No Real Solutions, But Probably No Indictments Either

What President Bush says and what he does are rarely within hailing distance, but it was still pretty startling to see the White House press release earlier today about the State of the Union address:

“To keep America competitive in a dynamic economy, the President will set out an agenda focused on the priorities that families are most concerned about. He will talk about the importance of having an educated, skilled workforce, reducing our dependence on foreign oil, and making health care more affordable, accessible, and portable.”

Sounds like one of us, right? Don’t show him the secret Democratic handshake. He doesn’t really mean it. And he certainly won’t really do anything about it.

In the SOTU two years ago, he proposed a new $250 million program for job training in community colleges. The next week he released with less fanfare his proposed budget. There was $5 million in the proposed budget for the new $250 million program, and he proposed much bigger cuts in funding for other community college programs.

So if anything he said tonight sounded like real concern for working and middle-class families--like his newfound enthusiasm for math and science education--just wait a week and look at his budget.

You probably got up once or twice during the SOTU to go to the refrigerator or to the bathroom. You may have channel-surfed a little. Maybe you’re wondering if you missed some of what the President talked about tonight. I was stuck right there in the House chamber, forced to listen to every word, so let me help.

What did he say about income inequality? You know, CEO salaries now constitute ten percent of the profits of big corporations, while the wages of the vast majority of Americans haven’t budged. I posted a recent diary at dKos about income inequality and the North Carolina Budget & Tax Center released statistics on income inequality in North Carolina just a few days ago.

No, you didn’t miss it; the President didn’t say a word about income inequality.

When Republicans pushed through a Medicare prescription drug plan two years ago, I wondered if Republicans thought that most Americans hated their own doctor but really trusted their insurance company. If you’re too young for Medicare, talk to your parents or grandparents about their prescription drug plan. The President’s health care proposals tonight are a larger dose of the same medicine.

And as to Iraq, where to begin? The Iraqi people now see our military as a foreign occupying army. In a recent poll, half of Iraqis supported the attacks on our troops, and the vast majority believed we intended to maintain a long-term military presence there. We still haven’t heard a real exit strategy from the President, or any idea of how long our men and women will be there. I’ve said before that it’s high time for an exit strategy, and that we tell the Iraqis that we really intend to go home and let Iraqis decide Iraq’s future.

On the plus side, I don’t think anything the President said tonight will lead to any indictments.

Comments

Great Post

Thanks for doing it here. And sorry that you had to witness all of the speech.

It's true

The things that matter were, for the most part, absent from the speech. And when he did talk about important issues -- like domestic spying -- he was on the wrong side of the issue (with the possible exception of immigration). ThinkProgress did a good job taking apart Bush's, uh, 'misrepresentations.'

Thanks, Congressman Miller.

Appreciation

Thank you congressman for your candor. I have one comment. I was disappointed to see on C-SPAN that the Democratic side stood up and clapped for any of the President's agenda. There was nothing to applaud, none of it was true. The Democrats are going to have to grow a spine as these guys are not going away from the trough willingly. I appreciate your candor and please keep communicating. The base is rising and we have your backs. We need you and the other congressmen to stand up for us, stand up for all Americans. Thank you again.

thanks Brad. the evidence

thanks Brad. the evidence for the indictments are being gathered elsewhere, namesly the World Tribunal on Iraq and the Bush Crime Commission.

Thanks for cutting to the bottom line for us

I'm so sorry you had to be there. I'm afraid I would have either barfed or cried . . . or just walked out. Guess that's why you get the big bucks.

I too wonder why you guys (Dems in Congress) give this guy the courtesy of your attention and (occasional) applause. He's a self-confessed criminal who is surrounded by liars and boot-lickers. He has carried us into a war based on faulty intelligence . . . which makes George himself either 1) a liar or 2) criminally incompetent. In either case, he doesn't deserve anything even remotely resembling respect from you or any other Dem in Congress.

I know I'm preaching to the choir, but I also hope I'm preaching to the new choir LEADER. Thank you for all you do . . . and for the clarity and courage of your convictions.

A day late and a dollar short

Although, I'm not sure if I'm talking about my post or the President. My wife had to quit watching the speech because I kept saying "That's a lie....that's a lie....that's a weasel....that's a lie...that's a weasel..."
She, at one point, said "He can't just be lying about all this stuff on National TV."

There you go. Because we're supposed to trust the President.

Please, please, please. Someone put together a list of lies that the President told during this speech so we can email it to all of our Republican relatives and friends.

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

You're going to make me compile it aren't you???

Okay. Sorry for the length, but that is a lot of lies for one man.

Bush
said:
“As we recover from a disaster, let us also work for the day when all
Americans are protected by justice, equal in hope, and rich in opportunity.”

FACT — WHITE HOUSE STONEWALLING KATRINA INVESTIGATIONS:
Congressional investigations into the administration’s inadequate response to
Katrina have stalled because the “Bush White House is now refusing to turn over
Hurricane Katrina related documents or make senior officials available for
testimony.” [MSNBC, 1/26/06]

Bush
said:
“In New Orleans and in
other places, many of our fellow citizens have felt excluded from the promise
of our country.”

FACT — POVERTY RATES HAVE INCREAED UNDER BUSH: The
poverty rate has risen each year since 2001, with 12.7 percent of the
population now living in poverty. [U.S.
Census Bureau, Aug. 2005, Tables
B-1 and B-2
]

FACT — BUSH TAX CUTS TARGETED AT HIGH-INCOME HOUSEHOLDS:
Households with incomes exceeding $1 million have received average tax cuts of
$103,000, “an increase of 5.4 percent in their after-tax income.” But in 2005,
the bottom fifth of households “will receive an average combined tax cut of $18
from these bills, raising their after-tax income by 0.3 percent.” [Center on
Budget and Policy Priorities, 10/17/05]

Bush
said:
“A hopeful society comes to the aid of fellow citizens in times of suffering
and emergency – and stays at it until they are back on their feet.”

FACT — KATRINA RECONSTRUCTION HAS BEEN SLOW AND BUNGLED: “[I]n
certain respects, little has changed” in New Orleans
since Hurricane Katrina, according to the Wall Street Journal. Only one-fifth
of the city’s original population has resettled. [WSJ, href="http://online.wsj.com/public/article/SB113707537378044821-Is3BAxGBcZHKLq61mseGPSvxtu0_20070115.html?...">1/13/06]

FACT — ADMINISTRATION REJECTED RECONSTRUCTION PLAN: The
White House rejected a Louisiana

reconstruction plan — the “most broadly supported plan for rebuilding
communities,” [Times-Picayune, href="http://www.nola.com/news/t-p/frontpage/index.ssf?/base/news-4/1138202723122050.xml">1/25/06;
New York Times, href="http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/30/opinion/30mon1.html?hp">1/30/06]

FACT — KATRINA RECONSTRUCTION FUNDING HAS BEEN TAINTED BY
POLITICS:
The $29 billion in aid passed last month was tainted by politics:
the package “gave Mississippi about five times as much per household in housing
aid as Louisiana received,” a “testimony to the clout” of Bush’s political
ally, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R). [New York
Times, href="http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/05/national/nationalspecial/05buyout.html?ex=1138770000&en=ca355f7aeb...">1/5/06]

 

Bush
said:
“Each of us has made a pledge to be worthy of public responsibility –
and that is a pledge we must never forget, never dismiss, and never betray.”

FACT – BUSH HAS REFUSED TO COOPERATE IN LEAK
INVESTIGATION:
Bush reportedly knew about Karl Rove’s
role in the leak investigation two years ago, yet has not come public with the
information, despite his repeated promises “to get to the bottom of this.” [NY
Daily News, href="http://thinkprogress.org/%E2%80%9Chttp:/www.nydailynews.com/front/story/357107p-304312c.html%E2%80%9D">10/19/05;
Washington Post, href="http://thinkprogress.org/%E2%80%9Chttp:/www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&contentId...">9/30/03]

FACT — BUSH ADMINISTRATION IS STONEWALLING ON ABRAMOFF
CONTACTS:
The White House continues to stonewall on Jack class=SpellE>Abramoff’s contacts with the administration. style='mso-spacerun:yes'> A growing bipartisan list of
lawmakers have
called for the White House to come clean. [White House, href="http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2006/01/20060126.html">1/26/06;
Los Angeles Times, href="http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-abramoff30jan30,0,7151768.story?coll=la-home-na...">1/30/06]

FACT — BUSH HAS STRONG CONNECTIONS TO INDICTED
CONSERVATIVES:
Bush’s election campaign has received over $100,000 in
campaign contributions from guilty lobbyist Jack Abramoff
and halted a federal investigation into Abramoff’s
activities in Guam. Two of Bush’s administration
officials have also been indicted. [Washington
Post, href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/01/04/AR2006010402111.html">1/5/06;

Los Angeles Times, href="http://citizensforethics.org/press/pressclip.php?view=541">8/7/05; Washington
Post, href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/19/AR2005091901859.html">9/20/05;
CNN, 9/29/05]

Bush
said:
“We need to encourage children to take more math and science, and
make sure those courses are rigorous enough to compete with other nations. We
have made a good start in the early grades with the No Child Left class=GramE>Behind Act, which is raising standards and lifting test
scores across our country. … If we ensure that America’s
children succeed in life, they will ensure that America

succeeds in the world.”

FACT — BUSH PROPOSED FIRST CUT IN EDUCATION SPENDING IN A
DECADE:
Bush’s budget for FY 2006 proposed the “first cut in overall
federal education spending in a decade.” [Washington
Post, href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/interactives/budget06/budget06Agencies.html">2/7/05]

FACT — SCIENCE EDUCATION HAS SUFFERED UNDER BUSH’S TERM:
No Child Left Behind has actually hurt science education, by testing
exclusively on math and reading. Some “teachers are being told to stop teaching
science and get back to reading and math,” [Business Week, href="http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/mar2004/tc20040316_0601_tc166.htm">3/16/04]

Bush
said:
“The best way to break this addiction is through technology. Since
2001, we have spent nearly 10 billion dollars to develop cleaner, cheaper, more
reliable alternative energy sources – and we are on the threshold of incredible
advances.”

FACT — BUSH PUSHED FOR RENEWABLE ENERGY
CUTS IN LATEST BUDGET:
President Bush’s FY06 budget request for the U.S.
Department of Energy’s (DOE) energy efficiency and renewable energy programs
envisioned “reductions totaling nearly $50 million - an overall cut of roughly
four percent.” [Renewable Energy Access, href="http://renewableenergyaccess.com/rea/news/story?id=23074">2/28/05]

FACT — BUSH REJECTED BIPARTISAN PLAN TO SET GOALS FOR
RENEWABLE ENERGY:
Last year, President Bush “oppose[d]
efforts to include a national renewable energy requirement for utilities in
Congress’ broad energy legislation.” According to the Union of Concerned
Scientists it “is a cost-effective, market-based policy that requires electric
utilities to gradually increase their use of renewable energy resources such as
wind, solar, and bioenergy,” to between 10 and 20
percent by 2020. A 10 percent standard “would have virtually no impact on
electricity prices and could save consumers as much as $13.2 billion.”
[Reuters, href="http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0OXD/is_2005_Feb_15/ai_n11841959">2/10/05;

href="http://www.ucsusa.org/clean_energy/clean_energy_policies/experts-agree-renewable-electricity-standar...">Union
of Concerned Scientists; href="http://www.ucsusa.org/clean_energy/clean_energy_policies/studies-show-a-national-res-could-save-bill...">Union
of Concerned Scientists]

FACT — BUSH ENERGY BILL CONTAINED LITTLE ON RENEWABLE
ENERGY:
The energy bill supported and signed by President Bush dropped a
provision that would have required utilities “to generate at least 10 percent
of their electricity through renewable fuels by 2020.” [New
York
Times, href="http://select.nytimes.com/search/restricted/article?res=F50815F7395B0C758EDDAE0894DD404482">7/26/05]

Bush
said:
“Keeping America

competitive requires affordable energy. Here we have a serious problem: America
is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world.”

FACT — BUSH HAS INCREASED DEPENDENCE ON FOREIGN OIL:
Sixty-six percent of oil consumed in the United
States
comes from foreign sources, up from
58 percent in 2000. [Energy Information Administration, href="http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/mer/pdf/pages/sec1_15.pdf">1/06; American
Progress, href="http://www.americanprogress.org/atf/cf/%7bE9245FE4-9A2B-43C7-A521-5D6FF2E06E03%7d/ENERGYCHAPTER.pdf">2004]

FACT– BUSH ENERGY BILL WILL NOT REDUCE
RELIANCE ON FOREIGN OIL:
The energy bill signed and supported by President
Bush “rejected a Senate provision that required reduction of oil consumption by
one million barrels per day by 2015.” [U.S.
House Committee on Government Reform, href="http://www.democrats.reform.house.gov/Documents/20050726164801-76366.pdf">7/05]

Bush
said:
“We will strengthen Health Savings Accounts – by making sure
individuals and small business employees can buy insurance with the same
advantages that people working for big businesses now get.”

FACT — HSA USERS MORE LIKELY TO HAVE DIFFICULTY PAYING
MEDICAL BILLS:
Individuals with high-deductible insurance plans ( class=SpellE>HDHPs), which are mandatory with health savings accounts,
are “more likely than those with traditional medical coverage to have
difficulty paying their medical bills. Forty-nine percent of consumers with
deductibles above $500 per year wound up with outstanding medical debt, vs. 32%
with regular coverage.” [WebMD Medical News, href="http://www.webmd.com/content/article/100/105428.htm?printing=true">1/27/05]

FACT — HSA COST SAVINGS ARE ILLUSORY: class=SpellE>HSAs are supposed to save costs by discouraging people from
obtaining unnecessary health care. But about 70 percent of costs in the U.S.

health system are for the top 10 percent most expensive people. These people’s
costs are well above the deductible, and they usually require hospitalization
or are chronically ill. A high deductible won’t change their behavior. [New
Yorker, 8/29/05]

FACT — HSA USERS PAY MORE OUT-OF-POCKET COSTS:
According to one study, “more than two-fifths (42 percent) of individuals with class=SpellE>HDHPs [high-deductible insurance plans] and 3 in 10 (31
percent) in CDHPs [”consumer-driven” health plans]
spent 5 percent or more of their income on out-of-pocket costs plus premiums in
the past year, compared with about 1 in 10 (12 percent) in comprehensive health
plans.” [Commonwealth Fund/Employee Benefit Research Institute, href="http://press.arrivenet.com/politics/article.php/729495.html">December
2005]

FACT — HSA USERS MORE LIKELY TO AVOID, SKIP, OR DELAY
HEALTH CARE BECAUSE OF COSTS:
Individuals in health savings accounts were
“significantly more likely to avoid, skip, or delay health care because of
costs than were those with comprehensive insurance, with problems particularly
pronounced among those with health problems or incomes under $50,000.” Over 30
percent of individuals in these programs “reported delaying or avoiding care,
compared with 17 percent of those in comprehensive health plans.” [Commonwealth
Fund/Employee Benefit Research Institute, href="http://press.arrivenet.com/politics/article.php/729495.html">December
2005]

Bush
said:
“Keeping America
competitive requires us to be good stewards of tax dollars.”

FACT– BUSH HAS PRESIDED OVER SUSTAINED, RECORD DEFICITS:

In his 2002 State of the Union address, Bush promised that “our budget will run
a deficit that will be small and short-term.” Bush has not kept his promise.
The 2005 U.S.
budget deficit was $319 billion, the “third-largest ever.” Goldman Sachs
predicts $5 trillion in deficits over the next 10 years [Bush, href="http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/01/20020129-11.html">2002
State of the Union; Fox News, href="http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,181726,00.html">1/25/06]

FACT — BUSH TAX CUTS WOULD WORSEN THE DEFICIT: The
President’s tax cuts would only “expand the deficit over the next five years,”
despite his promises to the contrary. [Center for Budget and Policy Priorities,
Press Myths]

Bush
said:
“Because America
needs more than a temporary expansion, we need more than temporary tax relief.
I urge the Congress to act responsibly, and make the tax cuts permanent.”

FACT — TAX CUTS WILL COST $3.4 TRILLION OVER TEN YEARS: The
cost of making the tax cuts permanent will be $3.4 trillion through fiscal year
2015. This includes the cost of extending the Alternative Minimum Tax relief
associated with these tax cuts. [Congressional Budget Office, href="http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/70xx/doc7027/01-26-BudgetOutlook.pdf">1/26/06]

FACT — PERMANENT TAX CUTS OVERWHELMINGLY FAVOR THE
WEALTHIEST:
If Bush’s tax cuts are made permanent, the top one percent of
households will gain an average of $71,420 a year when the tax cuts are fully
in effect. By contrast, people in the middle of the income spectrum would
secure average tax cuts of just $870. [Urban Institute-Brookings

InstitutionTaxPolicy
Center, href="http://taxpolicycenter.org/TaxModel/tmdb/TMTemplate.cfm?DocID=1051&topic2ID=40&topic3ID=57">12/20/05]

Bush
said:
“In the last five years, the tax relief you passed has left 880
billion dollars in the hands of American workers, investors, small businesses,
and families – and they have used it to help produce more than four years of
uninterrupted economic growth.”

FACT — DEFICITS CAUSED BY TAX CUTS NEGATE ANY POTENTIAL
ECONOMIC BENEFITS:
Studies by the Joint Committee on Taxation (JTC), class=SpellE>Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
(OECD), and Congressional Budget Office (CBO) all confirm that deficits
undermine economic benefits of the cuts. In their analysis of the 2003 tax
cuts, JTC found that any economic benefits of the tax cuts would “eventually
likely to be outweighed by the reduction in national savings due to increasing
Federal government deficits.” [American Progress, href="http://www.americanprogress.org/site/pp.asp?c=biJRJ8OVF&b=1376667">1/26/05;
CBO, October
2005
]

Bush
said:
“Tonight I will set out a better path – an agenda for a Nation that
competes with confidence – an agenda that will raise standards of living and
generate new jobs.”

FACT — JOB GROWTH UNDER BUSH LOWEST SINCE WORLD WAR II:
Even since the 2003 tax cuts, job growth has been historically weak, growing at
less than half the average rate for similar periods in comparable post-war
recoveries. [Center for American Progress, State of the Economy, href="http://www.americanprogress.org/site/pp.asp?c=biJRJ8OVF&b=1376667">1/26/06]

FACT — FEDERAL SPENDING ON WORKER EDUCATION AND TRAINING
IS LOW:
Federal spending on employment and training for dislocated workers
in 2005 was just $1.5 billion, less than the amount spent on highway aid and
less than was spent in 2000 ($1.6 billion), when the unemployment rate was
lower. [Detroit Free Press, Bruce
Katz Column, href="http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060123/OPINION02/601230307/1070/OPINION">1/23/06]

FACT — WORKERS ARE LOSING PENSIONS: The share of
workers with a pension declined from 50.3 percent in 2000 to 40.6 percent in
2004. [Congressional Research Service, href="http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060123/OPINION02/601230307/1070/OPINION">Pension
Sponsorship and Participation] style='mso-spacerun:yes'>

Bush
said:
“Appropriate Members of Congress have been kept informed.”

FACT – BUSH BROKE THE LAW BY NOT INFORMING APPROPRIATE
MEMBERS OF CONGRESS:
The non-partisan Congressional research service
concluded that the Bush administration broke the law by not informing the full
Intelligence Committees. The New York Times href="http://select.nytimes.com/search/restricted/article?res=F40712F83E5B0C7A8DDDA80894DE404482">reports: style='font-size:18.0pt'>

Bush
said:
“Previous presidents have used the same constitutional authority I
have.”

FACT – BUSH IGNORE THE LAW, OTHER ADMINISTRATIONS FOLLOWED
IT:
The White House has made this claim before and the href="http://www.forbes.com/business/manufacturing/feeds/ap/2006/01/17/ap2456266.html">AP
debunked it:

McClellan said the Clinton-Gore administration had engaged in
warrantless physical searches, and he cited an FBI
search of the home of CIA turncoat Aldrich Ames without permission from a
judge. He said Clinton’s deputy
attorney general, Jamie Gorelick, had testified
before Congress that the president had the inherent authority to engage in
physical searches without warrants.

“I think his hypocrisy knows no bounds,” McClellan said of
Gore.

But at the time of the Ames
search in 1993 and when Gorelick testified a year
later, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act required warrants for
electronic surveillance for intelligence purposes, but did not cover physical
searches. The law was changed to cover physical searches in 1995 under
legislation that
Clinton
supported and signed.

Bush
said:
“We now know that two of the hijackers in the United
States
placed telephone calls to al-Qaeda
operatives overseas. But we did not know their plans until too late.”

FACT – WE KNEW THE TERRORISTS WERE THERE BEFORE THE
ATTACKS. BUREAUCRATIC PROBLEM, NOT SURVEILLANCE LAW, WAS THE REASON THEY WERE
NOT DETAINED:
Cheney made the same claim a couple of weeks ago, and the href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/01/04/AR2006010400973.html">Washington
Post debunked it:

But Cheney did not mention that the government had
compiled significant information on the two suspects before the attacks and
that bureaucratic problems — not a lack of information — were primary reasons
for the security breakdown, according to congressional investigators and the
Sept. 11 commission. Moreover, the administration had the power to eavesdrop on
their calls and e-mails, as long as it sought permission from a secret court
that oversees clandestine surveillance in the
United
States
.

The bigger problem was that the FBI and other agencies did
not know where the two suspects — Cheney’s office confirmed that he was
referring to Nawaf Alhazmi

and Khalid Almihdhar — were
living in the United States and had missed numerous opportunities to track them
down in the 20 months before the attacks, according to the Sept. 11 commission
and other sources. style='mso-spacerun:yes'>

 Bush said: “Our country must also remain on the
offensive against terrorism here at home.”

FACT — FLUNKING OUT ON HOMELAND SECURITY: The 9/11
Public Discourse Project (formerly the 9/11 Commission) has given the
administration failing grades on its efforts to improve homeland security.
Former Gov. Thomas Kean (R-NJ), former chair of the
9/11 Commission, said that homeland security is “not a priority for the
government right now. You don’t see the Congress or the president talking about
the public safety as number one, as we think it should be, and a lot of the
things we need to do really to prevent another 9/11 just simply aren’t being
done by the president or by the Congress.” [NBC Meet the Press, href="http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10266650/">12/4/05]

FACT — FIRST RESPONDERS A LOW PRIORITY FOR BUSH: Just
6 percent of national security spending is devoted to homeland security and the
administration still has “no system in place that allows emergency personnel to
communicate reliably and effectively in a crisis.” The government has also cut
funding for state and local law enforcement and first responders by more than $2
billion from FY 2005 to FY 2006. “While the terrorists have been learning and
adapting, we have been moving at a bureaucratic crawl,” said James Thompson of
the 9/11 Project.[Chicago Tribune, href="http://www.9-11pdp.org/press/2005-12-16_op-ed.pdf">12/16/05; American
Progress, href="http://www.americanprogress.org/atf/cf/%7bE9245FE4-9A2B-43C7-A521-5D6FF2E06E03%7d/CONCORD.PDF">10/27/05;
American Progress, href="http://www.americanprogress.org/site/pp.asp?c=biJRJ8OVF&b=1029179">9/9/05;
href="http://www.americanprogress.org/atf/cf/%7BE9245FE4-9A2B-43C7-A521-5D6FF2E06E03%7D/port_security.pdf">American
Progress]

Bush
said:
“The Iranian government is defying the world with its nuclear
ambitions – and the nations of the world must not permit the Iranian regime to
gain nuclear weapons. America

will continue to rally the world to confront these threats.”

FACT — BUSH MIDDLE EAST POLICY HAS WEAKENED OUR HAND:
By invading Iraq href="http://www.americanprogress.org/site/pp.asp?c=biJRJ8OVF&b=38979">without
enough troops and href="http://www.americanprogress.org/site/pp.asp?c=biJRJ8OVF&b=38979">without
a plan for stabilizing the country, the administration allowed an href="http://journals.aol.com/bloomingtoncp/news/entries/2092">historic
expansion of Iranian influence westward into Iraq, even as the country’s
new leadership has drifted further towards href="http://edition.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/meast/01/15/iran.holocaust/index.html">radicalism
and rabid anti-Semitism. The Bush administration substituted a policy of
dual containment (of Iran

and Iraq) for
something more dangerous: a single-minded focus on Iraq
that has hampered our efforts to fight global terrorism and strengthened Iran’s
influence.



FACT — BUSH OPPOSITION TO NEGOTIATIONS WEAKENED OUR HAND:
The Bush
administration href="http://www.americanprogress.org/site/pp.asp?c=biJRJ8OVF&b=742277">dismissed
three separate invitations to open back-channel communications with Iran’s
government under the more moderate President Khatami.
It refused to participate directly in the talks involving Britain,

France, and Germany,
despite warnings from href="http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=10000085&sid=awmM0vkM13iY&refer=europe">diplomats
and the href="http://news.ft.com/cms/s/c6a801f2-8384-11d9-bee3-00000e2511c8.html">International
Atomic Energy Association (IAEA) that the talks were likely to fail without
U.S.
involvement. Instead of being an active player, the Bush administration sat on
the sidelines and ceded leadership to others. As Sen. Chuck Hagel
(R-NE) stated last November, “The United States is capable of engaging Iran

in direct dialogue href="http://www.cfr.org/publication/9220/conversation_with_senator_chuck_hagel_on_the_middle_east_and_us_...">without
sacrificing any of its interests or objectives.”

 

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me