Senator Tom Daschle has issued two statements over the past two days that are well worth reading.
Yesterday’s was a call for answers regarding the Bush administration’s tactic of smearing anyone who speaks out against the administration’s aims:
I want to talk this morning about a disturbing pattern of conduct by the people around President Bush. They seem to be willing to do anything for political purposes, regardless of the facts and regardless of what’s right.
…The purpose of government isn’t to make the President look good. It isn’t to produce propaganda or misleading information. It is, instead, to do its best for the American people and to be accountable to the American people. The people around the President don’t seem to believe that. They have crossed a line–perhaps several lines–that no government ought to cross.
We shouldn’t fire or demean people for telling the truth. We shouldn’t reveal the names of law enforcement officials for political gain. And we shouldn’t try to destroy people who are out to make country safer.
I think the people around the President have crossed into dangerous territory. We are seeing abuses of power that cannot be tolerated.
The President needs to put a stop to it, right now. We need to get to the truth, and the President needs to help us do that.
And todays called for answers regarding the Bush administration’s approach to combatting terrorism, both before and after September 11:
The responsibility for getting answers to the questions surrounding the tragic events of September 11 rests with the 9/11 Commission. Therefore, the importance of cooperating with this commission cannot be overstated. Only with complete cooperation will the commission be able to produce a report that explains how these attacks occurred in the first place and what can be done to reduce the likelihood of future attacks. Only with complete cooperation can the commission produce the kind of report that our families, our troops, and the American people deserve.
While the former Clinton Administration officials have cooperated fully with the commission, the Bush Administration’s record on access to officials and documents is, in a word, unsatisfactory.
…If the Bush Administration is truly serious about allowing the commission to examine its actions against Al Qaeda before September 11, it must provide answers to the following questions:
Was defeating Al Qaeda the Bush Administration’s top national security priority before September 11?
…Did the Bush Administration have a strategy for defeating Al Qaeda prior to September 11?
…What did the Bush Administration do before September 11 to defeat Al Qaeda?
…Did the Bush Administration commit adequate resources necessary to defeat Al Qaeda prior to September 11?
…Finally, did the Bush Administration’s apparent focus on Saddam Hussein detract from efforts to defeat Al Qaeda and leave America less secure?
Of course, one has to wonder how long it will be before Daschle becomes the subject of one of Rove’s smear campaigns…