Art Pottery, Politics and Food
Wednesday, June 18, 2003
The magnitude surprised me a little bit…
--Jay Gardner on Iraq reconstruction

US soldiers face protesting Iraqi soldiers

Was I lulled by Rummy’s aggressive bonhomie or did I actually hear him say Michigan is worse than Iraq? Oooh, that guy Rumsfeld! While he might appear sexy to his Commander-in-Chief, I see only a death’s head of constant calculation. At today’s press conference, featuring Secretary Rumsfeld and retired General Jay Gardner back from his disastrous role as the Iraq Administrator, “robust” seemed to be the new “bold”.
According to Rummy, pre war intelligence was “robust” not wildly exaggerated. And, sez wacky General Jay more mockingly known for his “Damn, we’re Americans!” remark than anything else, Saddam “robustly used” WMD domestically in the pre war period. Funny, my snide running commentary was oddly “robust”.

Senator Max Cleland

I’m grateful to Hesiod of the terrific blog CounterSpin for the recent links to remarks by former United States Senator Max Cleland and particularly for today’s link to a Saturday speech by Cleland to the national convention of Young Democrats in Atlanta, Georgia. The Senator, so unfairly defeated by current shameful occupant of the seat chickenhawk Saxbee Cowardice, I mean, Chambliss in ‘02, was on fire! The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporters writing the preface to the linked speech say:

The most scathing critique of the Bush administration's military and foreign policy we've heard from a Democrat this year…

Here’s a taste but, please, go read this great speech by a great American:

What then is the Bush record in fighting the so-called war on terrorism? They have not found bin Laden. They have not found Saddam Hussein and as of yet there are no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. However, we have found two trailers. Is that why we fought the war? For two trailers? Did we send our sons and daughters to spill their blood in the desert over two trailers? We are spending over $100 billion bombing and then rebuilding Iraq while giving a tax cut to America's wealthiest citizens and denying hard-working Americans making $26,000 a year or less a child tax credit in order to pay for it…We are being drawn into the kind of battle the enemy wants -- a clash of civilizations…The enemy does not care whether this takes 10 years or 50 years or 100 years to triumph…Put the Coast Guard under the Navy and its direct control. That's what's done in wartime. It is time to do that now. Let the Coast Guard guard the coast. This is a war and we need to treat it as such. We need to allow the Coast Guard the budget and support to provide essentially quarantine around American ports. They should be allowed to search, seize and inspect any ship, passenger or freighter, suspected of containing contraband to aid terrorists. Additionally, we need to do what I suggested when I was in the Senate. Namely, inspect ships in foreign ports before they get to American ports…Let the National Guard guard the nation…They are in dozens of places all over the world in so-called "peace keeper" roles…The National Guard was designed to protect and defend Albany, Ga., not Albania…We went to war in Iraq because of weapons of mass destruction, but we have not found any yet. Is that a fault of our intelligence community? Or was it just plain deception on the part of the administration? Who knows? The Congress needs to fully investigate the rationale and outcome of the war and explain to the American people who knew what and when did they know it. If the Congress does not do its duty, the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States on which I sit should take the mission on itself.

Photos: Aleh Kheiber-Reuter's, US Senate

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