Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) wrote in his recent memoir that as the Senate debated war in Iraq in 2002 he was given a tip about security information by two joggers that ended up influencing his vote on the war.
Leahy’s claims, first published in his August 2022 memoir “The Road Taken,” were highlighted Friday by journalist and historian Garrett M. Graff, who said the senator’s claims provided “a rare glimpse into the shadowy way that the intel agencies interact with Members of Congress.”
The Vermont senator, who was skeptical of the move toward war in Iraq, said in his book that he was contacted by two runners who told him to check specific intelligence briefings while out on a walk with his wife Marcelle.
“Two joggers trailed behind us. They stopped and asked what I thought of the intelligence briefings I’d been getting. Marcelle realized this was a conversation she would normally not be involved in and kept on walking ahead,” Leahy wrote.
He said that he was told by the joggers to ask for “File Eight” and “File Twelve,” both files which related to intelligence on Iraq.
“Quickly thereafter, I arranged to see File Eight and it contradicted much of what I had heard from the Bush administration,” Leahy claimed. The Democrat would go on to be on of 21 senators to vote against the authorization of war in Iraq.
He called the alleged encounter with the joggers the most “eerie” experience he had in Washington, D.C.
“It was the eeriest conversation I’d ever experienced in Washington. I felt like a sensational version of of Bob Woodward meeting Deep Throat — only in broad daylight,” he wrote.
Oh my God. It happened. I can’t believe it really happened.
During a speech in Dallas at Southern Methodist University’s George W Bush Presidential Center on Wednesday, the man himself, George W Bush, did the best thing ever. I am pretty sure it is the single best thing that has ever happened. I do not believe I am exaggerating when I say that.
While criticizing Russia for having rigged elections and shutting out political opposition (which would already be hilarious coming from any American in general and Bush in particular), the 43rd president made the following comment:
“The result is an absence of checks and balances in Russia, and the decision of one man to launch a wholly unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq. I mean, of Ukraine.”
And then it got even better. After correcting himself with a nervous chuckle, Bush broke the tension in the empire-loyal crowd with the words, “Iraq too. Anyway.” He then quipped that he is 75 years old, leaning harder on his “Aw shucks gee willikers I’m such a goofball” persona than he ever has in his entire life.
And Bush’s audience laughed. They thought it was great. A president who launched an illegal invasion that killed upwards of a million people (probably way upwards) openly confessing to doing what every news outlet in the western world has spent the last three months shrieking its lungs out about Putin doing was hilarious to them.
There are not enough shoes in the universe to respond to this correctly.
As comedian John Fugelsang put it, “George W. Bush didn’t do a Freudian slip. He did a Freudian Confession.”
US occupation forces have reportedly continued looting Syrian oil from the northern Al-Jazeera region of Syria’s Hasakah governate, as a US-military convoy of around 70 oil tankers made their way towards Iraq through the illegal Al-Waleed border crossing on 14 May.
According to local sources in the Al-Yarubiyah countryside, the convoy was accompanied by an additional 15 trucks carrying military equipment bound for Iraq, as well as six armored vehicles.
This comes just one day after 46 US vehicles were reportedly transferred out of Syria through the same border crossing.
US troops and their proxy in northern Syria, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), are in control of most of the oil fields in Hasakah and Deir Ezzor and have been regularly smuggling Syrian oil out of the country to sell it abroad.
Dozens of similar US convoys have been reported over the last year and a half. On 18 December 2021, nearly one hundred oil tankers were smuggled into northern Iraq through the same illegal crossing.
On this day in 2003, the United States launched its air invasion of Iraq, with the ground component beginning one day later. It was the first stage of a war that would ultimately drag on for over eight years, killing thousands of American soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians as the U.S. and its allies sought to overthrow Saddam Hussein’s government.
Nineteen years on, Americans watch as a conflict embroils Eastern Europe. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s large-scale invasion of Ukraine beginning last month has brought frequent reports of deaths of innocents and strikes on civilian spaces.
Horrific scenes from the conflict in Ukraine have fetched headlines much like those published during the Iraq War. But there is a difference between journalistic reporting on a conflict and coverage that trends more toward activism. Reporters operating under the guise of objectivity repeatedly trended toward the latter approach during the Iraq War. Now, as establishment journalists not-so-subtly agitate for a more interventionist U.S. policy in Ukraine, it’s worth keeping an eye on these tried-and-trued hawkish tendencies.
In a press conference on March 15, reporters pelted White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki with questions regarding the Biden administration’s opposition to certain military support for Ukraine. There were over one dozen questions mentioning military assistance—including five distinct mentions of a no-fly zone—and only one question about the potential American role in facilitating negotiations between Russia and Ukraine.
Neither were the numerous questions about military assistance purely fact-based. “Zelenskyy and other Ukrainian officials have made so clear that what they believe they need the most is more warplanes and fighter jets. So why is the U.S. assessing something different?” asked a reporter. “Why does the U.S. believe they know better what Ukraine needs than what Ukrainian officials are saying they need the most?”