Disclosure: I worked for the Lamont campaign doing web design and production and some writing for the official blog (from 9/5/06 to 11/07/06).

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


Why Lieberman is Scared of the NIE

(Update: President Bush agrees with Sen. Lieberman, says it is "naive" and "a mistake" to assert that his Iraq policy has made us less safe.)

He admits he hasn't even read it, but Sen. Lieberman has good reason to want to avoid talking about it at all costs.

E.J. Dionne explains why in a must-read column in today's Washington Post (hat tip The Next Hurrah):

Among the most visible critics of the administration's approach have been generals, vets, parents with sons and daughters in the military, and foreign policy realists who think of themselves as moderate or even conservative opponents of what they see as the administration's radical direction.

That is why news over the weekend of a National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq is especially troublesome for Republican electoral chances. By finding that the war in Iraq has encouraged global terrorism and spawned a new generation of Islamic radicals, the report by 16 government intelligence services undercuts the administration's central argument that the Iraq war has made the United States safer....

The conventional, and accurate, view of this fall's elections is that Iraq is a Democratic issue and the broader war on terrorism is a Republican issue. Accordingly, Democrats such as Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid were understandably eager to point to the report as a commentary on the president's "repeated missteps in Iraq and his stubborn refusal to change course," as Reid put it Sunday.

But beneath the conventional account is a more revealing truth: that over the past four years, the burden of proof on the Iraq war has been turned on its head.

During the 2002 election campaign -- before the war had actually begun -- Democratic candidates all over the country fled the Iraq debate and feared raising any questions about Bush's national security choices. In 2006 it's the administration trying to keep Iraq out of the campaign and to move the public conversation to anything else as an alternative to an accounting for its war decisions that so many middle-of-the-road Americans now regret. There is no silent majority to bail the president out.

As DemFromCT notes:

This is an accountability election, and by supporting George W Bush, Republicans are accountable for the mess. That's a concept even an opinion columnist can understand.

Lieberman dismisses talk of his complete lack of judgment - remember, according to the NIE, he has backed a policy for four years now that has cost us thousands of lives, hundreds of billions of dollars, our national reputation, the readiness of our armed forces... and has made us less safe from terrorism - as a "luxury" we can't afford.

But accountability for such egregious errors is not a "luxury." It is a necessity.
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