The House Debates the War

Today the House of Representatives debated Resolution 861 on the Iraq war. You can read the full text of the resolution here. After some “Whereas” clauses, the resolution reads:

Resolved, That the House of Representatives–

(1) honors all those Americans who have taken an active part in the Global War on Terror, whether as first responders protecting the homeland, as servicemembers overseas, as diplomats and intelligence officers, or in other roles;

(2) honors the sacrifices of the United States Armed Forces and of partners in the Coalition, and of the Iraqis and Afghans who fight alongside them, especially those who have fallen or been wounded in the struggle, and honors as well the sacrifices of their families and of others who risk their lives to help defend freedom;

(3) declares that it is not in the national security interest of the United States to set an arbitrary date for the withdrawal or redeployment of United States Armed Forces from Iraq;

(4) declares that the United States is committed to the completion of the mission to create a sovereign, free, secure, and united Iraq;

(5) congratulates Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki and the Iraqi people on the courage they have shown by participating, in increasing millions, in the elections of 2005 and on the formation of the first government under Iraq’s new constitution;

(6) calls upon the nations of the world to promote global peace and security by standing with the United States and other Coalition partners to support the efforts of the Iraqi and Afghan people to live in freedom; and

(7) declares that the United States will prevail in the Global War on Terror, the noble struggle to protect freedom from the terrorist adversary.

The Democrats fought bitterly to prevent this resolution from coming to the floor for a vote. They opposed it in the Rules Committee on a party-line vote. The last thing the Dems want to do is to state what their policy on Iraq is; they prefer to simply sit back and hope for failure.

As a matter of raw political cynicism, I understand that. Still, it’s a little hard to understand why Resolution 861 should be so controversial. I can find only one clause that could rationally be a subject of disagreement:

(3) declares that it is not in the national security interest of the United States to set an arbitrary date for the withdrawal or redeployment of United States Armed Forces from Iraq.

But that isn’t what the Democrats are debating. Instead, they are reciting the whole litany of moonbat nonsense that we’ve seen on the lefty blogs for the last two years. Take, for example, Jane Harman, as quoted by Hugh Hewitt. What Harman says is so foolish and so obviously contrary to fact that it demands a sentence-by-sentence refutation:

Overriding the advice of intelligence professionals, Adminsitration officials put stock in bogus sources like “Curveball” and self-promoters like Ahmed Chalabi.

It was the CIA that put stock in Curveball et al. The suggestion that the administration “overrode” the “advice of intelligence professionals” is ridiculous. In October 2002, the intelligence agencies provided the administration with their Consensus Intelligence Estimate with regard to Iraq. The agencies told the administration with “High Confidence” that “Iraq possesses proscribed chemical and biological weapons and missiles.” If the administration erred, it was by relying on the intelligence agencies, not “overriding” them.

The Adminsitration cherry-picked intelligence, and hyped the threat.

The administration didn’t “cherry-pick,” it went with the consensus of all of the nation’s intelligence agencies. And, far from hyping the threat posed by Saddam, President Bush’s characterizations were actually more cautious than the warnings that came from Democrats like John Kerry.

They talked in ominous tones about mushroom clouds even though many questioned evidence suggesting Saddam had nuclear weapons capability.

To my knowledge, no one ever said that Saddam had “nuclear weapons capability.” What the Consensus Intelligence Estimate did say, with “High Confidence” was:

Iraq is continuing, and in some areas expanding its chemical, biological, nuclear and missile programs contrary to UN resolutions….Iraq could make a nuclear weapon in months to a year once it acquires sufficient weapons grade fissile material.

And, with “Moderate Confidence”:

Iraq does not yet have a nuclear weapon or sufficient material to make one but is likely to have a weapon by 2007 to 2009.

Ms. Harman continues:

They made a mantra of the claim that 9/11 hijacker Mohammed Atta met with Iraqi agents in Prague, a claim that has been thoroughly discredited.

This is ridiculous. The administration never asserted that Atta met with Iraqi agents, let alone made it a “mantra.” In fact, here is what Vice President Dick Cheney said about the Atta report:

With respect to 9/11, of course you’ve had the story that’s been publicly out there: The Czechs alleged that Mohammed Atta, the lead attacker, met in Prague with a senior Iraqi intelligence official five months before the attack. But we’ve never been able to develop any more of that yet, either in terms of confirming it or discrediting it. We just don’t know.

And, of course, the story has not been discredited. The Czechs stand by it, and there is circumstantial evidence that supports it. The supposedly definitive refutation–that a cell phone registered to Atta was used inside the United States during the time he reportedly was in Prague–is risible.

The Democrats are so patently dishonest every time they talk about foreign affairs that there is simply no way any thinking, informed American could entrust leadership of our country to them.

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