November 14, 2005

Senator Rockefeller: I Am Not Responsible For My Vote

The following is from an interview by Fox News' Chris Wallace with Senator Rockefeller:

WALLACE: Senator Rockefeller, the President says that Democratic critics, like you, looked at pre-war intelligence and came to the same conclusion that he did. In fact, looking back at the speech that you gave in October of 2002 in which you authorized the use of force, you went further than the President ever did. Let's watch. SEN. ROCKEFELLER (October 10, 2002): "I do believe that Iraq poses an imminent threat, but I also believe that after September 11th, that question is increasingly outdated."

WALLACE: Now, the President never said that Saddam Hussein was an imminent threat. As you saw, you did say that. If anyone hyped the intelligence, isn't it Jay Rockefeller?

SEN. ROCKEFELLER: No. The – I mean, this question is asked a thousand times and I'll be happy to answer it a thousand times. I took a trip by myself in January of 2002 to Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria, and I told each of the heads of state that it was my view that George Bush had already made up his mind to go to war against Iraq – that that was a predetermined set course which had taken shape shortly after 9/11. Now, the intelligence that they had and the intelligence that we had were probably different. We didn't get the Presidential Daily Briefs. We got only a finished product, a finished product, a consensual view of the intelligence community, which does not allow for agencies like in the case of the aluminum tubes, the Department of Energy said these aren't thick enough to handle nuclear power. They left that out and went ahead with they have aluminum tubes and they're going to develop nuclear power.

WALLACE: Senator, you're quite right. You didn't get the Presidential Daily Brief or the Senior Executive Intelligence Brief. You got the National Intelligence Estimate. But the Silberman Commission, a Presidential commission that looked into this, did get copies of those briefs, and they say that they were, if anything, even more alarmist, even less nuanced than the intelligence you saw, and yet you, not the President, said that Saddam Hussein was an imminent threat. ...

SEN. ROCKEFELLER: Chris, there's always the same conversation. You know it was not the Congress that sent 135,000 or 150,000 troops.

WALLACE: But you voted, sir, and aren't you responsible for your vote?

SEN. ROCKEFELLER: No.

Senator Rockefeller, who realizes what he has just said - that he is not responsible for his votes in the U.S. Senate - then backtracks pretty quickly.

F&^%$ng hypocrite.

From Captains' Quarters:

This is the conundrum in which the Democrats have stuck themselves. They want to put all of the rhetoric on Bush on determining that Iraq presented a long-term threat to the US. Bush carefully avoided using the term "imminent"; indeed, he argued against waiting for threats to become imminent, post-9/11, as that would put Americans in danger of surprise attacks just as we had experienced. Saddam's development of portable WMD would have found terrorist hands eventually, which is why Bush proposed military action before the threat reached that stage. Rockefeller instead used the "imminent" term and now wants to shove it off onto George Bush.

At the time, the Democrats did not want to give the Republicans an edge on national security, with the first national elections since 9/11 coming in four weeks. Democrats wanted to look tough and use tough rhetoric. Only after the election (where they lost the Senate) did they start ankle-biting their vote -- even after George Bush allowed the UN to restart the useless UNSCOM weapons inspections and waited five months to take the military action that Congress authorized.

How empty are the Democrats of ideas and long-term plans for national security? Three years later, they're still lying about their own statements on national TV to smear George Bush -- even though he can't run for election again! Rockefeller shows how lame this meme has become. It should embarrass every Democrat in the country and start a demand for new party leadership. Unfortunately, it won't, but it may finally convince the rational moderates that the Democrats have led the party over a cliff.

Great post from Captains' Quarters.
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