Updated: Dems got their groove back? A victory.
Update: The Democrats have scored a victory. After years of demanding that Senate Republicans pursue an investigation of pre-war intelligence, Reid's unusual maneuver paid off and the Republicans have agreed to pursue the matter.
Granted, this is a first step and will require a series of bold follow-ups, but these are efforts worthy of support.
The public was ordered out of the chamber, the lights were dimmed, and the doors were closed. Without a vote, the Democrats, led by the soft-spoken Harry Reid, demanded "on behalf of the America people that we understand why these investigations [questioning intelligence that led us to war] aren't being conducted." And just like that the senate went into closed session this afternoon.
Caught off guard, Republicans could only resort to talking points that sound downright monstrous considering the number of lives lost and that the very fate of our national security hangs in the balance: Trent "good ol' days of segregation" Lott commented that "[Reid was making] some sort of stink about Scooter Libby and the CIA leak," while Bill Frist crowed that "The United States Senate has been hijacked by the Democratic leadership... They have no convictions, they have no principles, they have no ideas."
Granted, there are times I'd be forced to agree with Dr. Video Diagnosis on this one, but today's move is precisely NOT that. This is about the Democrats getting their convictions, principles and ideas back. Their Groove, for lack of a better word. Or, to use an even worse word, their mojo. Whatever. Excerpts from Reid's fed-up sounding statement which sounds curiously like an article you could've read on AlterNet from 2003 or earlier (hat tip Dave Johnson from whom the bold text is lifted):
This [Libby] indictment raises very serious charges. It asserts this Administration engaged in actions that both harmed our national security and are morally repugnant. The decision to place U.S. soldiers in harmÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s way is the most significant responsibility the Constitution invests in the Congress.
The Libby indictment provides a window into what this is really about: how the Administration manufactured and manipulated intelligence in order to sell the war in Iraq and attempted to destroy those who dared to challenge its actions.
As a result of its improper conduct, a cloud now hangs over this Administration. This cloud is further darkened by the AdministrationÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s mistakes in prisoner abuse scandal, Hurricane Katrina, and the cronyism and corruption in numerous agencies.
And, unfortunately, it must be said that a cloud also hangs over this Republican-controlled Congress for its unwillingness to hold this Republican Administration accountable for its misdeeds on all of these issues.
LetÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s take a look back at how we got here with respect to Iraq Mr. President. The record will show that within hours of the terrorist attacks on 9/11, senior officials in this Administration recognized these attacks could be used as a pretext to invade Iraq. The record will also show that in the months and years after 9/11, the Administration engaged in a pattern of manipulation of the facts and retribution against anyone who got in its way as it made the case for attacking Iraq.
There are numerous examples of how the Administration misstated and manipulated the facts as it made the case for war. Administration statements on SaddamÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s alleged nuclear weapons capabilities and ties with Al Qaeda represent the best examples of how it consistently and repeatedly manipulated the facts.
The American people were warned time and again by the President, the Vice President, and the current Secretary of State about SaddamÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s nuclear weapons capabilities. The Vice President said Iraq 'has reconstituted its nuclear weapons.' Playing upon the fears of Americans after September 11, these officials and others raised the specter that, left unchecked, Saddam could soon attack America with nuclear weapons. Obviously we know now their nuclear claims were wholly inaccurate. But more troubling is the fact that a lot of intelligence experts were telling the Administration then that its claims about SaddamÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s nuclear capabilities were false... Read the rest.