WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Without warning last Tuesday, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D.-Nev., invoked a little-used provision of Article I, Section 5 of our Constitution to force "the world's greatest deliberative body" into an unusual closed session. For a moment I thought he was doing a commercial for my new bestselling novel, "The Assassins" -- which has a similar scene in chapter 5.
As it turns out, this cynical maneuver was far more crass than a mere commercial endorsement. Though Mr. Reid and his colleagues say their goal is to force disclosure of the "misinformation and disinformation" presented by President Bush and his administration during the lead-up to war in Iraq, their real motive seems to be nothing less than bringing down the commander-in-chief in the midst of a war. And unfortunately, the Republican leadership, caught flatfooted like deer in your headlights, failed to do their duty.
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R.-Kan., called the maneuver a "political stunt" - and then went on to agree that a six-Senator bi-partisan task force will report by Nov. 14 on progress reviewing "pre-war intelligence." In other words -- now that the president's polls are down and we have more than 2,000 dead, let's explore once again if we're engaged in a war we didn't have to fight.
For the Iraqi people who just affirmed their own constitution -- and who are about to go to the polls to select the first freely-elected legislature in the Islamic world -- this is at best, disheartening. For the Jihadists, intent on driving all western influence out of "Islamic lands" -- it is a propaganda windfall for recruiting more suicide-terrorist "martyrs." Worse yet, for our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Guardsmen and Marines serving on the front-lines in the war on terror -- and their families here at home - it was a painful and pitiful performance all around.
Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.