Brewtown Politico

Carrying a little stick and speaking loudly in Milwaukee

11.14.2005

Edwards comes around on Iraq vote

Former senator John Edwards published an op-ed in Sunday's WaPo:

The argument for going to war with Iraq was based on intelligence that we now know was inaccurate. The information the American people were hearing from the president -- and that I was being given by our intelligence community -- wasn't the whole story. Had I known this at the time, I never would have voted for this war.

As a backer of Edwards in the 2004 Democratic primary, it's refreshing to hear him do something the president and many politicians haven't yet done in admitting what a mistake this war was. There will be speculation that Edwards is just trying to keep his name alive for 2008. That doesn't invalidate his position, and it doesn't excuse war supporters from dealing with the reality in Iraq, and the manipulated intelligence that led us there.

For his part, the prez is trying to squelch further criticism of the leadup to war with his divisive speech on Veterans Day where he pointed the finger at war critics in Congress claiming they had the same intelligence as he did. As Dana Milbank and Walter Pincus reported over the weekend, don't believe some of the deceptive statements coming from our fearless leader:
But Bush and his aides had access to much more voluminous intelligence information than did lawmakers, who were dependent on the administration to provide the material. And the commissions cited by officials, though concluding that the administration did not pressure intelligence analysts to change their conclusions, were not authorized to determine whether the administration exaggerated or distorted those conclusions.

The RNC has now issued talking points in response to the Post article, but I don't see how they'll help. If you're president, and still debating the merits of a war three years after the resolution passed, you're in some trouble.

23 Comments:

At 11/14/2005 05:48:00 PM, Blogger Craig said...

Bush's ratings are at an all time low (source: any news site). Of course their quote is "The White House doesn't follow polls or comment on them. It doesn't change our policies."

An true honest man would come forward and admit these mistakes.

 
At 11/14/2005 07:15:00 PM, Blogger Mr_Proteus said...

It's nice to know that Edwards, who was a senator at the time, admits that he lacked the intelligence to vote on such an critical issue.

As for your comment that a president has more information than the senators, I guess that means that the president also misled the American people about Iraq when he said,
"Now, let's imagine the future. What if he fails to comply, and we fail to act, or we take some ambiguous third route which gives him yet more opportunities to develop this program of weapons of mass destruction and continue to press for the release of the sanctions and continue to ignore the solemn commitments that he made?

Well, he will conclude that the international community has lost its will. He will then conclude that he can go right on and do more to rebuild an arsenal of devastating destruction.

And some day, some way, I guarantee you, he'll use the arsenal. And I think every one of you who's really worked on this for any length of time believes that, too."

Source: President Bill Clinton, 1998

The president made the decision that he thought was right based on the information he had. We can debate that decision. However, we have finished the war against Saddam and the Baathists in Iraq. We are now fighting al Qaeda in Iraq, an organization led by Zarqawi (a foreign fighter) and his army of foreign suicide bombers, who are using some foreign weapons including military-grade bombs manufactured in Iran. To suggest that we pull our troops out now is tantamount to complete surrender to the terrorists.

"Once we have a war there is only one thing to do. It must be won. For defeat brings worse things than any that can ever happen in war." Ernest Hemmingway

 
At 11/14/2005 08:13:00 PM, Blogger Scott said...

In March 2003, the weapons inspectors were still on the ground. It was our invasion that booted them out this time around. If we had let the inspections continue, we would have determined what we know now. That there were no WMDs in Iraq. Tens of thousands of lives could have been spared, not to mention hundreds of billions of dollars.

You're right that Iraq has now become a magnet for foreign terrorism now as a result of the war. As far as winning this war, victory hasn't even been defined much less put in sight.

 
At 11/14/2005 10:20:00 PM, Blogger Mr_Proteus said...

Tens of thousands of lives saved? That neglects the fact that thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of Iraqis, mostly Kurds, died under the Hussein regime, not to mention the Shi'ites, citizens of Kuwait, Iran, plus Israeli citizens the were killed by suicide bombers financed by Saddam Hussein.

WMD or not, this man was a killer and he would continue using any method of killing--conventional bombs, guns, starvation, and slow torture--until we finally stepped in to stop it.

Criticize the intelligence and the conduct of the war all you want, but I'd rather defend our president than Saddam Hussein and his allies.

 
At 11/15/2005 09:00:00 AM, Anonymous Ben said...

Nobody's defending Hussein.

But shifting the motivation for war after the fact is revisionist. We were told we suffered a clear and immediate threat to ourselves. Now it is to the Iraqi people.

If the president wanted to go to war for existing reasons, he should have done so instead of manufacturing false reasons that seemed more threatening.

Plus, no incumbent president has ever lost a wartime reelection bid. Therefore it would behoove a president to make war.

Count on more threatening rhetoric going into the midterm. Scare tactics on your own people are disgusting.

And leaking classified information for personal gain is by definition Treason.

 
At 11/15/2005 10:43:00 PM, Anonymous Bubba Clinton said...

And lying while under oath is by definition perjury.

 
At 11/16/2005 01:42:00 AM, Blogger Scott said...

If I had a dime for every retort that started with something like "b..b..but Clinton!"

 
At 11/16/2005 06:48:00 AM, Anonymous Ben said...

Let's see, knob-job-gate or fraudulantly taking our country to war? Hmmm....

 
At 11/16/2005 05:02:00 PM, Blogger Mr_Proteus said...

So Ben, you say the war was fraudulent. Then we should pull out our troops and re-enstate Saddam as ruler of Iraq? Yes or no.

 
At 11/16/2005 06:49:00 PM, Anonymous Ben said...

You're not reading the postings.

I refer you to posting No. 6.

"No one is defending Hussein. But shifting the motivation for war after the fact is revisionist. We were told we suffered a clear and immediate threat to ourselves. Now it is to the Iraqi people."

Now we must stay and clean up the neo-con mess. But they must still be held accountable for lying to the American people and the world. If you can censure Clinton for lying about getting head, we can censure Bush for lying to start a war.

I would recommend taking it to your next party meeting that if the president spent 2 minutes on primetime television stating he had bad intel, we're facing a different war than was originally intended, but he needs Americans to rally, he'd see a ten point bump over night (He'd still be under 50% given his recent numbers. Most Americans think the head of your party is a liar.)

And furthermore, I have a brother who enlisted in the Marine Corp infantry during Desert Storm. He spent 9 years carrying an M-60.

He was commendated 13 times not including two meritorious promotions to both Corporal and Sergeant.

He's now a finance officer in the Army, on his second tour in the Balkans (it ain't Fallujah but it is a combat zone).

He's a pro-military, fiscal conservative former stock broker. He used to call himself a Republican. Now he calls himself a Democrat.

And if he were here he'd call you an idiot.

 
At 11/16/2005 08:58:00 PM, Blogger Mr_Proteus said...

Oh, I see. This is about censuring President Bush. Since you won't directly answer my question, I will have to read between the lines.

So Ben, you're saying that it is a good thing that Saddam is not in power anymore. It is wrong to return him to power, even though it was wrong to remove him from power. You want our troops to stay and finish the war, but you want the president censured. Is that your way of saying impeachment?

Although I don't agree with that position, at least you have more sense than the "bring our troops home now" crowd.

By the way, if your brother were the true warrior and patriot that you claim, he wouldn't resort to name calling.

 
At 11/16/2005 10:55:00 PM, Blogger Scott said...

Oversimplifying the issue does nothing to help your case (i.e. Better if Saddam in or out of power).

Even if one agreed with this war in the first place, they've botched the job every stage of the way. Not having enough troops, dismantling the Iraqi military leading to an immediate insurgency, allowing looting, not guarding the weapons, handing over so many jobs to US contractors rather than capable Iraqi citizens leading to massive unemployment...

The reason Americans don't trust this president anymore is he's completely out of touch with the reality in Iraq and is unable to take any responsibility for it. He could learn a lot from JFK's reaction to the Bay of Pigs fiasco.

 
At 11/17/2005 01:22:00 AM, Anonymous Ben said...

Go home and cry about it.

You have no right to comment on my brother, you coward. Enlist if it means that much to you.

How have I not "directly answered your question?"

"Then we should pull out our troops and re-enstate Saddam as ruler of Iraq?" -Mr_Prophylactic

"Now we must stay and clean up the neo-con mess."

Yes, I want the president impeached. And yes, we have to stay and finish the war, a war that shouldn't have happened in the first place.

Thank you for causing the deaths of tens or hundreds or thousands of people over weapons of mass destruction that never existed and were known not to exist.

I didn't vote for W. the first time. I didn't vote for him the second time.

I'm pissed as hell at the liar and I intend on taking that to the midterm.

And with a 37% approval rating, I won't be alone.

See you at the polls.

-Semper Fidelis

 
At 11/17/2005 07:21:00 AM, Blogger Mr_Proteus said...

Yes, I want the president impeached.

Very well. With what crime are you going to charge him?

 
At 11/17/2005 08:29:00 AM, Anonymous Ben said...

We could start by to what degree, through action or inaction, he was responsible for the disclosure of classified American secrets, ie the identity of an American CIA operative.

 
At 11/17/2005 09:13:00 AM, Anonymous Mr_Proteus said...

Oversimplifying the issue does nothing to help your case (i.e. Better if Saddam in or out of power).

Hey, Scott, the issue that I thought we were debating is simple. Did we have the right to remove Saddam from power? If not, then we must return him to power. He was the ruler of Iraq. Just like if we convicted a man falsely, ala Steven Avery, we must release him.

And Ben, don't think I forgot about you.
he was responsible for the disclosure of classified American secrets
I was thinking you were going to charge him with a crime related to the invasion of Iraq. This alleged crime would have happened afterward. So he committed no crime in deciding to invade Iraq?

But you want impeachment? Bring it on! Because if you succeed, you get Cheney as President. HA HA!

 
At 11/17/2005 10:07:00 AM, Blogger Scott said...

And I thought we were debating pre-war planning and intelligence. Planning and carrying out a war is hardly a simple matter, and this debate involves questions much larger than just Hussein's fate. If you don't get that, I can't help you.

 
At 11/17/2005 12:00:00 PM, Anonymous Mr_Proteus said...

And I thought we were debating pre-war planning and intelligence.

Your post started with a statement from John Edwards. Edwards initially voted to give the president the right to remove Saddam. Now he says he was wrong.

Quote: The information the American people were hearing from the president -- and that I was being given by our intelligence community -- wasn't the whole story. Had I known this at the time, I never would have voted for this war.

So he's saying that the president had no right to remove Saddam. The intelligence was faulty. The anti-war supporters were correct. So put Saddam back in power.

 
At 11/17/2005 12:23:00 PM, Anonymous Ben said...

Oh, I didn't think you forgot about me, sweetheart.

You're in denial. The justification for the war was that Hussein had WMD and posed an immediate threat to us. Now you're saying it is because of atrocities on his own people. Again, that's revisionist.

If W. committed the act of Treason by intentionally leaking Plame's ID, it was to discredit Wilson for speaking out against the Africa connection of yellow-cake.

Therefore the administration knew its intel was wrong and presented it as right, creating a fraudulent justification for going to war.

That makes the leak of classified data (still a felony against the American people) directly relevant to the war.

You ARE over simplifying the issue by attaching the fraudulent and later revised justification for the war to reinstating Hussein.

Just saying it over and over again doesn't make it true.

We will clean up your mess to an inevitably even greater loss of life. But if you lie to the American people about why we went to war, you will be held accountable by law.

 
At 11/17/2005 06:33:00 PM, Blogger Mr_Proteus said...

That does it, Ben! You can call me idiot or coward, but don't you EVER call me sweatheart!

If W. committed the act of Treason by intentionally leaking Plame's ID, it was to discredit Wilson for speaking out against the Africa connection of yellow-cake.

Wilson does a fine job of discrediting himself. Read a little bit about him.
http://www.factcheck.org/article337.html
In this article, Wilson acknowledges that he may have "misspoken" to reporters about the details of the forged Italian documents.

http://www.factcheck.org/article222.html
The second article reveals this:
"The Senate report said Wilson brought back denials of any Niger-Iraq uranium sale, and argued that such a sale wasn't likely to happen. But the Intelligence Committee report also reveals that Wilson brought back something else as well -- evidence that Iraq may well have wanted to buy uranium."

I guess Wilson forgot to mention that aspect. I guess someone is misleading America. The administration's intel was correct. Iraq had sought to purchase uranium from Niger.

Good night, everyone, I'm politicked out for the evening.

 
At 11/17/2005 09:01:00 PM, Blogger Scott said...

"The Senate report said Wilson brought back denials of any Niger-Iraq uranium sale, and argued that such a sale wasn't likely to happen. But the Intelligence Committee report also reveals that Wilson brought back something else as well -- evidence that Iraq may well have wanted to buy uranium."

This is a non-point. What is this so-called evidence the Intelligence Committee came up with? Wilson's report concluded that there was no uranium sale between Iraq and Niger. He has consistently defended his report which says such a sale was unlikely to occur. How is that misleading? It isn't.

So Saddam in his head may have wanted to buy uranium so that maybe he could acquire WMDs, but no such action had been taken. That's the case for war?

We were told that Saddam had reconstituted nuclear weapons by Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld told us we knew that Hussein had WMDs and they knew where they were.
"We know where they are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat." -Rumsfeld 3/30/2003.

Correct intel my ass.

 
At 11/18/2005 07:21:00 AM, Blogger Mr_Proteus said...

Correct intel my ass.

My statement was only intended to say the the intel was correct regarding the "16 words" of the president's address regarding uranium from Niger.
The administration's intel was correct. Iraq had sought to purchase uranium from Niger.
Obviously, some of our other intel was incorrect. I must have "misspoken."

So Saddam in his head may have wanted to buy uranium so that maybe he could acquire WMDs, but no such action had been taken. That's the case for war?

Noooooo, we wait until after he builds a nuclear device and then we go to war!

That was sarcasm, just so no one takes my statement out of context. I'm so glad that you are not our president, waiting until a madman actually has a nuclear device before doing something about it.

As for Cheney's statements, I remember that interview when he said Saddam "has in fact reconstituted nuclear weapons."

I immediately said to myself, "No, you mean he reconstituted his nuclear program," which was the position of the CIA.

I can't tell you if he "misspoke" like Wilson or it was deliberate misinformation. Cheney had "misspoken" before in the debates when he referenced factcheck.com rather than factcheck.org. He later corrected his statement.

Let's suppose it was deliberate misinformation on Cheney's part. That is a big deal. However, it also happened after the 77 senators had voted to authorize the war October 2002.

But I know what you're going to say. The Senate didn't have the same intelligence briefings. Right. The President has different intelligence documents.

Do you think maybe Senator Clinton might have asked her husband for this top secret information? No, I guess his "briefings" were of a different sort. Oh, that was hitting below the belt, wasn't it?

If you're mad that Bush used intelligence that was later determined to be faulty, why don't you criticize the providers of the intel--the CIA--or perhaps the one's who authorized the president to use force--the Senate. I'm tired of senators from both parties acting like they had no hand in this. "We didn't know what we were doing. Honestly, we're clueless here. You can't blame us."

Pathetic. As I said in my first post, and I maintain, "The president made the decision that he thought was right based on the information he had."

Now where do you want to go from here? I say let's win this freaking war and you liberals can run another candidate in 2008. If you are not hypocrites, you won't choose another candidate that voted for the war in 2002, like Clinton, Kerry, Edwards, Gephardt...

 
At 11/18/2005 10:05:00 AM, Blogger Scott said...

If you really want to win this war then I would think you'd be more upset with how this administration has screwed up virtually everything along the way in trying to accomplish that goal.

Not having enough troops, dismantling the Iraqi military leading to the immediate insurgency, allowing looting, not guarding the weapons stocks, handing over the jobs to US contractors instead of Iraqi citizens leading to massive unemployment.

They are the definition of incompetence which is why even hawks like John Murtha, and the majority of Americans have turned on this president.

 

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