ABC’s World News Tonight highlights an eight-year-old whose father died in Iraq.
In a 94-34 vote, the New York State Assembly today passed the first state resolution “opposing the President’s escalation in Iraq and calling on President Bush to not veto the supplemental legislation that Congress recently passed.” (via Progressive States Network)
Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) on Friday:
Inhofe, speaking to the press before Cheney’s arrival, lambasted Democrats for Thursday’s Senate vote to begin withdrawal from Iraq by Oct. 1 and the press for “mischaracterizing” the reasons for U.S. involvement.
“The whole idea of weapons of mass destruction was never the issue, yet they keep trying to bring this up,” Inhofe said. [...]
Pressed for an explanation, Inhofe said weapons of mass destruction were “incidental” to the decision to invade Iraq.
“The media made that the issue because they knew Saddam Hussein had used weapons of mass destruction.”
Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) in August 2002:
Our intelligence system has said that we know that Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction — I believe including nuclear. There’s not one person on this panel who would tell you unequivocally that he doesn’t have the missile means now, or is nearly getting the missile means to deliver a weapon of mass destruction. And I for one am not willing to wait for that to happen.
When the Army Corps of Engineers solicited bids for drainage pumps for New Orleans, “it copied the specifications — typos and all — from the catalog of the manufacturer that ultimately won the $32 million contract.” That manufacturer: MWI. “MWI employed former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, President George W. Bush’s brother, to market its pumps during the 1980s, and top MWI officials have been major contributors to the Republican Party.”
Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz on George Tenet’s criticisms: “So what’s interesting here is: This is no longer the liberal media saying this. This is no longer a bunch of journalists of questionable patriotism saying the Bush administration rushed to war; wanted to invade Iraq all along; didn’t have a serious debate. This is the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency.”
Murray Waas revealed in the National Journal today that Alberto Gonzales “signed a highly confidential order in March 2006 delegating to two of his top aides” — chief of staff Kyle Sampson and counsel Monica Goodling, who have both since resigned — “extraordinary authority over the hiring and firing of most non-civil-service employees of the Justice Department.”
Waas says the memo “suggests that a broad effort was under way by the White House to place politically and ideologically loyal appointees throughout the Justice Department, not just at the U.S.-attorney level”:
A senior executive branch official familiar with the delegation of authority said in an interview that — as was the case with the firings of the U.S. attorneys and the selection of their replacements — the two aides intended to work closely with White House political aides and the White House counsel’s office in deciding which senior Justice Department officials to dismiss and whom to appoint to their posts. “It was an attempt to make the department more responsive to the political side of the White House and to do it in such a way that people would not know it was going on,” the official said. [...]
A senior Justice Department official, who did not know of Gonzales’s delegation of authority until contacted by National Journal, said that it posed a serious threat to the integrity of the criminal-justice system because it gave Sampson, Goodling, and the White House control over the hiring of senior officials in the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, which oversees all politically sensitive public corruption cases, at the same time that they held authority to hire and fire U.S. attorneys.
In a new statement, Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) said the secret order “would seem to be evidence of an effort to hardwire control over law enforcement by White House political operatives,” and demanded that it be turned over to congressional investigators immediately:
This memorandum should have been turned over to Senate and House committees as part of requests made in ongoing investigations. I expect the Department of Justice to immediately provide Congress with full information about this troubling decision as well as any other related documents they have failed to turn over to date.
Read Leahy’s full statement below: Read more
Conservatives appear to have correctly noted that George Tenet’s account of meeting Richard Perle at the White House the day after 9/11 was incorrect. Tenet has acknowledged the error, stating, “I may have gotten the days wrong, but I know I got the substance of that conversation correct.” Tenet says Perle told him, “Iraq has to pay a price for what happened yesterday. They bear responsibility.”
The controversy over Tenet’s recollection has helped refresh the record about what Richard Perle was advocating in the days after 9/11. As ThinkProgress noted earlier today, Perle signed a letter addressed to President Bush on 9/20/01 that stated the following:
[E]ven if evidence does not link Iraq directly to the attack, any strategy aiming at the eradication of terrorism and its sponsors must include a determined effort to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq.
Today, CNN provided further evidence that Perle was pushing for an attack against Iraq shortly after 9/11. The network re-aired footage of Perle on CNN five days after 9/11 claiming that Saddam was linked to bin Laden. Perle said at the time:
Even if we cannot prove to the standard that we enjoy in our own civil society they are involved, we do know, for example, that Saddam Hussein has ties to Osama bin Laden.
Transcript: Read more
For the first time ever, “about a third of the historically male Pentagon press corps is female. The latest addition, Fox News Channel’s Jennifer Griffin, brings the number of regular female reporters to nine.”
On Jan. 11, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the Bush administration would not “stay married” to its Baghdad security plan if the Iraqis do “not [live] up to their part of the obligation.” She said that “the most important thing that the Iraqi government has to do right now is to reestablish the confidence of its population that it’s going to be even-handed in defending it,” otherwise “this plan is not going to work.” Watch it:
Those two to three months are up, and recent troubling reports indicate that Maliki’s office has not been “even-handed” in defending the Iraqi population and has actually increased sectarian tensions:
– “A department of the Iraqi prime minister’s office is playing a leading role in the arrest and removal of senior Iraqi army and national police officers, some of whom had apparently worked too aggressively to combat violent Shiite militias.”
– According to a recent poll, Maliki inspires confidence in 72 percent of Shiites, but just eight percent of Sunnis.
– “The UN has sharply criticised the Iraqi government’s human rights record, in the two months since a security plan was launched in the capital, Baghdad. The UN mission for Iraq said Iraqi authorities had failed to guarantee the basic rights of about 3,000 people they had detained in the operations.”
– In its April 26 Iraq Index, the Brookings Institution found “no progress thus far” on four of Rice’s benchmarks: establishing new election laws, scheduling provincial elections, disbanding militias, or putting together a plan for national reconciliation.
Even though the Iraqi government has been largely unsuccessful in meeting its political benchmarks, the Bush administration refuses to change its plan in Iraq. Yesterday on CBS’s Face the Nation, Rice said that the administration opposes imposing any “so-called consequences” on Maliki’s government “for missing the benchmarks,” and plans to veto any bill that does so.
UPDATE: Video of the hearing has been added.
Full transcript: Read more
To mark the fourth anniversary of President Bush’s “victory” speech aboard the USS Lincoln tomorrow, Americans Against Escalation in Iraq and Americans United for Change joined Iraq war veterans and others today outside the White House.
You can watch the new Americans United ad on Iraq HERE.