Saturday, February 08, 2003

Lawmakers Ask the Obvious Question. Powell Just Shrugs.

Ongoing Iraqi Camp Questioned Lawmakers press Powell as to why terrorist training ground has not been destroyed. WASHINGTON -- Secretary of State Colin L. Powell spent a significant part of his presentation to the United Nations this week describing a terrorist camp in northern Iraq where Al Qaeda affiliates are said to be training to carry out attacks with explosives and poisons. But neither Powell nor other administration officials answered the question: What is the United States doing about it? ... The lawmakers put new pressure on the Bush administration to explain its decision to leave the facility, which it has known about for months, unharmed. "Why have we not taken it out?" Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.) asked Powell during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing Thursday. "Why have we let it sit there if it's such a dangerous plant producing these toxins?" Powell declined to answer, saying he could not discuss the matter in open session.
Of course not. If he admitted that the information was speculative it would hurt the administration's case in the eyes of the public. He'll tell the Senators that in private, but he won't admit it in public and the Senators won't call him on it because then the Bushies and their allies in the press will say that they are leaking classified information that could get Americans killed!!! Don't they know there is a war on! AAARRRGGGHHHH!!!!! To this day I'm not sure what pisses me off more: the Bushies and their naked power grabs, or everyone else around them who just sit back and let them do it. Show some fucking balls you idiots!
Absent an explanation from the White House, some officials suggested that the administration has refrained from striking the compound in part to preserve a key piece of its case against Iraq. "This is it, this is their compelling evidence for use of force," said one intelligence official, who asked not to be identified. "If you take it out, you can't use it as justification for war."
Oh. My. God. And does this official approve of this kind of naked warmongering?
Several lawmakers and intelligence experts expressed concern that Powell's presentation Wednesday might have cost the United States an opportunity to prevent the spread of toxins. "By revealing the existence of the camp, it's predictable whatever activity is there will probably go underground," said Rep. Jane Harman (D-Venice), the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. "I don't understand why we don't hit it," said Robert Baer, a former CIA officer who worked extensively in northern Iraq. U.S. officials said the Pentagon and the CIA considered plans last summer for a covert raid on the compound, but that administration officials decided against pursuing the plan.
Got that? The administration has known about an Al Qaeda camp for months (at least that is what they claim). Knows that it is producing deadly toxins (at least that is what they claim). Has done nothing about it (but won't explain why they haven't done anything about it). But, having now talked about it in public at the UN, the camp, if it ever actually existed, has probably been torn down and its occupants spread to the four winds. In other words, the Bush administration may have deliberately let a dangerous terrorist camp continue to exist and then blow the cover on their knowledge of that camp in order to win people over to their side in attacking Iraq. I don't know about you, but I think this could be grounds for impeachment.

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