Re: New monologue
In Response To: Re: New monologue ()

Thank you, Dan, for your description of me as a "true military man"; I am most proud of my 20 years of active service with the US Navy.

I disagree with you about this war not being justified. The following is the text from a column written by Dan Byrne of Eastern Michigan University's Echo Online this past February11th:

Kerry Should Not Be U.S. President
By Dan Byrne / Staff Writer

"You can tell it’s an election year. If you were not clued in by the primaries and caucuses in various states across the country (Michigan’s caucus was this past Saturday, and Kerry whomped his competition, incidentally), then perhaps you noticed change in tune that many Democrats, especially those running for president, have exhibited.

John Kerry, the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination thinks that he can do a better job than President Bush. He would have to, or he would not be running. Prominently displayed on his campaign website is a sharp and steadfast call for the president to “set the record straight” regarding the decision to go to war in Iraq last year.

Recently, David Kay, the former chief weapons inspector David Kay, according to the Associated Press, quit his position claiming that in all likelihood, there were no massive stocks of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The belief that Iraq had large stores of chemical and biological weapons was crucial in the decision to go to war in the first place, so Kay’s statement has given much fodder to those opposed to the president.

While it is significant that Kay has stated that there were no weapons, it is perhaps more significant that he also said that the fault lay in intelligence, not with the President.

He firmly denied that the Bush Administration pressured anyone in the intelligence community to exaggerate or falsify evidence to make the case for war. That part of his analysis seems to always be conveniently left out when people such as Kerry reprimand the president.

Bush, in the wake of this report, again according to the AP, has set up an independent, bi-partisan commission to learn the root of these intelligence failures. The commission will release its report sometime next year. Senator Carl Levin, Democrat from Michigan and ranking member on the Armed Services Committee, acerbically noted that “the commission is charged with looking at prewar intelligence assessments on Iraq but apparently not at exaggerations of that intelligence by the Bush Administration.”

It’s almost amusing seeing the Democrats attempt to use Kay’s report to implicate the president for all sorts of dastardly deeds, despite that very report exonerating the president from them. Sorry Carl, you can’t have it both ways.

John Kerry should not have it both ways either. He is free to criticize the president for going to war, but it should be noted that in October 2002, according to Slate Magazine, Kerry voted for the Iraq war resolution stating,

“I will be voting to give the President of the United States the authority to use force -- if necessary -- to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security.”

Kerry also voted against a variant of that resolution which would authorize military action only if the U.N. Security Council re-sanctioned such an action, stating that “American security must never be ceded to any institution or to another institution’s decision”.

Fast-forward to election year. Now the same John Kerry (now looking like a mannequin thanks to Botox injections) harshly criticizes the president for taking “America off onto the road of unilateralism”. This takes “talking out of both sides of your mouth” to new and unheard of levels. While Kerry decries Bush for going to War, and insinuates that intelligence was falsified, or exaggerated, let’s examine some realities regarding the decision to go into Iraq.

The reality is that the military action in Iraq was justified regardless of the recent revelations concerning the lack of WMD’s found in Iraq. It was believed that Iraq had these weapons. Why do you think the UN sent weapon inspectors into Iraq following the first Gulf War? Saddam was creating weapons of mass destruction. After years of obstructing the inspectors Saddam finally kicked them out four years ago. We had every reason to believe that he would continue to pursue the program. Saddam had even used these weapons on his own people, gassing and killing countless Kurds.

Britain, Poland and the rest of the coalition believed Iraq had weapons. All available intelligence strongly suggested that Saddam did have weapons. The Clinton Administration was “absolutely convinced” that Iraq had WMD’s and ordered air strikes against probable targets during his presidency, according to the AFP. (Incidentally, it was also Clinton that changed the United States’ official position regarding Iraq to advocating for regime change.) Even the rest European community believed that Saddam had weapons. The difference was in how to deal with them.

To put this squarely on the shoulders of the Bush Administration is foolish and irresponsible. Frankly, I would expect more from a person running for our nation’s highest office. Bush did not lie to the American public. Anyone claiming that he did either is not aware of the facts, or chooses to ignore them.

Intelligence gathering is an inexact science, especially when dealing with the unpredictable nature of a rouge dictator. The United States had little idea as to the extent of Muammar Khaddafi’s nuclear weapons program when he volunteered to dismantle it fearing he would suffer the same fate that Saddam did.

Besides, while an important part of our reason to oust Saddam, his WMD’s were not at all the only reason. Creating a free and stable Iraq, ensuring human rights and freedoms for a people oppressed by a brutal dictator for over a quarter century are worthwhile goals. Democracy in Iraq will better not only Iraqis, but the entire world, fostering peace and deterring extremist groups in Iraq and terrorism. George Bush is right in asserting that the action taken in Iraq was a “war of necessity”. It was not a war fought under false pretenses.

What needs to be done now is exactly what Bush is doing, searching for answers as to why the intelligence was inaccurate. This is not the time for mindless partisan condemnation.

John Kerry chides the president stating that, “George Bush needs to take responsibility for his actions and set the record straight. That’s the very least that Americans should be able to expect from the President of the United States.”

Well said John. Now, how about YOU take responsibility for YOUR actions and set the record straight? That’s the very least that Americans should be able to expect from a candidate running for President of the United States. You are not living up to that expectation."

Couldn't have said it better myself.

AMEC(AW) Peter C. Ward, USN, Retired