Democrats & Liberals Archives

Choices and Mistakes

I have one final question for undecided voters and Bush supporters: a question to ponder on the polling lines tomorrow. Is the war in Iraq an error—-due to a massive misunderstanding of Iraq’s capabilities and intentions? Or, is it a war of choice—-a war that the US decided to initiate, without it being a military necessity?

If the war is a mistake, initiated due to an incorrect belief that Iraq had WMD and posed a threat, should Bush acknowledge that error to the world? Should he tell the voters that he went to war in defense against what he believed, incorrectly, to be a near-term threat? should he promise us that he will not send American soldiers to die again, unless there is a clear and present danger to the homeland?

If the war was a choice---if the decision to go to war would have been made regardless of the threat due to WMD---then whose choice was it, and whose choice should it have been? Was it our choice, the American people? did we decide to send our sons and daughters abroad to depose dictators, and spread democracy (or at least, the hope of future democracy) to faraway Iraq? Was it the choice of the Iraqis, who have seen hardships including perhaps 100,000 civilian deaths? Or was it the choice of one political party, or, a handful of neoconservative strategists?

I don't know which the true answer is. But if the war was a choice, I believe that it is not only an unpopular choice---I believe it was the wrong choice. America is not about spreading our ideas and influence by force; not about saying fine words about freedom in debates, while refusing to renounce torture for detainees. If the war was a choice, it was a choice that should have been made differently, as well as a choice that should be repudiated. And tomorrow is our best chance to say what we think of this choice: whether we think that America is about leading others to democracy, or about pushing them there with guns and tanks and collatoral causualties.

And if the war was a mistake, it is a mistake that cannot be ignored; and if it will not be acknowledged by Bush, it should be acknowledged by the voters. Posted by William Cohen at November 1, 2004 7:52 PM