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My choice for the Democratic vice-presidential nomination, should a Dean-Clark or Clark-Dean combination not work out, seems to be the first one to figure out just how to cover his ass on having voted for the war: Point out that he and his colleagues were systematically lied to. Why is it so hard for others to point out that they were given specific false information that influenced their votes? Is it the specter of Michigan Governor George Romney admitting in 1968 that he had been "brainwashed" into supporting the Vietnam War?

(thanks to The Daily Kos)

Local News

Senators were told Iraqi weapons could hit U.S.

Nelson said claim made during classified briefing

By John McCarthy

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson said Monday the Bush administration last year told him and other senators that Iraq not only had weapons of mass destruction, but they had the means to deliver them to East Coast cities.
Nelson said the senators were told Iraq had both biological and chemical weapons, notably anthrax, and it could deliver them to cities along the Eastern seaboard via unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly known as drones.

There should be nothing controversial about this claim, since Bush said just about the same thing publicly. For the most part, I think that Senators don't really have the option to disbelieve specific factual statements given them by the administration, so there should be no reason to be afraid of admitting that one voted on the basis of false statements.

Unfortunately, the "unmanned aerial vehicles" claim is one that was so stupid and implausible that you have to doubt the intelligence of anyone who fell for it, even if knowledgable administration officials did pitch it with a straight face and no one challenged it. I don't know anything about this field, but it should be obvious that, since the earth is round, you couldn't control a drone from Iraq, or even from a boat in the mid-Atlantic, over the horizon without help from a network of satellites, which isn't something the Iraqis had at their disposal.

But it's apparently very hard to look an administration official in the eye and say, that's ridiculous.

Posted by Mark Schmitt on December 16, 2003 | Permalink


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The "earth is round" theory assumes that the UAV's would be remotely operated. But cruise missiles are guided by internal navigation systems, available for $100 bucks on the internet. A GPS guided drone is easy to build. Just ask this guy.

Posted by: p mac | Dec 18, 2003 5:12:23 PM

"For the most part, I think that Senators don't really have the option to disbelieve specific factual statements given them by the administration, so there should be no reason to be afraid of admitting that one voted on the basis of false statements."

I disagree with this. The Bush administration has had their pants on fire practically from Day One. And one reason the Democratic members of Congress seem so lame is that they're so late to realize this. Members of Congress should use their wisdom and judgment at all times, and should remember that, until the last few decades, the U.S. Congress was equal in power to the President in our three branches of government. (Now they're subordinate.)

Posted by: V. J. Meagher | Dec 18, 2003 7:23:51 PM

Actually, it is possible to send radio waves over the horizon without satellites. Since the dawn of radio, people have been bouncing radio signals off of the ionsphere (an ionized region of the upper atmosphere). AM radio and long range shortwave traffic are based on this principle. While it would be difficult to do in this case, theoretically it could be done and Congress therefore cannot be faulted for thinking that the President would not lie so blatantly.

Posted by: James Butts | Dec 18, 2003 11:40:58 PM

disclaimer, IAAEE ( electrical engineer )

pmac:>"But cruise missiles are guided by internal navigation systems, available for $100 bucks on the internet"

This is ridiculous.There's nothing you can buy for $100 that could guide a drone across the ocean to attack America. An internal navigation system to do this with even marginal reliability ( even with GPS ) would be quite expensive.

J.B.:>"Actually, it is possible to send radio waves over the horizon without satellites."

This effect is only strong at night, only works on shortwave frequencies and is very unreliable. It's not plausable at all.

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