Of course I'm liberal, I believe in liberty.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Boxing Rice

In his editorial The Boxer Metaphor, Victor Hanson makes the following claim:
Boxer protested, "Well you should read what we voted on when we voted to support the war," noting proudly that she was among the minority of senators who dissented. Then Boxer proclaimed of the professed reason to go to war: "It was WMD, period."

Boxer's statement was simply not true. Read the joint congressional declaration approved on Oct. 11, 2002, by Sen. Boxer's colleagues, whose leaders had access to the same intelligence as did the administration.
I've certainly seen Boxer go over the deep end before, but I didn't think she would make a mistake quite this large. I checked the actual transcript of Boxer's comments to see did make this mistake, but with qualification:
Well, you should read what we voted on when we voted to support the war, which I did not, but most of my colleagues did. It was WMD, period. That was the reason and the causation for that, you know, particular vote.
Ok, Boxer admits she didn't read the actual resolution (bad, but not really necessary for a 'no' vote, she didn't want war), but she did make the statement. Not good, but not quite as stupid or dishonest as I feared. Hanson himself was fairly disingenuous bringing up a point made in mid conversation that Boxer admitted she didn't really know much about.

This is the kind of arguing (Boxer) and punditry (Hanson) that just drives me nutty. It's all spin with no point and does nothing to help the dialog or get to the point, it just villanizes the opposition. Boxer's greater point, of course, is true. The selling point of the war was WMD, period. But the official resolution had every reason and excuse they could think of, almost including the kitchen sink, though certainly it emphasized WMDs:
Whereas the current Iraqi regime has demonstrated its capability and willingness to use weapons of mass destruction against other nations and its own people;

Whereas the current Iraqi regime has demonstrated its continuing hostility toward, and willingness to attack, the United States, including by attempting in 1993 to assassinate former President Bush and by firing on many thousands of occasions on United States and Coalition Armed Forces engaged in enforcing the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council;

Whereas members of al Qaida, an organization bearing responsibility for attacks on the United States, its citizens, and interests, including the attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, are known to be in Iraq;

Whereas Iraq continues to aid and harbor other international terrorist organizations, including organizations that threaten the lives and safety of American citizens;

Whereas the attacks on the United States of September 11, 2001 underscored the gravity of the threat posed by the acquisition of weapons of mass destruction by international terrorist organizations;
That's just a small chunk, there were plenty of other whereases. However, the words "democracy", "freedom", "liberty" and "vote" do not appear in the resolution. And of course, most of these reasons have been disproved; no WMDs, no harboring of al Qaida terrorists, no 9/11 connections, etc.

One last thought: how many Americans who support this president and think the war was worth it based purely on the recent Iraqi elections remember that back in 1997 Iran had open elections? I'm guessing not many. Yes, the Iranian president is subservient to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei Islamic law, but the elections were not meaningless. At this exact moment in time I would consider Iran more of a democracy than Iraq, but if things shake out well in Iraq over the next year or so that should change. But this does offer a sobering perspective, does it not?

UPDATE: Hammertime is right in the comments, I misread Boxer's statement. That will be the last time I try to defend Boxer. Actually, it was the first time as well; I won't let it happen again. Ironically, I have a much greater respect for Rice's intelligence, which means I'm more likely to call Rice a liar and Boxer an idiot, all else being equal.