After having returned today from a vacation with my family in which we took a road trip to the Midwest through the southern states of Texas, Arkansas (with a brief stop in Hope - home of Bill Clinton), Tennessee and Kentucky, I arrived back home with a new determination to be more opened minded with regard to my political beliefs. Try to listen to the other side w/o shutting down with contempt or rage. This goal is/was driven by a vast number of conversations I had with my siblings, their spouses and college age nieces and nephews- some Dems, some Repubs.
My hope to chill and give pause to conservative Republican ideology came to a screeching halt today when I opened my paper mail. Prior to leaving I had written to my two U.S. Senators and one US Congressmen (John Culberson, replacing Chris Bell who was run out of office by Tom DeLay driven gerry mandering). CulbersonÂs response to my plea to investigate the Downing Street Minutes in which intelligence was apparently fixed to fit Bush's policy to go to war with Iraq is so inappropriate, completely unacceptable and downright insulting, that any thought I previously entertained to be more open minded and forgiving of conservative Republican philosophy are gone. Au contraire, I am even more emboldened to fight harder to safeguard and advance my partyÂs principles.
Because I am so offended by this letter I am retyping it in its entirety so it can be included in the Internet historical archives. I will also send copies to Howard Dean and Barbara Radnofsky who is running for the Texas US Senate in 2006 against Kay Bailey Hutchinson. It may give more fuel to their fire.
From the U.S. House of Representatives
The Honorable John Culberson
June 27, 2005
Dear Mrs. Shaw:
Thank you for contacting me to express your opinion on the investigation of intelligence leading up to the Iraq war.
Americas' security depends on the success of our intelligence. I am confident that we have the most dedicated men and women in the world working for our intelligence services. They risk their lives for our freedom every day, and achieve great success stores that we seldom hear about. However, their conclusion that Iraq continued to possess large quantities of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) last year has not been confirmed, and we need to review what went wrong in a comprehensive and thorough manner. I applaud President Bush for appointing a bipartisan and independent committee of distinguished experts to the commission tasked with investigating our intelligence system. The commission should have as much time as it needs to complete such a large task, and should put aside attempts to inject partisanship into the investigation.
US intelligence services were not alone in concluding that Saddam Hussein had not destroyed his WMD. After the Gulf War, the United Nations documented large quantities of WMD in Iraq, and Saddam never offered any evidence he had destroyed them. The intelligence services of the United Kingdom, Israel, Germany and France, among others, all concluded that Saddam still had weapons of mass destruction. Bill Clinton, Al Gore, John Kerry and many other Democrats who had access to this intelligence came to the same conclusion. For reasons which may never be known, Saddam chose to pretend that he had WMD, and did not allow UN inspectors full access even as coalition troops massed along the Iraqi border. Saddam underestimated AmericaÂs resolve, a mistake he surely regrets now from behind bars.
This controversy should not overshadow the heroic job our soldiers have done and the great success of their mission. The Iraq Liberation Act, signed into law by President Clinton in 1998, committed the United States to removing the Hussein regime and helping Iraq make a successful transition to democracy. We have fulfilled that goal and replaced tyranny with freedom. Ultimately, whether or not we find WMD in Iraq, the Iraqi people will no longer be tortured, gassed, or buried in mass graves. Our armed forces have removed from power a dangerous and unstable dictator who wanted Americans dead, and the world is a safer place because of it. I would much rather fight terrorists in Baghdad and Fallujah than New York and Houston. The War on Terror will be long and difficult, but we will ultimately prevail.
Thank you for entrusting me to represent you in the United State Congress. Please visit my website at www.culberson.house.ove.
Member of Congress
ER, Congressman Culberson, I AM NOT STUPID. You will be hearing from me again, thank you very muchÂ