The linguini triangle

In his weekly Sun-Times column, Mark Steyn combines the Senate’s efforts to name federal buildings after its members with the Senate’s adoption of the resolution regarding Iraq last week. It’s a flammable combination: “Senate adopts ‘exit strategy’ from reality.” Here’s Steyn’s harshest paragraph:

I know what Bush believes: He thought Saddam should go in 2002 and today he’s glad he’s gone, as am I. I know what, say, Michael Moore believes: He wanted to leave Saddam in power in 2002, and today he thinks the “insurgents” are the Iraqi version of America’s Minutemen. But what do Rockefeller and Reid and Kerry believe deep down? That voting for the war seemed the politically expedient thing to do in 2002 but that they’ve since done the math and figured that pandering to the moveon.org crowd is where the big bucks are? If Bush is the new Hitler, these small hollow men are the equivalent of those grubby little Nazis whose whining defense was, “I was only obeying orders. I didn’t really mean all that strutting tough-guy stuff.” And, before they huff, “How dare you question my patriotism?”, well, yes, I am questioning your patriotism — because you’re failing to meet the challenge of the times. Thanks to you, Iraq is a quagmire — not in the Sunni Triangle, where U.S. armed forces are confident and effective, but on the home front, where soft-spined national legislators have turned the war into one almighty Linguini Triangle.

In his column for U.S. News, Michael Barone examines the related “Bush lied” theme taken up by Congressional Democrats: “The (very) big lie.” Barone’s words are tempered, but the upshot is similar.

Today’s Washington Post features a column by former Senator Bob Graham reiterating the “Bush lied” theme: “What I knew before the invasion.” Seth Leibsohn writes:

Bob Graham changes his story. In today’s WaPo he joins the chorus of Democrats who say the President was not telling the truth about Iraq and WMDs…and that after reading a 25 page report from George Tenet on Iraqi WMDs before the vote to use force in Iraq–that “omitted the dissenting opinions” from a more classified version of the NIE he saw earlier–he had “come to question whether the WH was telling the truth–or even had an interest in knowing the truth” about Iraq. Graham then says, based on all this he voted “no” on using force in Iraq. Well, his story in those days was different. He claimed he voted “no” then because the authorization wasn’t strong enough–did not include enough groups to be targeted by use of force. Indeed, in his floor statement on the Senate floor justifying his vote in Oct. 2002, Graham described the Iraq resolution as “timid.”

Below are some other excetpts of what Graham was saying in those days–and you’ll note, he fears WMD attacks out of Iraq, he states Hussein has WMDs. He did not say the intelligence about WMDs was doctored, he just thought other regimes and organizations more dangerous or more immediately worthy of attack, that sanctions were working for the time-being, and that Hussein would, indeed, use his WMDs if we attacked him then:

On Lou Dobbs, 11-19-02:

“[M]y concern is that we also have good intelligence to the effect that once a war with Iraq starts, and once Saddam Hussein`s back is against the wall, he`s about to lose power, that`s when he becomes the most dangerous, including dangerous in terms of using his weapons of mass destruction in conjunction with international terrorist groups to try to kill Americans inside the United States.”

On Cavuto, 10-16-02:

“I’m not saying that Saddam Hussein is anything other than an evil person who`s done a horrific set of things to his own people and his thumbed nose at the world community. The question, to me, starts with report of our intelligence agencies, which said that Saddam Hussein is the most dangerous when his regime is about to be toppled. And what is he likely to? He`s likely to strike out against his neighbors such as Turkey and Israel. He`s likely to strike out against our troops, and using international terrorists who are embedded in the United States trying to kill Americans here at home. In my judgment, we need to try to set the table before we start the war in Iraq by taking out as many of those international terrorists as possible so their ability to kill us will be reduced.”

From St. Petersburg Times, Oct. 20, 2002: excerpting from his Senate Floor Statement:

“But tonight I have to vote no on this resolution. The reason is that this resolution is too timid. It is too limited. It is too weak. This resolution fails to recognize the new reality of the era of terrorism.

“Now, there are good reasons for considering attacking today’s Italy, meaning Iraq. Saddam Hussein’s regime has chemical and biological weapons and is trying to get nuclear capacity. But the briefings I have received have shown that trying to block him and any necessary nuclear materials have been largely successful, as evidenced by the recent intercept of centrifuge tubes. And he is years away from having nuclear capability. So why does it make sense to attack this era’s Italy, and not Germany, especially when by attacking Italy, we are making Germany a more probable adversary?”

Graham deserves a section of his own in Barone’s important column.

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