The time has come to stop treating Michele Bachmann as a joke – an evangelical Christian pushing a Christian agenda along with her revisions of history and wild McCarthyeque accusations of socialists under the bed. This time, she has betrayed her position as a Congresswoman in an egregious manner.
On Laura Ingraham’s radio program on Friday, Bachmann reminded the listeners that she is a member of the House Intelligence Committee, a committee that operates on a different set of rules from the other House committees. Because much of the information the committee receives, it is bound by oath to protect anything they hear that has been deemed a state secret by the Executive Branch, no matter which intelligence service is delivering the material. Then, after saying “I’m not sharing something I shouldn’t…” Bachmann said that “China has blinded United States’ satellites with their lasers. They’ve also supplied arms to the Taliban, and they’ve helped North Korea deliver missiles to Iran and Pakistan….And they’ve assisted Iran with their nuclear program.”
What Bachmann failed to disclose in that interview was that she got none of that information from her work on the committee. Those issues date between the 1980′s and 2006. She was not in Congress during the period when these issues were raised and dealt with by the Reagan, Bush, Clinton and Bush administrations. Furthermore, most of what was at issue was a combination of speculation, extrapolation of potential problems and ways in which various entities and governments were getting around sanctions, treaties and agreements. For example, China never supplied arms directly to the Taliban. They have sold weapons to Iran, and Iran has supplied them to the Taliban, but China is having some problems with a Muslim minority in their western provinces, so pipelining weapons to Jihadist terrorists is not in China’s best interests. The “satellite blinding” was a potential possibility discussed after China used some convenient American satellites to test an illumination laser on one or more of their satellites. North Korea has become a difficulty for China because a war on their doorstep would seriously damage their economic power – the real area when China is attacking the West.
Bachmann made these accusations as though they were things going on at the present time and things she had heard in committee, instead of old right wing conspiracy theories and diplomatic concerns that she could have found on the Web. That disclaimer “I’m not sharing something I shouldn’t….” sounded as though that was exactly what she was doing, just like someone saying “I shouldn’t be telling you this, but….”. She used the committee to give credibility to her accusations that a foreign government had attacked our satellites, violated the non-proliferation treaties and armed our enemies. Frighteningly, she did it with an audience perfectly capable of taking her accusations as a excuse to harass or attack Chinese-Americans or use her words to justify spreading fear of “godless commies” in our midst. This is the same type of audience that was whipped into a frenzy to demonstrate against the mis-named “ground zero mosque” and attacked mosques and building sites in other states. This is the same type of audience that contained people who took the anti-abortion rhetoric to the extreme of killing doctors and clinic workers. This is an audience comprised of the type of people that helped shelter Eric Robert Rudolph, the abortion clinic bomber.
Rick Perry’s imprudent statement that he could support invading Mexico to go after drug dealers was offensive enough. Hopefully, we can count on the Mexicans understanding that Perry is just another Texas cowboy who shoots off his mouth as often as he shoots off his guns. They don’t particularly like the prospect of American troops on their soil. The last time was during the Mexican Revolution when General Pershing used Mexico as a training ground for his newly commissioned tank brigades, and just incidently decided their revolution for them. But Bachmann does not have the built-in excuse of cowboyhood. She used her committee position to certify these accusations.
Speaker Boehner has a responsibility to remove this woman from the intelligence committee before she decides she can get more election mileage out of current secrets than out of past speculations. He should remove her for compromising the committee’s work and honor. And Republicans need to see that this woman is not Presidential material. The Presidency requires a person who is capable of rational thought and uses a complete compliment of information before making a decision. The job demands an ability to understand that most of the world’s problems have layers of complexity that must be understood in their entirety.
We’ve already had one idiot in the White House who believed a conspiracy theory enough to use it to take us to war. We don’t need another one.