Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Boxer is a Champ

Senator Boxer confronted Condi-Liar Rice today with more courage than anyone else. Boxer also bravely challenged the Ohio electors because of election irregularities and she had the integrity to vote against giving Chimp the power to invade Iraq.

I have the greatest admiration for her and am including a partial transcript of her exchange with Con-Liar Rice here:

SEN. BARBARA BOXER: Thank you, Dr. Rice, for agreeing to stay as long as it takes, because some of us do have a lot of questions….

One of the things that matters most to my people in California and the people in America is this war in Iraq. Now, it took you to Page 3 of your testimony to mention the word "Iraq." You said very little really about it, and only in the questioning have we been able to get into some areas….

So in your statement it takes you to Page 3 to mention the word "Iraq." Then you mention it in the context of elections — which is fine — but you never even mention indirectly the 1,366 American troops that have died, or the 10,372 who have been wounded…. And 25% of those dead are from my home state. And this from a war that was based on what everyone now says, including your own administration, were falsehoods about WMDs, weapons of mass destruction.

And I've had tens of thousands of people from all over the country say that they disagree — although they respect the president — they disagree that this administration and the people in it shouldn't be held accountable….

And I'm fearful if we don't see some changes here we're going to have trouble. And I think the way we should start is by trying to set the record straight on some of the things you said going into this war. Now, since 9/11 we've been engaged in a just fight against terror. And I, like Sen. [Russell D.] Feingold [D-Wis.] and everyone here who was in the Senate at the time, voted to go after Osama bin Laden and to go after the Taliban, and to defeat Al Qaeda. And you say they have left territory — that's not true. Your own documents show that Al Qaeda has expanded from 45 countries in '01 to more than 60 countries today.

Well, with you in the lead role, Dr. Rice, we went into Iraq. I want to read you a paragraph that best expresses my views, and ask my staff if they would hold this up — and I believe the views of millions of Californians and Americans. It was written by one of the world's experts on terrorism, Peter Bergen, five months ago. He wrote: "What we have done in Iraq is what Bin Laden could not have hoped for in his wildest dreams: We invaded an oil-rich Muslim nation in the heart of the Middle East, the very type of imperial adventure Bin Laden has long predicted was the U.S. long-term goal in the region. We deposed the secular socialist Saddam [Hussein], whom Bin Laden has long despised, ignited Sunni and [Shiite] fundamentalist fervor in Iraq and have now provoked a defensive jihad that has galvanized jihad-minded Muslims around the world. It's hard to imagine a set of policies better designed to sabotage the war on terror."

This conclusion was reiterated last Thursday by the National Intelligence Council, the CIA director's think tank, which released a report saying that Iraq has replaced Afghanistan as the training ground for the next generation of … terrorists….

Now, the war was sold to the American people, as chief of staff to President Bush Andy Card said, like a "new product." Those were his words. Remember, he said, "you don't roll out a new product in the summer." Now, you rolled out the idea, and then you had to convince the people, as you made your case with the president. And I personally believe — this is my personal view — that your loyalty to the mission you were given, to sell this war, overwhelmed your respect for the truth….

Now, perhaps the most well-known statement you've made was the one about Saddam Hussein launching a nuclear weapon on America with the image of, quote, quoting you, "a mushroom cloud." That image had to frighten every American into believing that Saddam Hussein was on the verge of annihilating them if he was not stopped.

And I will be placing into the record a number of such statements you made which have not been consistent with the facts. As the nominee for secretary of State, you must answer to the American people, and you are doing that now through this confirmation process….

And as much as I want to look ahead — and we will work together on a myriad of issues — it's hard for me to let go of this war, because people are still dying. And you have not laid out an exit strategy. You've not set up a timetable. And you don't seem to be willing to A) admit a mistake, or give any indication of what you're going to do to forcefully involve others. As a matter of fact, you've said more misstatements — that the territory of the terrorists has been shrinking when your own administration says it's now expanded to 60 countries.

CONDOLEEZZA RICE: Senator, I am more than aware of the stakes that we face in Iraq, and I was more than aware of the stakes of going to war in Iraq. I mourn and honor — I mourn the dead and honor their service, because we have asked American men and women in uniform to do the hardest thing, which is to go and defend freedom and give others an opportunity to build a free society, which will make us safer.

Senator, I have to say that I have never, ever lost respect for the truth in the service of anything. It is not my nature. It is not my character. And I would hope that we can have this conversation and discuss what happened before and what went on before and what I said without impugning my credibility or my integrity...

Blah, blah, blah, bloviate, lie, lie, and lie some more.

BOXER: You and I could sit here and go back and forth and present our arguments, and maybe somebody watching a debate would pick one or the other, depending on their own views. But I'm not interested in that. I'm interested in the facts. So when I ask you these questions, I'm going to show you your words, not my words. And, if I might say, again you said you're aware of the stakes in Iraq; we sent our beautiful people … to defend freedom. You sent them in there because of weapons of mass destruction. Later, the mission changed when there were none. I have your quotes on it. I have the president's quotes on it. And everybody admits it but you that that was the reason for the war.

And then, once we're in there, now it moves to a different mission, which is great. We all want to give democracy and freedom everywhere we can possibly do it. But let's not rewrite history. It's too soon to do that.

RICE: Sen. Boxer, I would refer you to the president's speech before the American Enterprise Institute in February, prior to the war, in which he talked about the fact that, yes, there was the threat of weapons of mass destruction, but he also talked to the strategic threat that Saddam Hussein was to the region. Saddam Hussein was a threat, yes, because he was trying to acquire weapons of mass destruction. And, yes, we thought that he had stockpiles which he did not have. We had problems with the intelligence…. It was the total picture, senator, not just weapons of mass destruction, that caused us to decide that, post-Sept. 11, it was finally time to deal with Saddam Hussein.

BOXER: Well, you should read what we voted on when we voted to support the war, which I did not, but most of my colleagues did. It was WMD, period. That was the reason and the causation for that, you know, particular vote. But, again, I just feel you quote President Bush when it suits you, but you contradicted him when he said, "Yes, Saddam could have a nuclear weapon in less than a year." You go on television nine months later and said, "Nobody ever said it was.

RICE: Senator, that was just a question of pointing out to people that there was an uncertainty. No one was saying that he would have to have a weapon within a year for it to be worth it to go to war.

BOXER: Well, if you can't admit to this mistake….

RICE: Senator, we can have this discussion in any way that you would like. But I really hope that you will refrain from impugning my integrity.Integrity?

She wouldn't recognize integrity if it bit her on the butt.

In a time of universal deception, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.