Skip to comments.Making His Case (Time claims GOP Senators unhappy with Rumsfield presentation of evidence)
Posted on 09/08/2002 7:18:41 AM PDT by Brian Mosely
Sunday, Sep. 08, 2002
Making His Case
President Bush has to take on Congress before he can take out Saddam. In this high-stakes election season, that means playing hardball
Just hours after president bush indicated that he would soon ask Congress to vote on whether to wage war against Iraq, he dispatched one of his best men to make the case. When Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld made his way last Wednesday to a secure, windowless room on the top floor of the Capitol, nearly three-quarters of the Senators awaited him. They were confronting one of the gravest decisions lawmakers can facesending troops into battleand they expected to see the intelligence Rumsfeld and other Bush Administration officials have said would clinch the case that Saddam Hussein must go, the sooner the better. Instead, they got the kind of riff Rumsfeld uses with the Pentagon press corps. "There are three issues here," the Defense Secretary told them. "There is the issue of what we know. There is the issue of what we don't know. And there is the issue of what we don't know we don't know."
So much for a smoking gun. Rumsfeld's presentation left even stalwarts of the President's party unhappy. "We want to be with you," Oklahoma Senator Don Nickles, the Senate's second-ranking Republican, finally told him. "But you're not giving us enough." The following day, the White House and State Department phoned Senators to assess the damage. Not a fatal setback, they concluded, but the mess in Room S-407 showed that the President will have to work hard to convince Congress and the American public that a war with Iraq is in the national interest. Congress normally gives a popular Commander in Chief what he wants, but Bush has a mountain of skepticism to overcome. As Senate majority leader Tom Daschle put it, "I'm more concerned about getting this done right than getting it done quickly."
This isn't just another military adventure. This would be unlike any other war the nation has waged. Bush & Co. aren't responding to cross-border aggression or an assault on American citizens or interests. To use the President's language, this would be "pre-emptive," launched against a country that has notyetattacked the U.S. or its allies.
It's no wonder there isn't a consensus: a recent poll by the Pew Research Center showed that while 64% of Americans supported U.S. military action to oust Saddam Hussein, only 30% would favor going in without allies. In the very week that an anniversary reminds America of the lethal nature of its enemies, is it easier or harder for the President to stand before the United Nations and the American people and defend a plan to continue that war by launching another one? A year after 9/11, does Bush have to prove some connection between Saddam and Osama bin Laden, or is it enough that since that day, Americans have the dark imagination to see what an enemy can do to destroy us? With each new speech, each meeting with congressional leaders, each Op-Ed salvo, the Administration is speaking to a curious and conflicted public. Is this war really necessary? Do we have to fight it now? Will we have to fight it alone? And will starting a war have consequences like more terrorist attacks at home and abroad?
Administration officials are still working out their plan for answering those questions in a way that will show Americans that war, as terrible as it is, is the least costly course possible. Saddam, they will argue, is dangerous now and will grow only more dangerous as he builds his arsenal of gases and poisons and searches for a nuclear weapon. There is a sense, at least inside the Beltway, that Bush will eventually win the support he needs. But the issues haven't yet been fully aired, and to the extent that there has been debate, it has occurred largely within the President's party, between the brain trust of the current President Bush and the veterans of his father's Administration. Democrats have been nearly silent on the merits of an invasion, perhaps because there's no point wasting a bullet when, for now, there are plenty of Republicans to do it for them (and perhaps because so many Dems have been in Washington long enough to regret their votes against the first President Bush's war against Saddam).
With the country hurtling toward possible conflict, it's almost hard to recall how much in disarray the Administration's Iraq policy was just a week or two ago. Before the President launched his new offensive, the oddly public dissension among his top aides threatened to unhinge his war wagon altogether. Vice President Dick Cheney articulated the hard line, arguing that inaction was tantamount to appeasement, even as Secretary of State Colin Powell talked up a far milder next step: getting U.N. arms inspectors back into Iraq. So jarring had been the dissonance that when Bush summoned congressional leaders to the White House last Wednesday to ask lawmakers to unite behind his Iraq policy, House International Relations Committee chairman Henry Hyde said the President's team should do so first. "The Administration has to speak with one voice," he said.
Intentionally or not, by pushing lawmakers to focus on Iraq, the Administration is deflecting issues that might have caused trouble for the Republicans this election season, like the shaky economy, shrinking 401(k)s and a litany of ceo wrongdoing. A popular President is pushing Congress to vote on Iraq before Election Day, Nov. 5, and the timing could put lawmakers on the spot. Early this year, Bush adviser Karl Rove boasted, "We can go to the country on this (war on terrorism) issue because they trust the Republican Party to do a better job of protecting and strengthening America's military might and thereby protecting America." That said, some Democratic strategists still insist that come November pocketbook issues, not Iraq, will drive the election. Recent history bolsters the argument: in the 1990 midterm election, another time of economic malaise, Republicans lost eight House seats and one Senate seat, even as the first President Bush was sending troops by the thousands to the Persian Gulf.
But at least for the moment, the sudden emphasis on Iraq has thrown politicians off their game. At county fairs in Nebraska over the August recess, Republican Senator Chuck Hagel was stunned to get almost as many questions about war as demands for disaster assistance against the drought. In Maine, Senator Susan Collins says, she was hearing about Iraq as often as about jobs and the economy. And at a retirement community in a Maryland suburb, elderly voters gave Democratic House candidate Mark Shriver an earful on Iraq before bringing up Social Security and the cost of prescription drugs. "People are confused," Shriver says. "They're confused about the answers to some pretty tough questions."
Tough questions, but not new ones. Bush has been building his case since he branded Iraq a member of the "axis of evil" in his State of the Union speech in January. He made a more explicit argument for pre-emptive action in a June talk at West Point, in which he argued that "new threats require new thinking" and warned, "If we wait for threats to fully materialize, we will have waited too long." But without fresh evidence of Iraqi chemical, biological or nuclear weapons ready to be fired at the U.S., it will be difficult for the White House to answer the central question: Why now? Why, 11 years later, is Saddam any more of a threat than he was when the first President Bush left him in power? What's different, Bush will argue again and again, is that today America knows it is vulnerable to attack in a way never dreamed possible on Sept. 10, 2001. At the President's meeting with congressional leaders, Senate Armed Services Committee chairman Carl Levin made the case for containing rather than deposing the Iraqi dictator. Bush wouldn't hear of it, replying, as one aide paraphrased him: "That's not an option after 9/11."
Indeed, the debate on Iraq carries strong echoes of 9/11. After last year's attacks, Bush won praise for effectively framing issues in terms of good vs. evil. With Iraq, those are the tough arguments he has to make; they are less about what Saddam has than about who he is and what he purportedly wants. To help make the case, the White House is working hard to track down one graphic exhibit: a video, which Saudi Ambassador Prince Bandar bin Sultan has told Bush about, that is said to show Saddam presiding over the execution of political opponents.
But moral principles gain their power by being consistently applied. If it is dangerous for ruthless dictators to develop lethal arsenals, why attack Iraq but not North Korea? If the Iraqi people deserve to live in a free and democratic state, why don't the Saudi people? If we are willing to pay the price of toppling Saddam, will we also pay the price of staying to clean up the neighborhood? And the thorniest question of all: If the last Gulf War helped inspire evil in bin Laden, will a new one create many more like him?
It would help Bush's argument if he didn't seem to be the only world leader making it. In his address to the U.N. this week, Bush plans to sound a more internationalist theme than the world has heard from him in a long while. White House officials say Bush will not initially ask for a new resolution from the Security Council. Instead, by listing the ways in which Saddam has flouted its will, Bush is expected to challenge the U.N. to defend its credibility. "He's going to be very blunt," says an aide. "He's going to say 'Your credibility is at stake. You have to decide whether you're relevant.'" One possible option: Bush may set a deadline for Iraq to comply with existing U.N. resolutions.
Ultimately, though, Administration officials concede that Bush will probably have to call forand do the hard diplomatic work that it takes to wina new U.N. resolution that gives him the authorization to act. He will need the world's backing for the same reason that he had to turn to Congress for support despite his White House counsel's view that he already has the legal and constitutional authority to launch an attack on his own. Bush's executive experience may have persuaded him to set a goal, but his political skills are what it will take to achieve it. Consensus building may be a time-consuming task, but it is a necessary one before a democracy declares war.
It's no wonder? More than half of America says get him out, and less than half of them say "let's not go alone."
That means 36% of America say "I'm prepared to accept whatever happens to us".
What has become of our nation? Only more than half? Are these the same less than half who wanted to ignore Clinton's crimes? The same less than half who rely on government funds for help in an emergency? The same less than half who will demand to know what went wrong if another 9/11 comes along that may be worse?
Leave it to TIME magazine to assert that a more than 60% approval of something is an obvious vote against it.
I guess that 36% are those who listen to TIME's "take" on things.
However, the fear is that this is much more than a war with the terrorist, but a war of cultures extending well beyond Iraq. One culture is insistent in blaming another for its ills provides the fuel for the terrorist, has no room for tolerance for others or the objectivity to correct their own faults. Trying to enlighten them against the wail of their Clergy seems impossible, try all you can if it makes you feel good and your think it is the right thing to do but on the ready, carry a really big stick.
As to the Secretary convincing Congress - Congress is not made up of timid souls, but in their midst, common sense is clouded by an over abundance of political self interest. God bless the troops that have to go in harms way without the support of the public or our political representative.
Again, I thank God Al Gore was not elected president of this country. This country, not perfect, yet the best country in existence lets keep it that way. Help get another Republican Senator or Representative elected.
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Lets add this Link:
From the link:
Prime Minister, during the course of August public opinion has apparently moved even further against the idea of a strike on Iraq, and that is partly because people feel there hasn't been much evidence. We have heard again and again that there is a dossier of evidence about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction, why haven't we got it up to now and when are we going to see it?
I think that is a good point. The fact is whatever time lines we have been working on as leaders if you like, it is clear that the debate has moved now. Originally I had the intention that we wouldn't get round to publishing the dossier until we had actually taken the key decisions. I think probably it is a better idea to bring that forward. A lot of the work has already been done, there needs to be some more work and some more checking done, but I think probably the best thing to do is to publish that within the next few weeks. And I think when that happens that people will see that there is no doubt at all, the United Nations resolutions that Saddam is in breach of, are there for a purpose. He is without any question still trying to develop that chemical, biological, potentially nuclear capability and to allow him to do so without any let or hindrance, just to say we can carry on and do it, I think would be irresponsible. Now as I say, then how you deal with it is another matter. But I think people will see very clearly both the nature of the regime and with an addition to the evidence already there from previous weapons inspections, which didn't account of course for all of the chemical and biological stocks, there is a real and existing threat that we have to deal with.
So there may be a timing issue regarding when to release information!
I'm amazed !
64% of us want to paste Saddam,
and 30% of us think that we should leave those other bozos behind when we do it !
Let's Roll !!
"Mr. Secretary, what top-secret information do you have of Iraq's weapons buildup?"
"Mr. Secretary, how will Saddam know when you've run out of cruise missiles?"
"Mr. President, what top-secret information have you not told the Amurrican pipple?"
"Mr. President, which American spies in Iraq have given you the best information?"
"Mr. President, why aren't you sharing national security secrets with the Amurrican Pipple?"
"Mr. President, which of your cabinet members is spreading disinformation?"
"Mr. President, which of your battle plans against Iraq is the most ill-conceived?"
"Mr. President, why don't you wait until Saddam attacks us so we can paint you as weak and ineffective?"
They're 90% of the way there now, the media.
Unless Nickles is annoyed that the Pentagon cancelled the plane that was to be built in Oklahoma, I can't see him attacking the President to the media.
This piece of crap, along with the majority of other "News Magazines" would rather fold and go under than say anything supportive of a Republican President.
1. Saddam gassing some zoo animals - preferably, those on the endangered species list.
2. Saddam police arresting homosexuals.
3. Saddam on tape saying he is going to bring his forces to Alaska to drill for oil.
4. Pictures of Saddam with his fleet of SUVs.
5. Saddam smoking and/or handing out smokes to minors.
6. Saddam signing an abortion ban into law.
7. Saddam cutting taxes.
8. Saddam shown with hunting, with guns, and holding up trophies.
9. Pictures of Saddam touring a veal or chicken farm.
10. Pictures of Saddam's harem all in furs.
11. Saddam endorsing the Boy Scouts of America.
A "can that last sentence be translated into what we do know?" ping.