By now most people who follow politics at the partisan level are aware of the controversy Michele Bachmann created with her comments to a reporter from the St. Cloud newspaper on February 9th. To recap, she said, among other things:
“Half of Iraq, the western, northern portion of Iraq, is going to be called…the Iraq State of Islam, something like that. And I’m sorry, I don’t have the official name, but it’s meant to be the training ground for the terrorists. There’s already an agreement made.”
The initial comments didn’t get much press because the St. Cloud paper only posted the interview as a podcast. However, once the StarTribune’s Eric Black picked up the story on Friday, it went national in a hurry. That night, Bachmann posted a retraction via her spokespeople. The statement claims her words were “misconstrued”, which is what you have to resort to instead of the old “misquoted” line when you are actually being recorded.
So, what’s up? She’s not making casual allusions in her first interview. She’s prattling on for several sentences about how Iran has a plan to divide up Iraq, that it’s already a done deal, and of course that’s justification for taking military action there, right? So it’s either:
A) She has actual knowledge of such a plan, and gave the St. Cloud reporter the scoop of a lifetime that he oddly chose not to follow up on. Since it’s not likely Freshman Rep. Michele Bachmann would be authorized to be the exclusive, sole messenger of the government for this world-changing information, or that the St. Cloud, MN paper would be the exclusive, sole recipient of the best possible justification to date for going to war with Iran, that would mean she spilled a major, major piece of intelligence. That, obviously, makes her a real problem for national security if she can’t be trusted with one of the single most important pieces of intel the U.S. has today.
The problem is, if this were real information, don’t you think we’d have heard about that from the Bush Administration, who’s looking for any justification they can find to go to war with Iran? Don’t you think maybe they would have assigned someone a little higher up the totem pole to come out with the information, like maybe Dick Cheney, or Condi Rice, or even somebody in the Senate like Mitch McConnell? Which leaves…
B) Michele Bachmann made up some serious, far-fetched lies. You’ll hear conservatives right and left talk about how, well, obviously Iran is a great threat, and of course there have been discussions to partition Iraq, and…and…
Of course Iran is a threat. Of course there have been discussions about partitioning Iraq, many of which we’ve been involved in. What does any of that have to do with her creating a fantastical lie designed to provide leverage for another war where the facts don’t make the case? This isn’t difficult. She lied. She lied about something pretty damn important.
I heard Norm Coleman on NPR today. When asked about Bachmann’s comments, he simply said “I don’t want to comment on my colleague’s comments, but we know Iran is a threat, and…”
She’s twisting in the wind. You know it’s bad when Power Line blog can’t even think of a way to spin it for her. (If you aren’t familiar with Power Line, they write things like this: “The Democrats are floundering because in reality, they don’t have a policy on Iraq. They know that the American people’s first choice is victory, but that is the one option that, for them, is not on the table. They would like to surrender, but know that the consequences would be far worse than the situation we now face in Iraq and the Middle East.”)
But back to Bachmann. This should be a career-ender, right? I have to believe the only reason the national and local media haven’t been making more of this is that they already know she’s a joke. Oh, to have been on the line when she started getting the phone calls from the party higher-ups. It’s got to be tough for a narcissist like her to live through a party-imposed gag rule.