Veterans' Day:Both Sides Talking
His Image Tarnished, Bush Seeks to Restore Credibility
[New York Times]:
"I point out that some of the critics today believed themselves in 2002 that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction," Stephen J. Hadley, the national security adviser, said Thursday at a news briefing. "They stated that belief, and they voted to authorize the use of force in Iraq because they believed Saddam Hussein posed a dangerous threat to the American people. For those critics to ignore their own past statements, exposes the hollowness of their current attacks."I can already telegraph in my mind what Mr. Bush's Veterans' Day speech in PA today will say. Many on both sides of the aisle and in the international community believed in intelligence reports that overstated the WMD capabilities of Saddam Hussein in Iraq. Both Democrats and Republicans, basing much of their confidence in those reports, then voted in favor of authorizing the use of force.
John Kerry, in his presidential election bid had the very hard and presumably unconvincing task of explaining how he voted for this authorization, but then later was opposed to the war. He used rhetoric about "how we did it in the wrong way." Mr. Bush, in the first presidential debate with Kerry, characterized this criticism dubiously by saying Kerry was asking the international community "to come join us in this grand diversion."
But there are certain things we know much more clearly now than we did then. THERE WERE NO WMD's FOUND. The intelligence reports were wrong. They were based on faulty information and outright forgeries. Colin Powell was sent on a fool's errand to the U.N. backed by the Rumsfeld/Cheney neo-con vision of imperialism in the middle east to use that same information to garner international support. Much of the international community and world religious leaders were not convinced.
And it turns out they were right not to be.
Why is it so hard for democratic and republican leaders alike to cough up a believable mia culpa. Is Bush's tactic going to be "we're all to blame, so no one's at fault?" as the sleight of hand that passes the buck? Congress may have approved the order, but this is Bush's war.
We've passed the 2000 mark of American dead in Iraq. Civilian casualties and war injuries are dramatically higher than these figures. This too we now know as a result of our misinformed adventure. Can we not say we've reaped what we've sown?
Mr. Bush will most likely attempt to spread the blame as a soft approach to accepting responsibility and leadership. He will then follow up with a sense of firmness and resolve (despite this mistake) to claim that staying the course is still of the highest and purest moral integrity. God knows good can come from that which is not good. But that has never excused us from saying, "We were wrong."