Sunday, January 05, 2020

Blumenthal And Murphy Avoid Imputations

Murphy and Blumenthal
U.S. Senators Chris Murphy and Dick Blumenthal were anxious – perhaps too anxious – to “set the narrative” concerning the strike on  General Qassem Soleimani of Iran, who met an untimely death at the hands of an American drone in Iraq.

Soleimani was engaged in his usual business in Iraq – killing Americans. He had, during his years as the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s top general, become proficient in the art, providing IED’s to friendly terrorist groups in all quarters of the Middle East. The state department has said he was responsible for upwards of 500 deaths of American soldiers in Iraq. After washing himself in American blood, Soleimani would duck back into Iran, a safe harbor from U.S. retribution.

President Barrack Obama, hungry for a nuclear deal with Iran in the midst of a political campaign, sought to placate Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran, by plying him with unfrozen assets worth approximately $50 billion and planeloads of cash – “reimbursements,” it was claimed, for equipment undelivered that Iran had purchased from the US in the late 1970s in the amount of $1.7 billion. The cash award was delivered secretly without the imprimatur of the U. S. Congress, and Soleimani doubtless used the money to finance his terrorist activities throughout the Middle East, laughing up his sleeve and thumbing his nose at Senators Murphy and Blumenthal.

This time, with a different president in office, Soleimani’s sowing of terror just didn’t work. Despite clear warnings from President Donald Trump that the killing of Americans would be repaid in kind, Iran persisted and killed an American contractor in Iraq. The attack on the embassy in Bagdad – reminiscent of an earlier attack on an American compound in Benghazi that claimed the life of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens – was answered by a drone attack on Soleimani. Good riddance to bad rubbish, most Americans thought. Soleimani’s untimely demise was greeted with shouts of joy in Iraq, which has a history of “troublesome” relations with Iran.

Immediately after the strike on Soleimani, Blumenthal and Murphy appeared at a joint press conference in Hartford to vent. The question foremost on some reporters' minds was this one: Was the attack on Soleimani prompted by Trump’s earlier impeachment in the U.S. House of Representatives?

It was a tender question.  In a piece in CTMirror, “Blumenthal, Murphy walk a fine line on Iraq attack,” reporter Mark Pazniokas put it this way: “The complicated politics of criticizing a commander in chief during a military crisis were evident Friday as Connecticut’s two Democratic U.S. senators sharply questioned the wisdom of the U.S. killing Iran’s top military commander, while avoiding any suggestion the attack was influenced by domestic politics on the eve of an impeachment trial.”

Here is Murphy, avoiding imputations: “For the time being, I’m going to take the administration at its word that they believe there were imminent attacks against the United States. Obviously, with this president you have to worry about ulterior motives. He has made it clear that he is willing to use the national security tools at his disposal in order to advance his personal political priorities. That is in fact the subject of the impeachment trial. I can’t know the motivation, but I can see the ramifications, the very dangerous potential ramifications in war, in attacks on Americans, terrorist activities that directly imperil the United States.”

Blumenthal diplomatically noted, “And all of those concerns would be as grave and urgent even without an impeachment trial coming.”

This might have been the place to ask somewhat different questions on the pending trial for impeachment in the U.S. Senate: “Since the impeachment indictment of Trump drafted in the U.S. House appears to be fluid, why shouldn’t your misgivings be added to the indictment prior to the trial in the Senate? If you can call new witnesses and elicit new testimony in the Senate, why can’t you add new charges as well? Isn’t this what Senator Chuck Schumer and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi have in mind by their insistence in calling new witnesses? Oh, and I have a follow-up question, since the subject of this media availability was supposed to be impeachment. The House already has prepared its indictment. It has said in effect, the President should be impeached on two counts: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. That being the case, why is it necessary to call new witnesses AFTER majority Democrats in the House have decided that testimony already taken in the House is sufficient for prosecution? Aren’t you guys asking for a strike four?”

Questions of this kind will never be answered by Blumenthal or Murphy – because they never will be asked by Connecticut incurious media.

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