As October approaches, we thought it fitting to do a “one year later” examination of the events leading up to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in spring 2003. And what better lens through which to examine this than incriminating mail from elected representatives who signed off on the President’s ability to pre-emptively go into the Middle East?
The following is an excerpt from a letter sent by the staff of Senator Dianne Feinstein (Democrat, California) in response to her constituents in mid-October, 2002. Pay special attention to the lines in bold type.
Thank you for your letter about my vote for the Resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq.
This was not an easy decision and it came after a great deal of thought, consideration, and study. While I continue to have serious concerns about a pre-emptive, unilateral attack against Iraq, I voted for the Resolution because I believe it will encourage the United Nations to pass a new, robust Security Council Resolution to compel disarmament of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction and avoid war. I have been reassured by statements made by the President in his address to the United Nations on September 12th which conveyed a commitment to work with the U.N. towards that goal.
There can be no doubt that Saddam Hussein and his arsenal of chemical and biological weapons pose a real and persuasive threat to the safety and security of the United States, the Persian Gulf, and the Middle East. We must push for a resolution now or risk paying a high price later.“
Strike no. 1: Senator Feinstein, alongside Senator John Kerry et al., voted for this resolution because they felt “reassured” by the “conveyance” of the prospect that President Bush and his staff would work with the U.N. in disarming Iraq. Sarcasm alert: To the best of our recollection, however, the U.S-led coalition which moved into Iraq in March 2003 seemed to be lacking these credibility-providing members of the U.N. Security Council.
Strike no. 2: The quote about an “arsenal of chemical and biological weapons” posing “a real and persuasive threat” and risking America’s “paying a high price later” pretty much speaks for itself, at least for anyone who has paid attention to the news for the past few months, and who wasn’t distracted by semantic disavowals of the significance of sixteen words, and rebuilding contracts, and Liberian uprising (speaking of the rebels, whatever happened to…?).
So, this brings up an interesting dilemma. For those Senators who voted for the resolution because they were so persuaded by intelligence that ultimately proved to be anything but, do they not feel lied to? And might this not explain the righteous anger that elected representatives such as Senator Ted Kennedy have wielded in the past few weeks? Perhaps a better question is, where are all the others who “doth not protest too much”?
Meanwhile, the former part-owner of the Texas Rangers seems to have pulled a baseball first: By encouraging the nation’s representatives to support him as he purportedly took his case to the U.N., and, as part of that effort, relied on dubiously relevant information to make a case for war, President Bush has managed to swing once and get two strikes for the effort.
What happens on the next pitch?