Last week on Meet the Press, I was disturbed to hear Senator Charles Schumer tell Tim Russert that he had no regrets about voting for the Iraq resolution in 2002. He should have regrets and I don't know why he can't admit that he has them. If he really doesn't have regrets, I have to wonder about his sense of consistency and conviction. This just didn't seem to be consistent with anything he's said in his crticisms of the entire war, from the lead-up until today. Americans aren't stupid. They know when certain statements just don't jibe with the overall set of statements from particular political leaders. Here's another example from my blog in May, 2004, when I felt that John Kerry was sending a very confusing message. In March, 2004, I wrote another post about the same kind of confused message and a need for clearer and more inspiring vision.
In August, 2004, as the presidential election got closer, I had written about some advice I had for John Kerry, of whom I had hoped would clarify his message and extend a tone of regret about his "yes" vote on the Iraq resolution:
If the Iraq resolution were presented knowing what we all know today, would Kerry still have voted “yes”? If so, why? Sending congressional authority as a strong message to Saddam Hussein may have been a fitting reason back in 2002, but why is Senator Kerry afraid to say he’d never have voted for that resolution knowing what he knows today? Would any of you readers have voted for the resolution knowing what you now know? Personally, I wouldn’t have voted for it back then and certainly would reject it today.
Today, we are seeing expressions of regret. How forgiving will Democratic voters be? I think, if each respective political leader can show humility paired with a vision for the future that inspires, we will be surprised at how the public, overall, will understand and accept the respective expressions of regret. Asking for apology of these Democrats, in my opinion, is asking too much. I think that the Bush administration and the mainstream media, who gave front page harbor to all the pre-war lies while relegating debatable points of dissent to the back pages, should apologize before anyone else.
A sampling of regret:
John Edwards -
[John] Edwards and [Steve] Forbes briefly answered questions from the audience on the Iraq war, the weakness of the Democratic party and poverty.Link
Did anybody go to see Edwards speak at NKU tonight? There was a Q&A where Edwards was asked whether he thinks the US should pull out of Iraq. He began by saying that voting for the Iraq war was a mistake. He was then interrupted by thunderous applause! Link
Daniel S. at the Kentucky Democrat attended yesterday's 2005 Alumni Lecture Series at Regents Hall:
Kerry admitted that his vote in favor of the invasion was a mistake. “There is, as Robert Kennedy once said, ‘enough blame to go around,’ and "I accept my share of the responsibility" for the Iraq war, he said. "The mistakes of the past, no matter who made them, are no justification for marching ahead into a future of miscalculations[..] Kerry described the Iraq war as "one of the greatest foreign policy misadventures of all time". "It is time for those of us who believe in a better course to say so plainly and unequivocally." Link
Dick Gephardt, now in private life, will not be running again. Which may be why he is speaking so candidly about his vote in favor of the war.
"It was a mistake. . . . I was wrong," Gephardt was quoted as saying recently in Seattle.
According to the blog The Next Hurrah, Gephardt also said: "We never comprehended the complexity of the undertaking. I didn't. None of us did. . . . The President has never been honest about the sacrifices required . . . the lives lost, the eyes blown out. Bush fails the first test of leadership: 'Can you be honest with the people you lead?'" - Roger Simon
A citizen gives advice -
"Events on the ground have shown that George Bush's Iraq war was a tragic mistake in judgement on his part, and it was a mistake to support it. I thought I was doing the right thing by the country at the time I voted in favor of the war." Along those lines. Rich Man, Poor Man - Meet John Edwards, your next president