Tuesday, June 27, 2006

GOP Congressman Asks A Good Question

From a hearing yesterday that was not officially a hearing:

Representative Walter Jones (R-NC) was out of place when he sat down at the dais in a committee room in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Monday. He had come to participate in an unofficial hearing being held by the Senate Democratic Policy Committee. And Jones is neither a Senator nor a Democrat. He is a hawkish Republican from North Carolina. But he asked one of the most poignant questions of the afternoon.

Before him were a panel of veterans of the intelligence wars that had raged before the invasion of Iraq: retired Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff of Secretary of State
Colin Powell; Paul Pillar, former national intelligence officer for the Near East and South Asia; Carl Ford, former assistant secretary of state for intelligence and research; and Wayne White, a former Iraq analyst at the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research...

Representative Jones, who had voted to grant Bush the authority to invade Iraq, had a question. He noted that "my heart has ached ever since I found out that the intelligence...was flawed and possibly manipulated." He said that he had written letters to relatives of every American soldier who has died in Iraq--8000 letters so far. "What perplexes me," he said, "is how in the world could [intelligence] professionals see what was happening and nobody speak out?"

It was an important question. Within the intelligence community, there were professionals who knew that critical parts of the Bush administration's case for war--which relied primarily on the argument that Saddam posed a direct WMD threat to the United States--had serious holes. Those who dissented internally did not go public--they worked within the system. But the system did not work. The White House made certain not to pay attention to any of the dissents, and it did not share the disputes with the voters. Why had the entire intelligence community allowed Bush and his aides to get away with this?

The panelists did not get a chance to respond to Jones, for he kept on talking--right over that query--and he segued to another subject, asking how it could be that the neoconservative hawks in the Bush administration gained so much power and had more influence than "you, the professionals."

Wilkerson fielded the question, first noting that as a Republican he was "embarrassed" that Jones was the only GOPer to attend the hearing (which was open to legislators of both parties). Then Wilkerson replied, "I'll answer you with three words: the vice president." That seemed to satisfy Jones. Neither he nor Wilkerson mentioned the two-word answer: the president.


Blogger DrewL said...

The OVP seems to be where the action was - and is - in this administration. Of course, they'll never admit to that. In fact, they'll never admit to anything, including the names of the people who actually work in the OVP. They're a very creepy crew, led by the head creep...the veep.

6/27/2006 10:37 PM  
Blogger Effwit said...



I am convinced that Bush will be safe from impeachment even if the Democrats gain control of Congress in the Fall.

For no other reason than no one in their right mind would be willing to attempt to remove the president through impeachment when the next in line is Cheney.

6/28/2006 7:58 AM  

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