Tag Archives: senator rick santorum

More Rick Santorum and weapons of mass destruction

So, Rick hit Fox and Friends, where he found a wonderful group of happy folks to help cheerlead his crazy notion that somehow, from the comfort of his office in Washington DC, he could find weapons of mass destruction when hundreds of Americans were searching the Iraqi countryside for more than two years and couldn’t find any. That’s the kind of genius we see from Rick Santorum. (See my earlier post for background information)

To recap, Senator Rick Santorum in June 2006 found a document from the 1990s which had been declassified. Rick Santorum and Representative Pete Hosta decided that they really had something. This was information that the Bush administration had had for years, yet Santorum felt he’d seen something that nobody else had. He knew where the weapons of mass destruction were. The insanity of this whole charade sheds light on Rick Santorum and his mental processes. Had there been one shred of evidence that the United States had found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, Vice President Cheney would have been on the Sunday talk shows. The vice president’s office would’ve leaked early copies of the information to the New York Times and the Washington Post. Judy Miller, the New York Times reporter who is an expert on chemical and biological weapons would have had multiple sources within the Bush administration. She would’ve had a full page write-up long before Rick Santorum had found this obscure document. Books like Thomas Ricks’ Fiasco and David Corn’s Hubris, document the enormous pressure that the White House, and specifically Vice President Cheney, placed on the CIA and military units on the ground to find these weapons of mass destruction. Cheney was piling through raw intelligence documents and calling David Kay with coordinates and buildings to search.

The craziness of taking an old and arcane document and calling a press conference based on the information in this document reveals a phenomenal lack of judgment and an enormous amount of ego. As Rick Santorum surges in the Republican polls, it is important that even conservative Republicans know this information.

Rick Santorum: Weapons of Mass Destruction

I’ve mentioned this before, but I think it’s worth mentioning again. I think this tale illustrates a very important point about Rick Santorum. Data and information do not penetrate his cranium.

Let’s go back to the dark days. We invaded Iraq on March 20, 2003. One of the premier reasons for going to war was that Iraq harbored weapons of mass destruction. We all remember Colin Powell in front of the UN General assembly laying out the case against Saddam Hussein. According to the Bush administration, Iraq had tons of weapons of mass destruction. This included chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.

Many people have discussed the frantic and futile search for weapons of mass destruction in 2003. Thomas Ricks has done one of the best jobs at documenting the search in his book, Fiasco. The fact that President Bush and Vice President Cheney personally got involved in the search is critically important. Judith Miller, New York Times reporter and cheerleader for the war, went to Iraq to personally “show” the military where to look. Yet, there were no weapons of mass destruction found. By late 2003 and early 2004, it was clear that there were no weapons of mass destruction to be found in Iraq. By September 2004, the Iraq survey group announced that they did not find any evidence that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction at the time of our invasion in 2003. More study and more handwringing by the Bush administration revealed even more evidence that there were no weapons of mass destruction at the time of our invasion. Yet, in June of 2006, then Senator Rick Santorum decided that he had found something that nobody else had found, chemical weapons in Iraq. He called a press conference to announce his findings.

Congressman Hoekstra and I are here today to say that we have found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, chemical weapons. It’s a document that was developed by our intelligence community which for the last two and a half months I have been pursuing. And thanks to the help of the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, was ultimately — he was able to get it in his hands, and I was able to look for, and look at.

[…]

This is an incredibly — in my mind — significant finding. The idea that, as my colleagues have repeatedly said in this debate on the other side of the aisle, that there are no weapons of mass destruction is, in fact, false.

We have found over 500 weapons of mass destruction. And in fact have found that there are additional weapons of mass — chemical weapons, still in the country, that need to be recovered.

He was on Hannity and Colmes later on that evening waving his victory flag.

Rick Santorum found nothing. The Iraqi survey group had mentioned “a small number of old, abandoned chemical munitions” were discovered after the invasion. For some reason that wasn’t good enough for Rick. He needed more. He KNEW he was right. He was wrong. He showed none of the judgment that one would expect from a Senator. It is clearly not the judgment that we would expect of the president. I find it amazing that people actually sit down and listen to Rick Santorum. When somebody goes that far out of their way to be wrong, it is somewhat mind-boggling. If this were the first incidence of Rick Santorum being way out a limb, you could forgive him, but it is not. Back in 1999, after the invasion of Kosovo, the Clinton Administration was celebrating the victory of NATO forces over Slobodan Milosevic. It was Rick Santorum who called a press conference and stated that he “rejected any notion of a NATO victory.” He knew better. Now, we are beginning to see a pattern. Somehow, some way, Rick Santorum gets this crazy notion in his head and no amount of data is going to change his mind. Rick Santorum is dangerous.

Rick working the crowd

One of the things I love about politics is that it is so predictable. Conservatives have been labeling liberals as elite snobs for over three decades. How can a guy who grew up in the inner city worked in the inner city of Chicago be elite? But what I find funny in this clip is that former Senator Rick Santorum is 100% wrong on Paul Ryan’s healthcare plan. The conservative Heritage Foundation has a summary of the healthcare plan and nowhere in the description does it mention that this is exactly the same plan that Congress is using. No where. Now, it could be that the Heritage Foundation missed this talking point or it could be that Rick Santorum is lying through his teeth. Remember that Paul Ryan proposed replacing Medicare with a voucher system. You would get a check and then you could go and buy healthcare anywhere that you wanted to. You would have to look through a dizzying array of plans and choose the right one for you and your family. Once the voucher had run out, there was nothing left. The rest of your healthcare expenses would come out of your pocket. I don’t think that this is the plan that Congress has.

From FactCheck.org:

According to the Congressional Research Service, the FEHBP offers about 300 different private health care plans, including five government-wide, fee-for-service plans and many regional health maintenance organization (HMO) plans, plus high-deductible, tax-advantaged plans. All plans cover hospital, surgical and physician services, and mental health services, prescription drugs and “catastrophic” coverage against very large medical expenses. There are no waiting periods for coverage when new employees are hired, and there are no exclusions for preexisting conditions. The FEHBP negotiates contracts annually with all insurance companies who wish to participate. There is plenty of competition for the business; FEHBP is the largest employer-sponsored health plan in the U.S.

Those who don’t like their coverage may switch to another plan during a yearly “open season” period. To help with the choices, FEHBP conducts an annual “satisfaction survey” of each plan with more than 500 members and publishes the results.

Maybe I missed it but didn’t see anywhere in the description where there was a voucher system. Did you see it?

Maybe I’m being too hard on Rick Santorum. Maybe, he isn’t lying for his own personal gain. Maybe he is just misinformed. Maybe.

We need universal healthcare. You should not (thanks to Ron for pointing out my typo!) have to chose from column A and something from Column B. You and I don’t have enough information to make these decisions intelligently. What are the chances that I will have heart attack this year? I don’t know. What are the chances that my gallbladder will flare up? How much will that cost? Do I have enough in my health savings account? What if my daughter takes a field hockey stick to the face? I need a great plastics guy to repair that. What will that cost? It is nice to sit back and figure out what options you need on your new Cadillac. We aren’t Cadillacs. The consequences of you making a bad decision on a Caddy isn’t life threatening. If you chose the wrong healthcare plan that could bankrupt you and your family or worse. We need universal healthcare.

Finally, if you are in the 1% of Americans who use a ton of healthcare resources you would be completely screwed by Paul Ryan’s plan. You aren’t going to get a voucher for $90,000. That ain’t happening. So you are just out of luck. Kiss your loved ones goodbye. Paul Ryan ain’t got nothing but hard times for ya’.