Buried in the middle of today's Washington Post analysis piece on the National Intelligence Estimate is a bit of information that should make everyone in the US stand up and take notice:
This report was made available to Congress on April 26. April 26.
Today is September 27. Where has Congress been for the past five months?
The Post says:
Copies of the NIE were sent to the House and Senate intelligence, armed services and foreign affairs committees at the time, through normal electronic information channels available to all members, intelligence and congressional sources said. It arrived at the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on April 26.The Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee said the dog ate the report. That is, he blamed it on a massive computer failure that affected the classified stuff. Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-Mich.) told The Post: "The first that the committee knew of its existence was late last week, when 'it was requested specifically by a member. That was when it was found and scanned into our system.'" The Post went on to observe:
Whether the document was ignored or disappeared into cyberspace, however, it seemed to have made little impact on Capitol Hill at the time. No one in either chamber, on either side of the aisle, requested a briefing or any further information on its conclusions until now, the sources said."No one in either chamber, on either side of the aisle, requested a briefing or any further information on its conclusions until now."
What the hell are members of Congress doing? Are they so busy running for reelection that they don't have any time at all to spend on their jobs? Yes, Democrats, I'm talking to you! The Republicans have proved that they plan to follow Bush down the road to ruin, but why in the world haven't the Democrats made a stink?
I realize that the intelligence estimate -- or what we've seen of it -- just confirms what experts worldwide have said for a couple of years: The unnecessary war in Iraq inflamed Muslims everywhere. But even politicians more interested in keeping their jobs than doing them ought to be able to realize that the fact that US intelligence experts are saying the same thing means that it's time to take action.
No wonder the people in this country have so little respect for Congress. If it wasn't for the fact that our only hope of reining in Bush and his posse rests with Congress, I'd give up on the institution, too.
Yo, Democrats: Stop being the "loyal opposition." Read the report. Filibuster the detainee and wiretapping bills. Start working on a real plan that not only gets us out of Iraq, but lays the groundwork for rebuilding our shattered relationship with the rest of the world -- particularly Muslims.
It's a really good time to pick a fight.