From the President's speech today:
- And our debate at home must also be fair-minded. One of the hallmarks of a free society and what makes our country strong is that our political leaders can discuss their differences openly, even in times of war. When I made the decision to remove Saddam Hussein from power, Congress approved it with strong bipartisan support. I also recognize that some of our fellow citizens and elected officials didn't support the liberation of Iraq. And that is their right, and I respect it. As President and Commander-in-Chief, I accept the responsibilities, and the criticisms, and the consequences that come with such a solemn decision.
While it's perfectly legitimate to criticize my decision or the conduct of the war, it is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began. (Applause.) Some Democrats and anti-war critics are now claiming we manipulated the intelligence and misled the American people about why we went to war. These critics are fully aware that a bipartisan Senate investigation found no evidence of political pressure to change the intelligence community's judgments related to Iraq's weapons programs.
They also know that intelligence agencies from around the world agreed with our assessment of Saddam Hussein. They know the United Nations passed more than a dozen resolutions citing his development and possession of weapons of mass destruction. And many of these critics supported my opponent during the last election, who explained his position to support the resolution in the Congress this way: "When I vote to give the President of the United States the authority to use force, if necessary, to disarm Saddam Hussein, it is because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a threat, and a grave threat, to our security." That's why more than a hundred Democrats in the House and the Senate -- who had access to the same intelligence -- voted to support removing Saddam Hussein from power. (Applause.)
But I don't think this is about the truth anymore. It's about power politics. It's about trying to score points against the President, to tie his hands and weaken his support so that he's unable to implement his agenda and in so doing set the stage for more GOP victories in '06.
Most politics isn't about doing what's right for the American people anymore, and I think that applies to people on both sides. But I think it applies more to the Democrats, because they're the minority party now, and they'll do anything to get back into the majority.
Look that the "Blue Dogs" in the House. These are self-described conservative democrats who -- among other things -- want to see some degree of reduced federal spending. But not one of them -- not a one -- will give their support to HR 4241, which by and large just seeks to reduce spending increases in the next budget. Pelosi has her troops in line, and their following party over principle, presumably in the hope that partisan discipline will help them ultimately at the ballot box in '06, '08, and beyond.
We'll see, I guess.
(For the few liberals and/or democrats who read this blog, I'd be happy to hear how I'm wrong, or how the GOP is just as bad as your team. Seriously. I know this post is a bit "rantier" than normal, but don't take that to mean that I'm unable to hear what you have to say. So, comment or email away.)