Wednesday, April 6, 2005

Iraq War: Wesley Clark testifies and a Republican calls Richard Perle on the carpet

Gen. Wesley Clark testified on Wednesday before the House Armed Services Committee on the Iraq War.  He has posted the text of his opening statement on his Web site, with a link to an audio of the entire testimony.  Here are a couple of paragraphs from his opening statement:

I testified [in September 2002] that we should then use this Congressional Resolution to press for UN action, that we should work patiently to forge world-wide legitimacy, and that force should be used only as a last resort, after all diplomatic means had been exhausted -- and then only after we had fully prepared to handle the post-conflict process in Iraq. (my emphasis)

In fact, the Congressional resolution on military action required the President to demonstrate to Congress that all diplomatic means had been exhausted to deal with (non-)problem of the (nonexistent) "weapons of mass destruction" in Iraq.  The war was started in violation of the Congressional resolution.  But don't expect the Republican Congress to ever make a stink out of their own authority being disregarded by Bush and his team.

After a Congressional Resolution and an aborted U.N. inspection effort, the U.S. invaded Iraq. We did not use the U.N. process effectively to enhance our legitimacy or build our coalition. The Administration did not heed the warnings of General Shinseki and others who warned of the force strength necessary to win the war and win the peace. In short, the Administration did not give our military adequate planning or sufficient resources to handle the post-conflict situation in Iraq. These errors were compounded by weak strategic decisions, including dissolving the Iraqi army and outlawing Baathist participation in new governmental structures. The prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib has provided our enemies with a propaganda bonanza resulting in a recruiting windfall in Iraq and throughout the Arab world.

More fundamentally, with its armed occupation of Iraq, the Administration lost focus, and was substantially distracted from worldwide efforts against Al Qaeda. Osama bin Laden and the Al Qaeda network are still at large, terrorist incidents have continued to take innocent life, and U.S. military actions in Iraq have provided a magnet for recruiting and training large numbers of extremist youth in continuing warfare. If Iraq is today the center of the war against terrorism, as some in the Administration have contended, it is not because the terrorists were there originally, but because they have been recruited there to the fight against us. Our military action in Iraq is more a catalyst for terrorists than a cure. Whatever results may ultimately come from removing Saddam Hussein from power, ending the terrorist threat against the United States of America is not likely to be one of them.  (my emphasis)

It appears according to this article that the hearing was pretty interesting:  Same Committee, Same Combatants, Different Tune by Dana Milbank Washington Post 04/07/05.  Richard "Prince of Darkness" Perle was there, and it sounds like finally, finally some members of Congress are starting to express some outrage about how badly they were deceived.  It it turns into more concrete measures to hold the Bush administration accountable, well, I'll just say I'll believe when I see it.  They should have been taking a lot more critical and responsible attitude toward this war before they passed the war resolution that Bush disregarded anyway.

Rep. Walter B. Jones Jr. is a conservative Republican from North Carolina who voted to authorize the use of force in Iraq. ...

Jones, who said he has signed more than 900 condolence letters to kin of fallen soldiers, pronounced himself "incensed" with Perle.

Perle wasn't about to provide the apology Jones sought. He disavowed any responsibility for his confident prewar assertions about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction, heaping the blame instead on "appalling incompetence" at the CIA. "There is reason to believe that we were sucked into an ill-conceived initial attack aimed at Saddam himself by double agents planted by the regime. And as we now know the estimate of Saddam's stockpile of weapons of mass destruction was substantially wrong."

Jones, nearly in tears as he held up Perle's testimony, glared at the witness. "I went to a Marine's funeral who left a wife and three children, twins he never saw, and I'll tell you, I apologize, Mr. Chairman, but I am just incensed with this statement."

Clark, an unsuccessful 2004 Democratic presidential candidate, could not resist piling on Perle. Intelligence estimates "are never accurate, they are never going to be accurate, and I think policymakers bear responsibility for what use they make of intelligence," the retired general lectured.

Like I say, as far as action goes, I'll believe it when I see this Republican Congress do it.  But it is a step in the right direction that this lying warmongerer Perle had somebody confront him directly about what a disgraceful thing he did.

Perle ... who made little effort to ingratiate himself, calling one questioner "careless" and saying another cited "substantially incorrect accounts."

"You need a few more allies," observed Rep. Mark Udall (D-Colo.).

It was not always thus.

No kidding.  Congress let this arrogant twit and his buddies in this adminstration lie the country into an unnecessary war.  The way this war started is one of the sorriest moments in the history of American democracy.

I've got to listen to the audio on this one.

1 comment:

purcellneil said...

Congress ceded its Constitutional power and duty when it gave the President that blank check.  I generally think of Senator Byrd as a self-important blowhard, but he was right when he opposed that resolution, and it is about time Congress redeemed itself (or at least tried to) by holding the vulcans to account for their evil and costly malfeasance.

Neil