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Democratic Senators Knew the Iraq War was Built on Lies but kept silent

Original post made by The Cohen brother on May 2, 2007

On April 28, 2007 Sen. Dick Durbin attempted to cleanse the blood off his senate suit by admitting that as a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee he had been told the opposite of what Bush was telling the Congress and the American people. But, Durbin remained silent. And, as Robert Lewis Stevenson wrote "The cruelest lies are often told in silence."

Durbin said he "couldn't believe" how the administration was giving different information to the American people than "the information we had on the Intelligence Committee." He says "I sat here on the floor of the Senate and listened to this heated debate about invading Iraq and thinking the American people are being misled. They are not being told the truth."

What did he do about it? Nothing. He kept the information secret until five years into a bloody and disastrous war. He did not fulfill his larger responsibility to stop an illegal war based on lies, deceptions and false information.

Durbin can't cleanse the blood of his senate suit so easily, but he is not the only one who has some explaining to do. There were sixteen members of the Senate Intelligence Committee who were given the same information as Durbin. They all remained silent. They let the administration lie to the Congress and mislead the American people into a catastrophic war. They let a war begin on false pretenses. A war that has cost hundreds of thousands of Iraqis their lives, destroyed their country and started a civil war. A war that cost thousands of Americans their lives and resulted in fifty thousand causalities of war -- more than two hundred thousand if illnesses like post traumatic stress disorder are counted. And, it has cost the American taxpayer more than $400 billion thus far with projected costs of over $1 trillion.

If ever silence was complicity, this is that time. Sixteen elected officials, sworn to uphold the Constitution -- a Constitution that gives the Congress the sole power to declare war -- knew Bush was lying when he sought the power to go to war and remained silent. They are complicit in Bush's actions because if they had been honest with the American people and their fellow elected officials the war could have been averted.

Among those sixteen members of the Intelligence Committee was Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards and potential Republican candidate Fred Thompson. Can we trust these men to be president?

Edwards has apologized for voting for the war resolution. But now that we know that he was told by the intelligence community that the administration was lying is his apology enough? Doesn't this raise serious questions about his judgment? Voting for a war when he was told the basis of it was false is not the kind of judgment we need in a commander-in-chief.

Comments (12)

Posted by Draw the Line, a resident of Stanford
on May 3, 2007 at 7:28 am

The dirty little secret is that they had the same intelligence info Bush did. Which was the best compilation of guesses and predictions that our intelligence communities could do. Which, nobody likes to remember, had the same conclusions as Germany, Russia, Australia and England. Shhhh...don't tell anyone.

But, you know, all those countries lied, even the ones that didn't want to upset their financial flow by overturning Saddam. ( Russia and France took turns being the top 2 exporters to Saddam). Everybody lied. It isn't possible that the 6 months of warning allowed a little dictator with no power to move anything into Syria or Iran, or bury it. The lesson I took away time, no warning. It was like telling the drug dealer that "we are coming, we are coming, we are coming" for weeks, and by the time we get there the house is clean and all the drugs and equipment look gone.

Oh, and don't tell anyone about the traces of mustard gas in the river, from chem weapons being dumped, the rockets with sarin in them accidentally found buried, the centrifuges with one purpose found buried in yards, the 500 tons of enriched uranium found ( only one purpose for that, especially in a country with no nuclear energy!!), we need to keep that a secret too. The facts might confuse people into thinking that the intelligence WASN'T cooked from all these countries..

Shhhh, don't tell anyone.

Posted by sarlat, a resident of Crescent Park
on May 3, 2007 at 9:04 am

The case for war(WMD) was largely based on "information" from a source called "curveball". By then, German military intelligence has warned the CIA that Curveball was a fabricator. Cheney,along with Scooter Libby, according to the CIA chief intelligence operations in Europe, has intimidated the agency's analysts and Tenet himself not to bring up that fact, but still, the senators already knew at the time that the case for war was largely fabricated, yet they didn't dare come out with it to the public.

Posted by Shlomo, a resident of Stanford
on May 3, 2007 at 11:59 am

The CIA, NSA, and DIA all report to the President, which means the ONLY intelligence information that Congress ever sees has been filtered, cherry-picked, concocted, cooked-up, and sexed-up by the Executive Branch.

Posted by Jeff Derman, a resident of Portola Valley
on May 3, 2007 at 12:48 pm

As a matter of fact, the members of the senate intelligence committee had already known when presented with it that the "intelligence" was fabricated and doctored. Enough members of the intelligence community were telling them privately that this was a hoax. The problem was one of courage. The administration and the mainstream media were pushing very agressively for an invasion, the opposition to an invasion was immediately labled as anti-American and even treasonou and they were afraid to go against the grain during that orgy of militaristic chauvinism.

Posted by Shlomo, a resident of Stanford
on May 4, 2007 at 9:27 am


Rather than just pinning the blame on cowardly Congressional representatives, let's take action against the entire anti-Muslim criminal network that has corrupted our most important institutions, including gov't, media, judiciary, universities, etc.

Because this anti-Muslim criminal network controls our institutions, they are free to use our military as their own personal attack dogs, they are free to butcher millions of innocent Muslims, they are free to destroy our good standing with allies, they are free to run up record-setting deficits, and they are free to shred our Constitution.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by Palo Alto mother, a resident of Duveneck School
on May 5, 2007 at 3:00 am

I certainly am not a genius. Still, based on the information I had, the same information available at the time to all who cared to pay attention (reading the press, the Internet, watching TV reports, including European television news and press, watching the debate at the UN and listening to all the speakers), based on the information I had, I was convinced back then that the WMD story did not have a leg to stand on and that the Democrats had to know it and were being cowards going along with Bush's plans.

Very simpy I will not vote for ANY presidential candidate of any party who voted to give Bush the power to wage this terrible, unjustified, mistaken war, or anyone who approved of it back then. Please do the same thing.

Posted by Draw the Line, a resident of Stanford
on May 5, 2007 at 7:56 am

Oh yes, the lay people know much more just from watching the news than the lawmakers do from their reports. Those 600 or so Congressmen and Senate were all duped, but we, from just watching news, especially news from countries with a lot of financial investment in Saddam, were not fooled for a moment.

Posted by Shlomo, a resident of Stanford
on May 5, 2007 at 10:08 am

Furthermore, we can trust our lawmakers are not bought-and-paid-for patsies of an international Anti-Muslim crime network, and there's no War on Muslims, right?

Posted by sarlat, a resident of Crescent Park
on May 5, 2007 at 12:23 pm

Actually, any thinking person pretty much knew that the WMD story had been hyped-up, grossly exaggeretad, distorted and probably fabricated. Everybody with a brain knew that the Bush crowd, driven by the neocons fantasy was bent on invading Iraq even before they took office in 2001. The Democrats who voted for it gave this criminal act a legitimacy and they did it in order not to be called traitors, wimps and soft by the Republicans. They voted for this criminal war out of selfish political considerations, knowing very well that many people would die as a consequence. No well intentioned thinking person believed that Iraq posed any real threat to the only super power. No Democrat who voted for the invasion deserves to be supported in the Democratic primaries.

Posted by Jeff Derman, a resident of Portola Valley
on May 5, 2007 at 5:13 pm

The most important opinion is that of the American public. George W. Bush now has the worst approval rating of an American president in a generation, and he seems to be dragging every '08 Republican presidential candidate down with him. The 2 main reasons for the dismal that the people polled cite, and this is across the board:1.Bush deceived the country into war. 2. the way the occupation has been mismanaged. The very pliable American public is aleady made up its mind that the nation was deceived into a criminal war and the very intelligent Democratic senators had known perectly back in 2000 that they were voting for a con-job, yet they didn't have the courage to vote NO because they feared Carl Rove would label them as traitors.

Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on May 6, 2007 at 4:41 am

All intelligence is cherrypicked. Imagine the consequences if the reports had been ignore the way the reports from Arizona flight schools were ignored. The term Anti-Muslim has been bruited about here. If the actions of the Islamic terrorists are inherent in Islam, then I suppose I can be called anti Muslim. I believe, however, the greater slur on the Muslim religion is the refusal to rebuke those who clothe their terror in the cloak of Islam.
Christianity stripped the KKK of the shield of the cross they tried to hide behind.

Posted by Draw the Line, a resident of Stanford
on May 6, 2007 at 7:24 am

Wow, Jeff. You can read the minds of the people giving their low ratings of Bush? Did it ever occur to you that a lot of us don't approve because he has drifted too far left, and WON'T STAND UP AND TELL THE TRUTH OVER AND OVER AND OVER TO FIGHT THE REPETITIVE LIES OF THE LEFT??

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