Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Jim “Iraq is nothing short of a miracle” Inhofe Could Take Over Armed Services Committee


There has been much speculation lately over which Senators would take over which committees when Congress convenes next session. Due to term limits, some senators are being forced to step down and others will rise to the helm. Interestingly enough, this could mean the end of Jim Inhofe’s reign as Environment and Public Works Committee chairman, but unfortunately could elevate him to the powerful position of Armed Services Committee chair. Yes, that’s right, the same man who called what’s happened in Iraqnothing short of a miracle” would be in charge of all defense related issues.

According to a recent story in Roll Call, Sen. John Warner (R-Va.) will have to step down as Armed Services chairman due to Republican term limits. But, according to the article, “Warner may have the option to oust Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) from the chairmanship of the Environment and Public Works Committee, because Warner outranks him.”

Now, I know what you’re thinking…this calls for a celebration! But don’t whip out those party hats just yet. When Warner steps down, Sen. John McCain is expected to take over. But, McCain is largely expected to run for president in 2008, and many have questioned whether or not he can juggle such an important chairmanship while running for the highest government office in the country. So, another senator may have to take over for him. “And, eventually, if McCain remains a viable candidate in the presidential race, he could take a leave of absence from the chairmanship and choose an interim successor. One option may be Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., the third-most-senior Republican on the committee.” (Arizona Republic, 9/19/06)

That’s a little bit scary. Jim Inhofe doesn’t exactly have the sanest record when it comes to defense. Just for fun, let’s review:

  • Inhofe claims that what’s has happened in Iraq is “nothing short of a miracle”

Recently, Inhofe said that “what’s happened [in Iraq] is nothing short of a miracle.” This has largely been contradicted by both newspapers and testimonials from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. This, even though Inhofe has been to Iraq 11 times. (Tulsa World, 8/22/06)

  • Inhofe said “civil war is not going on” in Iraq

Earlier this month, Inhofe gave a grossly inaccurate picture of the state of the Iraq war on the Senate floor. He argued that immense progress had been made, that violence was not, in fact, quickly escalating, and that Iraqis were actually quite happy about the American presence. “Civil war is not going on,” Inhofe insisted. (Congressional Record, 9/6/06) This in the face of a dismal Pentagon report that asserted, “Conditions that could lead to civil war exist in Iraq, specifically in and around Baghdad, and concern about civil war within the Iraqi civilian population has increased in recent months.” (Associated Press, 9/1/06)

  • Inhofe was more “outraged by the outrage” over the Abu Ghraib prison controversy than by the abuse itself

During the hearings on the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal in 2004, Inhofe created quite the stir when he said he was fed up with all the “humanitarian do- gooders” making such a fuss over the inhumane treatment of prisoners. (Washington Post, 5/12/04) He said he was “more outraged by the outrage than by the treatment of the prisoners. (New York Times, 5/12/04)

  • Inhofe is displeased with the conditions at Guantanamo…because they’re too nice!

After visiting the compound at Guantanamo Bay, Inhofe said that the conditions were much better than the prisoners deserved. “We’re dealing with terrorists here,” he said. (Wichita Eagle, 1/26/02)

  • Inhofe suggested that the 9-11 attacks were a form of divine retribution against America for failing to defend Israel

In a speech on the Senate floor in 2002, Inhofe explicitly suggested that the 9-11 attacks were a form of divine retribution against the US for failing to adequately defend Israel. “One of the reasons I believe the spiritual door was opened for an attack against the United States of America is that the policy of our Government has been to ask the Israelis, and demand it with pressure, not to retaliate in a significant way against the terrorist strikes that have been launched against them." He went on to cite the most important reason for defending Israel: “Because God said so.” (Congressional Record, 3/4/02)

Really? This is the guy they’re going to choose to serve as the chair of the Armed Services Committee? Be afraid, be very afraid.


Cross-posted at SenateMajority.com


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