While it is perfectly legitimate to criticize my decision or the conduct of the war, it is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began. Some Democrats and anti-war critics are now claiming we manipulated the intelligence and misled the American people about why we went to war. These critics are fully aware that a bipartisan Senate investigation found no evidence of political pressure to change the intelligence community's judgments related to Iraq's weapons programs. They also know that intelligence agencies from around the world agreed with our assessment of Saddam Hussein. They know the United Nations passed more than a dozen resolutions citing his development and possession of weapons of mass destruction.
Many of these critics supported my opponent during the last election, who explained his position to support the resolution in the Congress this way: 'When I vote to give the President of the United States the authority to use force, if necessary, to disarm Saddam Hussein, it is because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a threat, and a grave threat, to our security.' That's why more than 100 Democrats in the House and the Senate, who had access to the same intelligence voted to support removing Saddam Hussein from power.
The stakes in the global War on Terror are too high, and the national interest is too important, for politicians to throw out false charges. These baseless attacks send the wrong signal to our troops and to an enemy that is questioning America's will. As our troops fight a ruthless enemy determined to destroy our way of life, they deserve to know that their elected leaders who send them to war continue to stand behind them. Our troops deserve to know that this support will remain firm when the going gets tough. And our troops deserve to know that whatever our differences in Washington, our will is strong, our Nation is united, and we will settle for nothing less than victory.
This is the kind of sharp rhetoric Bush should've been making a long time ago. This is the kind of talk conservatives should want and expect from the President. This is the kind of speech leaders make. The time for being passive is long over. The time for catering to all the backseat drivers and Monday morning quarterbacks on the Left needs to stop. The time for being passive in the face of constant criticism from liars and conspiracy artists ends.
Democrats had their chance to speak and say 'no' and they blew it. Like the President reminded the nation, Democrats viewed the very same intelligence he did and they all came to the same conclusion. Everyone from Bill Clinton to John Kerry to Ted Kennedy to Charles Schumer voted 'yes' to the war in Iraq, made public statements confirming the need to get rid of Saddam Hussein and said that he had weapons.
I was skeptical about the war in Iraq because it has always been my belief that going to war should always be our last option in protecting our country.
Yet, Sadaam was an evil man and bad for world stability. The UN sanctions were not successful and saddam wasn't allowing the inspectors to do their job. Meanwhile massive amounts of Iraqi's were being raped, killed and tortured.
The Saddam regime killed thousands of its own people both convenionally and with gas (a WMD). Saddam even went as far as to video tape himself and his henchmen marching opposition political leaders outside government chambers where his sons summarily executed them. And as far as WMDs being a lie--every country, every leader (including the French, Germans, Russians and all past US Presidents) knew they existed in Iraq. Clinton even sent in a cruise missile attack because of WMD's in the 90's. Under these circumstances, Bush could not afford to ignore Iraq under Saddam. I believed that before the issue of the war ever came up.
Iraq has been a bad situation for a long time now and part of our responsibility to ourselves and to the world we live in is to aid people who are unable to help themselves. To ignore Iraq would be gross negligence on our part. Part of being a competent world leader is learning how to manage those bad situations. And knowing how to discern and manipulate the difference between evolution and revolution.
I believe Bush thought long and hard about his decision to go into Iraq. i believe Bush thought long and hard about not only the sheer magnitude of 9/11, but at the astonishment that the U/S. was that vulnerable to such an attack. I believe Bush thought long and hard about our troops and the lives that would be lost. I believe the restoration of Iraq is part of a much bigger plan to defeat global terrorism. I trust that the President told the truth about Iraq.
I'm glad he finally told all the naysayers to stick it.