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Mon., Oct. 14, 2002

As expected, congress voted to authorize Bush's war. As expected, the vote wasn't even close.

In the House, the final tally was 296 to 133. Six Republicans cast "no" votes, while the Democrats split on the issue--81 of them approved the resolution, and 126 opposed. One would like to live in a world where those 296 legislators were looking for new jobs after November, particularly the nearly 40% of the so-called "opposition party."

In the Senate vote Friday morning, it was even worse. A final tally of 77 to 23, with most of the Democrats--29 out of 50--voting in favor of the measure. Also opposed was a single Republican and the only independent in the Senate.

The "President," meanwhile, has chosen to celebrate his great "victory" in an appropriate fashion--a new orgy of fundraising. The AP reports today that "President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney and wife Lynne Cheney are fanning out in four states to raise campaign cash for Republicans seeking House seats." Altogether, "Monday will be the president's 64th fund-raiser, Cheney's 68th and 69th and Mrs. Cheney's sixth."

An example of how the Republicans have been using the war issue on the campaign trail:

Saxby Chambliss, Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate from Georgia. He's Bush's chosen boy, the "President" even doing television spots for him. Chambliss is opposing incumbent Democratic Sen. Max Cleland. His latest campaign propaganda accuses Cleland of nothing less than "breaking his oath to protect and defend the Constitution." Cleland, now facing this charge, is a Vietnam veteran who lost both legs and an arm in the war. One wonders what else he'd have to lose before his Republican opponent felt he'd sufficiently honored his oath.

Chambliss, by the way, stayed out of the war via a bad knee.

An exchange between Chris Matthews and terrorism analyst Peter Bergen[*], from MSNBC's Harball program, Oct. 10, 2002:

MATTHEWS: "The President has made much of the connection between al Qaida and Iraq. What do you see?"
BERGEN: "I see almost no connection. Bin Laden met with a senior Iraqi intelligence agent in '98 once. We all do meetings with people we don't necessarily do business with. Saddam Hussein is a secular fascist and Osama bin Laden is an Islamic zealot."

[*] Bergen is the author of "Holy War, Inc."

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