Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Congressman John Conyers Punks Scott McClellan

We all know what a duplicitous hack the White House has in Press Secretary Scott McClellan, but it's nice to see a man like Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich, make him look like the weasel that he is.

In a letter sent to McClellan yesterday, Conyers called Bush's Press Secretary on the carpet for using the protest-deaths in Afghanistan (following the Newsweek story on Koran desecration at Guantanamo Bay) and for the Bush administration's refusal to come clean on the lead-up to the Iraq war.

"I urge you and your counterpart at the Pentagon to immediately retract the comments made yesterday, and – at long last – provide a full accounting of the Administration's actions in the lead up to the Iraq war," wrote Conyers.

In addition to calling both McClellan and Pentagon spokesman Larry DiRita to task for making inflammatory statements about Newsweek and attempting to intimidate the media to quell unfavorable stories, Conyers points out that their assertions that Newsweek caused the Afghan deaths are contradicted by their own senior military officials.

"First, this attempt to tie riots to the Newsweek article stands in stark contrast to the assessment of your own senior military officials. On May 12th, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Of Staff had reported on his consultations with the Senior Commander in Afghanistan about whether there was a causal relationship between the Newsweek story and the riots thusly: '[h]e thought it was not at all tied to the article in the magazine.' The only conclusion that can be reasonably drawn is that, in contrast to career military officers, political operatives sought to score cheap political points by spreading falsehoods about Newsweek. The appropriate course of action is clear: you and Mr. DiRita should immediately retract your exploitative comments."

Conyers then really drops the hammer on McClellan for the Bush administration's sickening hypocrisy in decrying senseless deaths, when their policies and lies have caused so many more.

"There is - of course - a sad irony in this White House claiming that someone else's errors or misjudgments led to the loss of innocent lives. Over 1,600 Americans and tens of thousands of Iraqis have lost their lives in the Iraq war, a war which your Administration justified by falsely claiming that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. To date, your Administration has consistently blocked Congressional inquiries into whether such claims were the result of intentional manipulation of intelligence or, as you assert, a mere 'failure'."

There's more, but you'll enjoy it much more if you read it for yourself.

But, I'll tell you, people like John Conyers and Barbara Boxer make me proud to be a Democrat. Let's hope their consistent political courage spreads throughout the party.