Washington - When it comes to presidential politics, there is no more reliably Republican state than Nebraska. In the course of the past 50 years, it has edged out Indiana, Mississippi - even Utah - as the deepest swath of red of all.
The emerging streak of anti-war sentiment in the Nebraska delegation to Congress, therefore, is downright noteworthy.
Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., > seethed last week as he cross-examined administration witnesses at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing.
Hagel, a decorated U.S. Army veteran who served in Vietnam, said he is deeply skeptical about the claims of progress that President Bush and his advisers have made about Iraq. The Nebraskan compared “this mess” to the U.S. failures in Vietnam.
“We are in deep trouble,” he warned.
Hagel chided “all these smart guys who got us in there (to Iraq) … all the smart guys who said how easy this was going to be and who reassured us not to worry.”
The topic of the hearing was a package of $87 billion that Congress approved for Iraq last fall. Sen. John Kerry voted against it, and Bush often cites that vote when arguing that Kerry can’t be trusted to keep the U.S. safe.
But while the Pentagon and its contractors have run through their share of the $87 billion, the administration has failed to spend much of the $18.4 billion earmarked for rebuilding Iraq’s economy.
Sen. Richard Lugar, a Republican > from Indiana - another dependably red state - chaired the hearing.
“Of the $18.4 billion the Congress appropriated for Iraq more than 10 months ago, only $1.1 billion has been disbursed,” Lugar said. > “This is an extraordinary, ineffective administrative procedure. It is exasperating.”
As conditions in Iraq deteriorate, the administration now wants to shift $2 billion of the unspent money to pay for military and security costs.
Lugar chastised the "blithely optimistic people … the
dancing-in-the-street crowd" in the Bush administration who assured Congress that casualties and costs would be low and that U.S. troops would be met as liberators.
“Now,” said Lugar, “the nonsense of all of that is apparent. The lack of planning is apparent.”
Lugar read aloud from a letter he received from a > Marine second lieutenant serving in Iraq.
“My guys never fail to step up to any challenge,” the lieutenant wrote. But > "this war is one that cannot be won by Marines and soldiers. > The only thing we can do is to keep a lid on it and buy time. We chase the mujahedeen around and, in doing so, catch and kill a few.
“In a society with no jobs, a faltering economy and little or no infrastructure, there is plenty of incentive to fight,” the lieutenant wrote. “The incentive needs to be removed.”
Hagel joined Lugar and the panel’s Democrats in endorsing the lieutenant’s sentiments.
“The military is not going to ultimately win Iraq,” said Hagel, who then drew on a phrase from the Vietnam War. "You don’t win the hearts and minds of the people at the end of a barrel of a gun.
“This is how we get ourselves into trouble: when we delude ourselves,” said Hagel, referring to administration assurances that great progress has been made. > "Of $4.2 billion designated for water and sanitation, $16 million has been spent; … of $786 million earmarked for health, $2 million has been spent. > It’s beyond pitiful. It’s beyond embarrassing. It is now in the zone of dangerous."
The Senate hearing came midway through a month in which, after a summer of political fancies, the reality of war has returned with a vengeance to the nation’s capital.
August was among the costliest months of the war, and the pace of casualties has accelerated in September. The White House admits that a gloomy CIA intelligence estimate warns that Iraq may collapse into civil war. The Pentagon acknowledges there are now swaths of Iraq under the control of terrorists and insurgents.
Before he retired Aug. 31, > Republican Rep. Doug Bereuter, > who represented eastern Nebraska for 13 terms in Congress, sent an extraordinary letter to his constituents.
The prewar reports of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction represent a "> massive intelligence failure," Bereuter wrote. And “the inability of the administration to clearly establish a link between al-Qaeda and Saddam (Hussein), despite the intimations of various administration leaders like Vice President Dick Cheney, is no surprise.”
The war is “a mistake,” Bereuter wrote. > “The cost in casualties is already large and growing, and the immediate and long-term financial costs are incredible.”
There is little chance the president will lose Nebraska’s five Electoral College votes this fall.
But if Bush can’t convince Nebraska Republicans that he’s fighting the right war against terror, how will he fare in battleground states?
It may be a sign his Iraq policy, and his re-election hopes, are indeed in deep trouble.
I doubt the losers who supported Bush and his invasion of Iraq actually read this stuff. They still think the U.S. found WMD’s in Iraq and oil is flowing to help pay for everything.
Democrats on WMDs in Iraq and the dire need to remove Saddam. F’in hypocrites.
Only quotes that matter on that peabrain website:
“I will be voting to give the President of the United States the authority to use force — > if necessary > — to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security.”
Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Oct. 9, 2002.
"We are in possession of what I think to be compelling evidence that Saddam Hussein has, and has had for a number of years, a developing capacity for the production and storage of weapons of mass destruction. "[W]ithout question, we need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime … He presents a particularly grievous threat because he is so consistently prone to miscalculation. And now he has continued deceit and his consistent grasp for weapons of mass destruction … > So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real … >
Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Jan. 23. 2003.
Look closely now. The first one doesn’t make a strong claim at all. Kerry doesn’t say Saddam has anything and only says “if necessary” because IF Saddam has the stuff he poses a “threat”. Now in the second quote he makes a claim that “We are in possession…”; the threat “is real”. That’s a big turnaround.
Now look at the dates -
Kerry unsure in Oct 2002.
Kerry sure in Jan 2003.
What changed his mind?
This changed his mind: President Bush invited him to the White House to tell him that the CIA had information which couldn’t be released but which proved without a doubt that Saddam had WMDs. President Bush lied to Kerry, and Kerry has said this already in public that it happened during this time. President Bush lied to his face!
Pretty much every Democrat was lied to in this way. Just the same way every American was lied to by the President. Remember how they couldn’t tell us everything? They implied that undercover agents in Iraq would be in danger when it was really just ex-patriots from Iraq who had been living in the U.S. for 12 years or so. Remember that proof of Iraq trying to buy uranium. The same proof that the CIA kept striking from Cheney’s speeches until he finally told them to fuk off and did it anyway … knowing it was all a lie!
I wish all the little sheep would get a clue. Bush is working for Halliburton and the oil companies and for the “have more’s” and by his own admission doesn’t even think much about Osama bin Laden anymore. Great. Just great.
Go ahead and support the liar. But when the draft comes don’t complain when you get sent to the front lines fighting for the CEO of some oil company. You’re just a little member of the working class and Dubya doesn’t really care what happens to you anyway.
The topic of the hearing was a package of $87 billion that Congress approved for Iraq last fall. Sen. John Kerry voted against it, and Bush often cites that vote when arguing that Kerry can’t be trusted to keep the U.S. safe. But while the Pentagon and its contractors have run through their share of the $87 billion, the administration has failed to spend much of the $18.4 billion earmarked for rebuilding Iraq’s economy.
This is crazy. Kerry voted against the bill cuz he wanted two seperate bills…one for military and one for reconstruction. That way Congress could make sure Haliburton didn’t get more no-bid contracts like before. Everyone should know that but Doobie-ya is talking shit about how Kerry doesn’t support the troops…like Doobie-ya knows anythign about that since he sent them over ther without all there gear in the first place! And now he’s trying to shift mony over to cover military expenses plus do other stuff all to hide the real cost of this worthless war.
What kinds of stupid people don’t see what’s happening? Who can vote for this loser after 4 years of this? Who can vote for the guy who sat for 7 minutes while the U.S. was under attack reading My Pet Goat??? It must be the same poeple who believed all the b.s. about Iraq Weapons of Mass Destruction and the big threat to our country.
I just wanna know one thing - when is the person most reposible for 9/11 going to pay for attacking America! When is teh the U.S. going after al Qaeda???