After watching the GOP debate from Boca Raton, Florida the other night [January 24, 2008] something hit me like a ton of bricks: If Hillary becomes the Democratic nominee she will have to support the GOP nominee for President's BIG LIE that no one could have known at the time they voted to authorize Bush to go to war against Iraq in October 2002, that Saddam didn't have WMDs and by implication posed an imminent threat. Since she has already stated she believed Saddam had these weapons because all of the "supposed" intelligence supported this claim despite inspectors on the ground in Iraq not finding any of these weapons, how can she back away from this totally absurd position now? How can she hold Bush and the GOP responsible for lying us into an illegal war of choice when she continued to support and defend this illegal war and the rationale for it as late as February 2005 even though everyone by this time already knew Saddam didn't have any WMDs and that the UN never sanctioned this invasion until AFTER it was already a fait accompli?
What we have learned recently from two nonprofit journalism organizations is that Bush and other top officials in his administration lied 935 times regarding terrorism and the threat of Saddam and Iraq after 9/11 that were part of an orchestrated campaign to mislead us into war.
But what we also know is this: The intelligence on Iraq was never a slam dunk in October 2002 that Saddam had WMDs let alone that he posed an imminent threat to use these weapons against the U.S. or was actively seeking and/or developing nuclear weapons.
From a report in the Wall Street Journal, "U-Turn on Iran Reflects Iraq Rivalries", January 14, 2008, A8, we learn that Thomas Fingar, a veteran State Department official and now a senior official at DNI, told top State Department officials including Colin Powell in 2002, that his analysts had concluded, after a vigorous and thorough group examination of various assumptions, that Saddam didn't have an active nuclear weapon's program. In particular, his group disputed the White House claims about Iraq purchasing aluminum tubes to make weapons grade uranium. We also learn that Mr. Fingar's analysis infuriated the Bush Administration because it went against their plans for a war in Iraq. Yet Mr. Fingar's conclusions were not what Colin Powell told the UN when he argued that Saddam was actively seeking nuclear weapons.
Ask yourself these questions: Do you personally know anyone who was concerned about Saddam attacking the United States BEFORE 9/11? Or thought it was a good idea to invade Iraq to overthrow Saddam? I don't! It was only AFTER 9/11 when BushCo started beating drums for war against Iraq and deliberately and falsely linking Saddam to 9/11 that the issue of Saddam and Iraq being a threat to our security resonated beyond the Beltway. See, this is what I have a very hard time understanding. If everyone knew or should have known Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11, why were sleazy hucksters like Bush and Cheney allowed to fearmonger enough Americans into believing and Congress into backing their lies? The Dems even held a slim majority in the Senate too. If someone had been willing to stand up to Bush when he was equating Saddam with 9/11, it would have undercut much of the rationale for voting for the October 2002 Use of Force Resolution. Americans would have risen up in force against an illegal and immoral act of aggression like this instead of viewing it as revenge on Iraq for 9/11. Politicians can hide all they want behind some "discredited intelligence" on Iraq but in reality that cherry-picked intelligence was NEVER a valid reason to engage in an illegal and preemptive war against any sovereign country let alone for Democrats like Clinton to give someone as unscrupulous as Bush total freedom to take us to war on his own volition and on his own timetable.
Everyone should take the time to read the Use of Force Authorizationthat was voted on that allowed Bush to go to war against the Iraqi people. There is absolutely no mention of Bush ONLY being able to use force as a last resort and/or ONLY AFTER the weapons inspectors were allowed to complete their job. Many of the WHEREAS clauses in this document also contain known falsehoods or misleading statements about Saddam that were being spread by BushCo that should have alerted everyone in Congress that Bush was ONLY using this Resolution to take us into a war. So my questions to Hillary are these: As a trained lawyer, why didn't you insist that language be included in this Resolution so that Bush could only use force as a last resort before you agreed to vote for it? As a trained lawyer why didn't you understand the importance of putting everything in writing instead of taking people like Bush's word for anything? As someone now selling herself as ready to lead on Day One, why didn't you support the Levin Amendment to this Resolution, which would have at least required Bush to come back to Congress and to get UN approval BEFORE Bush set about destroying Iraq? Even Senator Chafee, a Republican, was wiser than you were because not only did he vote against the Use of Force Authorization but he also correctly determined the Levin amendment was needed to prevent Bush from going to war as a first resort and without sufficient international support.
What scares me the most about Hillary if she becomes President is that no one except future historians will ever be able to examine how we were misled into war in Iraq and for certain, no one in the Bush Administration will be held accountable for the crimes that led us into one of the worst foreign policy disasters in our history. These items will be swept aside just as quickly as Bush 41's and Ronald Reagan's roles in Iran contra were swept aside by Bill Clinton. Instead of prison, these criminals will be free to move into cushy jobs with other organizations or businesses, make millions on the lecture circuit, and/or or show up in the media like Oliver North and G. Gordon Liddy, where they can rehab their damaged reputations and make lots of money doing it.
Hillary with the aid of supportive Democrats will sell this deliberate cover-up of BushCo crimes as "the country ready to move on..." or "we should leave this for future historians....." But we cannot ever hope to set our country on a better and more sane course so we don't repeat these same mistakes again and again if we allow these crimes to be washed over or sanitized with no one paying a price for having committed them. And if an independent investigation shows that no crimes were in fact committed, the country will heal and move on feeling much better knowing the truth versus always wondering about it.
If Hillary becomes the nominee, you will not hear one word about holding people accountable for not only the war but also serious crimes against the Constitution. If Hillary becomes the Democratic nominee, the Democratic ticket will be forced to support the false position of Bush and the GOP as to how we got into the Iraq War. What we need instead is a nominee who never believed these lies at the time or at least doesn't believe them now.
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