If Dick Cheney Channeled Spiro Agnew ...

By Martin A. Knight Comments (1) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »

In my last post I asked for tandem co-writers for a speech I wished Dick Cheney could give before Election Day. It's a fantasy ... but I've gotten into it.

This is as far as I got. I'll continue to update it until it's done then I'll repost it in another post.


NOTE: The red text is for what would be on the screen behind the Vice President.


... and that is why John Hostettler needs to be a member of the 110th Congress. Don't forget to vote on Tuesday and vote Republican!

But while getting John here elected back into Congress is important, I'm also here to talk about something else today.

I would like to talk about something I've seen in the past two years. Something very disturbing. In doing this, I'll be breaking from the President. As we all know here, the President is an extremely honorable and decent man. I'd like to also add something, something not even his worst critics can deny; George W. Bush is a polite man. Even when Ted Kennedy said this about our President;

{show video/audio of Ted Kennedy lambasting the President}

He never responded in kind.

Even when Nancy Pelosi said this about him;

{show video/audio of Nancy Pelosi lambasting the President}

He was too much of a gentleman to hit back.

When Harry Reid said this;

{show video/audio of Harry Reid lambasting the President}

And when John Kerry said this.

{show video/audio of John Kerry lambasting the President}

And when all these newspapers printed this about him on their editorial pages.

{show selected quotes from hostile editorials with cites to the newspapers and a voice-over reading them out}

He never once responded in kind.

Well, as we all know, I'm a little different.

{show newspaper headline regarding Cheney's "strong suggestion" to Pat Leahy on the Senate floor in 2004}

I'm a little ... meaner than the President.

{show newspaper/newsmagazine article with headline to that effect i.e. "The Dark Side of Dick Cheney"}

A few days ago, my lovely wife went up to CNN, supposedly to talk about her new book about the 50 states that make up our great nation. A completely non-partisan and absolutely beautiful piece of work, if I may say so myself. Instead she got ambushed with Democratic talking points for most of the interview, having to defend herself against desperate charges by the Democratic candidate for the Senate in Virginia. All you need to do is check on the internet and you can find exactly what it is that is so disturbing about the "imagination" of the man the Democrats nominated for the Senate. You won't find anything even half-way approaching the sickness of Jim Webb's writings in my wife's work. Raunchy is okay, steamy is fine, but incest ... with a child, I think there's a major difference between the two.

The good thing is; Lynne pretty much handled it perfectly by herself.

{show video/montage of Lynne Cheney slashing at Wolf Blitzer; include "media bias" charge}

Don't you just love a strong woman? Like the President always says, most of us guys in politics, both Democrats and Republicans, including John here, married above ourselves. I probably wouldn't have gotten to where I have in my life today, if not for that lady there.

But much as I could go on about my lovely wife, I am here to talk about something Lynne pointed out in that "interview."

{show the following segment from Lynne Cheney's (LC) interview in the Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer (WB)}

WB: You’re referring to the CNN Broken Government special…

LC: I certainly am.

WB: This was the one that John King reported on last night.

LC: You know, right there, right there, Wolf. Broken Government. Now what kind of stance is that? Here we are, we’re a country where we have been mightily challenged over the past six years. We’ve been through 9/11. We’ve been through Katrina. The President and the Vice President inherited a recession. We’re a country where the economy is healthy. That’s not broken. This government has acted very well. We’ve had tax cuts that are responsible for our healthy economy. We’re a country that was attacked five years ago. We haven’t been attacked since. What this government has done is effective. That’s not broken government. So you know, I shouldn’t let media bias surprise me, but I worked at CNN once. I watched the program last night ...

Now I've been in politics for a very long time. And as a Republican there are very few things that have frustrated me as much as the Press. Let's be honest, the people at the New York Times, the Washington Post, CBS have never really liked us that much. But I must admit that the past six years have been something of a revelation. Something is seriously, seriously wrong with the Fourth Estate.

This is what Wolf Blitzer said about the "Broken Government" special CNN ran that Lynne was talking about.

{show the following segment from Lynne Cheney's interview in the Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer}

WB: All right. Well, that was probably the purpose, to get people to think, to get people to discuss these issues ...

Now Wolf Blitzer is a good man, and I'm sure he thinks he's being honest, but who the heck does he think he's kidding? The "Broken Government" special CNN ran the other day on October 25th was an hour-long Democratic campaign ad. It wasn't meant to get people to think, it was meant to get people to think a certain way using distorted quotes and made-up facts in order to influence voters just in time for election day Tuesday.

As my wife pointed out, we have a booming economy, though you've probably never heard about it, and we have not had an attack on US soil in five years. Clearly we must be doing something right. But apparently, according to thoroughly "fair" and "objective" CNN, the American government is "broken."

Like I said before, I'm breaking with the President here. He is polite to a fault. I'm not. And I do believe it is time for us, as Republicans and Independents, to cease lending support to the polite fiction that CNN, the Washington Post, the New York Times and many other of our nation's major news outlets are in any way the disinterested observers of American government and politics that they say they are.

They are not. And they've only grown worse in the last six years since we first came into office.

For the next few minutes, I'm going to talk about the Press and how some of the most prestigious and prominent institutions of journalism in our country have egregiously betrayed everything they claim to stand for. Actually, no, nix the few minutes part, I've got a long list here so this may take a while.

Let's start with Katrina.

We all know the story. The Federal Government "bungled" it, didn't get to work rescuing the people of New Orleans until thousands had died, and none of us were concerned about it because quote; the government did not care about the poor and minority citizens of New Orleans, end quote.

That's the story the Press told Americans and the world, and they even gave themselves awards for it. But that's not the real story. The real story is very different. They got it wrong. They got it very very wrong. What's worse is that they now know they got it wrong. And they've done nothing since then to inform the American people of what truly happened in New Orleans last year, certainly not as much as they did to misinform them.

{show the Pullitzer awards being given for Katrina reportage}

Did you know that the combined resources of the Coast Guard, the regular military and National Guard from all over the nation and local responders saved 50,000 lives? Remember that number and tell everyone you know. 50,000 lives. Let me give you some more numbers; 17,400 people were saved by air alone, by brave men and women who circled around and flew their helicopters into New Orleans right behind the storm, within two hours, not a few days later as the media coverage would have you believe. As a former Secretary of Defense, I know that flying in helicopters so close behind the storm, in those still high winds, was dangerous to the point of foolishness, but those pilots risked their lives to save the lives of others.

{show called out numbers and context}

These people set up a triage and medical center that served at least 5,000 people, and even delivered 6 babies. Remember these numbers. The media said that 200 people died in the Dome and as a result we sent an 18 wheeler refridgerator truck to pick up the bodies. But it turned out that the numbers were a little less. You want to know how many people actually died in the Dome? 6. 4 from natural causes, 1 from a drug overdose and the last 1 committed suicide. 6.

{show called out numbers and context}

Did you know that 75% of the people rescued in New Orleans after Katrina made landfall were rescued in the first 72 hours? Did you know that the Coast Guard, by itself saved 30,000 lives? Do you know that while about 1300 people died as a result of the worst natural disaster to hit the United States in 50 years, 15,000 people died in France in 2003 from a heat wave in the summer? Did the media put as much emphasis on the fact that Katrina devasted an area the size of the United Kingdom and knocked out most of the communications and transportation infrastructure of the entire region as they did on the cliched false story that the government had neglected and abandoned the poor and minority people of New Orleans?

{show called out numbers and context}

These people were working blind, they had to improvise and even build their own infrastructure and they worked day in and day out to rescue and help their fellow Americans. Remember when people were predicting 10,000 deaths? Just about 10% of that number ended up being lost. And most of them were those who should have been evacuated by their local authorities before the storm landed; 74% of those who died were 60 and over in hospitals and nursing homes. The rescuers didn't have the time to watch television. But when they did, they found themselves being castigated for being "too late," for "bungling" Katrina. The Press told the American people that their Federal Government failed the people of New Orleans; but then is the Coast Guard not part of the Federal Government? Is the National Guard Bureau in Virginia that played a key part in co-ordinating the fantastic response of our National Guard units to the tragedy in New Orleans, not a part of the Federal Government?

{show called out numbers and context; map of Katrina affected area and level of insfrastructure loss}

Let us be clear here, FEMA did not do well, but then, as a former Secretary of Defense, I know that such things are always to be expected, especially with the scale of the destruction Katrina wrought. It is not predictable and nothing ever goes perfectly. It's no excuse, but we're all human and there would always be snags and screw-ups in the system. But let us not forget that many of the erroneous reports filed by the Press and broadcast into our homes hindered rather than helped the rescue effort. We heard of the supposed epidemic of rapes, shootings, murders and chaos in the Super Dome and evacuation plans had to be put on hold so we could get law enforcement and troops to handle what we thought would be a war zone that did not exist.

{show newsclips reporting the supposed chaos and anarchy in the Super Dome and New Orleans}

The key point of what I am trying to say here is that even if it was politically or financially desirable for some editors and news producers to portray what happened in New Orleans as a total failure of the Federal Government in order to finally have something solid to attack this administration on, honor and decency should have compelled some of our media organs to revisit the story and properly and loudly correct the record so these people who did so much could finally receive the full depth of the appreciation, honor and gratitude from a proud nation that they so richly deserve. The one year anniversary of Katrina was a perfect time. But I heard the word "bungled" far too many times when it showed up.

I guess CNN was too busy planning it's rather conveniently timed "Broken Government" special for the mid-terms. [chuckle]

Let me go to another, more recent event.

My lovely wife challenged Wolf Blitzer on this on that show:

{show the following segment from Lynne Cheney's interview in the Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer}

LC: Right. But what is CNN doing running terrorist tape of terrorists shooting Americans? I mean, I thought Duncan Hunter asked you a very good question, and you didn’t answer it. Do you want us to win?

WB: The answer, of course, is we want the United States to win. We are Americans. There’s no doubt about that. You think we want terrorists to win?

LC: Then why are you running terrorist propaganda?

WB: With all due respect, with all due respect, this is not terrorist propaganda.

LC: Oh, Wolf ...

WB: This is reporting the news, which is what we do. We’re not partisan ...

I don't think Lynne said anything about being partisan ... but, okay. [chuckle]

LC: Where did you get the film?

WB: We got the film ... look, this is an issue that has been widely discussed, this is an issue that we reported on extensively. We make no apologies for showing that. That was a very carefully considered decision, why we did that. And I think, and I think, of your ...

LC: Well, I think it’s shocking.

WB: If you’re a serious journalist, you want to report the news. Sometimes the news is good, sometimes the news isn’t so good.

LC: But Wolf, there’s a difference between news and terrorist propaganda. Why did you give the terrorists a forum?

WB: And if you put it in context, if you put it in context, that’s what news is. We said it was propaganda.

Didn't he just say it wasn't propaganda?

WB: We didn’t distort where we got it. We didn’t distort anything about it. We gave it the context.

Now, once again, I'm a 100% certain that Wolf Blitzer wants the United States to win in Iraq. And I do believe he's an honorable and decent man. But I also think he and his colleagues at CNN are remarkably confused.

Who here imagines that Ernie Pyle, during the Second World War would put pen to paper to present the Japanese side of things? Who here believes that any of our cinemas back then would accept and show a newsreel from the Nazis showing their machine guns mowing down Allied troops on the beaches of Normandy?

Can you imagine what a mother, father, daughter, son, brother, sister, wife or even just a friend of one of our soldiers who lost his life from a sniper's bullet in Iraq would have been thinking when they saw that tape? Can you imagine that they were not wondering whether or not they were seeing the last moments of their loved one's life?

And let us not just put the focus here on CNN, here's a picture that was published in the New York Times from a while back:

{show this picture (thanks to Villainous Company) of "insurgent sniper" taking aim at American soldier}

The caption the New York Times put on that picture was quote: "Right there with the Mahdi army. Incredible courage." end quote.

Now let me say, I'm a 100% certain that the staffer at the New York Times who wrote this caption would honestly tell you that she wants us to win in Iraq. But again, I think she, and the editorial staff and their publisher at the New York Times are seriously confused.

There is an agenda involved here, but it's not necessarily in the service of informing, as opposed to deliberately influencing the American people. Is it supposed to be news that wars are hard and that lives are lost, and that the enemy also thinks, adapts and hits back?

Let's be clear here; I'm not saying that there's no place for these types of reports. I can conceive of times when they may even be neccessary. But when you hardly hear of the many triumphs, successes and incredible acts of heroism and courage by our Armed Forces in Iraq and Afghanistan and when you do they get less than 10% of the coverage of the acts of a few bad eggs, temporary setbacks and strategically ineffectual flailing by our terrorist enemies in Iraq, you begin to wonder. I know I have.

Who here has heard of Sergeant First Class Paul Ray Smith of the United States Army? How many times have you heard his name on the news broadcasts or read about him in the big newspapers? Not that many.

{show picture of his webpage on the Army's Medal of Honor site}

Now how many of you have heard of Lyndie England, Charles Graner and Abu Ghraib?

{show collage of multitude of headlines from newspapers, newsmagazines and news websites about Abu Ghraib}

Our current Secretary of Defense recently said that quote: "a database search of America's leading newspapers turns up 10 times as many mentions of one of the soldiers at Abu Ghraib who were punished for misconduct, than mentions of Sergeant First Class Paul Ray Smith, the first recipient of the Medal of Honor in the Global War on Terror." end quote. And considering that this is Donald Rumsfeld talking, you know it is true. Due to the strange relentlessness of the coverage of this act by less than 0.0000001% of our troops in Iraq by even members of the American press, our mission in Iraq got redefined in the eyes of many people around the world, including Iraq, by a few rotten eggs at Abu Ghraib.

Do you remember any major emphasis placed on the fact that the United States Army was already investigating these abuses and drawing up charges before the story hit the Press? I distinctly remember public speculation by people in our Press who should have known better, and in fact, did know better, talking about a "cover-up" and hinting about that the Abu Ghraib abuses were part of official United States government policy.

I'm doing my best not to sound angry here but I confess this kinda raises my blood pressure. And I do sincerely apologize to my cardiologist. And my dear wife, of course.

But this is something quite serious. None of our many, many successes in Iraq got nearly a tenth as much coverage as Abu Ghraib. Not the three elections so many people said would not happen, not our efforts to make sure that Iraq's most valuable mineral resource, the source of a great deal of their income, their oil production has been back up to levels last seen prior to the Gulf War. We've built schools, roads, set up hospitals, increased and better distributed electricity where Saddam had ordered it given only to the people of his tribe or other enclaves of supporters for his despotic rule.

I'm sure you've all seen this picture. I'm sure you've seen this on the television and on the newspages a lot of times.

{show of hooded and wired prisoner at Abu Ghraib}

How many times have you have seen this one?

{show Michael Yon's picture of soldier holding dying child}

Or this one?

{show another picture; e.g. picture of US military doctor examining child}

Or this one?

{show another picture; e.g. picture of US Marines speaking to Iraqis}

These are the pictures that represent 99.999999% of our troops in Iraq. They show their skill, their bravery, their commitment to the mission and most importantly, their humanity. Unlike what the last Democratic Presidential nominee said in his "joke" and even what some members of the Washington Press Corps clearly believe, our all-volunteer military is not composed of people who see no other option for advancement than military service. Believe it or not, the overwhelming vast majority of our servicemen and women did not join the military as the option of last resort. They joined because they saw that there was honor in serving their country.

{show recent Press briefing by Tony Snow [TS] (11/01/2006) with this exchange with reporter [Q]}

TS: Okay, I just -- okay, please, go ahead.

Q: Isn't the actual issue here that higher education, access to higher education is really becoming more and more unreachable for the middle- and low-income students, and because of that -- because of that, many of them feel they have no other way of getting an education, job training, access to college, unless the state -- unless they go into the military?

TS: No. What you've just said is, if you've got -- if you're poor and you can't get an education, go into the military. The military has always been certainly a ladder of opportunity. But if you take a look at the data, you find out that more of the people who already have college degrees are joining the military.

Our soldiers, airmen, sailors and Marines are among the most intelligent, smart and driven people our nation has to offer. And quite frankly, as a former Secretary of Defense and Vice-President who has had the honor of meeting with so many of the young men and women who proudly wear our nation's uniform, I am more than a little offended at the attitude, or the assumption held by that reporter. I cannot remember ever meeting one who had any other place he or she would rather be than serving their nation in our Armed Forces. But I think I'll let the troops speak for themselves.

{show picture of troops responding to "Jon Carry" in Iraq}

Is there some sort of similarity between the War on Terror in Iraq and Afghanistan and Vietnam?

Yes. I think so. This entire thing does remind me of Vietnam. As a Secretary of Defense, it was my duty to study up on the only war America has ever really lost. Do you know that we won every single battle we engaged in? We won every single one. Including Tet. But we lost the war because we lost in the battlefield of public opinion. We lost when the atrocity committed by Lieutenant William Calley and his men in My Lai, became the image associated with our troops. We lost when the Press corps of the time decided that the government in Washington was always lying and since the Government in Hanoi was cotradicting the government in Washinton DC, it was telling the truth. We lost when the many acts of heroism, kindness, consideration and humanity shown by our troops to the people of South Vietnam and even the Viet Cong were routinely ignored in order to hype inevitable tragic mistakes, setbacks and the actions of a few bad eggs. Of course there were mistakes made on the battlefield and a lot more made in Washington, but we lost because the images transmitted unto our television screens and printed on our newspapers made us believe that victory was impossible, that we were losing and our government and our troops were lying and committing atrocities in our name.

I did not serve in Vietnam. I regret that I never wore our nation's uniform. But I do know that many of our vets would never forgive the loss of their reputation that they suffered in that war at the hands of the Press and ... one of their brothers who came back, and with no real proof, told the American people that:

{play audio short of John Kerry's 1971 "Ghengis Khan" testimony to Congress}

JK: These were not isolated incidents but crimes committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command ... They told stories that at times they had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Ghengis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country.

After the Democratic victories in the mid-term elections of 1974, funding was pulled from our troops while they were still on the field. And by the time we pulled out of Saigon, we had betrayed an ally, broken our word and allowed Vietnam to be plunged into many years of tyranny that spilled over most horribly into the killing fields of Cambodia.

{show the famous helicopter scene of the last American official leaving the American embassy in Saigon}

Let us be clear here, the terrorists, especially their leadership, are not poor, unintelligent, uneducated people with no future prospects. They are not. Zawahiri is a medical doctor, a pediatrician if you can believe that, and Bin Laden himself holds an engineering degree. They have read and studied the United States for decades and they've come to a few conclusions from watching us pack up and leave in Vietnam, Beirut in the 1980s and Mogadishu in the 1990s. Bin Laden believes the United States is a paper tiger; that we cannot long stand against a determined enemy. But he knows that we cannot be defeated on the field. We can only be defeated at home.

{show quote from Bin Laden about America as a paper tiger}

The bombs that are blowing up in Iraq and Afghanistan are aimed at taking the lives of our young men and women in uniform trying to help the people of Iraq seize their own destiny after thirty years of brutal dictatorship, but their real targets are the average everyday American watching television in his home. Their real targets are the politicians in Washington DC. They want us to lose heart. They want us to believe it is impossible. That's the only way they can win against the United States and her allies in Iraq and Afghanistan. So they use snipers, suicide bombs, car bombs and attack both Iraqis and Americans in ways that are strategically and tactically useless, but play very well as propaganda in the age of television.

And unfortunately, our Fourth Estate, either through ignorance or animus towards this Administration has played a willing part in providing them a forum in which to paint a distorted picture of what is really going on out on the field so as to assault the spirits of the American people in the War on Terror. This is exactly what happened back during the Vietnam era. Things are not going perfectly; in military matters, they never do and it's long and hard work. I think the President has said that repeatedly.

{show clips of the President saying exactly that on multiple occasions with dates}

But we are not losing, not by a long shot. We never lost in Vietnam either. The goal is to make us think we're losing. The point is to make us give up.

The point is to get us to set a "withdrawal timetable" that is independent of the conditions on the ground. Then they can simply wait us out.

{show Nancy Pelosi demanding a timetable for withdrawal i.e. newspaper clippings, audio or video}

The point is to get us to "redeploy" out of the Middle East without our mission being complete. According to the guy who wants to be the next Democratic Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, to nearby Okinawa.

{show Jack Murtha making his suggestion on national television and then a map illustrating the distance between Okinawa and Iraq}

Anyway, the Press does seem to have some sort of obssession with the United States repeating another Vietnam, doesn't it? This cartoon by Daryl Cagle was published in March 2003, just as American and British troops were about to enter Iraq and end the Hussein regime. They were asking if we were stuck in a "quagmire" in the first three days of the campaign in Afghanistan and the word "quagmire" was all over the place even before the first soldier set foot in Iraq.

{show Daryl Cagle's March 2003 "Is it Vietnam yet?" cartoon}

But let's move on a little.

One of the major reasons we lost in Vietnam was because there was some confusion as to why we had troops fighting in Vietnam.

Today the Press repeatedly tells the American people that we have no clear reason for being in Iraq. We in the Administration try to tell them each and every single time they ask and yet they come back and ask the very same question yet again. So let me tell you directly now so you can tell others who have only been getting their information from certain television news programs and newspapers. We didn't have just one reason for toppling Saddam Hussein, we had reasons. In the plural. Believe it or not, we actually asked for and received, as mandated by the Constitution, authorization from Congress to use military force against Saddam Hussein's Iraq. And, in that resolution, believe it or not, the Congress actually listed out the reasons, about 25 of them, why they were granting the President the authority to use force against Saddam Hussein's Iraq. It's right there in the public record.

{show the Congressional Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002}

Believe it or not, many of these people voted for this resolution. Many of the editorial pages that today tell us that they do not know the reason why the United States is in Iraq editorialized in favor of this resolution.

{show John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, Harry Reid, Tom Daschle and Jay Rockefeller with their names and positions. show newspaper clippings}

Were they not paying attention?

But what about the weapons of mass destruction? That's the question, isn't it?

I'd like to draw your attention to these particular clauses in the Iraq War resolution.

{show text of the following clauses while a voice [VO] reads them out}

VO: Whereas in Public Law 105-235 (August 14, 1998), Congress concluded that Iraq's continuing weapons of mass destruction programs threatened vital United States interests and international peace and security, declared Iraq to be in "material and unacceptable breach of its international obligations" and urged the President "to take appropriate action, in accordance with the Constitution and relevant laws of the United States, to bring Iraq into compliance with its international obligations;

VO:Whereas Iraq, in direct and flagrant violation of the cease-fire, attempted to thwart the efforts of weapons inspectors to identify and destroy Iraq's weapons of mass destruction stockpiles and development capabilities, which finally resulted in the withdrawal of inspectors from Iraq on October 31, 1998;

You know, one of the most common questions we in public life get asked by journalists goes something like this: "If you knew then what you know now, would you have done anything different?" I must say it's an interesting question sometimes. But ultimately, it's useless. If you knew two weeks ago what the lottery numbers for last week would be, would you do anything different? I don't about you but I probably would. But maybe on principle you don't gamble. So you may not do anything different. But the key thing is that you didn't know then what you now know later. Hindsight is not available before hand so therefore you have to use the information you have at hand to make the decision you need to make today. As the President of the United States, you will have to make decisions a countless number of times without the luxury of absolute and complete certainty. You have to go with the experts and what the people in charge of the many agencies of our government have to tell you are their best guesses and assumptions. You have to seek a consensus view and many things often fall through the cracks. It is one of the most difficult parts of the job.

So let's get back to what we knew about Iraq prior to the invasion to topple Saddam Hussein in March 2003. What were people saying then, and how does it compare to what they're saying now? As you can see from the Iraq War Resolution here, Congress, including at least more than 50% of the 2002 Senate Democratic Caucus believed that Saddam Hussein was a clear threat to the United States with a continuing weapons of mass destruction program, including quite a few of them who did not vote for the authorization.

That was way back when Saddam Hussein was a bad guy. Seems a long time ago, doesn't it?

Today we have people, especially people from the other side of the aisle, who claim that this Administration misled them on Iraq. This includes their last Presidential candidate, the junior Senator from the great Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

{show the following people and text of what they are saying. if video is available use video with captions. if only audio is available include captions a picture of the person. if only text is available, show text, have VO read the text, include picture of person. show dates said, name and party of person prominently}

Madeleine Albright: Iraq is a long way from Ohio, but what happens there matters a great deal here. For the risks that the leaders of a rogue state will use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons against us or our allies is the greatest security threat we face. [February 18, 1998]

Sandy Berger: Imagine the consequences if Saddam fails to comply and we fail to act. Saddam will be emboldened, believing the international community has lost its will. He will rebuild his arsenal of weapons of mass destruction. And some day, some way, I am certain, he will use that arsenal again, as he has ten times since 1983. [February 18, 1998]

Madeleine Albright: No one has done what Saddam Hussein has done, or is thinking of doing. He is producing weapons of mass destruction, and he is qualitatively and quantitatively different from other dictators. [February 18, 1998]

VO: Dear Mr. President: ... We urge you, after consulting with Congress, and consistent with the U.S. Constitution and laws, to take necessary actions (including, if appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraq sites) to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq's refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs. Letter to President Clinton signed by Senators Carl Levin, Joe Lieberman, Frank R. Lautenberg, Chris Dodd, Dianne Feinstein, Barbara A. Mikulski, Thomas Daschle, John Breaux, Tim Johnson, Daniel K. Inouye, Mary L. Landrieu, Wendell Ford and John Kerry. [October 9, 1998]

Nancy Pelosi: As a member of the House Intelligence Committee, I am keenly aware that the proliferation of chemical and biological weapons is an issue of grave importance to all nations. Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process. [December 16, 1998]

Robert Byrd: The last UN weapons inspectors left Iraq in October of 1998. We are confident that Saddam Hussein retained some stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and that he has since embarked on a crash course to build up his chemical and biological warfare capability. Intelligence reports also indicate that he is seeking nuclear weapons, but has not yet achieved nuclear capability. [October 3, 2002]

Jay Rockefeller: The President has rightly called Saddam Hussein's efforts to develop weapons of mass destruction a grave and gathering threat to Americans. The global community has tried but failed to address that threat over the past decade. I have come to the inescapable conclusion that the threat posed to America by Saddam's weapons of mass destruction is so serious that despite the risks -- and we should not minimize the risks -- we must authorize the President to take the necessary steps to deal with that threat. [October 10, 2002]

John Edwards: As a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, I firmly believe that the issue of Iraq is not about politics. It's about national security. We know that for at least 20 years, Saddam Hussein has obsessively sought weapons of mass destruction through every means available. We know that he has chemical and biological weapons today. He has used them in the past, and he is doing everything he can to build more. Each day he inches closer to his longtime goal of nuclear capability - a capability that could be less than a year away. [September 12, 2002]

{keep text on screen with dates and pictures of the people - excluding the too many signers of the letter}

Now there some today who say that they said all these things because the President "misled" them on Iraq. But take a look at the date the current Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said what she did right there. How about what former Secretary Madeline Albright and former National Security Adviser Samuel Berger (I'll get back to him later) said right there. Look at the date. What about that letter sent to the President by all these Senators?

{text of letter expands forward and pictures of Senators are lined up beneath text}

1998. I wonder how President Bush was able to mislead them all on Iraq from the Governor's mansion in Austin, Texas? The statements by Senator Jay Rockefeller and former Senator John Edwards were made after President Bush took the oath of office but let's note two things about these two gentlemen. They were both members of the Senate Intelligence committee. They were members before Governor George Bush of Texas was elected President of the United States. Members of the Congressional Intelligence Committees and the Congressional Leadership, which includes Nancy Pelosi, by law, have higher security clearances than the Vice-President of the United States and traditionally have unrestricted access to our nation's Intelligence community to fulfill their oversight role. My security clearance level is at the pleasure of the President. The President can take it away with an executive order.

On the other hand, as the current co-Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Senator Rockefeller has the same security clearance level as the President of the United States. It would be against the law for the President to refuse or order the Intelligence community to refuse Jay Rockefeller any information he so wishes. In other words, Jay Rockefeller has access to every single product of our Intelligence community no matter how far back it goes. And he has had it for a long time. So for Senator Rockefeller to claim that the President misled him on Iraq must mean that he has solid evidence that the President broke the law.

But he cannot say that. Because he knows that there is nothing the President said about Iraq in 2002 and 2003, that he himself had not said before on the floor of the Senate and that the President's Democratic predecessor had not said before him.

{show video/audio/text of President Clinton [BC] with dates and location. include captioning and voice-over as necessary}

BC: Together, we must confront the new hazards of chemical and biological weapons and the outlaw states, terrorists, and organized criminals seeking to acquire them. Saddam Hussein has spent the better part of this decade and much of his nation's wealth not on providing for the Iraqi people but on developing nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons and the missiles to deliver them. [State of the Union address - January 27, 1998]

BC: In the next century, the community of nations may see more and more the very kind of threat Iraq poses now -- a rogue state with weapons of mass destruction ready to use them or provide them to terrorists, drug traffickers or organized criminals who travel the world among us unnoticed. [Address to Joint Chiefs of Staff and Pentagon staff - February 17, 1998]

BC: Other countries possess weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles. With Saddam, there is one big difference: He has used them. Not once, but repeatedly. Unleashing chemical weapons against Iranian troops during a decade-long war. Not only against soldiers, but against civilians, firing Scud missiles at the citizens of Israel, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Iran. And not only against a foreign enemy, but even against his own people, gassing Kurdish civilians in Northern Iraq. I have no doubt today, that left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will use these terrible weapons again ... Heavy as they are, the costs of action must be weighed against the price of inaction. If Saddam defies the world and we fail to respond, we will face a far greater threat in the future. Saddam will strike again at his neighbors; he will make war on his own people. And mark my words, he will develop weapons of mass destruction. He will deploy them, and he will use them. [National Address from the Oval Office - December 16, 1998]

How about something a bit more recent?

{show video of Bill Clinton speaking to Larry King on Larry King Live, July 22nd 2003 with captions as neccessary}

BC: ... it is incontestable that on the day I left office, there were unaccounted for stocks of biological and chemical weapons. We might have destroyed them in 98. We tried to, but we sure as heck didn't know it because we never got to go back there. [Larry King Live (CNN) - July 22, 2003]

There is something very wrong with our Fourth Estate that certain people can say something today, and say practically the exact opposite tomorrow and somehow, our "neutral," "fair," "objective" and "non-partisan" Press never challenges them on it. Strangely enough, these certain people all happen to belong to one party.

But I'm sure it must be a coincidence.

Anyway, let's continue our observation of what the state of knowledge about Iraq was like before we toppled Saddam Hussein. For the past three years, the New York Times has published editorial after editorial attacking this Administration for misleading, or let's not be euphemistic, making up out of whole-cloth everything we said about Saddam Hussein and his weapons of mass destruction programs in the run-up to the war. The New York Times editorial board must not have been reading ... the New York Times.

{show collage of the following New York Times stories with these headlines. make dates prominent. include captioning and voice-over as necessary}

U.S. Says Iraq Aided Production of Chemical Weapons in Sudan - New York Times [August 1998]

Iraq Has Network of Outside Help on Arms, Experts Say - New York Times [November 1998]

Iraq Suspected of Secret Germ War Effort - New York Times [February 2000]

Signs of Iraqi Arms Buildup Bedevil U.S. Administration - New York Times [February 2000]

Flight Tests Show Iraq Has Resumed a Missile Program - New York Times [July 2000]

I point out again that George W. Bush was sworn in as the 43rd President of the United States on the 21st of January, 2001. And no, Karl Rove does not have a time machine. I would have used it and gone back to thirty years ago and told myself to keep in better shape.

The New York Times and other Democrats also like to say that the Bush Administration also made up out of whole cloth, the idea that Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden could indeed have come to an agreement with each other to attack their mutual enemy; the United States. They say that Saddam and Osama were so far apart ideologically that they could not have ever put aside their differences to join resources against an America that they hated far more than they hated each other.

Well, take a look at this New York Times headline:

{show the New York Times story with the following headline. make date prominent. include captioning and voice-over as necessary}

US Government - Bin Laden and Iraq Agreed to Cooperate on Weapons Development - New York Times [November 1998]

I know what you are all thinking. But I promise you Karl Rove really does not have a time machine. This article was about the indictment of Osama Bin Laden presented by the Department of Justice to a Federal Court in November, 1998.

{show cited text of 1998 Bin Laden indictment shown below. include captioning and voice-over as necessary}

In addition, al Qaeda reached an understanding with the government of Iraq that al Qaeda would not work against that government and that on particular projects, specifically including weapons development, al Qaeda would work cooperatively with the Government of Iraq. - [Indictment of Osama Bin Laden (paragraph 4 - page 3) - November, 1998]

This is a story filed by CNN in February 1999.

{show headline and cited text of story from CNN 1999 webpage shown below. include captioning and voice-over as necessary}

Saddam Hussein offered asylum
Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has offered asylum to bin Laden, who openly supports Iraq against the Western powers. - [CNN - February 13, 1999]

This is from the Guardian newspaper in the United Kingdom, also from February 1999.

{show headline/cited text of story from the UK's Guardian webpage shown below. include captioning and voice-over as necessary}

The Western nightmare: Saddam and Bin Laden versus the world
Iraq's half-built chemical arsenal, and the planet's most prolific terrorist - [The Guardian Unlimited - February 6, 1999]

Once again, I would like to point out that George W. Bush did not take the oath of office until 2001.

Now let's go to the 9/11 Commission's Report. You probably have never seen this before despite all the news reports about it.

{show cited text of 9/11 Commission report shown below. include captioning and voice-over as necessary}

There is also evidence that in 1997, bin Laden sent out a number of feelers to the Iraqi regime, offering some cooperation. None are reported to have received a significant response. According to one report, Saddam Hussein's efforts at this time to rebuild relations with the Saudis and other Middle Eastern regimes led him to stay clear of bin Laden.

In mid-1998, the situation reversed, with Iraq reportedly taking the initiative. In March 1998, after bin Laden's public fatwa against the United States, two al Qaeda members reportedly went to Iraq to meet with Iraqi intelligence. In July, an Iraqi delegation traveled to Afghanistan to meet first with the Taliban and then with bin Laden. Sources reported that one, or perhaps both, of these meetings was apparently arranged through bin Laden's Egyptian deputy, [Ayman al] Zawahiri, who had ties of his own to the Iraqis.

This is what we, both the Clinton and the Bush Administrations and both parties in Congress, knew prior to the start of the War in Iraq in March 2003. That Saddam Hussein had unaccounted for stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction. And that Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden were fully capable of coming to some sort of agreement and joining forces with each other in order to attack a mutual enemy despite their profound differences. They were not sending delegations back and forth for the sight-seeing. That was the information this Administration had to work with and it was in light of the totality of what we knew then that we made the decision to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq. And I submit that the world today is safer with Saddam Hussein behind bars.

Some today say that Saddam Hussein was safely contained and therefore removing him from power was a mistake. To them I cite Democratic Congressman Henry Waxman of California.

{show video/audio/text of Henry Waxman with date and location. include picture, captioning and voice-over as necessary}

Henry Waxman: He has systematically violated, over the course of the past 11 years, every significant UN resolution that has demanded that he disarm and destroy his chemical and biological weapons, and any nuclear capacity. This he has refused to do. He lies and cheats; he snubs the mandate and authority of international weapons inspectors; and he games the system to keep buying time against enforcement of the just and legitimate demands of the United Nations, the Security Council, the United States and our allies. Those are simply the facts. [October 10, 2002]

11 years. In October 2002, this Administration had only been in office for less than 2 years. I can also cite the former Democratic chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, former Senator Bob Graham of Florida;

{show text of letter to the President with date and location. include captioning and voice-over as necessary}

VO: The threat from Iraq is real, and it cannot be permanently contained. For as long as Saddam Hussein is in power in Baghdad, he will seek to acquire weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver them. We have no doubt that these deadly weapons are intended for use against the United States and its allies. Consequently, we believe we must directly confront Saddam, sooner rather than later ... Mr. President, all indications are that in the interest of our own national security, Saddam Hussein must be removed from power. Letter to President Bush signed by Senator Bob Graham. [December 5, 2001]

There are others who say that Saddam Hussein was a rational actor. And therefore we could have let him continue in power confident that he would never consort with terrorists. This involves a great deal of deliberate ignorance. But take a look at this.

{show video clip of President Bush's [GB] 2003 State of the Union address}

GB: Trusting in the sanity and restraint of Saddam Hussein is not a strategy, and it is not an option.


[State of the Union address - January 28, 2003]

Who would have thought it? There was once a time when everybody thought Saddam Hussein was a mad man who could not be trusted. And it wasn't that long ago.

Let's be clear here. Any fair minded person can see that what we, both Republicans, Democrats and the Press knew back then is substantially different from what we know right now. We all thought the same thing despite what some of our nation's most influential newspapers like the New York Times and Washington Post would have you believe. So the real issue here is about leadership and making decisions based on the available information.

Remember that the President gave Saddam Hussein one last chance to come clean with UN resolution 1441. And Saddam Hussein continued to refuse to co-operate.

{show picture of unanimous UN Security Souncil vote on Resolution 1441}

Here are the facts; Saddam Hussein was a man who provided funding, training and shelter to terrorists from Ramzi Yousef to Abu Nidal to suicide bombers in Israel. He was a man who has used chemical weapons repeatedly against his own people and he was a man who had refused to come clean about them after 12 years of sanctions and 17 United Nations resolutions, including 1441. This is a man whose regime ran rape rooms and prisons for the children of his political enemies. This is a man who regularly filled mass graves throughout his entire reign.

{show video clip of Halabja}

Once upon a time, even the New York Times thought he was a bad guy. But a Republican in the White House and a lot of things just seem to change ... I'll get back to that later ...

Now imagine being the President of the United States, after 9/11, after seeing 3000 American citizens killed by people who would have thought nothing of using even deadlier methods to kill as many more of our fellow citizens as possible.

Let's look at the 9/11 Commission's report again;

{show cited text of 9/11 Commission report shown below. include captioning and voice-over as necessary}

According to the reporting, Iraqi officials offered bin Laden a safe haven in Iraq ... The reports describe friendly contacts and indicated some common themes in both sides' hatred of the United States.

Friendly contacts. Common themes.

The Press made a big deal about the fact that the 9/11 Commission did not find evidence of a formal "collaborative relationship" between the government of Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda. But they largely neglected to mention that the 9/11 Commission did find evidence of "friendly contacts" and "common themes" between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein's Iraq.

This is from Intelligence information that predates George W. Bush entering the White House. The New York Times even wrote a story about it in 1999. I submit that after 9/11, any hint of any kind of "friendly contact" between Al Qaeda and the government of Saddam Hussein's Iraq would have alarmed any serious President. Unless he completely came clean about his WMD programs, banking on Saddam Hussein's rationality is not an option. And he did not. I further submit that after 9/11, no responsible President of the United States, Republican or Democrat, would wait for the ink to go dry on a formal document between Al Qaeda and Iraq agreeing to a "collaborative relationship" before moving to make sure those "friendly contacts" don't bear any fruit.

And I'm proud to say that is what your President did.

There is something very very wrong with our Fourth Estate today. Watching the news for the past three years, since the War on Saddam Hussein's Iraq began, one would believe that Saddam Hussein was never considered a threat to this nation, that it was common knowledge that he had given up his weapons of mass destruction programs, that he had co-operated for all these years with the United Nations, that he really wasn't so bad. Until this Administration came along and made everything up. There has been a virtual embargo on all the reporting, all the Intelligence, all the statements, all the speeches ever made prior to this Administration about WMDs, Iraq, Saddam Hussein and his support for terrorist organizations ... including Al Qaeda.

There was a guy who came up to me once and asked me to tell him if he was going crazy or just getting old? Now he was only about 34 or something so I asked him why would he ask a question like that? And he said, he remembers spending an entire decade, the whole of the 1990s, thinking Saddam Hussein was a really bad guy. But now, everything he's reading in the newspapers and watching on television is telling him that the Bush Administration made it all up in the past six years. He clearly remembered speeches on how dangerous Saddam Hussein was by a sitting Democratic President, by Democratic members of Congress, statements by top officials of our Intelligence community and Military officers, and articles in many of the nation's newspapers and news reports on the television. Did he just imagine them all? For ten years?

I told him no. But after watching the news for the past three years, I wasn't a 100% sure, myself.

There is something very wrong with the Press in this nation today.

Let me once again focus on our Fourth Estate's flagship institution; the New York Times.

Over the past year or so, the New York Times has made a habit of publishing classified national security information. They exposed the National Security Agency's terrorist communications surveillance program, they exposed our terrorist finance tracking program and they published some very ... selected ... bits of a National Intelligence Estimate that was still classified. The Washington Post published an article that could have jeopardized air operations being carried out by the CIA and could have, I'm not saying they did, revealed locations where some of our allies were helping us take care of people like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of 9/11.

I suppose we should be grateful that they call us in advance and tell us that they have this information and that they intend to publish it. Every single time we send over as many senior people as we can to them, we invite them over to the White House and sometimes the President personally calls the editors and pleads with them not to make public what should remain classified, because it was playing a big part in keeping our nation safe. And part of what makes it effective is that it is classified. Once something is made public it can never be secret again.

And each time, the New York Times went ahead and published the story anyway. Bill Keller, the editor of the New York Times would have you believe that his decision to expose all these legal, effective and very important programs is not motivated by any lack of concern about our nation's security or by any animus towards this Administration - which of course means that he does not read his paper's editorial pages. No. He would have you believe that his decision to expose all these programs on the front page of the New York Times was motivated by the "concern" that this Administration is acting without Congressional oversight, is violating Americans' civil rights and, in the end, because of the American people's right to know.

Like I said, the President is polite to a fault. But I am not. Bill Keller is lying.

Like a rug.


This is brilliant stuff. Keep it up.

"I could explain, but that would be very long, very convoluted, and make you look very stupid. Nobody wants that... except maybe me."

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