Rockefeller's treachery
Joan Swirsky, RenewAmerica analyst
May 21, 2015

[Editor's note: The following is a guest editorial by RenewAmerica analyst Joan Swirsky originally published Dec. 3, 2005, in the Canada Free Press. Joan requested we republish it in light of recent statements by GOP presidential candidates and media commentators questioning whether the Iraq war was defensible, "knowing what we know now."]

"I took a trip by myself in January of 2002 to Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria, and I told each of the heads of state that it was my view that George Bush had already made up his mind to go to war against Iraq – that that was a predetermined set course which had taken shape shortly after 9/11."

So spoke Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) on "Fox Sunday" on November 14, 2005. At the time of his trip, Rockefeller was chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and is now its vice chairman.

Please read the first paragraph once again, digest it (if your stomach can handle it), and consider its immense – if not treasonous – implications.

By himself and fully armed with America's most sensitive intelligence, Sen. Rockefeller decided to go to three Arab countries – including Syria, which is on the State Department's list of terrorist regimes and a close ally of Saddam Hussein – and literally alert them to what ("in my view") might befall a neighboring Arab state.

This was Sen. Rockefeller's judgment only four months after September 11th and a full year before President Bush expressed any intention to go to war!

By its very nature, Sen. Rockefeller's solo trip, his lofty rank on one of the Senate's most prestigious and sensitive committees, and most important his words were no doubt received for what they were – a clarion heads-up!

There is no doubt that even before he departed the palaces of his hosts, high officials from terrorist Syria, fair-weather-friend Saudi Arabia (which Sen. Rockefeller, with his Standard Oil inheritance, may feel very akin to), and even "moderate" Jordan, were telegraphing the president's intentions to the Butcher of Baghdad: "Get ready! And whatever you have in the way of WMD, whatever can implicate us, get rid of them!"

What followed Sen. Rockefeller's treachery was the lengthy and painstaking road to war and the prelude to ways that he and other leftists have tried to sabotage the president, compromise National Security, and undermine our troops.

As author William J. Bennett has aptly asked: "What was Senator Rockefeller doing? What was he thinking? How about an investigation...into what exactly [he] told Syria and just what Syria might have done with the information...before it was made available to the U.N., the Senate, or the American people? Sen. Rockefeller may have seriously harmed, impeded, and hindered our war efforts, our troops, and the entire operation in the Middle East. This should be investigated immediately; and perhaps Senator Rockefeller should step down from the Intelligence Committee until an investigation is complete."

What happened next – 2002
  • January: the same month Sen. Rockefeller decided to give our enemies a heads-up, President Bush, in his State of the Union address, called Iraq part of the "axis of evil," saying that the United States "will not permit the world's most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world's most destructive weapons."

  • June: the president spoke at West Point, telling his audience that a policy of preemption was necessary in the war on terror, i.e., we have to get them before they get us – again!

  • September: the president addressed the United Nations and challenged that terrorist-embracing body to enforce its own 17 resolutions against Iraq, which it had never done in the past.

  • October: Congress overwhelmingly authorized an attack on Iraq (Senate 77-23; House 296-133). In fact, Sen. Rockefeller said that the threat from Iraq was "imminent," an adjective the president never used.

  • November: the U.N. Security Council unanimously approved resolution 1441 that imposed "tough" new arms inspections on Iraq, and the same month, U.N. weapons inspectors returned to Iraq for the first time in almost four years.
For all of this time, Security Council member France (among other obstructionists) strenuously resisted going to war against Iraq, significantly failing to acknowledge that they were deeply implicated in the Oil-for-Food scandal in which they took billions in Saddam's bribes. Thank you, Senator Rockefeller!

A full year elapsed and, with it, the grim first anniversary of the deaths of 3,000 innocent people who were murdered by Islamic terrorists on September 11th – also, a full year in which Iraq had both the means and opportunity to rid itself of its weapons of mass destruction. Thank you, Senator Rockefeller!

Time for action – 2003
  • January: in his State of the Union address, the president announced that after interminable waffling by the U.N., he was ready to attack Iraq without its mandate.

  • March 20: The war against Iraq began with the "shock and awe" attack of

    Operation Iraqi Freedom.

  • April 9: Baghdad fell and the statue of Saddam Hussein fell with it.

  • June 15: Americans and their allies launched Operation Desert Scorpion to combat insurgents.

  • July 13: Iraq's interim governing council was inaugurated.

  • July 22: American forces killed Saddam's genetically defective sons, Uday and Qusay.

  • Nov. 14: The Bush administration agreed to transfer power to an interim government in 2004.

  • Dec. 13: Saddam Hussein was captured by U.S. troops, cowering – as cowards do – in a rat hole.
Although terrorists (invariably called "insurgents" by the old media) began pouring into Iraq from Syria (thank you, Sen. Rockefeller!) and Iran, Democrats were beside themselves that under the president's leadership, Saddam Hussein had been captured, the world was rid of his bestial sons, an interim democratic government had been installed in the former dictatorship, and there was hard evidence of democracy beginning to take hold in the Middle East.

Out for blood – 2004

January: It was nothing short of thrilling to the languishing liberal leftists – who preach freedom but practice appeasement – when David Kay, former head of the U.S. weapons-inspection teams in Iraq, told a Senate committee that no WMDs had been found in Iraq during the war. Five days later, President Bush called for an independent commission to study intelligence failures, but even that could not stop the monotonous and malevolent mantra that drones on to this day: "Bush lied – thousands died."

April: The Left was once again salivating at the prospect of undermining the president when the Abu Ghraib prison scandal erupted with accusations of abuse by American soldiers of terrorist detainees. While the old media blared the story for months on end, they all but ignored the beheading of American Nick Berg

by Arab terrorists.

June: Liberals and the old media took more swipes at the president with the release of the 9/11 Commission's report and its finding that there was no connection between Al Qaeda and Iraq (another canard that has since been disproved).

But the panel's credibility was immediately called into question because one of its members, Jamie Gorelick – second-in-command at the Clinton White House Justice Department – had created "the wall" that prevented intelligence agencies from sharing information with the FBI.

Since then, the commission's credibility has been further eroded because of its refusal to interview members of the Able Danger project in which five Special Ops agents claimed to have identified Mohammed Atta and three other 9/11 murderers as possible members of an al Qaeda cell operating in the United States two years before the September 11th attack.

The commission called the revelation "not historically significant," which former FBI director Louis Freeh labeled "an astounding conclusion" that "raises serious challenges to the commission's credibility and, if the facts prove out, might just render the commission historically insignificant itself." The Able Danger mission became public in June 2005, but hearings on this crucial subject – and testimony by its participants – was forbidden by the Department of Defense.

Again, the old media – ever the stooges of the Clinton administration and its egregiously harmful foreign policy – have studiously avoided this explosive story, although Rep. Curt Weldon (R-PA) has been trying to keep it alive.

November 2: President Bush reminded his liberal opponents what character and commitment are all about by winning an overwhelming reelection victory.

Yet another year had passed and the desperate Democrats and their media echo chamber grew increasingly enraged that their best efforts to depose the president and his majority in the House and Senate were abysmal failures.

The circling sharks – 2005

January: Nearly eight million Iraqis took part in the first free election since 1954 to overwhelmingly approve the drafting of a new constitution.

October 15: Once again, Iraqis voted in the millions to ratify the draft constitution with 78 percent in favor, 21 percent opposed.

Having utterly failed to undermine the president in over five years of relentless attacks, leftists in Congress and the old media nevertheless plowed on. Smelling blood in Washington's roiling, polluted waters, they indicted and all-but-imprisoned at least a dozen of the president's cabinet members and high-ranking advisors in the Wilson-Plame case.

October 28: After 18 months of grand jury investigation, Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald announced a solitary indictment in the case, which is already being called into question.

This seemed to be the final straw for the leftists. Driven half mad by an economy that is booming under the Bush administration and the inspiringly positive (but unacknowledged and unreported) progress in Iraq (see, they jumped on the president's recent, media-driven "defeats" to embark on a revival of their tired "no WMD" refrain.

What about those WMD?

Leave it to liberals to ignore the obvious. For the past two years, international security experts like John Loftus have been saying that because the U.N. and French obstructionists delayed the United States entrance into the Iraq war for over a year, Saddam Hussein – having been forewarned by Sen. Rockefeller's solo mission to the Arab world – was busy ferreting his WMD out of Iraq.

Loftus, an attorney and former Justice Department prosecutor, once held some of the highest security clearances in the world, with special access to NATO Cosmic, CIA codeword, and Top Secret Nuclear files.

As early as January 2003, Loftus said, U.S. intelligence had identified a stream of tractor-trailer trucks moving from Iraq to Syria to Lebanon, but "the significance of this sighting did not register on the CIA at the time." U.S. intelligence sources, Loftus continued, "believe the area contains extended-range Scud-based missiles and parts for chemical and biological warheads."

In August 2003, Loftus reported that U.S. intelligence suspected they had located the WMD, but "getting to them will be nearly impossible for the U.S. and its allies because the containers with the strategic materials...are located in Lebanon's heavily fortified Bekaa Valley, swarming with Iranian and Syrian forces, and Hizbullah and ex-Iraqi agents."

And according to DEBKA files: "The relocation of Iraq's WMD systems took place between January 10 and March 10 (2003) and was completed just 10 days before the U.S.-led offensive was launched against Iraq. The banned arsenal, hauled in giant tankers from Iraq to Syria and from there to the Bekaa Valley under Syrian special forces and military intelligence escort, was discharged into pits 6-8 meters across and 25-35 meters deep dug by Syrian army engineers. They were sealed and planted over with new seedlings. Nonetheless, their location is known and detectable with the right instruments."

Last year, columnist Larry Elder reported that a Syrian journalist who defected to Paris reported that his friends in Syrian intelligence told him "exactly where the stuff is buried." He named three sites in Syria, which the Israelis confirmed. They know where the stuff is [and] we know from Israeli and defectors' intelligence that the son of the Syrian defense minister was paid 50 million bucks to bring the stuff across the border and bury it."

And just this month, the Weekly Standard's Stephan Hayes reported on new documents that revealed that "recently discovered Iraqi documents now being translated by U.S. intelligence analysts indicate that Saddam Hussein's government made extensive plans to hide Iraq's weapons of mass destruction before the U.S. invasion in March 2003 – and had deep ties to al Qaeda before the 9/11 attacks."

Bill Tierney, a former military intelligence officer who worked at Guantanamo Bay in 2002 and as a counter-infiltration operator in Baghdad in 2004, was an inspector for the U.N. Special Commission (UNSCOM) for overseeing the elimination of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles in Iraq from 1996 to 1998.

Tierney recently told "It was only after Saddam realized that President Clinton lacked the nerve for anything more than a temper-tantrum demonstration that he knew the doors were wide open for him to continue his weapons program."

He goes on to say, "I believe Saddam planned for a U.S. invasion after President Bush's speech at West Point in 2002. One of the steps taken was to...destroy or move WMDs to other countries, principally Syria. Starting in the summer of 2002, the Iraqis had months to purge their files and create cover stories."

The Left's rampant hypocrisy

Neither the old media nor the deceptive Democrats have investigated these explosive – and highly credible – claims, preferring to keep their "Bush lied" mantra alive in order to justify what they hope will be yet another opportunity to bring down the president.

But their tactics have backfired. Now that the new media – the Internet, blogs, talk radio, and conservative journalists – have thrown back at them their own statements about Saddam's dire threat and the urgent need for "regime change" (Sen. Rockefeller even went further than the president, calling the threat "imminent') as well as their votes for the war, the mewling, puling Democrats have started another chant: "The intelligence was cherry-picked, we were misled!" – a chant that historian Victor Davis Hanson calls "intellectually dishonest and morally reprehensible."

Of course, this flies in the face of the conclusions of the bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee in 2004, the Silberman-Robb commission in 2005, and the British commission headed by Lord Butler.

But liberals revile facts, which is why they continue to invoke the language of Vietnam – "quagmire," "withdrawal," etc. – and why they pretended to agree with Sen. John Murtha (D-PA), a decorated Vietnam War veteran, that we should get out of Iraq immediately. But when brought to a Senate vote, 79 senators voted against Murtha's plan and only 19 voted for it. In the House, the vote was 403 against and 3 for the proposition. (By the way, Murtha, who supported Howard Dean as DNC chairman, also voted to get out of Somalia 12 years ago).

As journalist Tony Blankley wrote during the brouhaha that preceded the vote: "The foul odor of the Vietnam War denouement wafted through the Senate chamber during the debate on Iraq...[proving] that no bureaucratic euphemism can cleanse the air of the stench of defeatism.... Now the Watergate babies have grown old – and age has not improved them. They plan to finish their careers as they started them – in defeatism, betrayal and national dishonor."


What is the difference between the kind of gutter politics Democrats routinely engage in for political gain and treason? If treason is, as The American Heritage Dictionary defines it – the betrayal of one's country by consciously and purposefully acting to aid its enemies – then certainly those who abet our enemies while American troops are putting their lives on the line to defend our country are guilty as charged.

The following statements reinforce this point:

Bill Tierney, speaking about Sen. Carl Levin's (D-MI) citing of a single source to "prove" no connection between Iraq and Al Queda: "Senator Levin, and his media servants, think the public can't read through his duplicity. He is plunging a dagger into the heart of his own country."

The "The dishonest and politically motivated accusations of Kennedy, Reid, Durbin and their ilk, however, are nothing short of – and we don't use this term lightly – else to describe political leaders who so eagerly embolden our Jihadi enemies and erode the morale of our fighting forces in Iraq and around the world?"

Ralph Peters, a retired Army officer: "Forget about the consequences. Forget about our dead soldiers...forget that our combat veterans are re-enlisting at remarkable rates.... Just set a timetable for our troops to come home and show the world that America is an unreliable ally with no stomach for a fight...Tell the world that deserting the South Vietnamese and fleeing from Somalia weren't anomalies – that's what Americans do. For God's sake, don't talk about democracy in the Middle East. After all, democracy wasn't much fun for the Dems in 2000 or 2004. The irresponsibility of the Democrats on Capitol Hill is breathtaking. The Dems are ready to betray our troops, our allies and our country's future security for a few House seats. What do the Democrats American success in Iraq? They need us to fail."

Mark Steyn, international journalist: "...before they huff, 'How dare you question my patriotism?'... Well, yes, I am questioning your patriotism – because you're failing to meet the challenge of the times. Thanks to you, Iraq is a quagmire – not in the Sunni Triangle, where U.S. armed forces are confident and effective, but on the home front, where soft-spined national legislators have turned the war into one almighty Linguini Triangle."

Jennifer King, a writer, has said that Sen. Rockefeller is "privy to wartime intelligence and thus...should feel compelled to stand on the side of his country during a war against an infinitely evil and implacable enemy. That he feels compelled, instead, to take the side of the enemy speaks volumes about the Democrat agenda and vision for the future."

Andrew E. Busch, professor of government at Claremont McKenna College in California: "This species of Democrats are once again proving, as they did in Vietnam in 1974-75, in Central America in the 1980s, and in Iraq during 2004, that they would rather lose a war than lose an election."

Dick Morris, former top White House advisor to President Clinton: "It was infuriating to hear [Clinton] deride the Iraq war to an Arab audience earlier in the week as a 'big mistake'...for going to Dubai, a couple of hundred miles from where our troops are – darn near the middle of the war zone – saying that they're dying for a huge mistake."

Don Bendell, former officer in four Special Forces Groups, including a tour on a green beret A-team in Vietnam in 1968-1969: "Wesley Clark, you are a retired Army general and John Murtha, a retired Marine colonel. Did you two completely forget a code of honor, supporting our troops, and tenacity in the face of adversity? Yes, you did, all for politics, which is empirically more important to you than the safety and psychological well being of our fighting men and women from whose ranks you rose. How many men under your commands died, so you could betray their legacy of courage by talking about cutting and running in the midst of a war? How dare you aid and abet the enemies of freedom, of democracy, of man's inherent right to live without oppression, because of your egomaniacal visions...."

Marcus Tullius Cicero (as quoted in the "A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself."

Accustomed as he is to outfoxing, outwitting, and outmaneuvering his opponents and, by doing so, achieving his domestic and foreign policy initiatives in spite of them, President Bush has become seasoned in distinguishing legitimate debate from the rank hysteria of his largely impotent rivals.

To his credit, the president ignores polls, avoids the leftist blather in the old media, retains his sense of optimism, responds invariably to the unremitting attacks against him by declaring "It's just politics," and – thankfully for every American – continues to keep his vision focused on the safety and security of America and on the heroic men and women who are fighting on the front lines to maintain those very goals.

© Joan Swirsky


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They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. —Isaiah 40:31