Hillary, Top Dems Still Would Have Voted for War
Last week Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., said, "We in Congress would not have authorized that war – we would not have authorized that war with 75 votes if we knew what we know now."
But not so fast Jay:
ABC's Ted Koppel, host of "Nightline," decided to put the words of the senior Democratic member of the Senate Intelligence Committee to the test.
Koppel's findings, which aired on ABC Radio late Friday night, directly counter Rockefeller's suggestion that the Senate would not have strongly endorsed the war against Iraq.
Koppel reported: "We wanted to see whether the conclusions reached by the Intelligence Committee would have made any difference to the other senators who voted to authorize the war in Iraq, so we called them.
"Of the 42 we reached, only three said they would have changed their minds had they known then 'what they know now.'
"Among those who say they would not have changed their minds, a number of prominent Democrats, including Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Chuck Schumer and Tom Daschle."
Despite the media buzz last week that suggested the U.S. Congress may have been hoodwinked by the Bush administration and a politicized CIA into voting for the Iraq war, many leading Democrats apparently do not see it that way.
The 511-page report released last week by the Senate Intelligence Committee debunked much of what American intelligence had reported about Iraq.
As summarized by Republican senator and chair of the Select Committee on Intelligence, Pat Roberts:
"Here are some examples of statements from the key judgments. Iraq is reconstituting its nuclear program. Iraq has chemical and biological weapons. Iraq was developing an unmanned aerial vehicle, a UAV, probably intended to deliver biological warfare agents."
But the explosive committee report that lambasted U.S. intelligence about weapons of mass destruction in the hands of Iraq's Saddam Hussein, has not changed the mind of President Bush, who steadfastly maintained, "I chose to defend the country, and it's exactly what I would do again."
Bush has consistently argued that Saddam Hussein posed a threat to the United States.
But John Kerry's position on Iraq has vacillated – and may have put him at odds with Senate Democrats who told ABC News they still would have voted for the war.
Kerry, along with his running mate, John Edwards, voted for the war.
But during the Demcratic primaries, Kerry began distancing himself from his war vote and claimed the Bush administration had lied to Congress.
Appearing on "60 Minutes" last weekend, Kerry told Leslie Stahl: "I think the president made a mistake in the way he took us to war. I am against the war – the way the president went to war was wrong."
At the same time, Kerry said he voted to give Bush the authorization to go to war "as a last resort." He added, "I believe, based on the information we have, it was the correct vote."
But Kerry did not say, as Koppel asked knowing "what we know now," if he would still have voted for the war.
Kerry again claimed to Stahl that "the way President Bush went to war was a mistake."
But if the war is such a mistake, the question remains whether Kerry would have changed his vote.
Already the Bush administration has seized on Kerry's equivocating.
In a speech Monday, Vice President Dick Cheney chided Kerry for "simply trying to rewrite history for his own political purposes."
"When Congress voted to authorize force against Saddam Hussein, Senator Kerry and Senator Edwards both voted yes," Cheney said. "Now it seems they've both developed a convenient case of campaign amnesia."
Campaign Amnesia. Yes, you've got to love these democrats. They looked at the same exact intelligence and voted FOR the war, and are just as responsible for its execution. Yet, campaigning democrats, like Kerry and Edwards, apparently voted for the war casually, without deliberation, and 'temporarily'. And these are people ready to run the nation?