Lawmakers stood side by side on the steps of the Capitol and belted out an impromptu rendition of “God Bless America” after the terrorist attacks five years ago.
Democrats and Republicans pulled together, as did the country at large. “We had an astonishing moment of unity,” former President Clinton said Monday.
But now, the two political parties couldn’t be further apart.
So ask yourself… what’s changed?
Is it Iraq? Is that what intervened and disrupted this astonishing unity? If so, then ask yourself why. Politicians on both sides of the aisle were declaring Iraq to be a threat (many even before 9/11). Politicians on both sides of the aisle were declaring that America couldn’t wait for the threat to get worse. Politicians on both sides of the aisle were sure that Saddam had WMDs. And Politicians on both sides of the aisle were sure, by his past actions of having already used them, it was only a matter of time before he’d find a way to use them against us or our allies. Politicians on both sides of the aisle also didn’t disagree that he funded terrorists. Coupled with the tragedy we witnessed on 9/11, we all agreed we had to do something…
But then politics got in the way. Democrats realized that they weren’t the party in power and decided it was more important to win political power than win the war of our generation. So they blamed Bush for bad intelligence, despite having once touted the same intelligence. They claimed Iraq was a diversion from the war on terror, despite having previously declared Saddam a supporter of terrorists. They played Monday morning quarterback once WMDs didn’t materialize, despite having told us repeatedly throughout the 1990s that they existed. They attack Bush for not having capture bin Laden, despite having let him go on multiple occasions prior to 9/11.
Think I’m wrong? Examine the positions of the following people… then and now.
Jay Rockefeller - Then:
“September 11 has forever changed the world. We may not like it, but that is the world in which we live. When there is a grave threat to Americans’ lives, we have a responsibility to take action to prevent it.”
I have come to the inescapable conclusion that the threat posed to America by Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction is so serious that despite the risks — and we should not minimize the risks — we must authorize the President to take the necessary steps to deal with that threat.
Jay Rockefeller - Now:
“…[T]he administration ignored warnings prior to the war about the veracity of the intelligence trumpeted publicly to support its case that Iraq was an imminent threat to the security of the United States.”
“The world would be better off with Saddam in power.”
John Kerry - Then:
“The threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real, but as I said, it is not new.”
John Kerry - Now:
“Let’s be clear, Mr. President, let’s be clear, my fellow Americans: There is no question that Americans were misled into the war in Iraq. Simply put, they were told that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction when he did not.”
Nancy Pelosi - Then:
“Others have talked about the threat posed by Saddam Hussein. Yes, he has chemical weapons, he has biological weapons, and he is trying to get nuclear weapons. There is a threat not only from Iraq, but from other countries of concern in the past.”
Nancy Pelosi - Now:
“During the debate on the war almost four years ago, I was the senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee and I saw all the intelligence. My statement then was that, ‘I will not vote for this war because the intelligence does not support the threat being claimed by the Bush Administration.’ I am proud to say that 60 percent of House Democrats voted against going to war. Whether there was faulty intelligence or not, there was never anything in the intelligence that said that Iraq posed an imminent threat to the United States. Never.”
Howard Dean - Then:
“There’s no question that Saddam Hussein is a threat to the United States and to our allies.”
Howard Dean - Now:
“Saddam Hussein was never a threat to the United States.”
Harry Reid - Then:
“Saddam Hussein, in effect, has thumbed his nose at the world community. And I think that the president’s approaching this in the right fashion.”
Harry Reid - Now:
“…the Bush Administration manipulated and cherry-picked intelligence to hype the threat.”
So Iraq appears to be central to this destruction of astonishing unity. Now ask yourself whose position on Iraq has changed since that moment of astonishing unity. And whose position has remained constant?
And in the face of this shift, the President has maintained his same position from day one. The war against terrorists is global, and includes those who support, harbor or are terrorists. Democrats call it stubborn and closed-minded. I call it being consistent.