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George W. Bush's presidency since 2005
George W. Bush's presidency from 2000-04
Bush Bests Kerry
Gauging the truth behind Powell's reputation.
Recounting the controversial presidential campaign.
Is the national media a danger to democracy?
The story behind President Clinton's impeachment.
Pinochet & Other Characters.
Rev. Sun Myung Moon and American politics.
Contra drug stories uncovered
How the American historical record has been tainted by lies and cover-ups.
The 1980 October Surprise scandal exposed.
From free trade to the Kosovo crisis.
Bending to George W. Bush's Will
Editor's Note: When Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid put forward two Republican-sponsored resolutions -- one opposed to the Iraq War "surge" and the other for it -- he was met with the bizarre spectacle of GOP sponsors of the resolutions joining a filibuster against a debate on their own measures, unless a third Republican resolution from Sen. Judd Gregg was added to the mix.
Two of those senators -- John Warner of Virginia and Chuck Hagel of Nebraska -- effectively put loyalty to President George W. Bush ahead of their stated desire to spare American troops unnecessary death and injury from a war escalation that neither Warner nor Hagel believes is justified.
In this open letter, Democratic political analyst Brent Budowsky -- who urged Reid and other Senate Democrats to shelve their partisan doubts and work with Warner and Hagel -- expresses his dismay over having trusted these two Republican senators:
Dear Senator Hagel and Senator Warner:
For four years of failure and bloodshed in the
Iraq War, you have issued warnings, concerns,
sage advice and major suggestions for change.
For four years, the man who calls himself the
Decider has given you nothing but contempt
for your views, confident that in the end, you
would vote with your party.
For four years, you have proven him brilliantly
right in his judgment of you, as he was deadly
wrong in his conduct of war.
For four years, you advised no and voted yes.
Three years ago, you issued more warnings,
counsel and sage advice and were treated
with the same disrespect that was shown
to our commanders when their advice, too,
Three years ago, you advised no, and voted
yes, again. Two years ago, again. One year
ago, again. And now with this latest tragedy
and spectacle in the Senate, again.
You issued warnings, advice, and sage counsel
again. You said no and voted yes, again. You
were disrespected, again, by the President who
ignored your advice, again, and you voted to
enable yet another escalation that you know
is wrong, again.
You were reduced to voting against your own
Let's not hide behind procedural excuses or
genteel evasions. You know the Senate rules.
I worked for congressional leaders and senior
senators and know them too.
The Majority Leader in a show of good faith
and bipartisanship supported including the
key provision in the Gregg proposal into the
Warner proposal. He made a mistake. I
made a mistake in advising senior Democrats
to work with you in good faith.
And you know
very well that the only reason the Republican
leadership, in league with Karl Rove's shop,
demanded a vote on the Gregg proposal was
that it would help promote the escalation that
you oppose, but enabled, again.
My mistake was one of character judgment.
Senator Reid's mistake was an attempt at
statesmenship. Your mistake was putting a party-line vote designed to
promote the escalatiion over the high principle of trying
to prevent the escalation you oppose.
Four years ago, Three years ago, Two years ago. One year ago. And now
this week. Again.
So you voted against your own resolution, in
the name of demanding a second resolution
designed to promote the escalation that you
And this from the party that criticized John
Kerry for flip flopping?
The senator from Arizona accused you, and
me, and Senator Reid of favoring a vote of no
confidence in the troops. Once upon a time,
when Senator John McCain was younger and truer
and his idealism trumped his ambition, he
would have known such a statement to be
The advocates of this escalation
have learned nothing from mistakes, except
to believe that their short-pants McCarthyism
can bully and intimidate good men into doing
If there are two men who should never be
accused of voting no confidence in the troops,
it is you, Senator Hagel and Senator Warner.
But then again, if there are two men who
should have made public votes consistent
with their private views, after four years, it is you, as well. Again.
How more powerful and right it would have
been for you to charge like lions to the Senate
floor and answer the defamation that you
would vote no confidence in the troops, in terms
as strong as the false accusation. Instead
you retreated to the Republican cloakroom,
and cast a party-line vote. Again.
For four years, you have been wiser, smarter,
more knowledgable and experienced than
those who disrespected your advice, as much
as they disrespected the advice of military
For four years, you said no and voted yes.
For four years, you enabled policies in war you
knew were wrong.
For four years, the failure became more deadly,
the carnage became more ugly, the casualties
became more painful, the damage to our troops
and our country and our crediblity around the world, and our military
force structures, and our
deterrent, and our national unity became more
grave and extreme.
Yet for four years, the senators from Virginia
and Nebraska issued their words of warning
and their counsels for change, but in the end,
for four years, based on the real votes on the
floor of the Senate, Virginia and Nebraska
might as well have been represented by Dick
Cheney and Joe Lieberman.
What a shame. What a waste. What a tragedy
for our country.
Brent Budowsky was an aide to U.S. Senator Lloyd Bentsen on intelligence issues, and served as Legislative Director to Rep. Bill Alexander when he was Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Leadership. Budowsky can be reached at email@example.com.
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