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March 27, 2008
Three Blind Mice
If we can't accuse them of being unpatriotic, can we at least accuse some Democrats of being monumentally dense?
Saddam Hussein's intelligence agency secretly financed a trip to Iraq for three U.S. lawmakers during the run-up to the U.S.-led invasion, federal prosecutors said Wednesday. There was a time in this country (when people cared about such things) that those 3 Congressmen would have been severely reprimanded by their colleagues for being so stupid as to become a paid stooge for a murderous, thuggish, dictator like Saddam Hussein.
The three anti-war Democrats made the trip in October 2002, while the Bush administration was trying to persuade Congress to authorize military action against Iraq. While traveling, they called for a diplomatic solution. Prosecutors say that trip was arranged by Muthanna Al-Hanooti, a Michigan charity official, who was charged Wednesday with setting up the junket at the behest of Saddam's regime. Iraqi intelligence officials allegedly paid for the trip through an intermediary and rewarded Al-Hanooti with 2 million barrels of Iraqi oil.
The lawmakers are not named in the indictment but the dates correspond to a trip by Democratic Reps. Jim McDermott of Washington, David Bonior of Michigan and Mike Thompson of California. None was charged and Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd said investigators "have no information whatsoever" any of them knew the trip was underwritten by Saddam.
No more. Instead, this entire incident will be brushed off as a "non-story." After all, how could they possibly have known that an enemy of America was using them for his own propoganda purposes?
Ed Morrissey has an answer to that:
Bonior, Thompson, and McDermott apparently didn’t know about Al-Hanooti’s connection — but they don’t appear to have asked, either. Instead, they got snookered into a ploy by Saddam to buy some American dissent at a time when our nation still reeled from the deaths of 3,000 people in a terrorist attack. Sure enough, The Standard's contemporaneous account is revealing:
Wouldn’t the possibility of exploitation have crossed their minds — and shouldn’t the three Congressmen have asked the FBI to check out Al-Hanooti at the time? In fact, the three of them broadcast the Saddam propaganda straight from Baghdad, as the Weekly Standard reported at the time:
McDermott didn’t backpedal at all: “I believe that sometimes they give out misinformation. . . . It would not surprise me if they came out with some information that is not provable, and they, they shift it. First they said it was al-Qaeda, then they said it was weapons of mass destruction. Now they’re going back to and saying it’s al Qaeda again.” When Stephanopoulos pressed McDermott about whether he had any evidence that Bush had lied, the congressman replied, “I think the president would mislead the American people.” It takes a special kind of idiot to take the Iraqis "at their face value." But the run of the mill stupidity of these three Congressmen in being so incurious about the source of the money they received that got them to Baghdad on the eve of a war should make them either a laughingstock or demonstrably unfit to serve in Congress.
An American official floating unsubstantiated allegations against an American president during a visit to Baghdad would be troubling enough. But McDermott compounded his problem by insisting, despite its twelve years of verifiable prevarication, that the Iraqi regime should be given the benefit of the doubt on inspections and disarmament. Said McDermott on “This Week”: “I think you have to take the Iraqis on their face value.”
There will be no reckoning over this revelation. It will just go in the books as one more example of why the Democrats as a party cannot be trusted with running the national security apparatus of the United States.