Saturday, February 03, 2007

Hillary Plays Blame Game

Here's the deal. I can't let this slide, because in my view it's fair and valid criticism.

One thing I don't particularly care for is, triangulation. And Sen Hillary Clinton is becoming one of the better triangulation artists, we have seen in a long while. Take a look at this article.

WASHINGTON (AP) - Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton said Friday she would not have attacked Iraq if she were president in 2002 and would end the war if elected, as she tried to blunt rivals like John Edwards who are stoking anti-war passions in the Democratic Party.

Now contrast it with this video (which can no longer be embedded). (HT: AC)

Nothing is going to get solved if we keep beating a dead horse, here. Not one damned thing is going to be resolved if we keep hammering away at what we have already been hammering away at for the last five years.

We have some deep problems in this world and they cannot be solved by staying in the "decision to go to war" debate. We need to be in solution mode, not blame-game mode. It is my firm contention that arguing about how to deal with the situation (in the here and now), is certainly fair game. Arguing about whose solution is best or worst, is a valid debate. But, we cannot get stuck on something just to win an election, not if we are sincere in wanting to solve these problems.

In 2008, there sorely needs to be a resurrection of the concept that elections need to be a competition of ideas, on how to solve the serious problems (that are currently getting over-looked because of mudslinging partisanship). They should not be used on a referendum of Bush and why we went to war, especially because, he's not a candidate and we are already at war.

Shallow, feel-good rhetoric isn't what is needed, either. Telling people what you feel they want to hear just to garner their support is not going to come up with sound and viable solutions, in some magical way. Debating cause and effect, gets us nowhere. Smoothing it over, doesn't either. It might win an election, but after the swearing-in, the people will want to see results. We cannot see results from those that campaign on what they should or shouldn't have done, in the past.

Want solutions? Develop some ideas, discuss them, and then promote them. Conflict resolution is about finding common ground and working from there. It's not about picking fights endlessly, until someone is destroyed. Doing that only widens the gap and makes it more difficult to reconcile.

7 comments:

Mary Ellen said...

Ok, LA, here's what I think you are missing..

//
In 2008, there sorely needs to be a resurrection of the concept that elections need to be a competition of ideas, on how to solve the serious problems (that are currently getting over-looked because of mudslinging partisanship). They should not be used on a referendum of Bush and why we went to war, especially because, he's not a candidate and we are already at war.


This isn't just a matter of pointing the blame at a President who isn't running for office. This is pointing out that this President's administration and those on the Republican side who did everything they could to keep the truth from, not only the American citizens, but from the Congress and Senate, which did not allow them to make a decision to go to war based on truth instead of cherry picked intelligence. The lies and misdeeds of Bush must be put in the forefront, so it doesn't happen again. Already, the Bush administration is beating the same old drum regarding Iran and it's important for those who are going to vote for the next President to know where they stand on telling the American people the truth.

//Want solutions? Develop some ideas, discuss them, and then promote them. Conflict resolution is about finding common ground and working from there. It's not about picking fights endlessly, until someone is destroyed. Doing that only widens the gap and makes it more difficult to reconcile.

There has been plenty of discussion on how to go about fixing this mess in Iraq. When Murtha pointed out last year that we needed to set bench marks and work to bring our troops home, he was labeled by right wingers as a traitor and anti-American. Tony Snow-job has also recently said that anyone who opposes Bush is emboldening the enemy. If some Democratic candidates or Senators disagree on a way to help us in Iraq, the Republicans make stupid comments about how we can't agree on anything, mostly because they feel that lock-step is the only way, no matter that they are marching lock-step right over a cliff.

Yes, it is important for Hillary to point out the mistakes and lies of Bush and discuss how he managed to get us into such a mess. It's imperative that she make it very clear that she would not have ignored the intelligence that said there were no WMD in Iraq...it's too bad that she and others weren't given such information and instead were given what the Bush wanted them to hear to back up his reasons to go to war in Iraq, no matter how bad those reasons were.

Sometimes the truth is hard to hear, LA...especially when it comes from a candidate that you don't like.

LASunsett said...

ME,

Do I know how to flush you out of lurker status, or what? (Smug Look)

//Yes, it is important for Hillary to point out the mistakes and lies of Bush and discuss how he managed to get us into such a mess. It's imperative that she make it very clear that she would not have ignored the intelligence that said there were no WMD in Iraq...it's too bad that she and others weren't given such information and instead were given what the Bush wanted them to hear to back up his reasons to go to war in Iraq, no matter how bad those reasons were.//

Did Bill Clinton lie when he had access to intelligence reports and made this address to the American people?

Mary Ellen said...

I'm not sure what you are getting at, LA...did Clinton lie? I don't think he cherry picked any intel, I don't think he kept any Republicans from the Security Council meetings or any other meetings in regard to military actions he took. Bush did. He took intel that would back his reasons for going into Iraq and ignored and kept the other intelligence information from members of the Senate before he invaded. That's a fact.

What Clinton did was administer small strikes to achieve his goal, Bush went into an all out, pre-emptive war based on lies and misinformation. So, the answer to your question is that Clinton didn't lie in that speech. He was doing what was necessary to contain Saddam, Bush went for regime change...which, BTW, early on, Bush said he wasn't trying for "regime change"....another lie. See, LA, you need to look at the whole picture, which is Bush is a liar and an incompetent boob who has made the world less safe because of his invasion of a sovereign country. Clinton told Bush before he took over the reins to watch out for Bin Laden, he was the one to watch. Bush ignored him.

I have no doubt in my mind that if Hillary or any other Democrat were President instead of Bush, we wouldn't be in this mess that we are in. Yes, it's important to know all the reasons that Bush has failed and uncover all the lies. This isn't just finger pointing, it's keeping Bush from trying to re-write history, like Fox channel tried to re-write why we were attacked on 911.

Lurking? Nah! But if you want to get my attention...a good looking guy will do the trick! :-D

LASunsett said...

ME,

I thought you were out on the town.

//I'm not sure what you are getting at, LA...did Clinton lie? I don't think he cherry picked any intel, I don't think he kept any Republicans from the Security Council meetings or any other meetings in regard to military actions he took.//

It was the same intel. The Dems already had it, from the time the Clinton administration had it. Hillary knew of this intel, long before Bush knew of it.

Mary Ellen said...

Yeah...I was out on the town, but we went to the early show and decided not to stay downtown for dinner. It was too damned cold to be out walking around the loop. Damn, it's just freaking cold out there! So, we went home and ordered take out Chinese.

Anyway...regarding the intel, the information Bush had was entirely different from what Clinton had. The situation on the ground changed a lot once Clinton had Saddam in check. Ok, let's look at the facts, LA.

Fact: [S]everal Congressional and intelligence officials with access to the 15 assessments [of intel suggesting aluminum tubes showed Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear program] said not one of them informed senior policy makers of the Energy Department’s dissent. They described a series of reports, some with ominous titles, that failed to convey either the existence or the substance of the intensifying debate.” [NYT, 10/3/04]

Fact: Look at these aluminum tube stories that came out the president delivered to the Congress — ‘We believe these would be used for centrifuges.’ — didn’t deliver to Congress the full range of objections from the Department of Energy experts, nuclear weapons experts, that said it’s unlikely they were for centrifuges, more likely that they were for rockets, which was a pre-existing use. The president has much more access to intelligence than any member of Congress.” [10/7/04]

Fact: Ranking minority member on the Senate Intelligence Committee Jay Rockefeller (D-WV): “[P]eople say, ‘Well, you know, you all had the same intelligence that the White House had.’ And I’m here to tell you that is nowhere near the truth. We not only don’t have, nor probably should we have, the Presidential Daily Brief. We don’t have the constant people who are working on intelligence who are very close to him. They don’t release their — an administration which tends not to release — not just the White House, but the CIA, DOD [Department of Defense], others — they control information. There’s a lot of intelligence that we don’t get that they have.” [11/04/05]

Fact:“The claim that the White House and Congress saw the ’same intelligence’ on Iraq is further undermined by the Bush administration’s use of outside intelligence channels. For more than year prior to the war, the administration received intelligence assessments and analysis on Iraq directly from the Department of Defense’s Office of Special Plans (OSP), run by then-undersecretary of defense for policy Douglas J. Feith, and the Iraqi National Congress (INC), a group of Iraqi exiles led by Ahmed Chalabi.” [MediaMatters, 11/8/05]

So, please, don't tell me that Hillary had the same intel as Bush.

President Clinton didn't lie to the American people. He gave the information that he had. He told them what he was going to do and how he was going to do it. He didn't lie, cover-up or change his reasons for going in to Iraq to make these strategic hits. Bush, on the other hand did lie. He did cover up intel and kept it from the Senate and Congress, and he did change his reasons for going into Iraq several times.

LASunsett said...

ME,

It's highly unlikely that we are going to see eye to eye on this anytime soon. But in a nutshell, here's my final point on this:

In any administration, board room, or any other meeting used to make difficult decisions, there are those that have a wide array of opinions. It is not unusual for people that are on the same team, to have dissenting opinions. Whoever the decision maker happens to be, must take all information and formulate an opinion and ultimately make a decision.

If the issue that calls for a decision is a grave situation that could have far-reaching consequences if the wrong decision is made, the fallout is usually great if the decision is the wrong one. (I am sure that we can agree on this, so far.)

Now, take the principle and let's apply it to the WMD situation:

Bush had intelligence from all angles. As did Clinton. Here is how Robert Einhorn, Clinton's assistant secretary of state for nonproliferation, summed up the intelligence community's conclusions about Iraq at the end of the Clinton Administration:

"How close is the peril of Iraqi WMD? Today, or at most within a few months, Iraq could launch missile attacks with chemical or biological weapons against its neighbors (albeit attacks that would be ragged, inaccurate, and limited in size). Within four or five years it could have the capability to threaten most of the Middle East and parts of Europe with missiles armed with nuclear weapons containing fissile material produced indigenously—and to threaten U.S. territory with such weapons delivered by nonconventional means, such as commercial shipping containers. If it managed to get its hands on sufficient quantities of already produced fissile material, these threats could arrive much sooner."

I recommend reading the article at the other end of that link for a more comprehensive picture (non partisan). But with past knowledge as one set of indicators and the others that include a host of UN Resolutions, foreign intelligence (to include Arab states) reports, and Saddam's own refusal to cooperate, the Bush administration made the decision they made (for better of for worse).

The bottom line in all of this is covered in the post. Beating this dead horse is not constructive.

We can certainly say that Bush miscalculated, that's certainly a fair assessment. We can also say that he has underestimated (through poor planning for the worst case scenario) the after-effects of removing Saddam. We can even say with a great level of certainty that there have been some bad political decisions, along the way in the execution of this war. But, unless either of us were in those meetings in which he was presided, we cannot say he lied. He may have chosen the wrong analysis, but he did not create the wrong intelligence. He and his advisers misinterpreted it. Misinterpreting is not the same as lying.

Like I said on SF's blog when that guy named kes, was calling me a liar. I said that I may be wrong, misinformed, or misguided, but I was not a liar. The same principle exists here in this argument.

So Hillary, Bill, Kerry, Kennedy, or anyone else that made definitive statements that said they believed that Saddam had WMDs, were not lying anymore than the President. They were wrong. They need to say this.

But to use their candidacies or platforms to create a double standard to criticize the President or accuse him of lying, in my view, is hypocrisy. We cannot hold Presidents to any higher standard than we do the other elected officials, for all are mere mortals and subject to mistakes.

Mary Ellen said...

LA

You're right...we cannot agree on this. I will hold firm that Bush is a liar and he used his power, as President, to withhold information on Intelligence in order to make his case to go to war. There is plenty of evidence to back that up.

Withholding information is not "miscalculating". If he was honest, he would have let those who were to vote on a war resolution see that evidence. Instead, he kept it from them.

If I thought Bush made "mistakes" I would just say that he was incompetent. That isn't the case. In this case, and I will not back down on this, he is a liar. He has lied not only on issues regarding the war, but on many other issues. Why do you think he refused to go under oath during the 911 commissions? He and Cheney both refused. If they had gone under oath, and said what they did in those commissions, they would have been charged with a crime. If they had nothing to hide, why wouldn't they swear on an oath?