SENATOR BARBARA BOXER: You said on July 1, 2004, when you commented on the abuses that took place in Abu Ghraib, and we're just going to put this up here -- you said, what took place at the Abu Ghraib prison does not represent America. Our nation is a compassionate country that believes in freedom. The U.S. Government is deeply sorry for what happened, and so on. You said that about Abu Ghraib. I thought your remarks were very appropriate. Now, last Thursday, we find out that after the Senate unanimously approved an amendment to restrict the use of extreme interrogation measures by American intelligence officers, you wrote a letter along with Mr. Bolten to the members of the Conference Committee asking them to strike that language from the final bill. Unfortunately, that is what they did at your request. Now [Can you bring this over here so I can see it?] I want to read you the operative language that you asked to be struck from the bill that was struck from the bill. "In general” -- and by the way, this is written by Joe Lieberman and John McCain. John McCain, a man who knows what torture is. So he wrote this with Joe Lieberman. "In general, no prisoner shall be subject to torture or cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment that is prohibited by the Constitution, laws or treaties of the United States." Pretty straightforward, pretty elegant, bipartisan, passed the Senate, that amendment unanimously, every single member. A letter comes, and the newspaper writes that at your request, at the urging of the White House, congressional leaders scrapped a legislative measure last month that would have imposed new restrictions on the use of extreme interrogation measures by American intelligence officers. In a letter to members of Congress, sent in October and made available by the White House on Wednesday this was last week, Condoleezza Rice, the National Security Adviser, expressed opposition to the measure on the grounds that it, quote, “provides legal protections to foreign prisoners to which they are not now entitled under applicable law and policy.” Now, my understanding of this is that is a restatement of what the law is.
CONDOLEEZZA RICE: It was our view in the administration, that first of all this is covered in the Defense Authorization Bill, which the President did sign.
SENATOR BARBARA BOXER: This has to do with the intelligence community, not the military. It's not covered.
CONDOLEEZZA RICE: Secondly, -- but all government agencies were covered in the Defense Authorization.
SENATOR BARBARA BOXER: This was just the intelligence officers. Go ahead.
CONDOLEEZZA RICE: All government agencies were covered in the Defense Authorization, so intelligence was covered.
SENATOR BARBARA BOXER: No it, was not.
CONDOLEEZZA RICE: It's our view. Secondly, the -- we did not want to afford to people who did not -- shouldn't enjoy certain protections, those protections. And the Geneva Conventions should not apply to terrorists like Al Qaeda. They can't, or you will stretch the meaning of the Geneva Conventions.
SENATOR BARBARA BOXER: Now, the war was sold to the American people, as Chief of Staff to President Bush Andy Card said, like a "new product." Those were his words. Remember, he said, "You don't roll out a new product in the summer." Now, you rolled out the idea and then you had to convince the people, as you made your case with the president.
And I personally believe -- this is my personal view -- that your loyalty to the mission you were given, to sell this war, overwhelmed your respect for the truth. And I don't say it lightly, and I'm going to go into the documents that show your statements and the facts at the time.
Now, I don't want the families of those 1,366 troops that were killed or the 10,372 that were wounded to believe for a minute that their lives and their bodies were given in vain, because when your commander-in-chief asks you to sacrifice yourself for your country, it is the most noble thing you can do to answer that call.
I am giving their families, as we all are here, all the support they want and need. But I also will not shrink from questioning a war that was not built on the truth.
Now, perhaps the most well-known statement you've made was the one about Saddam Hussein launching a nuclear weapon on America with the image of, quote, quoting you, "a mushroom cloud." That image had to frighten every American into believing that Saddam Hussein was on the verge of annihilating them if he was not stopped. And I will be placing into the record a number of such statements you made which have not been consistent with the facts.
As the nominee for Secretary of State, you must answer to the American people, and you are doing that now through this confirmation process. And I continue to stand in awe of our founders, who understood that ultimately those of us in the highest positions of our government must be held accountable to the people we serve.
So I want to show you some statements that you made regarding the nuclear threat and the ability of Saddam to attack us. Now, September 5th -- let me get to the right package here. On July 30th, 2003, you were asked by PBS NewsHour's Gwen Ifill if you continued to stand by the claims you made about Saddam's nuclear program in the days and months leading up to the war.
In what appears to be an effort to downplay the nuclear-weapons scare tactics you used before the war, your answer was, and I quote, "It was a case that said he was trying to reconstitute. He's trying to acquire nuclear weapons. Nobody ever said that it was going to be the next year." So that's what you said to the American people on television -- "Nobody ever said it was going to be the next year."
Well, that wasn't true, because nine months before you said this to the American people, what had George Bush said, President Bush, at his speech at the Cincinnati Museum Center? "If the Iraqi regime is able to produce, buy or steal an amount of highly-enriched uranium a little larger than a single softball, it could have a nuclear weapon in less than a year."
So the president tells the people there could be a weapon. Nine months later you said no one ever said he could have a weapon in a year, when in fact the president said it.
And here's the real kicker. On October 10th, '04, on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace, three months ago, you were asked about CIA Director Tenet's remark that prior to the war he had, quote, "made it clear to the White House that he thought the nuclear-weapons program was much weaker than the program to develop other WMDs.” Your response was this: "The intelligence assessment was that he was reconstituting his nuclear programs; that, left unchecked, he would have a nuclear weapon by the end of the year."
So here you are, first contradicting the president and then contradicting yourself. So it's hard to even ask you a question about this, because you are on the record basically taking two sides of an issue. And this does not serve the American people.
If it served your purpose to downplay the threat of nuclear weapons, you said, "No one said he's going to have it in a year." But then later, when you thought perhaps you were on more solid ground with the American people, because at the time the war was probably popular, or more popular, you say, "We thought he was going to have a weapon within a year."
And this is -- the question is, this is a pattern here of what I see from you on this issue, on the issue of the aluminum tubes, on the issue of whether al Qaeda was actually involved in Iraq, which you've said many times. And in my rounds -- I don't have any questions on this round, because I'm just laying this out; I do have questions on further rounds about similar contradictions. It's very troubling.
You know, if you were rolling out a new product like a can opener, who would care about what we said? But this product is a war, and people are dead and dying, and people are now saying they're not going to go back because of what they experienced there. And it's very serious.
And as much as I want to look ahead -- and we will work together on a myriad of issues -- it's hard for me to let go of this war, because people are still dying. And you have not laid out an exit strategy. You've not set up a timetable.
And you don't seem to be willing to, A, admit a mistake, or give any indication of what you're going to do to forcefully involve others. As a matter of fact, you've said more misstatements; that the territory of the terrorists has been shrinking when your own administration says it's now expanded to 60 countries. So I am deeply troubled. Thank you.
CONDOLEEZZA RICE: Senator, may I respond?
SENATOR RICHARD LUGAR: Yes. Let me just say that I appreciate the importance of Senator Boxer's statement. That's why we allowed the statement to continue for several more minutes of time.
SENATOR BARBARA BOXER: I'm sorry. I lost track of time.
SENATOR RICHARD LUGAR: But clearly you ought to have the right to respond. Then, at that point, we're going to have a recess. But will you please give your response?
CONDOLEEZZA RICE: Yes. Senator, I am more than aware of the stakes that we face in Iraq, and I was more than aware of the stakes of going to war in Iraq. I mourn and honor -- I mourn the dead and honor their service, because we have asked American men and women in uniform to do the hardest thing, which is to go and defend freedom and give others an opportunity to build a free society, which will make us safer.
Senator, I have to say that I have never, ever lost respect for the truth in the service of anything. It is not my nature. It is not my character. And I would hope that we can have this conversation and discuss what happened before and what went on before and what I said without impugning my credibility or my integrity.
The fact is that we did face a very difficult intelligence challenge in trying to understand what Saddam Hussein had in terms of weapons of mass destruction. We knew something about him. We knew that he had -- we had gone to war with him twice in the past, in 1991 and in 1998.
We knew that he continued to shoot at American aircraft in the no-fly zone as we tried to enforce the resolutions of U.N. Security Council -- that the U.N. Security Council had passed. We knew that he continued to threaten his neighbors. We knew that he was an implacable enemy of the United States who did cavort with terrorists.
We knew that he was the world's most dangerous man in the world's most dangerous region. And we knew that in terms of weapons of mass destruction, he had sought them before, tried to build them before, that he had an undetected biological weapons program that we didn't learn of until 1995, that he was closer to a nuclear weapon in 1991 than anybody thought. And we knew, most importantly, that he had used weapons of mass destruction.
That was the context that frankly made us awfully suspicious when he refused to account for his weapons-of-mass-destruction programs despite repeated Security Council resolutions and despite the fact that he was given one last chance to comply with Resolution 1441.
Now, there were lots of data points about his weapons-of-mass- destruction programs. Some were right and some were not. But what was right was that there was an unbreakable link between Saddam Hussein and weapons of mass destruction. That is something that Charlie Duelfer, in his report of the Iraq survey group, has made very clear, that Saddam Hussein intended to continue his weapons-of-mass-destruction activities, that he had laboratories that were run by his security services. I could go on and on.
But Senator Boxer, we went to war not because of aluminum tubes. We went to war because this was the threat of weapons of mass destruction in the hands of a man against whom we had gone to war before, who threatened his neighbors, who threatened our interests, who was one of the world's most brutal dictators. And it was high time to get rid of him, and I'm glad that we're rid of him.
Now, as to the statement about territory and the terrorist groups, I was referring to the fact that the al Qaeda organization of Osama bin Laden, which once trained openly in Afghanistan, which once ran with impunity in places like Pakistan, can no longer count on hospitable territory from which to carry out their activities.
In the places where they are, they're being sought and run down and arrested and pursued in ways that they never were before. So we can have a semantic discussion about what it means to take or lose territory, but I don't think it's a matter of misstatement to say that the loss of Afghanistan, the loss of the northwest frontier of Pakistan, the loss of running with impunity in places like Saudi Arabia, the fact that now intelligence networks and law enforcement networks pursue them worldwide, means that they have lost territory where they can operate with impunity.
SENATOR BARBARA BOXER: Mr. Chairman, I'm going to take 30 seconds, with your permission. First of all, Charles Duelfer said, and I quote -- here it is; I ask unanimous consent to place in the record Charlie Duelfer's report --
SENATOR RICHARD LUGAR: It will be placed in the record.
SENATOR BARBARA BOXER: -- in which he says, "Although Saddam clearly assigned a high value to the nuclear progress and talent that had been developed up to '91, the program ended and the intellectual capital decayed in the succeeding years."
Here's the point. You and I could sit here and go back and forth and present our arguments, and maybe somebody watching a debate would pick one or the other, depending on their own views. But I'm not interested in that. I'm interested in the facts. So when I ask you these questions, I'm going to show you your words, not my words.
And, if I might say, again you said you're aware of the stakes in Iraq; we sent our beautiful people -- and thank you, thank you so much for your comments about them -- to defend freedom. You sent them in there because of weapons of mass destruction. Later, the mission changed when there were none. I have your quotes on it. I have the president's quotes on it.
And everybody admits it but you that that was the reason for the war. And then, once we're in there, now it moved to a different mission, which is great. We all want to give democracy and freedom everywhere we can possibly do it. But let's not rewrite history. It's too soon to do that.
CONDOLEEZZA RICE: Senator Boxer, I would refer you to the president's speech before the American Enterprise Institute in February, prior to the war, in which he talked about the fact that, yes, there was the threat of weapons of mass destruction, but he also talked to the strategic threat that Saddam Hussein was to the region.
Saddam Hussein was a threat, yes, because he was trying to acquire weapons of mass destruction. And, yes, we thought that he had stockpiles which he did not have. We had problems with the intelligence. We are all, as a collective polity of the United States, trying to deal with ways to get better intelligence.
But 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 the threat of Saddam Hussein.
SENATOR BARBARA 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. But, again, I just feel you quote President Bush when it suits you but you contradicted him when he said, "Yes, Saddam could have a nuclear weapon in less than a year." You go on television nine months later and said, "Nobody ever said it was" --
CONDOLEEZZA RICE: Senator, that was just a question of pointing out to people that there was an uncertainty, that no one was saying that he would have to have a weapon within a year for it to be worth it to go to war.
SENATOR BARBARA BOXER: Sorry. Well, if you can't admit to this mistake, I hope that you’ll --
CONDOLEEZZA RICE: Senator, we can have this discussion in any way that you would like. But I really hope that you will refrain from impugning my integrity. Thank you very much.
SENATOR BARBARA BOXER: I'm not. I'm just quoting what you said. You contradicted the president and you contradicted yourself.
CONDOLEEZZA RICE: Senator, I'm happy to continue the discussion, but I really hope that you will not imply that I take the truth lightly.
SENATOR LINCOLN CHAFEE: It seems to be a hypocritical approach to our foreign policy in some ways, in particular how we deal with some of those democracies such as Russia, Senator Biden said, uneven or undemocratic or some of the Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, even Musharraf, President Musharraf, and then on the other hand have a completely different view of, say, Iran, as Senator Biden was saying. It seems to magnify our differences on one hand and on the other hand, we magnify our similarities. In particular after having just come back from South America and meeting with President Chavez. Here he has gone before his people, high, high turnout. Just had a referendum, and as one of the people from our embassy said, they cleaned their clocks and kicked their butts. It seems to me to say derogatory things about him may be disrespectful to him, but also to the Venezuelan people. How do you react to that?
CONDOLEEZZA RICE: Well, I have nothing but good things to say about the Venezuelan people. They are a remarkable people, and if you notice, Senator Chafee, I was not making derogatory comments, I was simply recognizing that there are unhelpful and unconstructive trends going on in Venezuelan policies. This is not personal.
SENATOR LINCOLN CHAFEE: And there aren’t in Tajikistan, Uzbekistan --
CONDOLEEZZA RICE: And we --
SENATOR LINCOLN CHAFEE: -- and Russia and --
CONDOLEEZZA RICE: And we speak out about those.
SENATOR LINCOLN CHAFEE: Pakistan?
CONDOLEEZZA RICE: We speak out about those as well, but some of this is a matter of trend lines and where countries have been, and where they are now going.
SENATOR LINCOLN CHAFEE: Are their governments unconstructive?
CONDOLEEZZA RICE: Well, the Russian government is not unconstructive in a lot of areas. It's quite constructive in many areas. It's been more constructive on Iran in recent years. It is constructive on -- to a certain extent in trying to deal with the kind of Nunn-Lugar issues that we have talked about. It's been constructive in Afghanistan. It's constructive on a number of areas, but that doesn't excuse what is happening inside Russia where the concentration of power in the Kremlin, to the detriment of other institutions, is a real problem. And we will continue to speak to the Russians. I think we do have to remember that it is also not the Soviet Union. The Russians have come quite a long way from where the Soviet Union was, and we need to always keep that in mind when we judge current policies, but where they're going is simply not very good. It is something to be deeply concerned about, and we will speak out. Countries are going to move at different speeds on this democracy test. I don't think there's any doubt about that. But what we have to do is that we have to keep the agenda -- keep this item on the agenda. We have to continue to press countries about it. We have to support democratic forces and civil society forces wherever we can. I would just note that Ukraine, I visited in 2001, not long after I had become National Security Adviser, and I frankly when this happened in Ukraine was pretty stunned by how effective civil society was and how effective the Ukrainian people were in making their voices known. Some of that is because we and the E.U. and others have spent time developing civil society, developing political opposition, working with people, not to have a specific candidate in any of these countries, but to have a political process that's open. And we have to do more of that. We're going to spend some $43 million this year, I believe that's the number, on Russian institutions, trying to help the development of civil society there. We need to do more of that kind of thing, because while we put it on an agenda, while we confront the governments that are engaged in non-democratic activities, we also have to help the development of civil society in opposition.
SENATOR LINCOLN CHAFEE: You and Senator Boxer were having a little bit of a debate over credibility, and to me, it seems as though trust is built with consistency. Is it possible for you to say something positive about the Chavez administration?
CONDOLEEZZA RICE: It's pretty hard, Senator, to find something positive. Let me say this.
SENATOR LINCOLN CHAFEE: I don’t understand that, after Tajikistan --
CONDOLEEZZA RICE: Let me say this.
SENATOR LINCOLN CHAFEE: -- Pakistan, Russia. It seems as though, as I say, magnifying our differences to some countries and magnifying our similarities with others. And as I said, I think trust is built with consistency, and I don't see consistency in some of your comments.
CONDOLEEZZA RICE: The state of behavior in the western hemisphere, the sate of affairs in the western hemisphere, is such that we have had democratic revolutions in all of these places, and we don't want to see them go back. We have some places where the democratic revolution is still to take place. We just have to understand that there are differences in that regard. But I have said, we hope that the government of Venezuela will continue to recognize what has been a mutually beneficial relationship on energy and that we can continue to pursue that. We certainly hope that we can continue to pursue counter-drug activities in the Andean region, and Venezuela participates in that. But I have to say that for the most part, the activities of the Venezuelan government in the last couple of years have been pretty unconstructive.
SENATOR LINCOLN CHAFEE: Well, thank you very much. I'll go back to what I said earlier. It seems disrespectful to the Venezuelan people. They have spoken.
SENATOR BILL NELSON: Elsewhere in the hemisphere, and you can appreciate this, since I represent the State of Florida, Haiti is a disaster. And it's going to continue to be a disaster until we get engaged and do something seriously, along with particularly the other nations of the western hemisphere, financially and politically to help them. I have had a difference of opinion with the administration. I think you did have a policy of regime change, and although Aristide was a bad guy, you know, it's kind of hard to say we support democracy and elections and then we go and push him out, but that's done. Looking forward, we're getting close to the authorized support now under the U.N. peacekeeping force of 6,700 military and 1,600 civilian police. Do you think that's an adequate number?
CONDOLEEZZA RICE: Well, I believe that the number that has been determined, 6,700 or so, led by Brazil, as a stabilization force now after the initial stabilization was done by the United States and the French and others, is judged to be adequate to the task. The question has really been about more what can that force do. I think the expansion a bit of a more aggressive stance by that force in going into areas that are particularly violent and dealing with the violence and the militias in those areas is probably really the question that we have to deal with. I'm glad, Senator, you mentioned the police forces, because in the long run, what really will help Haiti is that it needs a professional, civilian police force that can be counted on to enforce law, not to break law. And we have, as you well know, dispatched civilian police trainers from the United States, and from other places, to try and engage in that activity. But I agree completely. Unfortunately, Haiti seems to be a place where natural and manmade disasters have come together in a really terrible way for the Haitian people. They do have a new chance now. They have a transitional government that is trying to arrange elections in the fall. We need to support that process.
To the victors go the spoils, and the Republicans were counting on collecting some of theirs this week. Condoleezza Rice, the president's secretary of state nominee, would cruise through a quick confirmation hearing, and then the Senate would vote to confirm her in a process so fast that it could be squeezed in between Thursday afternoon's inaugural ceremony and Thursday night's inaugural balls. So confident of the outcome, the White House had Colin Powell deliver his farewell address in advance.
The Republicans didn't count on Barbara Boxer.
For the second time this month, California's junior senator has thrown a wrench into the works of the second-term White House machine. She did it two weeks ago, when she was the only senator to object to the certification of electoral votes from Ohio. And she did it this week, on the eve of George W. Bush's second inauguration, when she put hard questions to Rice and then cast a committee vote against her confirmation. Ohio's electoral votes were eventually counted, and Rice will eventually be confirmed. But largely because of Boxer, the road has been rockier than the White House had expected; the vote on Rice's confirmation will be delayed until next week so Senate Democrats can have time to debate it.
Boxer may have a reputation for tilting at windmills, but she bristles at the thought that she is engaging in protests that only delay the inevitable. "This isn't a protest," she told Salon Wednesday as she described her decision to confront Rice. "I'm just doing my job of 'advice and consent'".
Not all Democrats see it that way. Boxer's colleague from California, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, has already lined up behind Rice, saying that Americans can "rest easy" if Rice's "past performance is any indication." And while most of the Democrats and several of the Republicans on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee questioned Rice sharply this week on the administration's handling of Iraq, only Boxer and John Kerry voted against Rice's confirmation when the committee met Wednesday morning.
Boxer's in-your-face approach has given some comfort to Democrats around the country who feel defeated as the Republicans celebrate inauguration week. Boxer says it's all part of a long process, one that will someday see the Democrats in control again.
"I've been here a long time, and I've seen inaugurations come and inaugurations go," said Boxer, who had a surprisingly easy road to reelection for a third term last November. "The issues are the things that touch the American people, and they want to know that we're here fighting for them."
"Here" is Washington, where Boxer spoke with Salon Wednesday. She'll stay in the capital Thursday for Bush's swearing-in ceremony then catch a flight back home to California before the inaugural balls begin.
You're in the news today for your vote against the confirmation of Condoleezza Rice. Two weeks ago, it was because you joined Ohio Representative Stephanie Tubbs Jones in objecting to the certification of Ohio's electoral votes. You're taking an approach to the second Bush term that is different from the one many of your Democratic colleagues have chosen.
I was exercising my responsibility to take a deeper look at what happened in Ohio.
Did it work? Because you provided a Senate objection, Democrats were able to devote two hours in Congress to the issue of electoral reform. But will your objection ultimately lead to anything more substantive than that?
I can't tell you what's going to happen in Ohio per se. That's up to the people in Ohio and what happens in their courts. But what I can tell you is that my leader [Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid] has told me that one of the first pieces of legislation that will be [introduced] will be our bill on electoral reform. I can't say that will happen just because I did what I did. But I called attention to the fact that we've got a lot of work to do to make sure our elections are better, to make sure that people will have confidence in the process.
What about the Condoleezza Rice hearing? Despite your questioning of her, despite your decision to vote against her, she's still going to be confirmed when the full Senate takes up her nomination.
I think we shed the light of truth on the war in Iraq, which really had to be done. Fifty-eight percent of the American people are unhappy with the direction the administration is taking in Iraq. This was an opportunity to speak to the person who was one of the main architects and chief salespersons of the war, and it was an opportunity I could not let go. It's my job. I believe in accountability. I was able to take the issues that we had delved into -- the aluminum tubes, the claims about [Saddam Hussein] having a nuclear weapon within a year, the claims that he had ties with al-Qaida -- and give her a chance to set the record straight. To me, she didn't set the record straight. She answered every question, but she didn't get to the point that I was making.
Rice told you not to "impugn" her "integrity" or her "credibility," but that was exactly what you meant to do, wasn't it? You had questions about whether she had spoken truthfully about Iraq before and after the war began.
I was very honest about it. I told her, "I'm worried about your lack of candor" -- I wasn't denying that -- "and I'm giving you a chance to set the record straight." But she actually made the record murkier, especially on torture. She opened up a whole new front on the lack of credibility.
If people were looking for some sense of a fresh start with the beginning of the second Bush term, they wouldn't have seen it at the confirmation hearing.
The beat goes on. But I think that's where the people come in. We live in a democracy. This isn't a monarchy. The people's opinion is very important here, and right now 58 percent of them are worried about the way this war is going. And so many people watched the hearing. I was very happy to get thousands and thousands of phone calls and e-mails and the rest. And that's what saves the country many times, the people of this country. If we start abusing power, they catch you. That's what I want to do, keep the people engaged. I was really pleased with the breadth and the depth of the questions that were asked, and I like to think that I had something to do with that.
The questions were asked, but at the end of the day, most of your Democratic colleagues on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee cast their votes for Rice.
Many of my colleagues have different rules when it comes to voting on Cabinet members. I set a bar that's very high because I think these positions are very powerful, and others set them lower because they think the most important thing is that the president gets who he wants. I take "advice and consent" very seriously, perhaps more seriously than others. That's their choice.
Senator Feinstein actually introduced Rice to the Foreign Relations Committee, and she didn't say a word about the problems that occurred on her watch as the president's national security advisor.
Senator Feinstein is going to fight in her own way. I think she has been eloquent on the issue of intelligence reform, for example. I think she will continue to fight in the same way. We're not joined at the hip. We're not in agreement all the time. That's fine. There's nothing wrong with that. Everyone fights in his or her own way. She chooses her way, and I have my way, and Senator [Joseph] Biden [D-Dela.] has his way.
Biden lambasted Rice for "parroting" false statements from the Pentagon, but then he voted in favor of her confirmation anyway. With so many Democrats choosing that kind of path, what's the value in the confrontational approach you've taken?
America cares. They're watching, and it's an opportunity to lay out the issues, to send a message that you're going to be watching, and I think that was achieved. At the end of the day, we achieved that. Here's the thing, a lot of the people in the media -- and I'm talking about the more conventional media -- all they care about is the score. They don't care about the process. But the beauty of our country is that there is this process called democracy, and it's just as important as the end result.
Your critics would say -- and, in the context of the protest of the electoral vote, they did say -- that you're the one who has trouble understanding democracy. Bush was reelected in November, and he says his reelection was an "accountability moment" in which the American people ratified his decisions about Iraq.
That's what George Bush said, and I don't agree with that at all. We're all responsible for our actions in our lives, and we all have to be held responsible and accountable for things that will happen when we're no longer in office, too. I mean, if we cast a vote for Social Security [reform] so that we end up with senior citizens walking around garbage cans looking for food, it doesn't matter if that happens a year from now or 40 years from now. We're responsible. There's no statute of limitations on bad judgment.
And it's not as if the judgments that the administration made about Iraq during the first Bush term cease to have repercussions during the second Bush term.
They said they were "rolling out a new product." Remember, [White House chief of staff] Andy Card said that. And they did, and the product they rolled out was a war. If it had been a can opener or a new shoe or some product that didn't hurt anybody, fine. But it's a war. And if they "roll out" another "product" like this, we have to make sure that all the mistakes and the misstatements that were made about this one -- we have to make sure that people are aware of it next time.
I think people paid attention to this. I don't think the Bush administration thought people would pay so much attention to this, but they did. I feel really good about it. The process in a democracy is as important as the outcome. You have to make sure that everyone in this country feels represented. And I would bet that, today, everybody in this country feels represented, whether it was me or Senator Biden's questions or Feingold's questions or Dodd's or Chafee's or Lugar's or whatever. They feel represented today.
You know what? I like her. I'd vote her for president.
Boxer is a grade-A moron. She annually places in the top ten in Roll Call magazine's vote of the top ten dumbest Senators--not in Patty Murray territory, but well up there. If absolutely mindless partisanship is what you're after, though, she's your lady.
As someone who has honestly watched both days of this on CSPAN in their entirety Im gonna have to say that Boxer is pretty much an idiot when compared to Rice. Most of Boxers difficulty came from trying to outsmart someone who is just obviously smarter than her. Her points and some of the information she entered into the record were patently ripped out of context and she worked her ass off to misconstrue certain statements Rice had previously made. Ill put it like this, if perfect government is having your state representative be a pure amalgam of the constituency, Boxer is your man. Btw, thats was an insult to both Californians(who are a notoriously stupid breed) and Boxers femininity(which is very elusive)...
Anywho...some of the better questioning came in the form of prodding Condi on Russia and Iran and other areas of interest...I didint expect her to really say anything or like, lay out some grand American strategy, but she shed some light on her evaluation of the situations even without going into specfic prescriptions. She seems nothing if not conceptually solid...
Most interesting to me, because I like the more obscure sort of info, was a brief discussion on Iraqi UAV technology and the potential for shiplaunched gas attacks on the US coast...really far out shit...also, it was fun to see Rice not pin down the number of 'straight shootin'(when you say it you have to make little guns with your hands and act like youre shooting the words, one from each hand) Iraqi security forces...my guess from all the bickering is that it sits well under the administrations 120,000 and probably more at like 20,000...if that(which is really a rather major failure if Im anywhere close to right).
If there's a good answer on Russia or Iran, I'd LOVE to hear it. Those are two very seriously nasty trouble spots where frankly I don't see an even moderately desirable policy option, merely choices between the unpleasant and the disastrous.
Of course, any really proactive solution in those areas wouldn't be the sort of thing one could discuss in a public hearing, one presumes.
Okay, my real response. Urgency prompted the brevity above.
Boxer is a grade-A moron. She annually places in the top ten in Roll Call magazine's vote of the top ten dumbest Senators--not in Patty Murray territory, but well up there. If absolutely mindless partisanship is what you're after, though, she's your lady.
Before I agknowlege the claim of a person as being dumb, I like to know the criteria used to assertain that fact.
Please provide the examples and the evaluation made based on such.
As someone who has honestly watched both days of this on CSPAN in their entirety Im gonna have to say that Boxer is pretty much an idiot when compared to Rice. Most of Boxers difficulty came from trying to outsmart someone who is just obviously smarter than her. Her points and some of the information she entered into the record were patently ripped out of context and she worked her ass off to misconstrue certain statements Rice had previously made.
Ahem, as someone who is familiar with Rice's record on Iraq, Haiti, Venezulea, and her lovely comments on Abu Grahib (which I would have thought would have made some of us human rightie folks cringe) the conclusion that condelezza rice is smart is not very well founded. Her comments against Chavez in 2002 when the coup, which abolished the supreme court and the constitution of venezulea, was overthrown by the people were laughable.
Her approach to both wars and tsunamis as marketing opportunities are offensive.
Her record with intelligence and security was not only bad under Bush I, remember she was in charge of the Soviet portfolio during the russia crisis and near meltdown of Gorbechov's time, but she was in da house while that WTC thang was going on.
So, if it were a debate, using some outer space criteria from Planet Freeper, you can conclude rice was stellar against the bad ol' liberal. But using the historical record, using the portions which Boxer used in her statements, while kowtowing to the military and all the other things the right likes to clothe themselves in, Boxer did a pretty good job of making clear that Condi is a lying bitch. Hands down. No debate.
Most interesting to me, because I like the more obscure sort of info, was a brief discussion on Iraqi UAV technology and the potential for shiplaunched gas attacks on the US coast...really far out shit...
You like fairy tales? I got some far out ones about Iraq that you'd like to hear! Except, they're a few years old and you probably heard them and they aren't that good when you look into them. The suspension of disbelief factor being so high and all.
How about martians! Those red fuckers are going to terrrorize us good! We gotta build a mission to mars to liberate those fuckers and stop them WMD's and kill terrorists. And the Geneva conventions won't need to apply at all because if they covered Martians that would be stretching the definition of Geneva and shit.
Sorry, can't swallow it no matter how much mustard gas you put on it.
Im amazed that one of your complaints about her is that she saw opportunity where there honestly is some and that she didnt preface her statements on the matter with the boring and completely predictable 'oh gee I really feel so bad for all of them' boo hoo bullshit. Whatever, shes a human...youre going to just have to take it for granted that she feels as sorry as anyone can who lives 5000 miles away. Its retarded to demand that everyone, when broaching a situation, must point out that they have compassion before they can adress it. Thats just so stupid and beside the point.
I dont cringe about treatment of prisoners cause I dont give two shits about them. I do not care how many Iraqis have to be killed to get the job done...what makes you think I care about their dignity?
She did fine against Boxer. It was quite obvious that Boxer took all sorts of comments out of context...that she was trying, in vain I might add, to corner Rice on her statements. She didnt do it effectively...Rice countered every point she made...you dont have to accept her counter points but she did have a different view of the situations. If anything they fought to a draw...
quote:Originally posted by Thimbles worth of opinion Before I agknowlege the claim of a person as being dumb, I like to know the criteria used to assertain that fact.
Please provide the examples and the evaluation made based on such.
If the endless stream of babble issuing from her lips is insufficient to convince you, please reference the aformentioned annual vote of her colleagues.
I give credit to the more intelligent of my ideological opponents...Moynihan, Kinsley and the like. I've never once called YOU dumb, because you aren't. Barbara Boxer, on the other hand, is dumber than nine chickens.
Franklin Pierce=dumber than a chicken
Tom Eagleton=dumber than two chickens
Ulysses S. Grant=dumber than four chickens
Charlie Rangel=dumber than six chickens
Kay Bailey Hutchinson=dumber than seven chickens
Barbara Boxer=dumber than nine chickens
J. Danforth Quayle=dumber than eleven chickens
Patty Murray=dumber than the sum total of all chickens who have ever existed
Note that this is a scale of political stupidity, not of worthlessness. There are stupid politicians who are nonetheless reasonably worthwhile public servants, and there are spectacularly evil politicians who are actually pretty smart. In fact, chicken-level dumbness places a limit on the amount a person can achieve, which prevents stupid people from achieving truly spectacular catastrophe.
George W. Bush is generally assessed somewhere in the three-to-six chicken range; any damage that he causes beyond the capacity implied by that limit can justly be scored to his advisors.
Documentation on how much of an idiot Barbara Boxer is--
Idiot of the Day: Senator Barbara Boxer, CA (D)
Seems U.S. SENATOR BARBARA BOXER is considering signing on with the Congressional Black Caucus and objecting to the Florida or Ohio (I forget which) certification. You know, Al Gore in all his off the chart stupidity at least had the grace to step up and deter his colleagues from interfering with the certification of the vote. Where is John Kerry? In the corner of his Georgetown Townhouse sucking his thumb?
From what I understand if she signs on and the objection is accepted they will adjourn for a few hours of debate and basic wasting of the tax payers buck then come back and certify the vote. This stupid bitch isn’t even from Florida (ohio). She and Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey, the other idiot from California were obviously separated at birth or are some sort of experiment gone wrong. How can such a beautiful state breed such stupid ass people? Is there something in the water there that makes them more retarded than your average Liberal?
I will not even go into the Congressional Black Caucus debate. Perhaps they can gather their favorite pedophiles together and have a press conference. I am sure the CBC’s favorite guy to play a fundraiser, R.Kelly has time before he goes to trial for video taping sex with a minor. A video where he supposedly urinates on her. I have no doubt their recently honored humanitarian/child predator Michael Jackson could glue his nose on for a song or two.
I hope these stupid ass liberals continue to piss and moan for the next two years so they can lose the midterm elections in a landslide. Then they can launch again into their disenfranchised bullshit and whine another two years and we will see the GOP win another presidency by a huge margin of victory. Keep it up, Jackasses. If you only knew how big a joke everyone thinks you are…
Didn't she have a nervous breakdown on camera and actually say she was going to step down?? Why are all the Dems going wacko?
Bunning is senile, not dumb. And Byrd is a long damn way from dumb. I wish he WERE dumb. If he were, a lot less of my tax money would have been spent building seven-lane suspension bridges over West Virginia mud puddles.
Based on the Roll Call voting (and on first-person testimony from a couple of well-connected friends of mine), Murray is in a league of her own dumb-wise.
quote:Originally posted by CHiPsJr Byrd is a long damn way from dumb. I wish he WERE dumb. If he were, a lot less of my tax money would have been spent building seven-lane suspension bridges over West Virginia mud puddles.
I would submit that Byrd is indeed quite dumb, and that you (plural) are dumber.
Im amazed that one of your complaints about her is that she saw opportunity where there honestly is some and that she didnt preface her statements on the matter with the boring and completely predictable 'oh gee I really feel so bad for all of them' boo hoo bullshit.
You see, this is the kind of thing that gets me. By stating that someone else's disaster is a "wonderful opportunity to show not just the U.S. government, but the heart of the American people" as compassionate, you kind of undo the perception you're trying to achieve. It's in bad fucking taste.
Especially when you emphasize the "great dividends" it's brought to your interests and consider the actual reality of how people percieved the American response to the disaster.
It was a botched opportunity. It was a show of America being shamed into taking action by the international community which had given it's support from the first day. It was a show of an American president pledgeing a few million less than his inangural balls and whining about those who suggested canceling the parties while troops were dying in Iraq and bodies were being mass buried in Aceh.
Even with all the backpedalling increases in aid, the US is number 3 in countries contributing with nations that are substantially less large GDP wise, contributing substantially more ratio wise.
Therefore, yes. Her comments were dumb. And offensive. And just plain stupid, which is what I expect Condi Rice knowing her record.
She did fine against Boxer. It was quite obvious that Boxer took all sorts of comments out of context.
If it's so obvious then you can spare the effort to demonstrate. Freepers always seem to point out the obvious, but never seem to demonstrate it. "He's so obviously stupid." "She's so obviously wrong." "Sadaam so obviously has Weapons of Mass Destruction." Oh, was that a cheap shot? Yep, I believe it was. Please don't report me for using republican intellectual property.
If the endless stream of babble issuing from her lips is insufficient to convince you, please reference the aformentioned annual vote of her colleagues.
I give credit to the more intelligent of my ideological opponents...Moynihan, Kinsley and the like.
Unfortunately, because I had never heard of Boxer before the Ohio vote and the Rice kafuffle, I was not familiar with her past record. Now when I do searches, everything is Ohio this and Condi that, two outings in which I thought she did rather good.
The only thing I could find on her was her voting record on the roll call website which seems to indicate that she thinks abortion is wrong after age 3.
Could not find anything denoteing the objective measureing capabilities of the chicken scale, but I assume it's measureing the cumulative effects of interacting stupidity versus the sum total of mental processing occuring, which has been graphed to rise in relation to the amount of chickens in a room due to the "two heads are better than one" law - to which a set of corallaries were added stateing:
1. given those heads are not as stupid as a chicken.
2. given those heads are capable of expressing more than variations of the word 'Bock'.