Wednesday, July 16, 2008

King Antics Block Inquiry Into Iraq WMD Claims

Republican 'Whispering and giggling' replace serious testimony on WMD, torture

U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, successfully led Republican delay tactics to block testimony of a former top Pentagon official on weapons of mass destruction claims, torture and other issues at a Tuesday hearing of the House Judiciary hearing.

The hearing's intent was to question Douglas Feith, once the No. 3 man at the Pentagon, and an official closely linked with the WMD claims the Bush Administration used to take American to war in Iraq -- as well as torture policies.

But The Washington Post reports that King led a group of Republicans in a surprise attack of delay procedures to turn the hearing into something of a circus so Feith could escape key questioning about his alleged role in these matters.

Here is The Washington Post:

By the time Feith had spoken his first words, the hearing was nearly an hour old. King and his colleagues went on to declare dozens of objections, parliamentary inquires and points of order, raising concerns about a T-shirt worn by an audience member, a sign spotted in the crowd, and the need for bathroom and lunch breaks for witnesses. Three and a half hours later, Feith had become but an asterisk at what was supposed to be his hanging.

The Post detailed King's clever efforts at deflecting attention from Feith with procedural maneuvering that outwitted subcommittee chairman U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y.

Nadler turned to the witnesses. "I now want to welcome our -- "

"Mr. Chairman!" King called out. "Mr. Chairman! Is there time for an opening statement?" King, having thus seized the floor, encouraged everybody "to roll our minds back to that terrible day of September 11th, 2001. . . . The day that all of us looked at that blazing inferno tumbling down in New York."

Nadler tried to return to business, but Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who had been whispering and giggling with King like a schoolboy, interrupted anew. "A point of parliamentary inquiry!" he said. He raised three questions, the last of which was a request to "summon" House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

By the time Issa finished, King had reloaded. He gave another speech masquerading as a "clarification."

King's campaign views this as fodder for supporters and has posted a link to The Post story at the top of its Web site.

In the hearing, King argued that the questioning was politically motivated.

Here is CNN:

Invoking the September 11, 2001, attacks, Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, said officials crafted the policy "while that smoking hole in New York was still burning."

"It's inappropriate for us to bring people up and turn them slowly on a spit because there are people on this committee that despise this administration," he said.

The nation could have benefited from more serious inquiry of Feith.

Here is CNN:

Feith concurred with a December 2002 memorandum that recommended the approval of stress positions, dogs and nudity during interrogations, saying it was possible to apply them in a "humane fashion" in accordance with the Geneva Conventions.


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