Today was a bad day for the Democrats–they were disgraceful on a number of fronts. First there was Nancy Pelosi on Good Morning America, accusing President Bush of playing politics with the lives of our soldiers:
The president knows that because the troops are in harm’s way, that we won’t cut off the resources. That’s why he’s moving so quickly to put them in harm’s way.
Pelosi’s charge was not only patently false, it bordered on incomprehensible. Is she really suggesting that any time the President intends to send troops anywhere, he should wait until the next Congressional budget cycle to find out whether funds have been appropriated for that particular mission? She can’t possibly mean that, but I can’t think of any other interpretation.
Next was Harry Reid, who offered this legal opinion in a speech to the National Press Club:
The president does not have the authority to launch military action in Iran without first seeking congressional authorization.
As a proposition of Constitutional law, that is simply wrong. The President obviously does have such authority as commander in chief; the only sense that can be attached to Reid’s comment is that he doesn’t think the President should do it. At this point, we have no reason to think that President Bush disagrees. But why would Reid grandstand for headlines in this way, and at this time? He must know that the Iranians will read news stories about his speech and take it to mean that the President has no credible threat of military action. This is a perverse signal to send to an enemy while it is in the process of killing American soldiers in Iraq and while one of our aircraft carriers has been ordered to the Middle East.
What can Reid’s motive possibly be, other than to aid our enemies and contribute to our problems in Iraq? I can’t think of one. A credible threat of military action is obviously vital to our dealings with Iran.
And, finally, there is poor old Walter Mondale. Speaking at a conference at the University of Georgia on Jimmy Carter, Mondale–who has long been a more vicious partisan than is generally recognized–unloaded on Vice President Cheney:
I think that Cheney has stepped way over the line. I think Cheney’s been at the center of cooking up farcical estimates of national risks, weapons of mass destruction and the 9/11 connection to Iraq. If I had done as vice president what this vice president has done, Carter would have thrown me out of there. I don’t think he could have tolerated a vice president over there pressuring and pushing other agencies, ordering up different reports than they wanted to send us. I don’t think he would have stood for it.
This is a tissue of lies. The threat posed by Saddam’s Iraq was hardly considered “farcical” by Mondale’s fellow Democrats prior to March 2003. For example:
John Kerry, October 9, 2002:
I will be voting to give the President of the United States the authority to use force — if necessary — to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security.
Jay Rockefeller, October 10, 2002:
There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years… We also should remember we have always underestimated the progress Saddam has made in development of weapons of mass destruction.
Hillary Clinton, October 10, 2002:
In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al Qaeda members .. It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons.
We could go on and on, but I’ll close with one more from John Kerry, January 23, 2003:
Without question, we need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime… He presents a particularly grievous threat because he is so consistently prone to miscalculation… And now he is miscalculating America’s response to his continued deceit and his consistent grasp for weapons of mass destruction… So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real…
That was then, I guess, and this is now. Democrats seem to have short memories. Still, I can’t help wondering what Mondale himself has said about Saddam over the years.
Further, Mondale’s claim that Cheney “pressur[ed] and push[ed] other agencies, ordering up different reports than they wanted to send us,” is an outright lie. At least one Senate committee has found to the contrary, and not a single intelligence officer (I assume Mondale is still talking about Iraq here) has ever said that Cheney “pressured” or “pushed” him or her to send a “different report.” On the contrary, every single employee of an intelligence agency who has testified under oath has said that Cheney did no such thing.
It is hardly rare, of course, for Democrats to conduct themselves disgracefully. In that sense, there is no surprise in today’s events. Still, they should be noted and condemned.
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