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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.

By |2012-02-15T10:58:53-04:00February 15th, 2012|Elections, Iraq|Comments Off on Rick Santorum: Weapons of Mass Destruction

A Time for Reflection – More Than a Decade of War

I know that we’ve intermittently talked about this before, but now seems to be a perfect time to discuss our wars with Iraq (our troops are coming home, finally) and Afghanistan. Make no mistake, we were definitely attacked on September 11, 2001. A group of 19 terrorists with the aid of Osama bin Laden, Al Qaeda and the Taliban took down the World Trade Center, tore a huge hole in the Pentagon and crashed an airliner into a rural portion of Pennsylvania. We now know that these acts of terrorism set in motion a cascade of events which have cost the American people well over $1.5 trillion. 6200 American soldiers have died. Tens of thousands of American soldiers have been wounded. What did we get in return?

When you invest blood and sweat into a project, you should at least hope to get something out of it. Stability in the Middle East? A thriving economy in Afghanistan? At the time of the Iraq invasion, many Americans believed that we were invading Iraq in order to secure their oil. Do we have secure oil agreements in place? Did we, at least, improve our relationships with other governments in the Middle East?

Some of these questions don’t really have answers. Others of these questions do have answers and the answers, unfortunately, are depressing. We spent a lot of time and effort and nearly destroyed our military in the process. We have simply the death of Osama bin Laden and several of his lieutenants to show for our efforts. Questions like whether we madr terrorism worse still linger. Now is the time for us to figure out what we did wrong. We should also assess what we did right. We need to make sure that we do not repeat the same mistakes which led to the disastrous decisions to invade both of those countries. I would submit that we could have infiltrated Afghanistan with a couple hundred to a couple of thousand troops with appropriate air support and eliminated Osama bin Laden and most of Al Qaeda within a matter of weeks or months. I don’t know. What I do know is that spending $1.5 trillion and losing over 6000 troops, breaking our military and getting almost nothing in return is unacceptable.

By |2011-12-16T19:13:00-04:00December 16th, 2011|Afghanistan, Bin Laden, Iraq, Terrorism|Comments Off on A Time for Reflection – More Than a Decade of War

Time to Come Home

Today, President Obama has announced that all American troops are coming home from Iraq by the end of the year. I’m sure that there is going to be a lot of discussion and finger-pointing over time tables and such. In my opinion, it is past time for our troops to come home. We’ve lost too many Americans. Unfortunately, after much thought and consideration, it is difficult for me to come up with much that we’ve accomplished. We got rid of Saddam Hussein. Everyone will acknowledge that he was a dictator and a mass murderer. As we began what will no doubt be a protracted discussion on what was accomplished and when should we come home, I think it is important for us to remember our goals. 🙂 I have to smile because our goals have changed over the last 8-10 years. Originally, our goals were to prevent Saddam Hussein from launching an attack on the United States or our allies with weapons of mass destruction (nuclear weapons, chemical weapons or biological weapons). As everyone now knows, we found no weapons of mass destruction – none. There were multiple other reasons placed out there in the ethernet which included securing Iraqi oil for the United States, freeing the Iraqi people from the brutal dictatorship of Saddam Hussein, freeing Iraq from the terrorists calling themselves Al Qaeda in Iraq and finally, the domino effect. By taking out Saddam Hussein and instilling democracy in Iraq, democracy would spread throughout the Middle East.

I’m ecstatic that our troops are coming home. I am deeply saddened that we spent over $800 billion (more than our economic stimulus package) and have so little to show for it. Over 4400 Americans have been killed and over 32,000 have been wounded. I know that our troops have fought bravely. I’m in awe of their sacrifice and dedication to duty.

Mister President – let’s bring them home quickly and safely.

By |2011-10-21T19:37:51-04:00October 21st, 2011|Iraq, Obama administration|Comments Off on Time to Come Home
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