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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Baghdad Dick

Posted: 06/25/05 14:44, Edited: 05/26/13 11:25

Quotes from Dick Cheney through the years... our own version of Baghdad Bob


I think that the proposition of going to Baghdad is also fallacious. I think if we were going to remove Saddam Hussein we would have had to go all the way to Baghdad, we would have to commit a lot of force because I do not believe he would wait in the Presidential Palace for us to arrive. I think we'd have had to hunt him down. And once we'd done that and we'd gotten rid of Saddam Hussein and his government, then we'd have had to put another government in its place. What kind of government? Should it be a Sunni government or Shi'i government or a Kurdish government or Ba'athist regime? Or maybe we want to bring in some of the Islamic fundamentalists? How long would we have had to stay in Baghdad to keep that government in place? What would happen to the government once U.S. forces withdrew? How many casualties should the United States accept in that effort to try to create clarity and stability in a situation that is inherently unstable? I think it is vitally important for a President to know when to use military force. I think it is also very important for him to know when not to commit U.S. military force. And it's my view that the President got it right both times, that it would have been a mistake for us to get bogged down in the quagmire inside Iraq."

At the Soref Symposium, April 29, 1991

"And the question in my mind is how many additional American casualties is Saddam worth? And the answer is not very damned many."

At the Discovery Institute in Seattle, August,1992

"Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam now has weapons of mass destruction."

--8/26/2002

"My belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators." -

--3/16/2003

[In response to "We have not been greeted as liberators."] "Well, I think we have by most Iraqis. I think the majority of Iraqis are thankful for the fact that the United States is there, that we came and we took down the Saddam Hussein government. And I think if you go in vast areas of the country, the Shia in the south, which are about 60 percent of the population, 20-plus percent in the north, in the Kurdish areas, and in some of the Sunni areas, you'll find that, for the most part, a majority of Iraqis support what we did."

-- Sunday, Sept. 14, 2003 on Meet The Press with Tim Russert.

"If we're successful in Iraq, if we can stand up a good representative government in Iraq, that secures the region so that it never again becomes a threat to its neighbors or to the United States, so it's not pursuing weapons of mass destruction, so that it's not a safe haven for terrorists, now we will have struck a major blow right at the heart of the base, if you will, the geographic base of the terrorists who have had us under assault now for many years, but most especially on 9/11."

-- Sunday, Sept. 14, 2003 on Meet The Press with Tim Russert.

"America has shown we are serious about removing the threat of weapons of mass destruction."..."We now know that Saddam Hussein had the capacity to produce weapons of mass destruction.... We know he had the necessary infrastructure because we found the labs and the dual-use facilities that could be used for these chemical and biological agents. We know that he was developing the delivery systems, 'ballistic missiles', that had been prohibited by the United Nations."

-- Fundraising dinner in New Mexico, February 6, 2004


"The senator has got his facts wrong. I have not suggested there's a connection between Iraq and 9/11, but there's clearly an established Iraqi track record with terror."

--At the Vice Presidential Debates, October 5, 2004.

"What we did in Iraq was exactly the right thing to do. If I had it to recommend all over again, I would recommend exactly the same course of action."

--Vice Presidential Debate, October 5, 2004

"I think we may well have some kind of presence there over a period of time," Cheney said. "The level of activity that we see today from a military standpoint, I think, will clearly decline. I think they're in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency."

--on Larry King, June,2005
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Anyone in Favor of Lynching?

Category: US Politics
Posted: 06/23/05 16:13

by Dave Mindeman

Ok, let's have a show of hands. Who condones lynching? No one? I didn't think so... but it was interesting how the Senate resolution to apologize for Senate inaction against lynching, played out.

Terry Neal wrote some interesting background in the Washington Post. If you look at how it all developed, you realize how far we still have to go with race relations in America. When the resolution came to the floor, Senator Frist decided that a voice vote was in order, since there was no opposition. (There is some confusion about whether a roll call vote was requested or not). Very few Senators were actually on the floor, so it became official quite uneventfully. However, the key sponsors Sen. George Allen (R-Va) and Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La) wanted to still get every Senator on the record and called for each individual Senator to sign-on as a co-sponsor. Most did so immediately -- a few others signed on the next day.... but 11 Senators (all Republicans) held back.

Now, there is nothing inherently wrong with not signing on as a co-sponsor. That does not indicate a "pro-lynching" bias. It is, however, a very symbolic type of "inaction" that can lead to a broad interpretation of intent.

Mr. Dean was particularly interested in Sen. Thad Cochran's (R-MS) take on the issue. Sen. Cochran is a deep south Senator with a deep south mentality. His answer to reporter inquiries was, that he didn't feel he could apologize "for something I did not do". A Mississippi paper also got Cochran on the record:

"I don't feel that I should apologize for the passage or the failure to pass any legislation by the U.S. Senate," Cochran told the Clarion Ledger of Jackson, Miss. "But I deplore and regret that lynchings occurred and that those committing them were not punished."

A logical enough response except for the fact that the Clarion Ledger paper also pointed out:

"Cochran had previously co-sponsored measures "apologizing for the U.S. government's mistreatment of American Indians and Japanese Americans" -- neither of which he was directly responsible for."

The other 10 Senators who were conspicuously absent were:

Sen. Lamar Alexander (TN) Sen. Robert Bennett (UT)
Sen. John Cornyn (TX) Sen. Michael Enzi (WY)
Sen. Judd Gregg (NH) Sen. Jon Kyl (AZ)
Sen. Trent Lott (MS) Sen. Richard Shelby (AL)
Sen. John Sununu (NH) Sen. Craig Thomas (WY)

When you look at that list, you can see some of the political posturing involved. Both of the New Hampshire and Wyoming senators are involved -- they have very few minorities in their consituencies and no need to offend potential donors that have less than enthusiastic views on minority legislation. I liked Senator Enzi's explanation though, he said that "in general (he) doesn't co-sponsor bills that don't give specific legislative action or direction to a specific agency". Sure...

Texas, Alabama, and Mississippi senators have little to lose in looking more "deep south". Sen. Lamar Alexander was bit of a surprise here but his excuse was that "he is pushing a different measure condemning lynching, while celebrating the accomplishments of African-Americans". I guess it was too much to ask him to sign on to both measures. Sen. Kyl is not considered much of a friend to the minority community with his immigration stances... and Sen. Bennett is just a conservative nut who's against everything Democrats are for.

Politics is sometimes more about symbolic gestures than about votes. Apologizing for the lynching atrocities done in the the south decades ago isn't a question of being for it or against it. We are really not talking about the past... it is about what the past is doing to hold back progress for the future. The Apology for Lynching resolution spoke volumes on that.
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Conyers vs The Media

Category: US Politics
Posted: 06/18/05 12:43, Edited: 06/18/05 12:47

by Dave Mindeman

My respect for Congressman John Conyers grows everyday. While attempting to hold a hearing on the Downing Street Memo (despite incredible obstacles placed in his path by the House Majority), you would at least expect the media to report on the substance of the event. Well, no such luck. The Washington Post sent Dana Milbank who wrote a ridiculous article, Democrats Play House to Rally Against the War, which focused on exactly what the GOP hoped they would... the physical limitations of the room and the makeshift nature forced on the hearings. Below is a letter Cong. Conyers sent in response, (reprinted by way of Buzzflash):


June 17, 2005

Mr. Michael Abramowitz, National Editor; Mr. Michael Getler, Ombudsman; Mr. Dana Milbank; The Washington Post, 1150 15th Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20071

Dear Sirs:
I write to express my profound disappointment with Dana Milbank's June 17 report, "Democrats Play House to Rally Against the War," which purports to describe a Democratic hearing I chaired in the Capitol yesterday. In sum, the piece cherry-picks some facts, manufactures others out of whole cloth, and does a disservice to some 30 members of Congress who persevered under difficult circumstances, not of our own making, to examine a very serious subject: whether the American people were deliberately misled in the lead up to war. The fact that this was the Post's only coverage of this event makes the journalistic shortcomings in this piece even more egregious.
In an inaccurate piece of reporting that typifies the article, Milbank implies that one of the obstacles the Members in the meeting have is that "only one" member has mentioned the Downing Street Minutes on the floor of either the House or Senate. This is not only incorrect but misleading. In fact, just yesterday, the Senate Democratic Leader, Harry Reid, mentioned it on the Senate floor. Senator Boxer talked at some length about it at the recent confirmation hearing for the Ambassador to Iraq. The House Democratic Leader, Nancy Pelosi, recently signed on to my letter, along with 121 other Democrats asking for answers about the memo. This information is not difficult to find either. For example, the Reid speech was the subject of an AP wire service report posted on the Washington Post website with the headline "Democrats Cite Downing Street Memo in Bolton Fight". Other similar mistakes, mischaracterizations and cheap shots are littered throughout the article.
The article begins with an especially mean and nasty tone, claiming that House Democrats "pretended" a small conference was the Judiciary Committee hearing room and deriding the decor of the room. Milbank fails to share with his readers one essential fact: the reason the hearing was held in that room, an important piece of context. Despite the fact that a number of other suitable rooms were available in the Capitol and House office buildings, Republicans declined my request for each and every one of them. Milbank could have written about the perseverance of many of my colleagues in the face of such adverse circumstances, but declined to do so. Milbank also ignores the critical fact picked up by the AP, CNN and other newsletters that at the very moment the hearing was scheduled to begin, the Republican Leadership scheduled an almost unprecedented number of 11 consecutive floor votes, making it next to impossible for most Members to participate in the first hour and one half of the hearing.
In what can only be described as a deliberate effort to discredit the entire hearing, Milbank quotes one of the witnesses as making an anti-semitic assertion and further describes anti-semitic literature that was being handed out in the overflow room for the event. First, let me be clear: I consider myself to be friend and supporter of Israel and there were a number of other staunchly pro-Israel members who were in attendance at the hearing. I do not agree with, support, or condone any comments asserting Israeli control over U.S. policy, and I find any allegation that Israel is trying to dominate the world or had anything to do with the September 11 tragedy disgusting and offensive.
That said, to give such emphasis to 100 seconds of a 3 hour and five minute hearing that included the powerful and sad testimony (hardly mentioned by Milbank) of a woman who lost her son in the Iraq war and now feels lied to as a result of the Downing Street Minutes, is incredibly misleading. Many, many different pamphlets were being passed out at the overflow room, including pamphlets about getting out of the Iraq war and anti-Central American Free Trade Agreement, and it is puzzling why Milbank saw fit to only mention the one he did.
In a typically derisive and uninformed passage, Milbank makes much of other lawmakers calling me "Mr. Chairman" and says I liked it so much that I used "chairmanly phrases." Milbank may not know that I was the Chairman of the House Government Operations Committee from 1988 to 1994. By protocol and tradition in the House, once you have been a Chairman you are always referred to as such. Thus, there was nothing unusual about my being referred to as Mr. Chairman.
To administer his coup-de-grace, Milbank literally makes up another cheap shot that I "was having so much fun that [I] ignored aides' entreaties to end the session." This did not occur. None of my aides offered entreaties to end the session and I have no idea where Milbank gets that information. The hearing certainly ran longer than expected, but that was because so many Members of Congress persevered under very difficult circumstances to attend, and I thought - given that - the least I could do was allow them to say their piece. That is called courtesy, not "fun."
By the way, the "Downing Street Memo" is actually the minutes of a British cabinet meeting. In the meeting, British officials - having just met with their American counterparts - describe their discussions with such counterparts. I mention this because that basic piece of context, a simple description of the memo, is found nowhere in Milbank's article.
The fact that I and my fellow Democrats had to stuff a hearing into a room the size of a large closet to hold a hearing on an important issue shouldn't make us the object of ridicule. In my opinion, the ridicule should be placed in two places: first, at the feet of Republicans who are so afraid to discuss ideas and facts that they try to sabotage our efforts to do so; and second, on Dana Milbank and the Washington Post, who do not feel the need to give serious coverage on a serious hearing about a serious matter-whether more than 1700 Americans have died because of a deliberate lie. Milbank may disagree, but the Post certainly owed its readers some coverage of that viewpoint.

Sincerely,

John Conyers, Jr.


Support John Conyers!
Website: Congressman John Conyers
E-Mail: campaign@johnconyers.com

And while your at it, express your distaste for Milbank's coverage by sending him your OPINION:
milbankd@washpost.com
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