I haven't finished listening to the audio of the House Armed Services Committee hearing
this morning yet, but it's damn good
. Wes Clark, and a couple of the congressmen, really confronted the subject head on, and broke some taboos. Frankly, I was surprised how far they went. Some of the highlights:
[1:36:45]...it included a sweeping list of countries... I was shown a memo once in the Pentagon right after 9/11 that predicted that this was the way we were going to go, knock off Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, it's a great recipe and it would be wonderful if they were all exactly like democratic states that were friendly with the United States. But how you get there is very important, and at what price. Now the issue is how do we succeed in Iraq. My point is this: if you want to succeed in Iraq, you isolate the problem, you don't make it larger. You make it smaller.
[1:37:53] If we believe what the President said, that the most pressing problem of our time is to keep the worst people from getting the worst weapons, then we're not doing that, we're operating off a different agenda. We're working to make the Middle East safe for Israel and for democracy, but we're not focusing on the national security problem the president laid out in 2002.
[1:38:30] The strategy we're pursuing right now [toward Iran and Syria] is a sort of regional dominoes strategy which is making it more difficult for our troops in Iraq.
Another really good exchange starts at around [1:14], and includes Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) pressing Richard Perle on the Clean Break
paper, the Policy Counterterrorism Evaluation Group
, and the real agenda behind the war. You can tell Rep. Jones has read up on this, and is aware of a lot of the material I've mentioned on this blog. (Didn't he get the memo that AIPAC doesn't allow you to talk about that?) Anyway, I'm going to take off my Democratic partisan hat for a moment and give kudos to Rep. Jones -- he linked it all together, and you can hear the emotion in his voice as he goes after Perle. He mentions that he's been to four funerals for Marines from bases in North Carolina recently, and you can tell that the fact that he understands that they died in a war sold under false pretenses offends him greatly. He keeps it civil with Perle, but just barely.
I may blog more on this later in the week -- for now I need to listen to the rest of the hearing (over three hours long!) and find an official transcript. Great stuff.
[Crossposted from my blog -- The Gorilla in the Room]