No Democrat Started The War
By: Mark W Adams

Let me be clear on one thing. Every single Democratic presidential candidate condemns the Bush Administration for its disastrous fiscal, domestic and foreign policies. Every single one knows Bush is a joke when he pretends to be the least bit competent on anything whatsoever. They understand that "compassionate conservativism" is a fraud. They all realize that the next president, who will undoubtedly be a Democratic president, faces a monumental task rehabilitating our nation's reputation in the world and economic and social rifts at home.

Nobody gets a cookie for being the "most" unlike Bush. Everybody will do their best to correct the disastrous course of our ship of state.

All of them.

Now in Blue, too.

Each and every candidate knows that we must leave Iraq swiftly, but cannot simply abandon the Iraqi people to the scourge of genocidal civil war, nor allow it to become a bastion of al Qeada operations or similar terrorist organization controlling a strategic piece of real estate with more resources than Taliban run Afghanistan. They don't want to see a region-wide conflict turn into Armageddon. They will do what is necessary to stop Iran from getting the bomb without going off half-cocked like the current cowboy diplomats.

But we must leave Iraq. America's patience has run out. Our occupation, with no meaningful internal nor multi-national attempt at negotiated settlement between the warring factions, has long been a counter-productive means of securing Iraq and fostering a stable regime there. We will always be considered the outsider, the infidel.

It's unfortunate that the purple finger of fate has chosen to put people in charge of that country who are content with institutionalizing Shi'ite fundamentalism and are sympathetic to the Iranian Mullahs. However, working with the Iraqi government, or their shadow-government sympathizers only serves to alienate those who have been shut out of the decision-making process.

Anyone at this stage in the process who wants to beat a rival candidate's head in using the club of their stance on the initiation of the Iraqi invasion, is playing a one-upsmanship parlor game and is not serious about foreign policy or the selection of our national leaders. This is Bush's war.

Likewise, Katrina should be Bush's mess to clean up. The selling of our nation's integrity to the lobbyists and their corrupt and connected clientele is the unspoken official policy of the Republican Party. Handing out our national treasure to cronies on a no-bid/cost-plus basis is a feature, not a bug, of conservative ideology as practiced by the "Bushies."

Absolutely no Democrat should be blamed for the criminality of this Administration -- not one.

I believe that all our candidates are Democrats, and a Democrat will win the White House. A Democratic president will reintroduce Democratic principles to Washington and the experiment in liberal democracy that founded this nation will again be given its head.

I think that Hillary Clinton will have a harder time being an effective force for change simply because of the bile that will be flung on her by the right, who are so very well schooled in the demonization of all things Clinton. It has nothing to do with her stance on this or her vote on that -- not even the flag burning nonesense which truly pissed me off. It's about ending the war here so we can end the war over there. Clinton's move to join Byrd in a bid to "sunset" the AUMF is a major step in the right direction that should be applauded.

I like Edwards due to his masterful grasp of detailed policy which he fits into an overall theme -- and I agree with his theme -- of at least trying to end poverty. His leadership also impresses, willingness to stake out a position before he detects which way the wind blows. He calls on all of us to act now, not wait until the end of Bush's madness. He inspires me with his energy, rejection of consultant and lobbyist driven beltway dogma, and refusal to follow the same old script.

It's the bold plans, the policies and populism for me. Your milage may vary.

Although "Barockstar" is already established as a great national figure, I don't think he's hit his stride and has much more potential to live up to. I'm leery of Obama's vagueness because we've elected great orators in the past who were not all that effective at governing -- painting with a broad brush and leaving the details to underlings. Reagan comes to mind, but there were others as well. There just seems to be something deceptively familiar about his his "new" kind of politics.

I heard recently some republicans encouraging Fred Thompson to run, lauding this Reganesque trait (a laughable comparison) -- talking well but not really interested in the day-to-day details of making government initiatives work. The GOP is hoping Thompson can be their next empty suit, the White House caretaker who will close his eyes while the neo-conservative commercial empire continues to malignantly spread it's tentacles, and always at the ready to assist their global expansion with military force. This nation cannot afford any more empty suits.

Bill Clinton could do both, manage details and inspire with his rhetoric. Hillary has similar skills, but comes off more of the technocrat panderer than inspirational leader. That's not who she wants to be, nor who she really is. Yet, unfortunately perception IS reality in politics.

Everyone faced a judgment call on the Iraq AUMF. 60% of the public supported the administration on going to war in Iraq. At least the AUMF bill Edwards sponsored and Hillary voted for won out over a much more broad competing authorization which was not simply limited to Iraq -- "based on the original White House proposal."

Just look at this language in the original Daschle-Lott bill that was replaced by the one Edwards sponsored:

The President is authorized to use all means that he determines to be appropriate, including force, in order to enforce the United Nations Security Council Resolutions referenced above, defend the national security interests of the United States against the threat posed by Iraq, and restore international peace and security in the region.
That's it. A one-sentence authorization to impose Bush's brand of peace and security throughout the entire Middle East. "Have at 'em Mr. President. Enjoy your crusade."

Contrast that with Lieberaman's version of the AUMF which actually passed, was co-sponsored by Edwards and voted for by Hillary:


    The Congress of the United States supports the efforts by the President to--
      (1) strictly enforce through the United Nations Security Council all relevant Security Council resolutions applicable to Iraq and encourages him in those efforts; and
      (2) obtain prompt and decisive action by the Security Council to ensure that Iraq abandons its strategy of delay, evasion and noncompliance and promptly and strictly complies with all relevant Security Council resolutions.


    (a) AUTHORIZATION- The President is authorized to use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in order to--
      (1) defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq; and
      (2) enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions regarding Iraq.
    (b) PRESIDENTIAL DETERMINATION- In connection with the exercise of the authority granted in subsection (a) to use force the President shall, prior to such exercise or as soon there after as may be feasible, but not later than 48 hours after exercising such authority, make available to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President pro tempore of the Senate his determination that--
      (1) reliance by the United States on further diplomatic or other peaceful means alone either (A) will not adequately protect the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq or (B) is not likely to lead to enforcement of all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq; and
      (2) acting pursuant to this resolution is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations or persons who planned, authorized, committed or aided the terrorists attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.

We all know that Edwards was the first to come out and campaign against Lieberaman in the subsequent primaries, but in this, Joe was a useful idiot -- because one way or the other the Administration was going to get it's war authority. Edwards helped build a consensus to limit the war in significant ways.

Do you honestly think that any of our Democratic Presidential contenders would have taken such a document as the Carte Banche needed to start a bombing campaign? Would a born diplomat like Bill Richardson thought it best to ignore the UN at that point -- or would he have used that authorization the way it was intended, as a powerful card to play at the negotiating table? Do you think any of the other candidates would have done less -- or would they have proceeded as recklessly as Bush and Cheney?

The AUMF, as written, dared Saddam to call our bluff or back down? It was intended to be used, not abused -- or Congress could have simply passed the one-sentence Daschle-Lott bill and fired the cruise missiles the next morning.

Anyone who voted for the Iraq AUMF was supporting the president's efforts to "obtain prompt and decisive action by the Security Council." They were also insisting that he must first determine that "diplomatic or other peaceful means alone" would no longer work.

Bush didn't even try. The "Decider" just decided. How could anyone anticipate such arrogance? How could they have known that the entire administration was staffed with sociopaths?

Even Obama wasn't all that sure about resisting the war. In Audacity of Hope (which I'm still reading right now) he says:

"Not only was the idea of an invasion increasingly popular, but on the merits I didn't consider the case against war to be cut-and-dried." [pg.294]
He wasn't sure, and as of the time Shrub landed on the deck of the Lincoln, he thought he'd made a terrible mistake in coming out against the war.

Fortune favored Obama's stance. But one thing no first term red state Senator like Edwards should have been expected to appreciate was the fact that -- as the modern incarnation of "pilate's hand towel", George Tenent confirms in his new book -- the decision to go to war had already been made and the AUMF was just so much window dressing.

Joe Biden defended the AUMF very well on Meet The Press. Going to war was the LAST thing the President was supposed to do. He was not authorized by that document to simply put it in his desk, make an end run around the UN, warn the inspectors to vacate and start issuing ultimatums for Saddam to leave or else.

SEN. BIDEN: It allowed the president to go to war. It did not authorize him to go to it. You make it sound like it said, "Mr. President, go to war." It said, "Mr. President, don't go to war." It said "go to the United Nations. Mr. President, don't go to war, try to get a deal here. Mr. President, get the inspectors back in. Mr. President, tell us that that's what you're about to do. And, Mr. President, if all else fails, you have authority to use force." That's what it said.
Instead of going back to the UN -- as every country that also believed Iraq had WMD's expected (except UK), Bush refused to deal honestly with the UN (because his neo-con cabal doesn't "believe" in the UN) and undermined it's authority like no nation ever has.

Nobody should be held to account because President Bush behaved like an international criminal. No One. No one except George W. Bush and his mafia-like enablers he appointed for their personal loyalty and lack of integrity.

Obama, good on him for taking a principled stance against the war early, but if he had been persuaded that Iraq was indeed a a smart war, not a rash war, a war based on reason not on passion, on principle not on politics, he would have (presumably) voted for it, voted to allow the president to use force as a last resort.

Note that the adminsitration was not breathing down the throats of Illinois State Senators, but certainly were doing their best to convince Red state junior US Senators that they were acting reasonably. Obama smelled something funny and took a stance -- went out on a limb if you will, and because of Bush and Rumsfeld's complete detachment from reality, he now looks like a prophet.

Much harder call for a Senator from the South or one who represented Ground Zero.

Isn't it time Democrats stopped blaming other democrats for Bush's war? Didn't we learn anything from how they beat up on Kerry for the war votes -- and Edwards, unlike Kerry or Hillary or Biden, did NOT vote for that damn $87 billion.

Congress's real power has always been in the purse. In this approach to curbing the White House's excesses, Edwards remains consistent.