The Associated Press and United Press International are reporting that another Democratic hawk, Norm Dicks (D-Washington), has changed his position on the Iraq war. They are both quoting from and referencing a Seattle Times article first published about 16 hours ago entitled “Defense hawk Dicks says he now sees war as a mistake.” Yet, they are conveniently ignoring previous statements made by Dicks concerning the war that were also reported by the Seattle Times.
Today’s article stated:
“Dicks now says it was all a mistake — his vote, the invasion, and the way the United States is waging the war.
“While he disagrees with Murtha's conclusion that U.S. troops should be withdrawn within six months, Dicks said, ‘He may well be right if this insurgency goes much further.’
“‘The insurgency has gotten worse and worse,’ he said. ‘That's where Murtha's rationale is pretty strong — we're talking a lot of casualties with no success in sight. The American people obviously know that this war is a mistake.’"
Yet, much like what transpired after Rep. John Murtha’s (D-Pennsylvania) call for troop withdrawals last Thursday, the initial reports on Dicks are conveniently ignoring the recent history of the congressman. For instance, the article continued:
“Dicks, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, says he's particularly angry about the intelligence that supported going to war.
“Without the threat of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), he said, he would ‘absolutely not’ have voted for the war."
“‘A lot of us relied on [former CIA director] George Tenet. We had many meetings with the White House and CIA, and they did not tell us there was a dispute between the CIA, Commerce or the Pentagon on the WMDs,’ he said.”
Yet, this is not what Dicks said in September 2002 before the October 11 congressional vote on the war resolution, and before former Secretary of State Colin Powell had presented the Administration’s case to the United Nations. In fact, the Seattle Times is ignoring a report that it published on this very subject on September 25, 2002:
“Norm Dicks wants to take down Saddam Hussein.”
“Dicks, D-Tacoma, is convinced that Saddam can't be trusted. He wants the United Nations to try to enforce its resolutions against Iraq, though he doubts Saddam will reveal where his chemical and biological weapons are.
“‘His business over the last nine years has been deceit,’ said Dicks, who gets regular intelligence briefings as a senior member of the Defense spending panel. ‘What I worry about is that there are al-Qaida people residing in Baghdad as we speak.’
“Dicks says the case needs to be made that an Iraq invasion is part of the war on terrorism. And as head of a terrorist state, ‘Hussein needs to be deposed, unless he is willing to completely disarm,’ he said.”
Of course, though the Seattle Times logged that report more than three years ago, there’s not only no mention of it in today’s article, but also no suggestion that Dicks might have misled anyone with those statements.
Another fascinating side of this story is the Joe Wilson connection made in today’s report:
“On July 6, 2003, Dicks awoke to read the now-famous New York Times opinion piece by former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, who had been sent on a CIA mission to investigate a report that Iraq had tried to buy nuclear materials in Africa.
“Wilson wrote that he had found no evidence of such Iraqi intentions and criticized Bush for making the claim in his State of the Union address two months before the invasion.
“‘That Joe Wilson article was very troubling,’ Dicks said."
Yet, about three months later, Dicks was part of a congressional group that toured Iraq to determine the need for an additional $87 billion to be spent on the war. It seems that what Dicks saw on that visit was significantly more important than what Wilson said in his op-ed. As the Seattle Times – once again – reported on September 29, 2003:
It appears that not only has Dicks forgotten his own words, but so has the Seattle Times. Such amnesia appears to be impacting many mainstream media outlets these days.
“‘There has been a lot of controversy about the money needed for Iraq, but when Congress members see the conditions here, they will recognize that this money is badly needed,’ said Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Bremerton, a House Appropriations Committee member.
“‘Our intent was to liberate them from Saddam Hussein,’ Dicks said. ‘We are here now to help our friends in Iraq improve conditions for their people. There is absolutely no question that progress has been made ... but it is a team effort.’"