Sen. Jay Rockefeller - the ranking Democratic on the Senate intelligence committee and now a full member of the "Bush lied" chorus - echoed Einhorn's assessment, adding, "I do believe that Iraq is an immediate threat" and "we can no longer afford to wait for a smoking gun."
Sens. Evan Bayh, Joseph Biden, Hillary Rodham Clinton, John Kerry and John Edwards all voted for the war.
Most of these Democrats had access to the same intelligence as the president. But now, in one of the most repugnant and craven partisan ploys in modern American history, Democrats have decided that they cannot accept their own responsibility in what they clearly consider to be a mistake. They cannot even criticize the CIA for yet another horribly botched job or stick to the ample areas where constructive criticism is warranted. Instead, the same CIA that liberals derided for years is now heroic, and Senate Minority Leader Reid has decided - now that the Fitzgerald investigation has fizzled - to dedicate his party to slandering the president.
Meanwhile, the Democrats cannot even admit they made a mistake supporting the war - except in that they believed Bush's "lies." But how could Bush have lied? How was he to know the intelligence was wrong? Without knowing that, he could not have lied. But the Democrats will not allow for the possibility that the very same intelligence that prompted Clinton to bomb Iraq also informed Bush's decision to topple Saddam. And they will not even concede that, after 9/11, the argument over WMDs wasn't the best - never mind the sole - argument for toppling Saddam but the easiest one.
"Never again" was the new rule after 9/11, and - after ousting the Taliban - Saddam was the next obvious target. He applauded the attack, funded suicide bombers, defied the international community and, we now know, pretended he had WMDs. Remember: "Regime change" became the official policy of the U.S. in 1998, not 2002. Post-9/11, where would you start?
But the Democrats don't care. They don't care about all the previous investigations or that the planet is watching this spectacle. Or that their shabby accusations feed the very worst theories about America's role in the world. Heck, Howard Dean is recycling the charges in fundraising letters. They don't care that Iraq is poised to become either one of America's greatest achievements or its worst debacles. They want timetables, apologies and scalps.
But does anyone doubt that if there were no insurgency, with Iraq as far along in the democratic process as it is now, the Democrats would be boasting about their bi-partisan support for the war and cackling about how Democrats were right about "nation-building" all along?
But they don't care. In their America, partisanship begins at the water's edge.
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