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Lieberman On Appointment Of Kiley: ‘It’s A Good First Step’

By Faiz Shakir on March 2, 2007 at 12:21 pm

"Lieberman On Appointment Of Kiley: ‘It’s A Good First Step’"

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This morning on his radio show, Don Imus questioned Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) about his reaction to the conditions at Walter Reed, saying, “If you’re somebody who thought the war was such a wonderful idea, as you did, and continues to support this idiotic exercise…[you] have a special responsibility to know what the hell has happened to these kids.” Lieberman responded, “We all ought to be doing mea culpas. ”

Lieberman also claimed the replacement of Maj. Gen. George Weightman with Lt. Gen. Kevin Kiley at Walter Reed was “a good first step.” Imus responded, “It’s an absurd first step. [Weightman] didn’t have anything to do with this. He’s been in charge — that’s a big scapegoat deal and you know that.” Watch it:

[flv http://video.thinkprogress.org/2007/03/imuslieb.320.240.flv]

Transcript:

IMUS: I had Senator John McCain on — I can’t remember when it was. It was yesterday…

LIEBERMAN: Yes.

IMUS: … or the day before. And I asked him — and he’s the one who took me and Charles and Bernard over to Walter Reed. He told me he didn’t know what was going on there.

LIEBERMAN: Yeah.

IMUS: And do you think he is telling me the truth?

LIEBERMAN: I do. Of course, I do.

[...]

IMUS: It would occur to me, Senator Lieberman…

LIEBERMAN: Yes, sir.

IMUS: … that, particularly if you’re somebody who thought the war was such a wonderful idea, as you did, and continues to support this idiotic exercise that you — and probably you sit on some of these oversight committees…

LIEBERMAN: Yes.

IMUS: … that you would have a special responsibility to know what the hell has happened to these kids.

LIEBERMAN: Yes.

(CROSSTALK)

IMUS: It’s not enough to say you didn’t know or you didn’t ask the right questions. I mean, that’s why we elected you.

LIEBERMAN: We all have responsibility. And I will tell you very personally, because I have supported the war and continue to believe that we’ve got to do everything we can to have it end successfully, I have a special responsibility. And so, you know, we all ought to be doing mea culpas.

[...]

IMUS: How do we get this fixed?

LIEBERMAN: Well, I think the first thing is to hold people accountable. And, you know, General Weightman going is a good first step. The Armed Services Committee…

IMUS: Well, it’s an absurd first step. He didn’t have anything to do with this. He’s been in charge — that’s a big scapegoat deal and you know that.

LIEBERMAN: Your questions about General Kiley are very good questions, and I’m going to ask him. Because this, after all, is the guy that was in charge for a couple years.

IMUS: Well, he’s a lying skunk. He ought to be forced to resign today, Senator.

LIEBERMAN: Of course, I don’t have that exact authority.

(LAUGHTER)

But I will tell you that — I’m on the Armed Services Committee. The Armed Services Committee oversees the medical hospitals. And a group of us on the committee are going out there this afternoon. And I am going to ask some of the tough questions that you and a lot of others…

IMUS: See if they’ll let you, Senator Joe Lieberman, walk around without being escorted by four or five of these generals who’ve known about this for years.

LIEBERMAN: Yes.

IMUS: I mean, did you read Dana Priest and Anne Hull story in The Washington Post yesterday, that General Kiley’s been up there testifying before your committee and lying to you, Senator…

(CROSSTALK)

IMUS: … lying to you and these other people. He’s lying to you.

LIEBERMAN: I agree.

Look, this is the guy that was on top of the institution. It is not — it’s a good sized hospital, but it’s not a city. And this was a building that was an important part of that. So, look, he should have known.

[...]

LIEBERMAN: Part of this, Don, was that the whole response never lived up to the increasing demand on the Army medical system or the military medical system after Iraq.

IMUS: Well, that’s not a good excuse.

LIEBERMAN: Well, no, it’s not an excuse. It’s an explanation.

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