Friday, November 18, 2005

You know, I agree with this

Via InstaPundit, a meditation on Democratic politicans and their Iraq resolution votes:

But the “Bush lied to us” whine is much worse when it comes from the mouths of those who insisted only three years ago, in voting for the war, that they were taking a heroic stand in defence of national security. Half the Democratic members of the Senate — oddly enough, including all those with serious presidential aspirations — John Kerry, John Edwards, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden — voted for the war in 2002. The awful truth about many of these people is that their cynicism in distancing themselves from their support for the war is only matched by their cynicism in originally supporting it.

Let me be clear: some Democrats — Joe Lieberman springs to mind — supported the war for the right reasons, and continue to do so. Others — Ted Kennedy, Russell Feingold — opposed it all along. But most of those now recanting made a straight political calculation in voting to authorise force in the first place.

These were the ambitious Democrats who thought they had learnt the lessons of 1991. Then you may recall, the vast majority of the party’s senators voted against the first Iraq war. The arguments then were not about right but might, or America’s perceived lack of it. There was talk of hundreds of thousands of body bags. Most of the Democrats, fearing the country was still in the grip of Vietnam syndrome, wanted nothing to do with it. They wanted to be able to say afterwards “ We told you so”, and to reap the political rewards.

In the eventfewer than 200 Americans died, and all those Democrats who had voted against the war were suddenly political carrion. So, confronted with a similar choice in October 2002, they did not want to be on the losing side again. If it was another cakewalk, and they had voted against it, the damage to their credibility as presidential candidates would be irreparable. Best to vote for it to burnish their national security credentials.

But it wasn’t a cakewalk. And now they’re trapped. So they resort to the defence of the coward throughout history: “He made me do it.” Most Americans have better memories.

I'd say that's about right, with the exception of the last point. It's true the Democrats made cynical political calculations -- who doesn't? But it's also true that the President and his cronies quite clearly misled us by distorting the intelligence. Kerry voted for the resolution because he felt at the time that he would have been political dead meat had he not. Hillary figured she'd be done in '08 if she hadn't. I guess it's up to those who voted for them to sort out whether that makes them dishonorable people.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 11:32 AM

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