Rachel's MSNBC Iraq War Special Tonight-- Don't Miss It
Last week we looked at the idea of redemption in the political context and the post wound up being about my own congressman, Adam Schiff (D-CA). Schiff recently quit the Blue Dogs (while remaining in the not totally different New Dems) and he's been co-sponsoring progressive legislation. Does that expiate his vote for Bush's unprovoked attack on Iraq?
Yesterday it was reported that Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal is planning to mount a run for president (or, more likely, vice president) in 2016. It won't hurt him in the Republican primary, but what will normal voters think when it comes up that when he was in Congress, he rushed back to Washington on Palm Sunday, 2005 to participate in Tom DeLay's disgraceful, necrophilious charade over the vegetative body of Terri Schiavo? Bobby Jindal, who claims to have the powers of exorcism and faith healing, voted against allowing this woman to die with dignity and he did so as part of a political agenda. My guess is that most Americans will hold that against him-- hold him accountable.
Adam Schiff has never been held to account to his vote on October 10, 2002 to authorize the use of force against Iraq. The war cost America over 4,000 dead, 32,000 seriously wounded and over $3 trillion. Over 100,000 Iraqis, mostly civilians, were killed. Tragically, the authorization to use force passed 296-133, 81 Democrats joining 215 Republicans to back the Bush regimes plans to deal with Saddam Hussein. Had Schiff and the other 80 Democrats not voted for it, the resolution would have failed and that war wouldn't have gone forward. That resolution, co-sponsored by Speaker Denny Hastert (R-IL) and Democratic Minority Leader Dick Gephardt (D-MO), pretty much ended Gephardt's aspiration to be president and his political career. He's a successful K Street lobbyist now. But no other Democrats ever really had to answer for this vote. Soon after the vote, war-advocate Steny Hoyer (D-MD) was elected second-ranking Democrat in the House leadership. Nor did his unabashed war advocacy derail the career trajectory of Steve Israel (D-NY), now chairman of the DCCC. This year war monger Eliot Engel (D-NY) was made ranking member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and war monger Joe Crowley (D-NY) was elevated to the House Democratic leadership. Massachusetts ConservaDem Stephen Lynch and Massachusetts progressive Ed Markey both voted for the war resolution and they're running against each other for an open Senate seat now. The Iraq War isn't an issue. And of the dozen or so Democrats who voted for the war and are no longer Members of Congress-- from Harold Ford (D-TN) and Shelley Berkley (D-NV) to Anthony Weiner (D-NY) and Tim Holden (D-PA)-- none were defeated or forced to retire because of it.
Tonight Rachel Maddow is hosting an MSNBC special, Hubris, based on the book by Michael Isikoff and David Korn and it is unlikely to mention Adam Schiff or Eliot Engel or Harold Ford but it will attempt to put the treachery against the American people by our political elites into focus. David Korn explained the project over the weekend for his readers at Mother Jones:
Bush did succeed in removing Saddam Hussein, but it turned out there were no weapons of mass destruction and no significant operational ties between Saddam's regime and Al Qaeda. That is, the two main assertions used by Bush and his crew to justify the war were not true.I would guess that the likelihood of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and the rest being tried as war criminals is about zero. There is still a chance-- if voters wanted to-- to hold congressional enablers accountable in terms of their careers. Check the roll call again and see if your congresscritter voted for the war. Here's a very incomplete synopsis of where some of the perps are now:
...One chilling moment in the film comes in an interview with retired General Anthony Zinni, a former commander in chief of US Central Command. In August 2002, the Bush-Cheney administration opened its propaganda campaign for war with a Cheney speech at the annual Veterans of Foreign Wars convention. The veep made a stark declaration: "There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us." No doubt, he proclaimed, Saddam was arming himself with WMD in preparation for attacking the United States.
Zinni was sitting on the stage during the speech, and in the documentary he recalls his reaction:
It was a shock. It was a total shock. I couldn't believe the vice president was saying this, you know? In doing work with the CIA on Iraq WMD, through all the briefings I heard at Langley, I never saw one piece of credible evidence that there was an ongoing program. And that's when I began to believe they're getting serious about this. They wanna go into Iraq.That Zinni quote should almost end the debate on whether the Bush-Cheney administration purposefully guided the nation into war with misinformation and disinformation.
But there's more. So much more. The film highlights a Pentagon document declassified two years ago. This memo notes that in November 2001-- shortly after the 9/11 attacks-- Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld met with General Tommy Franks to review plans for the "decapitation" of the Iraqi government. The two men reviewed how a war against Saddam could be triggered; that list included a "dispute over WMD inspections." It's evidence that the administration was seeking a pretense for war.
The yellowcake uranium supposedly bought by Saddam in Niger, the aluminum tubes supposedly used to process uranium into weapons-grade material, the supposed connection between Saddam and Osama bin Laden-- the documentary features intelligence analysts and experts who at the time were saying and warning that the intelligence on these topics was wrong or uncertain. Yet administration officials kept using lousy and inconclusive intelligence to push the case for war.
...A hoax. That's what it was. Yet Bush and Cheney went on to win reelection, and many of their accomplices in this swindle never were fully held accountable. In the years after the WMD scam became apparent, there certainly was a rise in public skepticism and media scrutiny of government claims. Still, could something like this happen again? Maddow remarks, "If what we went through 10 years ago did not change us as a nation--if we do not understand what happened and adapt to resist it-- then history says we are doomed to repeat it."
• Spencer Bachus (R-AL)- chairman of the House Financial Services Committee
• Roy Blunt (R-MO)- now a U.S. senator
• John Boehner (R-IL)- now Speaker of the House
• John Boozman (R-IL)- now a U.S. senator
• Richard Burr (R-NC)- now a U.S. senator
• Dave Camp (R-MI)- chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee
• Eric Cantor (R-VA)- Majority Leader of the House
• Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV)- currently running for the U.S. Senate
• Duke Cunningham (R-CA)- still in prison but on unrelated criminal charges
• Nathan Deal (R-GA)- now Governor of Georgia
• Tom DeLay (R-TX)- sentenced to 3 years in prison on unrelated criminal charges
• Jim DeMint (R-SC)- heading a far right think tank and extremist SuperPAC
• Jeff Flake (R-AZ)- now a U.S. senator
• Bob Goodlatte (R-VA)- chairman of the House Judiciary Committee
• Lindsey Graham (R-SC)- notorious closet queen, conspiracy theorist and Senate obstructionist
• Doc Hastings (R-WA)- chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources
• Johnny Isakson (R-GA)- now a U.S. senator
• Darrell Issa (R-CA)- chairman of the House Oversight Committee
• Ron Kind (D-WI)- chairman of the New Dems
• Mark Kirk (R-IL)- now a U.S. senator
• Buck McKeon (R-CA)- chairman of House Armed Services Committee (and the Drone Caucus)
• Jeff Miller (R-FL)- chairman of House Veterans Affairs Committee
• Jerry Moran (R-KS)- now a U.S. senator
• Mike Pence (R-IN)- now Governor of Indiana
• Rob Portman (R-OH)- now a U.S. senator
• Hal Rogers (R-KY)- chairman of House Appropriations Committee
• Mike Rogers (R-MI)- chairman of House Intelligence Committee
• Ed Royce (R-CA)- chairman of House Foreign Affairs Committee
• Paul Ryan (R-WI)- chairman, House Budget Committee, TV news star
• Pete Sessions (R-TX)- chairman, House Rules Committee
• John Thune (R-SD)- now a U.S. senator
• Pat Toomey (R-PA)- now a U.S. senator
• Fred Upton (R-MI)- chairman, House Energy and Commerce Committee
• David "Diapers" Vitter (R-LA)- now a U.S. senator
• Greg Walden (R-OR)- chairman of the NRCC
• Tom Wicker (R-MS)- now a U.S. senator