The Democrats have forced the Senate into a closed session to question the Iraq intelligence that was used before Bush initiated the war:
"They have repeatedly chosen to protect the Republican administration rather than get to the bottom of what happened and why," Democratic leader Harry Reid said.
Taken by surprise, Republicans derided the move as a political stunt.
"The United States Senate has been hijacked by the Democratic leadership," said Majority Leader Bill Frist. "They have no convictions, they have no principles, they have no ideas," the Republican leader said.
In a speech on the Senate floor, Reid demanded the Senate go into closed session. The public was ordered out of the chamber, the lights were dimmed, and the doors were closed. No vote is required in such circumstances.
Reid's move shone a spotlight on the continuing controversy over intelligence that President Bush cited in the run-up to the war in Iraq. Despite prewar claims, no weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq, and some Democrats have accused the administration of manipulating the information that was in their possession.
Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, was indicted last Friday in an investigation that touched on the war, the leak of the identity of a CIA official married to a critic of the administration's Iraq policy.
"The Libby indictment provides a window into what this is really all about, how this administration manufactured and manipulated intelligence in order to sell the war in Iraq and attempted to destroy those who dared to challenge its actions," Reid said before invoking Senate rules that led to the closed session.
This is the sort of thing one does in a one-party system in order to get any kind of scrutiny going. It was about time for the Democrats to do something, and this has the additional advantage of being enjoyable to watch. Did you see Frist's temper tantrum?