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And In Other News . . .


Reporting from the Left Coast today, but the news is the same. It is astonishing how much of today’s “other” news is a reflection of the story of the Libby case. The headlines in Sacramento today, just like those three years ago, are focused on the Iraq war, the credibility of the Administration’s case for and prosecution of that war, the efforts to discredit opponents, and the varying degrees of Congress' complicity in the war. And standing amidst the ruins of their failed policies, the chief architects remain in total denial about their responsibility for what they've done.

The main difference now is that the lies and delusions that led us into that war no longer convince the American people and their elected officials. Reflecting the results of recent national surveys, the latest poll from the Left Coast shows that 70 percent of Californians oppose the President’s troop escalation plan (compared to 65 percent nationwide). But that hasn’t stopped the Administration from pursuing its New Way Forward as though no one else mattered.

Yesterday found the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voting mostly along partisan lines, 12-9 (with Republican Senator Hagel joining all 11 Democrats) in favor of a non-binding resolution opposing the President’s plans to add over 20,000 extra troops to Iraq to help secure Baghdad and Anwar Province. The absence of more Republican support for the Biden/Hagel resolution was offset by the many statements of opposition to the President’s plans coming from other Republican Senators and for the growing expressions of support for an alternative, somewhat “softer” resolution offered by Senator Warner and now supported by many Senators on both sides of the aisle. The list of Republicans opposing the President’s plan appears to be growing. From a compilation of NYT, WaPo and LATimes articles in today’s Sacramento Bee (a McClatchy paper):

Chuck Hagel was pulling no punches, urging his colleagues to “take a stand after four years of acquiscence.”

”What do you believe? What are you willing to support? What do you think? Why were you elected?” he asked. If you wanted a safe job, go sell shoes.”

Senator Lugar (R-Ind) said the Bush plan was “dubious.”

Senator Sununu (R-N.H.) opposed sending more troops until the Iraq’s leaders met certain conditions.

Senator Voinovich (R-Ohio) told the White House, “you aren’t listening.”

Senator Corker (R-Tenn) added, “Congress has allowed this war to go on without anyone having a stake. We passed the debt on to future generations. Nobody has sacrificed but the military men and women and the families.”

Meanwhile Senator Warner was joined by Senator Collins (R-Maine) and a growing number of Democrats in sponsoring his milder version of the Biden/Hagel resolution, but one which still contained the basic message that, as the Bee article put it, “the lawmakers do not support the troop buildup in Iraq.”

Even the President's supporters feel compelled to condition approval by imposing new benchmarks on the Iraq government for progress on political fronts.

It was fitting therefore that the Administration sent out its defender in chief, neocon warrior Vice President Cheney, to dismiss the opposition concerns and to do so with characteristic arrogance and denials. Suggestions that the Adminsitration had blundered in Iraq were just "hogwash," Cheney told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. “They can’t stop us,” he said. “ We are moving forward.” There have been “enormous successes.” With statements like these, Mr. Cheney can't even count on his good friend, John McCain.

It was the same Dick Cheney from June and July of 2003, when he was conspiring with Scooter Libby to disparage anyone who dared to question his and the President’s motives and honesty in leading the country to war. Nothing has changed. The policy is still "We know best; trust us," “stay the course,” and keep throwing American troops into Iraq’s civil war because we can’t afford to fail. Never admit failure. And keep using the statements of the pathetic Joe Lieberman as proof that they’ve got us into such a catastrophic mess that the predicted outcome of doing anything other than continue to listen to them will be even worse. But of course, except for a question on the Cafferty segment of CNN, the word “impeachment” is hardly spoken.

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John has been writing for Firedoglake since 2006 or so, on whatever interests him. He has a law degree, worked as legal counsel and energy policy adviser for a state energy agency for 20 years and then as a consultant on electricity systems and markets. He's now retired, living in Massachusetts.

You can follow John on twitter: @JohnChandley