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Monday, June 20, 2005

"I DIDN'T KNOW" vs. "I KNOW BETTER NOW..."

I got a chance to watch the hearings on the Downing Street Minutes that was held by Rep. John Conyers yesterday. Ray McGovern reminded us that only a year before, at the Annual Correspondent's dinner in Washington, DC, and at that time, with five hundred dead soldiers to his credit, GeeDubya proceeds to put on a skit mocking those lost WMDs. At the time, everyone, including the Washington Post's faux comedian, Columnist Dana Milbank, were laughing at the joke of missing WMDs. I bet those dead soldiers' families find it equally funny that since the beginning of this war, Bush has yet to honor these dead soldiers with his presence at their funerals or memorial services. People like Cindy Sheehan don't find lying about a war that got their sons, daughters, husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, killed - very funny. But you wouldn't know that by watching the President, or Congress, save for a few exceptions like John Conyers.

Fast forward to the DSM hearings of Thursday, June 16th, and we have the same Dana Milbank ridiculing the hearings, and Conyers had to "go postal" on him in response. One would think that Mr. Milbank would have learned from the facts that the DSM is literally confirming Congress' worst nightmare - that they were lied to in order to gain support for a war that was not warranted. Instead of reporting on the gravity of the American People being lied to by the President of the United States, Milbanks decides to ridicule the process that uncovered the lies and spoke the truth to power. Now, I've read Dana Milbanks' columns, and at one point, believed him to be one of the few jounalists that was providing fair, unbiased and objective coverage of the Bush Administration and their policies. One diarist at DailyKos suggested that Milbanks did his "about face" with the DSM piece in order to preserve his seat on Air Force One, and his beat coverage of the President. In other words, Milbanks was another journalist threatened by the Bush cartel and he caved. Is nothing sacred anymore, even for journalists that were once thought as objective and couldn't be bought?

As Ray McGovern said: the families of dead soldiers don't find Mr. Bush's parody or Mr. Milbank's attempts at humor regarding the attempt to downplay the DSM hearings very funny.

Yet Congress has to own some of the blame here as well, when they literally abdicated their responsibility to require Bush present a concise reason for initiating war in order for them to declare war. They abdicated their responsibility when they didn't require Bush to have an exit plan once war was initiated, and now they are beginning to realize that Bush never had an exit plan because he never intended to start a war that he could actually end during his "regime".

Now, we hear Congressional members talking about how they "didn't know" that Bush lied to them. Now, we hear Congress critters whining about how "I know better now, and I will join with my colleagues to do better." Yeah, right. Just in time for the 2006 elections (snark, snark here).

Now, we have Congressman Harold Ford, Jr., a long time supporter of the Iraq war, starting to broadcast campaign ads in his bid to join Barack Obama in the United States Senate, singing the "Let's Bring our Troops Home" theme song; which I find to be quite disingenious, considering that Ford not only voted to authorize war in Iraq, he's also continued to vote to send more money to be poured into that "black hole" of a war that no one ever wanted. You wonder what could $170 billion dollars could have paid for in this country in the way of education, the economy, improving global warming and other matters of the environment; universal health care for the 45 million Americans that don't have it, and other things to improve life on the domestic front.

There is a saying; "When you know better, you do better". So, let's consider what Congress now knows, versus what they are doing better, shall we?

  1. No WMDs. This was learned in late 2003, yet Congress voted to send another $87 billion dollars to fund the war when Bush demanded it. What we don't know is why no one in Congress demanded Bush give an accounting of what happened to money already authorized, and what would be done with additional money. We also learned that at least $8-10 billion was wasted and no one can account for how that money was spent. Can you say "Halliburton" or "Kellogg, Brown & Root"?
  2. DSM - plans to attack Iraq before September 11th occurred. When known acts of treason are discovered, Congress has a constitutional duty to demand articles of impeachment and initiate the impeachment process of the President and Cabinet members involved. With the exception of the Conyers' hearing, dead silence from the MSM and Congress themselves. NO mention of the "I" word and I'm not talking about Don Imus, either.
  3. Abuse of Prisoners in Gitmo. But we are treated to Rep. Duncan Hunter demonstrating what the prisoner's menus are and how well they are eating. Does the fact that a prisoner eats well hide the fact of mental, emotional and physical torture? The fact that Amnesty International has gone public with their findings that Americans' engaged in torture, which is direct violations of the Geneva Convention, is what we do know. What we are also learning is that the Bush Administration is condoning torture, per VP Dick Cheney.

I want to stop there, because these are pretty big issues. We know all of these things, and there are signs that the American people are not going to be silent on these issues. Yet the Bush Administration tends to "poo-poo" anythng that smacks of dissent, disagreement, or hard cold evidence of the truth. They spin how the information was found, or they attack, smear and discredit the messenger. But we know better. And how long are we going to allow our members of Congress who made ill-advised votes on legislation, after being presented the truth, to continue claiming "I didn't know"? We send these individuals to Congress to represent US. To be our VOICES. This is not to say they know what's best for us; if they did, they would have done their jobs, and demanded Bush be held accountable for every known and unknown acts of treason, war, and lying to the American Public by the betrayal of the trust placed in him.

I'm waiting for a member of Congress to be brave enough to admit he or she was wrong when they voted for the authorization for war in Iraq. I'm waiting for the apology that "I know better NOW, and I'm committed to helping develop an exit strategy to bring our troops home and end this mess." I'm waiting for their actions to match their contriteness about the situation America finds herself in, by taking action that indicates they know better and have learned their lesson.

Some Congress critters are demonstrating this, like Rep. Walter "Freedom Fries" Jones. After attending a funeral of a dead soldier from his district, Rep. Jones did some soul-searching. "Freedom Fries" were trite, when contrasted with dead American soldiers being buried in your district. Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel is denouncing the White House as being "out of touch" with the realities of the war. Other bipartisan groups are demanding exit plans from Iraq; they are backing off Social Security Privatization, and doing hasty retreats from the President altogether. They either "know better now" or, in cynical fashion, trying to preserve their politcal careers by trying to position themselves to answer to angry constituents about their votes on Iraq, Social Security, the Bankruptcy Bill or, in some Southern Senators case, their refusal to apologize for the lynching of African-Americans and their refusal to pass anti-lynching legislation that might have saved Emmitt Till's life in 1955.

Congress needs to stop singing "I didn't Know" and sing a new tune called "I know better NOW..."

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