was not notified that they were going to abandon the FISA process and utilize warrantless intercepts of conversations.”
We’ll be waiting patiently for Hume’s correction.
Former Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi said today that Iraq is in a civil war:
It is unfortunate that we are in civil war. We are losing each day as an average 50 to 60 people throughout the country, if not more. If this is not civil war, then God knows what civil war is”¦We are in a terrible civil conflict now.
In 2004, Bush said it was unacceptable to question the credibility of Allawi’s assessment of Iraq:
Well, Prime Minister Allawi was here; he is the leader of that country. He’s a brave, brave man. When he came, after giving a speech to the Congress, my opponent questioned his credibility. You can’t change the dynamics on the ground if you’ve criticized the brave leader of Iraq.
Does that only apply when Allawi says what Bush wants to hear?