Hagel saw that, in Iraq, America was taking on an already weakened leader who the senator said probably didn’t have weapons of mass destruction, and at the same time empowering another regime (Iran) that badly wanted WMDs–a dire development further documented on Monday by The Washington Post, which reported that the Iranian-backed Shiite group Asaib Ahl al-Haq, the “League of the Righteous,” is exerting new political power in Iraq. Hagel also delivered some of the earliest warnings about the potentially disastrous effects of George W. Bush’s ill-grounded “Axis of Evil” speech… – Michael Hirsch [National Journal]
IT’S FITTING that as Senate Republicans continue to squeal about Benghazi, and Chuck Hagel’s confirmation filibuster turns into “Friends of Hamas” embarrassment, we also hear John McCain admitting it’s payback for Hagel’s criticism of Bush and the Iraq war. It makes the timing of Rachel Maddow and MSNBC’s broadcast of a documentary on the selling of the Iraq war absolutely perfect. Based on Hubris, by Michael Isikoff and David Corn, it’s a reminder that as Republicans continue to rage on, the two leaders at the top of the national security food chain at the time, President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, have never been held accountable for taking our country to war in Iraq on lies.
After Fox News Channel concocted reports, and Republicans started swiftboating Ambassador Susan Rice, it was easy to come to Rice’s offense due to the false charges that erupted and accusations hurled in her direction, using her as a scapegoat.
It was really a campaign to try to take President Obama down on national security before the election. Drive into his strength to wound him politically. It was a desperate tactic that failed, because the American public have grown tired of the Republican spectacle and don’t trust them anymore.
Chuck Hagel’s treatment has been particularly appalling to watch, coming after what happened to Rice, especially since on many issues he’s been proven right, if not prescient. No doubt Hagel didn’t perform well in his confirmation hearing. However, if we’re ticking off a list of wrongs, Bush and Cheney, Wolfowitz and so many others in the Bush administration paid absolutely no price for their national security crimes. So seeing Republicans think they can get away with ruining this man’s reputation and shuttling him back to Nebraska where he can pick up his professional life after being publicly humiliated by a bunch of politicians on a vendetta sickens me.
All of this vitriol coming from a certain brand of Republican has one root.
The killing of Osama bin Laden on President Obama’s watch was shocking to today’s Republicans and unmoored them from their dream identity. That they had to again watch a split screen showing George W. Bush saying “I really just don’t spend that much time on him,” made it worse.
In fact, getting Osama was the killing blow to the extremists running the GOP today who had assumed a prowess on national security, because their party’s marketing was good on the subject of war making. It’s how Bush and Cheney thought they could sell Iraq in the first place.
But Obama giving the order to cross into the sovereign territory of Pakistan, a volatile nuclear armed nation and shaky ally, besides being what he said he’d do, was risky, even given SEAL Team Six had done raids similar before. If it had failed, Obama would have gone the way of Jimmy Carter.
Instead, President Obama announcing Osama bin Laden’s death was the final blow to the foreign policy fantasies of Republicans.
Now the party of Bush and Cheney, who brought us the Iraq war on the wings of lies, want President Obama to listen to them on who would be best for the position of secretary of defense.
It would be laughable if it didn’t show such hubris.
With all of this spinning, it’s a good moment to remember how easily President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney got away with selling the Iraq war on a web of lies, then retired with pensions, book deals and fat speaking fees, without ever being held accountable for what they did and all the people that died on their watch.