Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Everyone Expects the Senate Inquisition

I didn't get a chance to listen to the inquisition that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee put Condoleeza Rice through on Tuesday, but here is a transcript of the heated exchange between Sen. Barbara Boxer and Dr. Rice. Today's Opinion Journal reprints the following excerpt:

Rice: It wasn't just weapons of mass destruction. He was also a place -- his territory was a place where terrorists were welcomed, where he paid suicide bombers to bomb Israel, where he had used Scuds against Israel in the past.

And so we knew what his intentions were in the region; where he had attacked his neighbors before and, in fact, tried to annex Kuwait; where we had gone to war against him twice in the past. It was the total picture, Senator, not just weapons of mass destruction, that caused us to decide that, post-September 11th, it was finally time to deal with Saddam Hussein.

Boxer: Well, you should read what we voted on when we voted to support the war, which I did not, but most of my colleagues did. It was WMD, period. That was the reason and the causation for that, you know, particular vote.

James Taranto notes:

Presumably when Boxer says "I did not," she means that she didn't vote to liberate Iraq, not that she didn't read the resolution. But the resolution itself makes clear that Rice was right:

Whereas Iraq persists in violating resolution of the United Nations Security Council by continuing to engage in brutal repression of its civilian population thereby threatening international peace and security in the region, by refusing to release, repatriate, or account for non-Iraqi citizens wrongfully detained by Iraq, including an American serviceman, and by failing to return property wrongfully seized by Iraq from Kuwait; . . .

The President is authorized to use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in order to--

(1) defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq; and

(2) enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq.

Ignorance is actually the more charitable explanation for Boxer's misrepresentation of the resolution's contents. If in fact she did read it, her own integrity is a matter of question.

There were only two votes against Dr. Rice. One from Senator Boxer, and the other from Senator John Kerry. Both Boxer and Kerry took the opportunity provided them in the hearings not to question Dr. Rice, but to grandstand.

Or in the case of Senator Kerry, to behave as if he was back on the stump again.

This confirmation hearing wasn't really about Condi Rice. It was about taking shots at President Bush. This is why even Barbara Boxer opened by saying that Dr. Rice would likely be confirmed anyway. It was as if she was saying "My questions to you don't matter; only that I reaffirm my anti-Bush stance to my constituents."


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