July 15, 2003
Quote the Press Release
Hey, boys and girls! It's time for every weblogger's favorite game of Quote the Press Release. It's a pretty simple game where the contestant (me) points out some interesting items from press releases. Hence the name.
Our victim of the moment is Presidential candidate Sen. Bob Graham (D-FL) who wants to impeach President Bush over a remark in the State of the Union speech. At the time, here's what he had to say about the speech:
I think the President moved forward tonight and presented some new information. The test is going to be whether he is persuasive enough to cause a significant number of other countries to join us in an alliance. We donít want to be in the situation of waging the military action alone, and then undertaking the reconstruction of Iraq alone.
Note that Graham was the former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. It's a good assumption that he was aware of the possibility that Iraq was trying to get uranium from Africa. If Graham then thought the intelligence was bogus, he didn't mention that in his response to the State of the Union.
Then in a 2.05.03 statement, Graham praised Colin Powell for his presentation to the U.N. Security Council. He also said,
Since October, the American intelligence community has been warning us that, when Saddam Hussein is on the verge of being toppled, he will be the most dangerous, including striking out against Americans here in our homeland and abroad.
Saddam was toppled yet he didn't strike out against Americans here or abroad. Was Graham lying when he made this statement? No, he was just wrong. And that's an important point that has to be emphasised when Bush bashers hyperventilate with their cries of "Bush lied!" The Bush administration has conceded that the uranium charge wasn't substantiated enough to be put in the State of the Union.
Now, onto Graham's speech he gave before the Senate during the Iraq war resolution debate. He called the resolution "timid" and wanted the President to have broader authority to wage war "against all international terrorists groups who will probably strike the United States as the regime of Saddam Hussein crumbles."
Most interesting in the speech are these sentences:
Now, there are good reasons for considering attacking today's Italy, meaning Iraq. Saddam Hussein's regime has chemical and biological weapons and is trying to get nuclear capacity. But the briefings I have received have shown that trying to block him and any necessary nuclear materials have been largely successful, as evidenced by the recent intercept of centrifuge tubes. And he is years away from having nuclear capability.
How much did Graham know about Iraq's attempts at getting nuclear material out of Africa? As a member of the Intelligence Committee, he's in a position to know if the President's claim was true or not, yet he said nothing in his post-State of the Union statement. He also didn't state that he considered the uranium charge to be "new information."
Based on the intelligence, Bush was wrong; but Graham was wrong about terrorist attacks, and no one is calling for his head. Well, let me be the first. As long as he thinks Bush should be impeached for coming to a wrong conclusion, I think Graham should resign or be recalled. At a minimum his selective memory as a Intelligence Committee member is being used to advance his Presidential campaign.
"Graham: Bush Still Needs to Make Case on Iraq"
"Security Must Be Bolstered Before War, Graham Says"
Senator Graham's Floor Statement on the Iraq Resolution