Bush Jokes About Not Finding WMDs in Iraq
While millions of people marked the first anniversary of the invasion of Iraq this week by protesting against war on Saturday, President Bush marked the event in a different way: joking about how no weapons of mass destruction were found.
At a black-tie dinner for Radio and Television Correspondents’ Association on Wednesday, Bush poked fun at himself and his administration for among other things not finding weapons in Iraq.
At one point Bush showed a photo of himself looking for something out a window in the Oval Office. He said: "Those weapons of mass destruction have got to be somewhere."
After a few more slides, there was a shot of Bush looking under furniture in the Oval Office. Bush said "Nope. No weapons over there." Then another picture of Bush searching in his office. He said "Maybe under here."
According to the Nation’s David Corn many of the journalists at the dinner laughed throughout the skit.
But the New York Daily News is reporting that the families of soldiers killed in Iraq are not laughing.
George Medina who lost his son in Iraq said "This is disgraceful. He doesn’t think of all the families that are suffering. It’s unbelievable, how this guy runs the country."
Medina’s son, Special Irving Medina died at the age of 22 in Baghdad on November 14.
Senator John Kerry responded by saying "585 American soldiers have been killed in Iraq in the last year, 3,354 have been wounded and there’s no end in sight. George Bush sold us on going to war with Iraq based on the threat of weapons of mass destruction. But we still haven’t found them, and now he thinks that’s funny?"
Rice Agrees to Meet 9/11 Commission But Only in Private
After coming under intense criticism, the White House offered Thursday to have National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice meet again with the 9/11 Commission. But White House officials said she would appear only in private and not under oath.
Rice was the center of criticism during the recent 9/11 hearings for refusing to appear. Former Senator Bob Kerrey said "My gosh, I think she was on every single network the day the commission opened its hearing this week, attacking our witnesses."
The New York Times also reports–almost in passing — that Rice is planning to leave her job at the end of the year.
Meanwhile the White House continued to attack former counterterrorism Richard Clarke who is accusing the Bush administration of not heeding warnings before Sept. 11.
Daschle said "I have a simple request for the president today: Please ask the people around you to stop the character attacks they are waging against Richard Clarke. Ask them to stop their attempts to conceal information and confuse facts. Ask them to stop the long effort that has made the 9/11 commission’s work more difficult than it should be."
Senate Passes Controversial Bill on Harming Fetuses
In 61 to 38 vote, the Senate approved legislation on Thursday that would make it a crime to injure or kill a fetus while a federal crime of violence is being committed.
Critics fear the bill, known as the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, defines the start of human life in a way that could undermine abortion rights.
Kate Michelman, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said, "Much of this is preparing for the day the Supreme Court has a majority that will overrule Roe v. Wade."
Tony Perkins, president of the conservative Family Research Council, said once Bush signs the legislation "our nation will be one giant step closer to rebuilding a culture of life, where every child, born and unborn, is given the protections they so clearly deserve."
The House has already passed the bill, which now goes to President who is expected to support its passage.
Kerry To Propose Cutting Corporate Taxes
The Washington Post is reporting presidential candidate John Kerry will propose today cutting the corporate tax rate as part of an economic plan that he says would create 10 million jobs by 2009.
The Post reports Kerry is offering a trade: He would cut taxes on U.S. corporations in exchange for forfeiting current tax benefits for moving money and jobs overseas.
Tom DeLay Could Be Forced to Step Down as House Leader
The newspaper Roll Call is reporting House Republican leader Tom DeLay of Texas may be forced to step down from his leadership position if he is indicted for alleged campaign abuses. A county district attorney in Texas is investigating whether political action committees connected to Delay broke Texas law during the 2002 state legislative elections by using corporate donations.
Army Survey: Troop Morale Low in Iraq
A new Army survey released on Thursday found that 52 percent soldiers in Iraq who responded reported their morale was low. Three quarters of them said they felt poorly led by their officers. In addition, seven in 10 soldiers characterized the morale of their fellow soldiers as low or very low.
Report: U.S. sent medically unfit soldiers to Iraq
Meanwhile the Knight Ridder News Agency is reporting the military is deploying some National Guard and Army Reserve soldiers who have severe medical problems in order to meet the demand for troops in Iraq. At least a dozen soldiers deployed to Iraq had ailments including asthma, diabetes, hearing loss or were recovering from recent surgery. Once in Iraq the soldiers’ medical problems were aggravated by the conditions but care was limited.
Pentagon Sends 2,000 More Troops To Afghanistan
The Pentagon announced 2,000 more Marines with special operations training will be sent to Afghanistan to boost security and increase the hunt for Osama bin Laden.
Maine Passes Anti-Patriot Act Resolution
In Maine the state Senate and house have passed a resolution criticizing the USA Patriot Act becoming the fourth state to do so. The resolution asks Congress to review the act and ensure that future laws "do not infringe on Americans’ civil rights and liberties."