If Democrats are going to continue to beat up President Bush over the WMD question, don't you think it's time for their leading contenders, Senator Kerry and Edwards, to give an accounting on this matter as well?
President Bush has repeatedly asserted that Congress had access to the same intelligence information he did. As far as I know, neither Kerry nor Edwards have denied that. So, perhaps they should tell us why on earth they and other Democrats voted for that dastardly resolution authorizing war against Iraq.
We need to know specifically how they analyzed this intelligence data. Did they think it was much ado about nothing? If so, then they really have some explaining to do, in light of their subsequent statements, as to why they so casually authorized a war. They are much more vulnerable here than President Bush, yet no one is making them answer. Let's get them on "Meet the Press" to explain their reversal.
Senator Kerry has claimed that he only intended that President Bush use that authority as a last resort and after exhausting all efforts to bring in other nations and the United Nations. Let's ignore the convenient revisionism here and, for the sake of argument, take him at his word.
Why would he authorize the military action at all if the WMD threat did not exist? You see, his supposed reservations had only to do with "unilateralism," not the nature of the threat Iraq posed. If he is changing his story now and saying the threat did not exist, he needs to explain why he voted for the resolution.
Oh, sure, congressional Democrats can say President Bush exaggerated the data, but if he did, they would have known about it, having access to the same information. Why didn't they say so at the time they voted for the resolution? Better yet, why didn't they vote against it?
But they didn't cry exaggeration at the time, and they did vote for the resolution. So we may assume either that they agreed with Bush's assessment of the threat or that they disagreed but didn't have the political courage to resist a popular president seeking authority to attack a brutal dictator, when a significant majority of the public supported this action.
So let's be honest, if President Bush lied about the threat, so did Democrats in Congress, including Kerry and Edwards. If he exaggerated the threat, those Democrats were conspirators in the act. If he made a mistake in attacking Iraq based on available intelligence, so did Kerry and Edwards.
Many Democrats have also said that the president pressured the intelligence agencies to trump up the WMD threat. But weapons inspector David Kay made it abundantly clear that his investigation revealed just the opposite. And CIA Director Tenet was even more emphatic in denying the administration tried improperly to influence his agents.
Are these critics saying that David Kay, George Tenet, President Bush, Secretary Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell are all lying about this? And what evidence do they have to support this claim? None. They are just hoping to benefit by all the distrust and confusion their nonstop charges have caused, expecting never to have to back up their allegations as long as they can keep the president on the defensive.
Who is being more presidential here? President Bush is standing by his decision to assert leadership and attack Iraq. The Democrats are backtracking and attacking Bush to score political points and to conceal their own complicity in the decision.
Who is being more consistent? These Democrats were ready to attack Iraq at the time; now they say it was a mistake. They changed, not President Bush. It was expedient for them to support Bush at the time because an overwhelming majority of the public supported him. It is expedient now, during the presidential primaries, to change their position, because the antiwar position is resonating with their exercised base.
When you think about it, it's outrageous that President Bush has to spend so much time answering these bogus, partisan-driven charges when he needs to be focusing on the War on Terror and other problems confronting the nation.
These Democrats should have to explain why they are expending more energy attacking and undermining the one man trying to lead the world against the terrorists who are determined to destroy it, than in helping him to defeat those terrorists. They should have to explain why they, in anticipation of November 2, 2004, seem to have forgotten September 11, 2001.