“Dr. Rice, nice to see you again. Congratulations on your appointment. We Democrats on the committee are certainly in no position to block your nomination. In any event, you are the perfect choice to represent this President overseas. After all, you’ve been involved in all his foreign policy blunders during the past four years. So I’d like to use the little time I get to ask a few questions. Let’s see if we can clear up some things for the record.
“First, why did the President say before the war there were ‘stockpiles’ of biological weapons in Iraq? Where did he get that from? Even the overstated National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq said only–and this was an exaggeration–that Iraq had research programs in this area. Oh, yes, I forgot, the White House said that neither you nor the President read the NIE before deciding to launch the war. Why was that? As you might have read in the papers, the NIE did contain opinions of analysts who disagreed with the conclusion that Iraq was loaded with WMDs. Were you and the President not interested in these views? And while we’re at it, after the invasion you said, ‘The President took the nation to war to depose a bloody tyrant who was building a weapons of mass destruction program and had weapons of mass destruction.’ The Duelfer report tells us Saddam Hussein had no weapons and no active WMD programs. So, then, did the President take us to war for invalid reasons?
“You’ve also said, ‘We do know that [Saddam] is actively pursuing nuclear weapons.’ The Duelfer report and international nuclear inspectors tell us he was not. So why did you say that? And referring to that controversial line in the State of the Union address when the President claimed Iraq was seeking uranium in Africa, you said, ‘Had there been even a peep that the [CIA] did not want that sentence in…it would have been gone.’ Given that the CIA did raise questions about this allegation, how do you explain your explanation? Also, the President said before the war that Saddam was a threat because he was ‘dealing’ with Al Qaeda. Yet the CIA and 9/11 commission said there was no evidence of an operational relationship between the two. Did the President know something the CIA and the 9/11 commission did not?
“Moving right along, can you tell us why there were no high-level Administration discussions regarding post-invasion Iraq? Why no adequate planning for the necessary economic, political, social, legal and security transitions? Wouldn’t it have been your job to organize such discussions? And as the 9/11 commission noted, Richard Clarke repeatedly warned you before 9/11 that Al Qaeda seemed about to attack, and various intelligence reports said the same. Why did you do little or nothing in response?
“I could go on for hours, but let me finish with this: Do you think it is possible–just possible–that the Iraq war was a mistake? Is it worth thousands of more lives and hundreds of billions of dollars more, no matter what?
“Thank you. Take as much time as you need to answer all these questions.”