Semi-Daily Journal Archive

The Blogspot archive of the weblog of J. Bradford DeLong, Professor of Economics and Chair of the PEIS major at U.C. Berkeley, a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Walter Pincus Is Shrill

Walter Pincus today is a shrill critic both of the malevolence, mendacity, incompetence, and disconnection from reality of George W. Bush and his administration and of the faceless editors and the reporters--Jim Vandehei, Juliet Eilperin, and Dana Milbank--of his own newspaper, the Washington Post:

None of the reasons [Barbara Lee] gave to justify her concerns, nor those voiced by other Democratic opponents, was reported in the two Post stories about passage of the resolution that day.

Here is Pincus:

Democrats Who Opposed War Move Into Key Positions - washingtonpost.com: New Committee Chairmen Had Warned of Postwar Disorder. By Walter Pincus. Monday, December 4, 2006; A04: Although given little public credit at the time, or since, many of the 126 House Democrats who spoke out and voted against the October 2002 resolution that gave President Bush authority to wage war against Iraq have turned out to be correct in their warnings about the problems a war would create.... Rep. John M. Spratt Jr. (S.C.), a senior member of the Armed Services Committee, was one of several Democrats who predicted during the House floor debate that "the outcome after the conflict is actually going to be the hardest part, and it is far less certain."... Spratt recently looked back at his [proposed amendment], which would have required Bush to come back to Congress before launching an attack. It was defeated 270 to 158.... The incoming Armed Services chairman, Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Mo.), spoke in support of Spratt's amendment, stressing the need for "a plan for rebuilding of the Iraqi government and society, if the worst comes to pass and armed conflict is necessary." Skelton had written Bush a month earlier, after a White House meeting, to say that "I have no doubt that our military would decisively defeat Iraq's forces and remove Saddam. But like the proverbial dog chasing the car down the road, we must consider what we would do after we caught it."...

Rep. David R. Obey (Wis.)... recalled recently that an amendment by Rep. Barbara T. Lee (D-Calif.) that would have delayed taking action until inspectors from the United Nations completed their work "made sense, but there was no prayer it would pass." It got 72 votes. Obey said Spratt's amendment was the only approach "that could gather critical mass, and that's what most of us in the caucus settled on." The number of House Democrats who supported Spratt "was a remarkable achievement."...

Lee also raised questions in the floor debate that remain unanswered. "What is our objective here," she asked four years ago, "regime change or elimination of weapons of mass destruction?"... Rep. Tammy Baldwin (Wis.)... talked on the House floor about what turned out to be the real issues in Iraq. She spoke of the "postwar challenges," saying that "there is no history of democratic government in Iraq," that its "economy and infrastructure is in ruins after years of war and sanctions" and that rebuilding would take "a great deal of money." Baldwin four years ago asked questions that are being widely considered today: "Are we prepared to keep 100,000 or more troops in Iraq to maintain stability there? If we don't, will a new regime emerge? If we don't, will Iran become the dominant power in the Middle East?... If we don't, will Islamic fundamentalists take over Iraq?"...

The day after the House vote, The Washington Post recorded that 126 House Democrats voted against the final resolution. None was quoted giving a reason for his or her vote except for Rep. Joe Baca (Calif.), who said a military briefing had disclosed that U.S. soldiers did not have adequate protection against biological weapons....

Lee was described as giving a "fiery denunciation" of the administration's "rush to war," with only 14 colleagues in the House chamber to hear her. None of the reasons she gave to justify her concerns, nor those voiced by other Democratic opponents, was reported in the two Post stories about passage of the resolution that day.

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