Over the last week-and-a-half or so, liberal Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy (though he’s been rated less liberal than his junior Massachusetts colleague Sen. John Kerry) has been even louder, more outlandish, more political and more bombastic than ever.
Here is just a sampling of some of his most recent comments regarding the prisoner abuses in Iraq and how it’s all George Bush’s fault.
KENNEDY: We pray that mission accomplished has not become mission impossible. America’s respect and reputation in the world have never been lower in the entire history of our Nation. Where do we go to get our respect and reputation back? Where do we go to bring a respectable end to the nightmare for America that Iraq has become?
S4963, May 6, 2004
KENNEDY: You and your senior leadership have shown, I believe, a disregard for the protection of the Geneva Conventions in detainee operations. […]
[Y]ou have known about the graphic photographs, evidence of abuse in the Abu Ghraib prison since mid- January. You told President Bush about these reports of abuse shortly thereafter. And yet, rather than work with Congress to deal with the problem together, you and other top Defense Department officials have apparently spent the last three weeks in preparing the public relations plan.
before the Senate Armed Services Committee
May 7, 2004
KENNEDY: On March 19, 2004, President Bush asked: “Who would prefer that Saddam’s torture chambers still be open?”
Shamefully, we now learn that Saddam’s torture chambers reopened under new management–U.S. management. […]
President Bush has presided over America’s steepest and deepest fall from grace in the history of our country. The tragedy unfolding in Iraq is the direct result of a colossal failure of leadership.
S5058, May 10, 2004
MATT LAUER: Let me ask you about a story on the front page of The New York Times this morning. It talks about some of the methods being used by the CIA in interrogating top al-Qaeda operatives. I’ll read you a piece of the article. It says, “In the case of Khalid Sheikh Mohamed, a high-level detainee who’s believe to have helped plan the attacks of September 11th, CIA interrogators used graduated levels of force, including a technine–technique known as ‘water boarding’ in which a prisoner is strapped down, forcibly pushed under water and made to believe he might drown.” It goes on to detail some other techniques. Do you feel that we risk blurring the line between ourselves and the people we’re supposed to be pr–protecting US citizens from?
KENNEDY: Well, that–that’s the–the great danger. We don’t abuse our values in order to accept the values of those that we are opposing. But the interesting point is much of that has to be personally app–approved by the secretary of defense. We don’t know how many times he’s approved it, what have been the conditions that he has approved it, what has General Sanchez approved in terms of those prisons over there.
LAUER: These are apparently secret rules approved by the CIA…
KENNEDY: We haven’t heard those.
LAUER: …in the wake of 9/11.
KENNEDY: And they can come up–they–they clearly are approved, ultimately, by the secretary of defense. That came out in the course of our Armed Services hearing. And we don’t know. He hasn’t been asked. He hasn’t revealed. There–the fact is there is a great deal more that we ought to know about who was in charge. It isn’t just the–the prisoners. We have to know the climate, the atmosphere, who gave the green light…
LAUER: All right.
KENNEDY: …for the violations of the Geneva Conventions that have been taking place.
May 13, 2004
KENNEDY: And what we are continuing to see is blunder after blunder in Iraq. And what is happening is that we’ve lost our position as leader of the free world in terms of human rights. We’ve lost our — now, we are the most hated nation in the world.
May 13, 2004
KENNEDY: [O]n the issue of this kind of heavy- handedness by the administration in terms of the torture of these prisoners, the reason we have Geneva accords is, number one, even those these prisoners in so many incidents are bad and have done bad things that we don’t want to have the same morality as those individuals, but secondly, and more important, as John McCain has pointed out time and time again, information that has gotten from torture to prisoners is not good information. It is not the way to gain the kind of intelligence that you need.
May 13, 2004
SOLEDAD O’BRIEN: Here’s what you said on May 11. I want to read a little bit of a comment about this abuse at the prison. “Shamefully now we learn that Saddam’s torture chambers have reopened under new management, United States management.” There are some critics who say you went way over the line on that, and, in fact, that was a woeful exaggeration. How do you respond to that?
KENNEDY: That is part of the Republican attack machine, and I reject it.
May 13, 2004
KENNEDY: I’ve been on this committee for 24 years, I’ve been in the Senate 42 years, and I have never been denied the opportunity to question any person that’s come before a committee on what I wanted to ask for it. And I resent it and reject it on a matter of national importance.
Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz
about prison abuses during a budget meeting
Senate Armed Services Committee hearing
on contingency reserve fund
May 13, 2004