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Reply #83: The three were not the same [View All]

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karynnj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-01-08 12:04 PM
Response to Reply #23
83. The three were not the same
I think that Edwards genuinely believed in the need to invade Iraq - he was a co-sponsor of the resolution, spoke positively of the invasion and was for the war until at least late 2003. This is likely not pandering, but being - as he said - "wrong".

Kerry was one of those fighting against going to war in summer 2002. In September 2002, he wrote a NYT op-ed that was labeled anti-war. His vote was wrong, but as he has said, but it was not a vote to go to war as we did. Bush said on the eve of the vote that it was not a vote to go to war and Kerry in his speech listed the promises Bush publicly made of under what conditions he would go to war. He also said that if Bush backed away from those commitments he would speak out - which he did.

In fact, by the time Bush was moving to go to war, Kerry was among the most prominent speaking against invading. His comments at Georgetown University were consistent both with his IWR speech and his September 2002 op-ed and he was attacked for that speech by those wanting war. Here is one example - thanks to BLM -

Publication: National Review
Publication Date: 24-FEB-03
Delivery: Immediate Online Access
Author: Frum, David
Full Article:
The 'Rush' to War, and The Day After Never

How often do we hear it said that America is "rushing toward war"? Presidential candidate John F. Kerry warned against the "rush to war" in a major speech at Georgetown University on January 23. The day before, the leaders of France and Germany delivered a similar warning. So did the editors of the New York Times.

Well, everything is relative. Compared to the movement of the tectonic plates or the cooling of the earth's core, the United States is indeed hurtling headlong to war. But by the normal standards of political life, the "rush to war" is a rush only in the sense that 5 o'clock on the Santa Monica Freeway is the "rush hour." The truth is that we have been inching toward war for the past ten years-and there are still quite a number of inches left to traverse.

In the summer of 1993, Iraqi agents attempted to murder former President Bush during a visit to Kuwait. Assassinations of top political leaders are pretty notoriously grounds for war-in fact, Saddam Hussein cited the mysterious deaths of a number of his top officials as his justification for invading Iran in 1980. If the United States had been eager for war with Iraq, the Bush plot was a perfect excuse. Instead, President Clinton fired a couple of dozen cruise missiles into downtown Baghdad.

A little over a year later, Saddam Hussein abruptly massed 80,000 troops on Iraq's border with Kuwait. The U.N. Security Council passed yet another resolution condemning Iraq (Number 949 this time). American and British units rushed into the emirate to deter a second invasion of Kuwait-and then rushed back out again.

In 1995, Saddam's son-in-law defected to Jordan, delivering proof positive that Saddam had successfully concealed a biological-weapons program from the U.N. inspectors then operating in Iraq-but there was again no rush.

In September 1996, Saddam Hussein invaded the Kurdish safe haven in northern Iraq. The United States had promised to protect the Kurds. An unnamed high official was quoted in news accounts at the time predicting that a military response was "very likely"; Bill Clinton himself told the White House press corps that "reckless acts have consequences." Now the rush seemed to be on for sure-only it turned out that the consequences Clinton meant were another flurry of cruise- missile strikes.

In 1998, the U.N. inspections regime in Iraq finally and definitively collapsed. The U.N. passed another passel of resolutions; at year's end, Clinton ordered up another flurry of air strikes to coincide with the impeachment vote. When Clinton's trial ended, so did the air strikes. No rush there.

Nor was there any rushing after George W. Bush took over in January 2001. The new president seemed more than content to wait for later- maybe a second term-before taking action against the dictator who had outlasted two hostile U.S. presidents. After 9/11, it's true that some people around President Bush began to question the Clinton policy of leaving Saddam in power more or less indefinitely. And in January 2002, President Bush's "axis of evil" speech warned that more decisive action against Iraq would come soon.

There was a time when a year was considered a long time in warfare. But although in every other aspect of life things seem to be speeding up, apparently when it comes to fighting, time is slowing down, and what was once considered merely a brisk speed now feels like a dizzying whirl.

Eighteen months after Pearl Harbor, and the United States was already in Sicily; 18 months since 9/11, and every one of the world's terror regimes except Afghanistan is exactly where it was a year and a half ago. Well, not exactly where it was: Libya has been promoted from mere membership of the U.N. Human Rights Commission to actual chairmanship of it. Otherwise, no signs of motion.

If ever any administration has moved with deliberate speed, it is this one. But no matter how slowly it moves, it is never slow enough. No matter how often it makes its case, it has never made the case enough. And no matter how much evidence of Saddam's dangerousness it adduces, the evidence is never convincing enough. When, do you suppose, would John Kerry and President Chirac and the editors of the New York Times think it a good time to overthrow Saddam? After another three months? Or six? Isn't it really the day after never?

It is not the speed of war that disturbs them. It is the fact of war. But this time, the fact of war is inescapable. War was made on the United States, and it has no choice but to reply. But there is good news: If the preparations for the Iraq round of the war on terror have gone very, very slowly, the Iraq fight itself is probably going to go very, very fast. The shooting should be over within just a very few days from when it starts. The sooner the fighting begins in Iraq, the nearer we are to its imminent end. Which means, in other words, that this "rush to war" should really be seen as the ultimate "rush to peace."
There was also outrage when Kerry spoke of the need for regime change here in April 2003, when the war was still favored by over 70% of the population. Starting in 2003, Kerry was saying it was not a war of last resort, that we were misled into war as Bush did not do what he said he would and that it diverted attention from Iraq.

It is hard to argue that his vote was pandering when he publicly spoke out as he did. The vote was wrong as it gave authority conditionally (where Bush was the one who got to say the conditions were met) that he would never have voted for in February
because it is clear from his speech he did NOT think that diplomacy was exhausted or that it was a war of last resort.

HRC is harder to assess because she was pretty quiet in 2003 - 2006 and the comments people can find are all over the map. It is clear that she likely had WJC's advise and that neither of them spoke out as Bush prepared to go to war. It was only in 2006 that she started to use words similar to Kerry's in 2003 and 2004. The difference is that if she voted for those reasons, why didn't she add her voice to Kerry's in early 2003? As she didn't, I suspect that she was triangulating - a Clinton norm.
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