Leaders from both political parties have joined together to denounce Sen. Harry Reid’s statement that President Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney should apologize for the actions of their aides. Both Scooter Libby and Karl Rove have been implicated in efforts to silence opponents of the administration’s covert plan to pull the nation into war in Iraq.
“This is outrageous!” said Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas) of Reid’s statement. “It’s inflammatory rhetoric of the most violent kind.”
“Extremist positions of this type are precisely what have cost Democrats any credibility on national security issues,” added Sen. Bill Frist (R-Tenn).
Reid’s bare-knuckled assault on the administration was hastily rejected by leading Democrats as well. Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY), frequently mentioned as a potential Democratic presidential nominee in 2008, issued a statement saying, “The administration can be faulted for not sending in enough troops to do the job in invading Iraq, and for not having a plan in place for the resulting occupation, but as Americans, we can all agree that our brave men and women, living and dead, who fought so valiantly against Iraqi forces, living and dead, deserve our full support.”
In a veiled reference to her husband’s tenure in the White House, Sen. Clinton said, “My husband and I still recall the civility and evenhandedness with which the special prosecutor and his staff treated us in our own difficulties. It is unthinkable that we would not extend President Bush and his staff the same courtesy and respect.”
Sen. Reid defended his remarks. “I understand that asking for an apology is really bringing out the big guns, but I believe, given the circumstances, it is not inappropriate. We are a nation of law and reason, and even something as extreme as a call for an apology can be justified in some situations.”
Opponents of the war were heartened by Reid’s stand. “It’s this kind of tough, hard-nosed behavior that has been lacking for so long in Congress,” said a spokesperson for MoveOn.org. “It’s about time somebody called the administration to account. Hopefully, Sen. Reid’s forceful leadership on this issue will inspire other Democrats to take up the fight.”
Republicans, who led impeachment proceedings against Pres. Clinton for having a blowjob in the Oval Office, rejected Reid’s explanation. “Clinton’s behavior struck at the very heart of the Presidency,” said Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff. “The actions of a few aides, taken in the context of their patriotic fervor to defend our country, pale by comparison.”
Since the Bush administration plunged the nation into war in Iraq, over 2,000 U.S. soldiers have died, with no end in sight. An estimated 42,000 Iraqis have died as well, many of them women and children. Thousands more have been wounded. Many have been tortured. It is now clear that the administration used discredited, unreliable, and even forged evidence to make the case for war. At the same time the President was publicly saying he hadn’t made up his mind whether to go to war, he had already told the Saudi ambassador privately that war was in the works. Plans were coordinated with Britain, the main U.S. partner in the adventure, and the head of Britain’s intelligence reported to the British cabinet that “intelligence was being fixed” around the push for war. Meanwhile, the administration secretly diverted $700,000,000 intended for the war in Afghanistan to preparations for an Iraqi war, concealing the spending from Congress. The U.S. budget is deep in red ink, and programs such as Medicare and Medicaid are being slashed to help cut the deficit.
Republicans have called upon Sen. Reid to apologize for calling for an apology.
© Tony Russell, 2005