A BUZZFLASH NEWS ANALYSIS
As you might have suspected, members of Congress have long had access to the classified National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), which includes a consensus of 16 intelligence agencies that the war in Iraq is actually increasing terrorism. In an interview, Sen. Mike DeWine (R-OH) revealed that he knew of the report months ago, but simply did not care enough to read the full document until Bush released a doctored summery of it earlier this week:
"I read it this week," he said. "I was briefed on it, as I'm briefed on other things, as they come in, through my staff. But I don't read everything that comes in."
He said he receives thousands of documents a year, many from the CIA or related to intelligence. "I look at some of them, some of them I do not look at," he said. "But again, I had received a briefing from my staff on it when it came in. Most days when I'm in Washington, I receive a briefing from my staff, a member who works solely on the Intelligence Committee."
He said that on the day he received this briefing, "I was probably told about eight other reports."
While this revelation is reminiscent of Rep. John Conyer's statement in Fahrenheit 9/11 that members of Congress "don't read most of the bills," it seems fair to ask Intelligence Committee members like DeWine to be more familiar with key intelligence reports, even if there happen to be (gasp!) eight or nine of them.
If the NIE report had good news about Iraq, you can bet that DeWine and other Republicans would have been all over it. But since it presented a grimmer picture (that is, the truth), they just sat on it and continued to blindly follow Bush, who certainly set a good example by ignoring the pre-9/11 briefing entitled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US."
One of the troubling things about DeWine's interview is that he said he did not see anything "seminal or groundbreaking" in the NIE. Either he is lazy and did not actually read the damning conclusions expressed in the report, or he is so stubborn that there is absolutely nothing that could change his mind about Iraq. It is simple not possible anymore for a reasonable person to still endorse "stay the course" with a full and active consideration of all the facts.
Of course, like most pro-war Republicans DeWine has not proven to be reasonable. This is the same guy who attacked his opponent, Rep. Sherrod Brown, for being soft on terrorism with a commercial showing Brown next to the enflamed World Trade Center (when DeWine was caught having added computer generated smoke, he apologized and replaced the image with. . . a real picture of the burning towers).
A new Brown campaign ad released today shows that DeWine has never really cared about the situation or our troops in Iraq: he didn't even push for them to get body armor.
While DeWine was last reelected in 2000 with 60% of the vote, he is now down in the polls for a third term as yet another Republican in trouble with constituents for being an idiot.
Apparently DeWine doesn't get better with age.
A BUZZFLASH NEWS ANALYSIS