National Review has an editorial suggesting a path forward in the DHS funding-Obama amnesty fight. My verdict…Meh.
But if Senate Democrats will not allow the bill to be amended, it falls to the House to advance a bill that will put them in a tougher political bind. That means focusing on the November amnesty and not taking the risk of a deadlock that shuts off funding authority for all of DHS in two weeks. Even though such a DHS “shutdown” would have little effect on department operations, and Democratic intransigence would have as much to do with it as Republican insistence on reversing Obama’s amnesty, Republicans would still likely get the blame, as they almost always do in these confrontations.
What might the right approach look like? The House can offer to fund most of DHS in one bill, and the federal immigration bureaucracy, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, in another, with the latter bill blocking the president’s November amnesty. This would narrow the debate and make it much harder for Democrats to argue that the Republican plan is inappropriate or risky.
Conn Caroll says this is a call to “cave“.
That might be a big strong but it’s certainly a call for the GOP to negotiate against itself which is never a good idea.
The problem with this strategy is it offers an incentive for the Democrats to continue to continue their terrorist threats to kill the hostage they have taken here (aside: I bet we’re soon going to be lectured about terrible it is to call political disagreements “hostage taking.”)
Splitting the bill is an admission that the pressure is on the GOP to “do something”. Well, the GOP has done something, it’s passed a bill in the House and the Senate is ready to take up that bill. It’s a sign they are scared. So why wouldn’t the Democrats simply filibuster the split bills? They’ll say the exact same things about how DHS is not something to be played with and that Obama is going to veto it anyway so the GOP has to give in to their demands or else.
Once you start offering concessions without getting anything in return for them, the Democrats will simply figure time is on their side and hang tough. And they’d be right.
Something else to consider…this is the first fight of its kind with the new GOP majority (a majority one in no small part by running on this very issue). The precedent the GOP sets on this battle will determine what happens for the rest of this Congress. Cave now and you’ll never win anything again.
So what should the GOP do? Attack. Hey super PACs….start running ads in red states with Democratic Senators about that Senator is standing with Barack Obama and illegal immigrants and against the safety of the American people.
Liberals understand that the campaign never ends. They are helped in this by complete ownership of the media but the GOP needs to find ways to make life uncomfortable for Democrats ALL THE DAMN TIME, not just in the 6 to 8 weeks before an election.
One compromise I would offer if I were Mitch McConnell, only apply the funding cut to Obama’s latest amnesty and take the so-called ‘dreamers’ amnesty out. Fighting the kids is a tougher political sell. Yeah, it sucks but you’ve got to give something to get something. The GOP will be on politically safer ground dealing with the so-called “dreamers” later. To be clear, I wouldn’t just offer it for good will, I’d want to go find the 5 or 6 Democrats I need to break the filibuster and offer it to them as an old-fashioned quid pro quo…either you sign on to vote for us or we spend a few weeks beating you up back home. Give them the “dreamers” as a cancellation prize and a way to save face.
Oh and as always, McCain needs to shut up.
I never get people who attach themselves with any passion to a candidate. For the most part, politicians are scum and most border on mental instability of one sort of another. And all of them will sell out at some point.
Even supposed ideologues like Rand Paul.
When Rand Paul and Barack Obama agree on a tax plan, something has gone very wrong.
Paul announced he’s teaming up with…Barbara Boxer to….save the highway trust fund. A sample of the proposal’s “highlights” (pdf)
Allows companies to voluntarily return their foreign earnings to the United States at a tax rate of 6.5 percent. The rate is only for repatriations that exceed each company’s average repatriations in recent years, and funds must have been earned in 2015 or earlier. Companies have up to five years to complete the transfer.
Ensures that a portion of repatriated funds will be used for increased hiring, wages and pensions; R&D; environmental improvements; public-private partnerships; capital improvements; and acquisitions. No funds may be spent on increases in executive compensation, or on increases in shareholder dividends or stock buybacks for three years after the program ends.
All tax revenues from the repatriation program will be transferred into the Highway Trust Fund.
A modern transportation system is the foundation for a strong U.S. economy and maintaining and improving our roads, bridges, and transit systems is necessary to ensure our nation’s global competitiveness. Transportation is and should be a nonpartisan issue and taking action to save the Highway Trust Fund and invest in our aging infrastructure is strongly supported by businesses, labor, and transportation organizations.
Telling companies what they must and can’t spend profits on? Public works as federal jobs programs? Not exactly out of the libertarian playbook, huh? In fact, they’re right out of the Democrats and the Chamber of Commerce’s. Surely Rand can’t be playing ball with the Chamber! Oh.
This is a long way from the government slashing budget proposals Rand used to offer.
I miss the old Rand.
Some will see this as growth (something to be wary of in Republicans) others…will have a different view.
If you want a real small government transportation plan, stick with Mike Lee.
This seems like the first step in making Paul’s presidential campaign all about his non-interventionist foreign policy. I support that to a limited degree but it’s not enough to take the risks associated with Paul.
Politicians are chess pieces. Support them if they help you win, sacrifice them if that helps you.
“If everyone is special, then no one is”.
That line from The Incredibles is a very important one to remember in a world where “participation” and “trying” are prized above winning and results.
In the Republican caucus of the House of Representatives “conservative” is a label almost everyone applies to themselves and in doing so they have devalued the term.
That’s what is leading to the fracturing of the House’s premiere conservative group, “The Republican Study Committee”.
Once a bastion for the conservative movement, the RSC has strayed too far from its original mission and been co-opted by the same party leaders it is meant to exert pressure upon, the members believe.
The new group, which does not yet have a name, is being de-facto led by former RSC Chairman Jim Jordan, although the formal leadership structure could change.
The new group is a direct rebuke of RSC Chairman Bill Flores, who after he won election over Mulvaney told the press that he does not believe the RSC’s core mission should be to put pressure on leadership.
The group was founded in 1973 when liberal Republicans like Gerald Ford and Richard Nixon (yes, Nixon was a liberal Republican) were making deals to expand the reach of government. The few conservative members of the House wanted to create an alternative policy group to push the debate to the right.
An idea was taking shape. These conservative House members decided in the long term to target Minority Leader Gerald Ford, whom they saw as a moderate deal-maker rather than a principled conservative. (Ford, foreshadowing the frustration to be felt by future House leaders, fancied himself a conservative but found it impossible to earn the trust from his right wing.) “We said, ‘If Jerry Ford isn’t getting any pressure from the right, the only way he’s going to go is left,’ ” Feulner recalls.
First, though, the conservatives went hunting for bigger game. President’s Nixon’s welfare plan contained a provision to guarantee Americans a certain annual income—a notion that horrified right-wingers in both chambers of Congress. So Crane had Feulner reach out to conservative aides in the Senate in the hope of joining forces to defeat Nixon’s plan. Soon, Feulner was working with Paul Weyrich, a young staffer for Sen. Gordon Allott of Colorado, and other conservative Hill aides. The group persuaded the governor of California—a popular conservative named Ronald Reagan—to testify against the plan before the Senate Finance Committee. The measure eventually failed, and Reagan rewarded Crane by coming to meet with him in the Capitol. Looking back, Feulner says his work with Weyrich, who later founded the Heritage Foundation, laid the groundwork for what would eventually become the Republican Study Committee.
While the group has had several incarnations over the years, it’s always been a place for the most conservative members to band together to pull the GOP to the right.
As “conservative” became the defacto label for Republicans more and more members joined the group event thought they weren’t really movement conservatives. That’s led to a watering down to the groups positions and its willingness to take on leadership.
Currently there are 170 members (out of 245 Republicans total) of the RSC, that’s almost 70% the entire caucus. This is no longer a select group of members who want to pull the party to conservative policies but a box many moderate members have to check to keep up appearances back home.
Critics of the split, like Noah Rothman of Hot Air, say the move puts purity over effectiveness.
What might be accomplished as part of an organization with a track record of success, one designed to serve as the House Republican leadership’s conservative conscience, will now be far more difficult as these members have intentionally sidelined themselves. By creating a sequestered group that achieves nothing more than self-validation and facilitates only the nursing of grievances, these conservative members have embraced marginalization. As members of a small minority House GOP Conference, these conservative insurrectionists might enjoy more success in this endeavor. As part of a large, diverse majority GOP Conference, the broadest Republican majority the nation has seen since the 1920s, they can be safely ignored.
The threat of House conservatives to walk out of the RSC is not strategy, it’s petulance. And no one will welcome this maneuver more than the Republican leaders they are supposedly protesting.
This critique misses the point of the group. It’s not just a voting bloc trying to win the odd concession from the moderate leadership. It’s supposed to be the engine room of conservative policy creation and messaging.
There’s a time for pragmatism in politics but there’s also a time for firebrand campaigning.
When the insurgents become the establishment it is necessary to shake things up again. To maintain a healthy internal debate and to prevent atrophy, it’s vital that some faction of the ruling group maintain a curiosity and energy for change. It’s easy to rest on your laurels and say, “we’ve won, we can stop fighting now”. Surely no conservative looks at the House GOP and says the fight is done. The right needs an energetic base within the governing wing to push and prod the establishment from getting comfortable. Comfort in politics means a slow and steady drift to the left.
That almost everyone wants to be called a conservative now is a victory for those who started the RSC over 40 years ago. But that doesn’t mean that just because people call themselves conservative they are. There are more policy and political fights for conservatives to win. It’s going to take a new generation of conservatives to redefine the term, to breath life into the timeless ideals and to bring an energy to the fight that will rally others to the cause.
When everyone is a conservative, no one is. Hopefully this new group will shake up the comfortable consensus and continue to force the GOP in more conservative directions
I know we haven’t always seen eye to eye. And I know I’ve been tough on you in the past but you need to hear this from someone…drop this idea of running again.
It must stick in your craw that you lost to an idiot like Barack Obama. But that’s the problem, you…lost…to…an…idiot…like…Barack…Obama. Yes, defeating an incumbent President is hard but it’s a lot easier in times of economic distress (see Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, granted he invented his own time of distress but “it’s the economy stupid” carried the day). Even with crushing levels of unemployment, anemic growth and fear that when ObamaCare kicked in things would get even worse…you LOST.
Yes, you’ve been proven right about some things since then. About that, they weren’t really all that hard to see. Plenty of people were warning about the threat Russia posed, the danger of Obama’s Iraq policies, the overall path of the country.
And yet, you…lost…to…Barack…Obama.
We can talk about all the reasons you lost but <a href=”http://nypost.com/2012/11/09/what-voters-want-a-prez-who-cares/”>only one of them really matters</a>.
<blockquote>Mitt Romney won among voters who chose three of those characteristics: shares my values, is a strong leader and has a vision for the future. What’s more, he carried them heavily, by between nine and 23 points. In all, 79 percent of voters selected one of these characteristics.
Romney lost because he lost among those who chose the remaining characteristic — by 63 points, 81-18. That characteristic? Cares about people like me.</blockquote>
Voters will forgive or overlook a lot of things but not caring about them isn’t one of them.
Yes, you can complain about idiot voters who make this decisions based on the feels but it doesn’t matter. No candidate gets to tell voters on what basis they will cast their vote. The candidate’s job is to deal with voters as they are, not as they wish them to be. Now, it’s going to be very hard, if not impossible, for any Republican to win the feelings cohort outright but you have to do better than -63%.
No “I told you so” campaign is going to move that number.
Yes, voters may say they regret voting for Barack Obama in 2012 but that doesn’t mean they would vote for you if given the chance to do it all again. Public opinion polls are conducted in a vacuum. Elections aren’t. If they were “Generic Republican” would win every time. Campaigns however involve a choice between two real live candidates that people then have to pick between. When it really counted, when people have to pick between you and the deeply flawed and failing Barack Obama… YOU LOST.
I know this hurts. You’re a proud man who has known great success. You were caricatured in unfair and nasty ways last time. Of course your inability to counter those gross distortions was one of the main reasons why giving you another chance is a laughable proposition.
I believe you care deeply about this country and you honestly think you are indispensable to its future. Here you are wrong. As far as the country is concerned (as distinct from family and friends) you’re a politician and let’s be frank, not a very good one. You were beaten by a failed President who has done much damage to this country and who in the world of business wouldn’t even get an appointment with you. That’s got to sting.
You’ve achieved some level of redemption with the way things worked out and how many in the party embraced you during the midterms. Bank those wins and ride off into the sunset. Coming back into the fray is like Willie Mays trying to hang on in the early 70s with the Mets. It was embarrassing for everyone involved. Unlike Willie, you didn’t have a Hall of Fame career before the fall that blots out the sad last chapter. Take what you have and be happy with it.
As I said, I’m not a fan so you can just write this off as more hate mail but consider this. My urging you to stay out of the race is an admission against interest. If you run, you’ll battle with Jeb and Christie. It will be hilarious to watch three guys who represent so much of what I hate about the GOP rip each other apart.
It’s not just entertainment I’d be forgoing with you skipping another run. Your participation would make it easier for a candidate I might actually support like Rand Paul or Scott Walker to win the nomination. With you on the sidelines it becomes more likely that Jeb Bush would win and I’d have to either sit out 2016 or hope the Libertarian Party nominates someone who isn’t certifiably insane (and what are the odds of that).
You know what Mitt? Now that I think about it, forget what I’ve said. You are the man the GOP and America needs right now. Like Obi-Wan, you are our only hope. You were robbed last time and Americans are longing to show you how wrong we were and are begging you to sacrifice your comforts so that we may make amends.
RUN MITT, RUN!
Inevitably the massacre at the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo has spawned a hashtag, #JeSuisCharlie and the English #IAmCharlie are trending worldwide.
At the risk of being an internet scold, these cheap “look at me” tweets are insulting.
I wouldn’t flatter myself by pretending I have the courage of the men and women who put out that magazine. They risked everything and ultimately many of the paid with their lives to keep the barbarians outside the gates. Let us not kid ourselves…they were better than us. We should remember them that way. We are not Charlie, those who worked and died there were. It set them apart from us. We should recognize that and celebrate them for it.
What is left to us is to continue their work, honor them and punish those who would sellout to their killers.
Interesting story about the making of American Sniper. It seems that it almost didn’t happen.
In fact, after so many failed films about the wars in Iraq ( Green Zone, Redacted, In the Valley of Elah , the list goes on), Hollywood seemed completely cold to Kyle’s story.
Hmmm. What could possibly be the difference between those movies and American Sniper? Oh right, Kyle is a hero (apparently a troubled and flawed one, you know, like in real life, but still a hero) and not the bad guy or a victim of America’s evil.
And how is this crazy new approach working out?
“American Sniper” turned its Oscar-qualifying run into a record-breaker this weekend, posting the top four-day limited box-office debut of the year, and the best ever during the Christmas period.
The Clint Eastwood-directed Iraq War saga starring Bradley Cooperand Sienna Miller brought in $850,000 from four theaters over the four days, an eye-popping $212,000 per-location average for distributor Warner Bros.
Well, in fairness to the geniuses who run Hollywood studios it’s not like anyone could have predicted this. Oh wait, I did. SEVEN YEARS AGO when Lions for Lambs came out and bombed.
Memo to Hollywood…we don’t hate America as much as you do. Want to make some money? Make a movie where Americans are the good guys and the terrorists are the bad guys. It’s not like there’s a shortage of stories that fit the bill.
If you run a major studio and would like to talk to me about consulting or co-production gigs, call me. Don’t email. I don’t trust your IT security.
You know the background by now so let me skip ahead to why I think the officer should have been indicted.
Here’s what we know. These are not facts in question.
1. Officer Pantaleo used a choke hold on Eric Garner.
2. The chokehold was the cause of Eric Garner’s death.
3. Eric Garner’s death was a homicide.
You do not need to decipher this from the video or a photograph. You do not need to talk to experts in MMA or police trainers on use of force. This is the official ruling of the NYC Medical Examiner.
The New York City Medical Examiner ruled that the cause of death was “compression of neck (choke hold), compression of chest, and prone positioning during physical restraint by police.”
The ME is not some random person chiming in. This is the office charged with providing a legally binding determination on the cause of death.
Another thing we know for a fact is that the NYPD bans the use of chokeholds. From the NYPD Patrol Guide, which all officers are trained on.
Members of the New York City Police Department will NOT use chokeholds. A chokehold shall include, but is not limited to, any pressure to the throat or windpipe, which may prevent or hinder breathing or reduce intake of air.
So here’s what we know:
A NYC police officer used a prohibited technique on an individual leading to that individual’s death.
That’s not speculation or opinion.
So is that enough for a Grand Jury to find a crime has been committed? Clearly based on the indisputable facts above, the answer is yes. The question is what charge?
Sean Davis makes the case for Manslaughter in the 2nd degree.
At the very least I would argue that the threshold for Criminally Negligent Homicide (a lesser charge than Manslaughter) has been reached.
Here’s the NY State definition of Criminal Negligence.
NYC cops are trained not to use chokeholds for the very reason we saw in the Garner case…the danger outweighs the potential benefits. Officer Pantaleo knew this, or should have and ignorance of procedures is not a defense, yet he used the hold anyway (again, not according to me or a video but the NYC Medical Examiner). That on its face is proof of “a gross deviation from the standard of care that a reasonable person would observe in the situation”.
Now, are there reasons why this may have happened that excuse the officer? Could the Medical Examiner be in error? Were there other factors that mitigate against a conviction? Of course. That’s what trials are for. The Grand Jury is not a trial. Its much simpler task is to find if there is “legally sufficient evidence” and that’s there’s “probable cause” that the target of the Grand Jury committed the offense.
Surely the ME’s report and the NYPD policy manual meet this threshold. People have certainly been indicted on less.
Now, let’s move from the realm of facts to some speculation. You may not agree with my speculation but it doesn’t change any of the facts I’ve laid out to this point.
How did we get to the point where a Grand Jury didn’t find even “probable cause” to send this case to trial? The DA put his thumb on the scale in favor of the cop.
How did he do this? We can’t know entirely because the Grand Jury records are sealed but we do know some important facts.
All the cops at the scene that day, other than Pantaleo, were granted immunity from prosecution for their testimony before the Grand Jury.
First, why did they need immunity if he and they followed procedures and the law? Part of a cop’s job is to testify before Grand Juries and at trials, yet they were given rather special treatment here.
Second, why did the DA even call them before the Grand Jury? Clearly there were there to back up Pantaleo’s story because they weren’t needed to establish grounds for an indictment.
A prosecutor is under no obligation to present exculpatory evidence to a Grand Jury and a target of the Grand Jury has no right to testify before one. Yet the DA decided to let the cops put on a defense (if they were there to buttress the case for an indictment they clearly did a terrible job and should be investigated for basic competence).
Here’s a thought experiment…how many people being investigated by the Staten Island DA are allowed to bring in 10 or so co-workers to help tell their side of the story to a Grand Jury?
My problem isn’t with enforcing the law against “lossies” (it’s a stupid law but it’s a law) and I’m not arguing that people may simply decline to be arrested. My point is that there are rules and laws about how cops may go about doing these things. To establish a system where police are never held accountable or even forced to account for their actions is a very dangerous idea.
The facts and the law are clear here. This case should have gone to trial.
I’d help Ace bury the body if ever killed anyone. Hell, I’ve picked him up at a train station (which is just below the airport ride on the guy list of how tight you are) but he’s incredibly wrong in arguing conservatives and Republicans shouldn’t focus on stopping Obama’s executive amnesty.
Here’s the email I sent him:
I think you left something out of your post…executive amnesty isn’t just “not deporting people”, it’s giving them the benefits of legal residency.DACA (the “deferred action” for “DREAMERS) gives them work and travel permits. If one of your arguments against amnesty is [it screws] over American workers (and I think it was), Obama’s DACA II will do that. It might be “temporary” but which Republican is going to undo it.The argument in 2017 will be (no matter who wins)…look, they’ve been working legally here for years, we just have to pass whatever McCain writes up.Surrendering on exec amnesty is surrendering on amnesty.
The GOP just won running in many races against this very policy. To sit back and say, “nah, not a big deal” is a betrayal of the voters who just gave you another shot to get it right. Isn’t it a little early to be talking about screwing them over?
Matt Yeglisas says Obama’s broad executive amnesty died with last night’s election returns. So of course that makes it more likely.
I see a lot of liberals saying it’s dead but I don’t get why. Sure it would mean total war with the Congress but why wouldn’t Obama want that? He knows Boehner, McConnell and a lot of Republicans want to do an immigration deal and won’t want to go the barricades against him over it but they’ll have to (or at least be seen as doing it).
Obama would be happy to put the GOP leadership in a box between the base that just delivered a huge election win and donors who want a return on their investment.
The only possible reason I could see him not doing it is if he thinks Team GOP is gung-ho on pushing something through on immigration and he’ll let the GOP rip itself apart over it that way. If what emerges from that blood bath is enough for him, he’ll sign it. If not, he’ll do his amnesty closer to the 2016 election to give the Dems the boost they think they lost this time.
But he’s going to do it and do it now. He knows there’s no place he’ll be able to cut deals outside of yearly Continuing Resolution fights, so what’s the downside for him if he does executive amnesty and “poisons the well” with the new GOP Congress?
Actually, The Threat Of An Active Weapons Program Did Make Up A Substantial Part Of The Rationale For Iraq War
Over at the HQ Gabriel Malor takes issue with the NY Times stating that the Iraq war was sold on stopping Saddam Hussein’s “active WMD program”. While I agree with Gabe that the WMD program wasn’t the sole rationale for the war, I take his issue with his characterization of role it played.
According to Gabe:
As I have demonstrated from Bush’s own contemporaneous words, an active weapons program was not the sole reason for war. In fact, an active weapons program was not even mentioned in the multiple speeches Bush delivered to the American public and to an international audience.
This is simply not accurate.
From Bush’s Cincinnati speech outlining his rationale for the war:
And surveillance photos reveal that the regime is rebuilding facilities that it had used to produce chemical and biological weapons. Every chemical and biological weapon that Iraq has or makes is a direct violation of the truce that ended the Persian Gulf War in 1991. Yet, Saddam Hussein has chosen to build and keep these weapons despite international sanctions, U.N. demands, and isolation from the civilized world.
The evidence indicates that Iraq is reconstituting its nuclear weapons program. Saddam Hussein has held numerous meetings with Iraqi nuclear scientists, a group he calls his “nuclear mujahideen” — his nuclear holy warriors. Satellite photographs reveal that Iraq is rebuilding facilities at sites that have been part of its nuclear program in the past. Iraq has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes and other equipment needed for gas centrifuges, which are used to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons.
If the Iraqi regime is able to produce, buy, or steal an amount of highly enriched uranium a little larger than a single softball, it could have a nuclear weapon in less than a year. And if we allow that to happen, a terrible line would be crossed
There was also Bush’s often debated reference to Iraq’s attempts to acquire “yellow cake Uranium” for use in a possible nuclear program.
In his 2003 State of the Union speech Bush announced he would be sending then Secretary of State Colin Powell to the UN to lay out the United States rationale for the war.
And that is my third point. And it is key. The Iraqis have never accounted for all of the biological weapons they admitted they had and we know they had. They have never accounted for all the organic material used to make them. And they have not accounted for many of the weapons filled with these agents such as there are 400 bombs. This is evidence, not conjecture. This is true. This is all well-documented.
It should come as no shock then, that since Saddam Hussein forced out the last inspectors in 1998, we have amassed much intelligence indicating that Iraq is continuing to make these weapons.
One of the most worrisome things that emerges from the thick intelligence file we have on Iraq’s biological weapons is the existence of mobile production facilities used to make biological agents.
[He goes on to list eyewitness accounts of people who had recently seen these facilities in operation]
Under the guise of dual-use infrastructure, Iraq has undertaken an effort to reconstitute facilities that were closely associated with its past program to develop and produce chemical weapons.
For example, Iraq has rebuilt key portions of the Tariq state establishment. Tariq includes facilities designed specifically for Iraq’s chemical weapons program and employs key figures from past programs.
That’s the production end of Saddam’s chemical weapons business.
People will continue to debate this issue, but there is no doubt in my mind, these illicit procurement efforts show that Saddam Hussein is very much focused on putting in place the key missing piece from his nuclear weapons program, the ability to produce fissile material.
We know that Saddam Hussein is determined to keep his weapons of mass destruction; he’s determined to make more.
Vice President Dick Cheney on Meet The Press lays out the case that Iraq had an active nuclear weapons program:
And over time, given Saddam’s posture there, given the fact that he has a significant flow of cash as a result of the oil production of Iraq, it’s only a matter of time until he acquires nuclear weapons. And in light of that, we have to be prepared, I think, to take the action that is being contemplated.
MR. RUSSERT: And even though the International Atomic Energy Agency said he does not have a nuclear program, we disagree?
VICE PRES. CHENEY: I disagree, yes. And you’ll find the CIA, for example, and other key parts of our intelligence community disagree. Let’s talk about the nuclear proposition for a minute. We’ve got, again, a long record here. It’s not as though this is a fresh issue. In the late ’70s, Saddam Hussein acquired nuclear reactors from the French. 1981, the Israelis took out the Osirak reactor and stopped his nuclear weapons development at the time. Throughout the ’80s, he mounted a new effort. I was told when I was defense secretary before the Gulf War that he was eight to 10 years away from a nuclear weapon. And we found out after the Gulf War that he was within one or two years of having a nuclear weapon because he had a massive effort under way that involved four or five different technologies for enriching uranium to produce fissile material.
We know that based on intelligence that he has been very, very good at hiding these kinds of efforts. He’s had years to get good at it and we know he has been absolutely devoted to trying to acquire nuclear weapons. And we believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons. I think Mr. ElBaradei frankly is wrong. And I think if you look at the track record of the International Atomic Energy Agency and this kind of issue, especially where Iraq’s concerned, they have consistently underestimated or missed what it was Saddam Hussein was doing. I don’t have any reason to believe they’re any more valid this time than they’ve been in the past.
There is no doubt liberals twist the history of the run up to the Iraq War to suit there needs. That doesn’t give supporters of the war (of which I was one) license to engage in our own distortions. That Iraq had an existing WMD was most certainly a significant part of the Bush administration’s rationale for war. We simply can write that out of history.