One of the tragedies of the power of the Right Wing Machine is that it clearly alters how we as a people and our elected officials as a group act.
The most powerful example of this is the 2002 Iraq War Vote. Far too many were concerned about the perception of their votes versus the vote itself.
Here is a tragic review of the vote. It is called "The Iraq War Vote Was 6-94."
This has been bothering me for quite some time. I've been increasingly focused on it lately, maybe it was sparked by attention on Senator Clinton and her not reading the report or on John Edwards via Shrum's book's discussion of how he made his decision, but a simple fact has really come to indicate where we are as country, and how off course we've gone.
In October 2002, prior to the October 12, 2002 Iraq war vote, under lock and key, prepared for our Senators and Representatives by our country's top intelligence analysts, lay a 92 page report about Iraq, weapons of mass destruction, and everything we knew about Saddam.
It sat waiting for our elected officials to sign in without staff and read it, 92 pages. No staffers allowed, elected officials only. A five page declassified document was readily available to all but the 92 page document, you had to show up, sign in and read it.
Only six Senators did.
Only six Senators thought that sending our country's bravest off to war to die was worth a few minutes of their time. How long a report would you have read before deciding to send our nation's finest to war?
Now, already by now, minions of Senators are scurrying off emails;
Senator So and So was briefed by his staff. The Senator weighed this vote deeply.
Political pundits and DC journalists are smirking at my simplicity of view on this. "This dumb blogger doesn't get how things are done around here."
And more Bullshit.
First of all, no one could be briefed on it because staffers couldn't see the report, that's the problem.
Second, I don't care how DC operates. You want to stand up and vote on war, you sit your ass down in that chair and read the intelligence briefing.
There are no excuses.
Here's what I have found out.
Senator Biden read it. Senator Dorgan, no. Senator Nelson (Nebraska) no. Senator Graham, Florida? Yes.
Senator Edwards did not.
Senator Clinton did not.
Senator Kerry did not and had the added hypocrisy of accusing the Bush Administration of not reading it in 2004 during the campaign when he hadn't read it. He got nailed on that.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid? No.
Now is a good time to mention that there were a lot of people who thought going to war in Iraq was far from a slam dunk, like Al Gore and Howard Dean for instance. To me, and this is just my personal opinion, to claim now that you want to end the war and to base your political calculations based upon being anti-war is nothing short of hypocritical opportunism.
Back to the research into the six Senators who actually did their jobs; there are two left in addition to Biden, Roberts, Rockefeller and Graham.
Then I found this courtesy of my friends at MYDD.
"The two Senators who pushed hardest to have the US intelligence community compile an NIE, Senator Bob Graham and Senator Dick Durbin, both voted against authorizing military force against Iraq - largely because the full classified 96-page NIE contained many more caveats and dissents than any of the summaries."
This makes my stomach turn. Furthermore, from an UPDATE on the above MYDD post:
Sen. Bob Graham's floor statement urging his fellow Senators to read the full classifed NIE. Here is Sen. Graham's statement:
"Friends, I encourage you to read the classified intelligence reports which are much sharper than what is available in declassified form," Sen. Graham reports stating on the floor of the Senate in October 2002.
"We are going to be increasing the threat level against the people of the United States." He warned: "Blood is going to be on your hands."
Indeed, here's the update as of today. We're pushing 3,500 American dead.
So who was the sixth? I kept digging. But I haven't had any luck and obviously there are plenty of Senators who are willing to have the idea linger that one of then actually read it. I did find the final vote tally here, 77 to 23. I can forgive those who took the time to read it and voted yes.
I will not forgive any Senator who couldn't be bothered to read the report.
And there's a special place in hell for any Senator who couldn't be bothered to read it, even after being encouraged on the Senate floor by someone who actually had, and then voted yes. What Bob Graham said has become reality, we have made our world a more dangerous place for ourselves and our children. Blood is on their hands just as much as it is on President Bush's.
The mainstream media will forgive them for not reading the report but I won't. And neither should you.
Senators Biden, Graham, Roberts, Rockefeller, Durbin and one other did their duty. No one else did.
note: I would very much like to find out who the sixth Senator was, if you know, or if you are the Senator who did, please email me. I know a beautiful mother whose son went to Iraq and never came home. I want to know for her.