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Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation

Saturday | October 19, 2002

Congress Dems furious over North Korea admission

The North Korean admission that it had a nuclear program came 12 days before the Congressional vote on Iraq, yet the admininstratoin didn't bother telling anyone in Congress.

Democrats on Capitol Hill were critical yesterday of the 12-day gap between the admission by North Korea and the administration's disclosure. During that time, Congress passed the Iraq resolution, and President Bush signed it hours before the 7 p.m. disclosure about North Korea. Administration officials said they revealed the information because former Clinton administration officials had leaked the news after learning about it from State Department contacts. Democrats said the episode could further impair the administration's already fragile relations with Congress.

"Senators are concerned and troubled by it," a Democratic leadership aide said. "This cloud of secrecy raises questions about whether there are other pieces to this puzzle they don't know about."


Bush has not let the world turmoil deter him from his campaign schedule leading up to the Nov. 5 elections, which has fueled Democratic suspicions about his motives for trying to keep international attention on Iraq and its alleged ties to al Qaeda. He made stops in four states over the past two days and is scheduled to barnstorm five more next week. Bush also plans to go to McLean on Monday to meet with people who have donated at least $250,000 to the Republican Party.

Allright, where to begin?

Congressional leaders are shocked and dissappointed that the White House kept this crucial bit of information secret? They must be the only ones who are shocked. This administration has shown no inclination to share information with either the American public or Congress unless it can spin it for political gain.

Then, Bush spends all of August on vacation. He comes back to work, and pulls a Chicken Little act on Iraq -- DO SOMETHING OR THE WORLD WILL END!!!!! Finally, after weeks of hysteria and lies that failed to move public opinion behind him, Bush was still able to get Congress to cave and give him his war resolution.

War authorization in his back pocket, our Fundraiser-in-Chief is now in the midsts of TWO STRAIGHT WEEKS of nothing but campaigning. So much for the Iraqi threat.

Ironically, North Korea is far more a threat than Iraq at the moment. Not only does it have a confirmed nuclear weapons program -- with knowhow and technology provided by nuclear power Pakistan, but:

  1. North Korea has repeatedly threatened South Korea, launching small scale military attacks and sabotage raids throughout the past years.

  2. North Korea has multi-stage rockets with a range of 3,000 miles. And they are but a technological bunny hop from developing ICBMs -- rockets with the ability to reach targets in the United States.

  3. North Korea has shown a willingness to trade and sell its technologies to anyone who can pay. For example, its missile technologies were bartered to Pakistan in exchange for help in building up its nuclear program.
By contrast, Iraq is impotent, rendered helpless by sanctions and US/British enforcement of the no-fly zones. Not one of Iraq's neighbors, not even Kuwait, feels threatened by Hussein. South Korea and Japan clearly feel differently about North Korea.

Yet in North Korea, the administration is taking the proper tack -- intense diplomacy. If diplomacy fails, N. Korea is more worthy of our military attention than Iraq. It seems the administration also thinks so -- why else would they keep the new revelations secret from Congress while they debated the war resolution?

But North Korea doesn't have oil, and it didn't try to kill Bush's daddy. It seems as though the real threat will have to wait for another day.

Posted October 19, 2002 08:18 AM | Comments (3)


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