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Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Chris Dodd the latest Democrat to have a change in heart over Iraq

It's amazing how poll numbers can change a lawmaker's opinion.

Senator Chris Dodd is now seeing the light (or paying attention to the public's anger over the war) and thinks it's time to think about pullig the troops out of Iraq.

From The Hartford Courant

Sen. Christopher J. Dodd is passionate and unequivocal about what he sees as an urgent need for the United States to dramatically change its strategy in Iraq.

"We've made a series of major blunders. There's been a failure to build international support, a failure to build a coalition that can help us," he said, his voice rising rapidly and his cadence quickening as he describes how the policy needs adjustment.

The Connecticut Democrat lists the changes he wants, point by point: Consider pulling troops out soon after the Dec. 15 elections. Get surrounding countries, particularly Arab League nations, to do more to help broker peace between Iraq's warring factions. Get NATO more involved in training troops and providing security. And require the president to set up "estimated dates" for pulling out troops.

Yet three years ago, Dodd was squarely behind the president, convinced that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and that the United States should use force if diplomacy failed to get Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein to rid the nation of those weapons.

"We are a nation united in our resolve to dismantle Iraq's weapons of mass destruction," he said in October 2002.

To many Democrats, Dodd's views are the mark of a thoughtful senator whose positions have evolved as circumstances have changed. But to many Republicans, Dodd is typical of many Democrats whose views shift with polls.

Monday, for instance, Vice President Dick Cheney told a Washington research group that "What is not legitimate and what I will again say is dishonest and reprehensible is the suggestion by some U.S. senators that the president of the United States or any member of his administration purposely misled the American people on prewar intelligence."

Dodd says that his skepticism about the weapons began "almost immediately" after the conflict began.

The senator's skepticism prompts a central question: Did Dodd change positions as public opinion changed, or did his position develop because of what he learned about the war?

"Democrats want to have it both ways," said Rep. Ray LaHood, R-Ill. "They want to say, `I supported the war,' but the minute they see trouble, they change course."

Dodd maintains his current positions are consistent with the kind of internationalist, coalition-building approach he long has sought in foreign policy.


Dodd was not an eager warrior. About a month before the October 2002 war vote, Dodd said, "If there is even one rational bone in Saddam Hussein's body, he will quickly comply with the terms of all applicable United Nations Security Council resolutions.

"If not," Dodd said, "he will be responsible for the consequences of his defiance and regrettably, the Iraqi people will continue to suffer."

On the day before the 2002 vote, Dodd still hoped Hussein would not defy the United States. Congress' show of unity in Iraq, he said, "will reduce the likelihood that force will be necessary."

Dodd, who thought that Hussein had devastating biological and chemical weapons, and was seeking to acquire nuclear capability, says today he quickly realized that the United States would have difficulty securing peace in Iraq.

One clue: Top administration officials, from the Central Intelligence Agency and State and Defense Departments, were asked to appear before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and are still reluctant to do so. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, for instance, has appeared before the panel only once this year since her confirmation hearing.

Dodd said his skepticism about the weapons began "almost immediately" after the war started, when the United States was not finding weapons of mass destruction.

He has not spoken out forcefully sooner because, he said, "The process of when you start having feelings about something and actually saying things publicly does not happen overnight."

I have no problem with Senator Dodd having a change of heart over the war. My problem is that as a senior Senator, HE KNEW that this war was a mess along time ago yet he (and many other Democrats) didn't have the heart to do the right thing and forcefully challange this administration over the handling of this war until the President's approval numbers fell into the cellar and the public lost support of the war. There is NO WAY Dodd (or any Senator) would of challenged the handling of this war if Bush approval numbers and support of the war were high.

Where were the Democrats when it was proven that Iraq had no WMDs?

Where were the Democrats when it the Downing Steet memos became public?

Where were the Democrats' outrage during the Abu Graiub scandal and the allegations of torture in Gitmo?

Where were the Democrats when every thing the Bush administration said about Iraq was proven false (nuclear weapons, we would be seen as liberators, the Iraq oil would pay for the war, etc)?

Clearly it wasn't the 2000+ dead and 10,000+ injured US troops that made the Democrats finally show some backbone, it was simply the polls and approval numbers (in other words politics). If this change in heart had anything to do with the lives lost, we would of heard Senators and Congressmen criticizing the Bush administration over the handling of this war much sooner.

I'll never understand why so many military families had to be put through this senseless war and the Democrats will have alot of explaining to do because they should of ignored the poll numbers and spoken out against the President and this war earlier.

Sometimes doing the right thing is not the popular thing but when lives are on the line, you have a obligation as a lawmaker to ignore the popularity of a particular decision and do what you KNOW is right.