Monday, March 12, 2007

After all these years...

"..and we'll dodge debrit as we trim the tree underneath a mushroom cloud."
- "Weird Al" Yankovic - It's Christmas at ground zero

"The problem here is that there will always be some uncertainty about how quickly Saddam can acquire nuclear weapons. But we don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud."
- Condoleeza Rice - Sept. 8, 2002 CNN's Late Edition w' Wolf Blitzer

I remember watching Ms. Rice deliver the above quote. I don't believe I actually watched the show, but saw the video online sometime later. CNN still has the transcript available.

Four 1/2 years later, I don't know anyone still holding their breath that we're going to find Saddam's "WMDs" hidden somewhere in Iraq. However, we've never had any sort of accounting as to how the Bush Administration so badly (and maybe intentionally) mis-represented the intelligence claim that Iraq was trying to buy uranium from Niger, which cumulated with Bush himself making this claim in his State of the Union address in January 2003. It appears now that the chickens are finally coming home to roost.

At the time of this speech in 2003, Rep. Henry Waxman, (Democrat-CA), was the Ranking Minority member on the House Government Reform Committee. Two days before we launched the war in the Iraq, he wrote a letter to President Bush asking why this claim was included in his speech, but never received any reply. Over the last four years he's written 16 letters to Condoleeza Rice asking about various white house policy decisions, and has only received answers to five.

But as of January Henry Waxman is now the Chairman (Ranking majority member) of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform - with the power to subpoena people to testify before him. He appears to have lost patience, and wants answers now.

Today, Mr. Waxman sent a new letter , which I highly recommend reading, giving Ms. Rice until March 23rd to give a satisfactory answer to the questions he's been asking about the Niger evidence for the last four years.

He's also requesting answers to some other previous letters on various subjects, and giving Ms. Rice until April 20th for these.

It might not seem like a big deal, but it's great to see someone with some actual authority working to get information out of this administration and hold them accountable for botched intelligence and other goings-on of the last four years which the Republican congress completely gave them a pass on.

Other recent news of note:
Halliburon announced it is moving it's headquarters to Dubai (in the United Arab Emirates). That's right - the company that basically runs the U.S. war with Iraq is moving to the middle east. Senator Frank Lautenberg wants to investigate whether this is because Halliburton doesn't want their subsidiaries to have to stop doing business with Iran.

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform (Waxman again) is having a hearing on Friday (March 16th) during which Valerie Plame herself will testify about the disclosure of her identity and how it was handled by the White House.

These are interesting times my friends...