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Michael Douglas: Defending The Indefensible

By The Reverend Published: February 17, 2008

In this morning's Beacon Journal, Michael Douglas editorializes that Hillary Clinton's vote in 2002 to authorize George W. Bush to use U.S. military force in Iraq, was, somehow, understandable because it was consistent with other "coercive diplomacy" actions in the past carried out under Bill Clinton.

Douglas references Michael Crowley's year old New Republic piece where Crowley explains Hillary's vote in the wider context of what she supposedly learned during her husband's presidency. This, allegedly, led her to, "the evolving awareness of the role that military force can play in advancing diplomatic goals."

I want to dispense with this silliness immediately. When Hillary cast her vote with the neo-cons in 2002, Bill Clinton was not the president, George W. Bush was. This should be obvious to anyone seeking to justify the unjustifiable through a suggestion that "coercive diplomacy" was what Hillary learned at the feet of president Bill and so that's why she voted for BUSH's war of choice. An answer like that only makes Hillary look more unqualified. Like, she knew right?....that Bill wasn't president anymore, right?....when she cast her vote?

Douglas also quotes from Chelsea Clinton's defense of her mother's vote.
''She cast a vote based on the best available evidence. Perhaps you had clairvoyance then, and that's extraordinary.''

Here's Barack Obama's attempt at clairvoyance on October 2nd, 2002....

I also know that Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, or to his neighbors, that the Iraqi economy is in shambles, that the Iraqi military a fraction of its former strength, and that in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history.

I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a US occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences. I know that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the Middle East, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of al-Qaeda.

I am not opposed to all wars. I’m opposed to dumb wars. Link

Millions of Americans must be, along with Obama, clairvoyant, if Chelsea's comment is accurate. Many more millions of world citizens must also have the gift of clairvoyance as well.....because they knew invading Iraq would be a tragedy. They marched in every major city of the world before the Bush crime began. Somehow, objective evaluation of the facts, of history, of reality has been explained away as some kind of voodoo clairvoyant problem. Chelsea Clinton's response, and Michael Douglas' use of it, fall far short of persuasion.

The Beacon editorialist includes in his piece Hillary's response to the question of why it was that she voted for Bush's Iraq conflict in the first place...

''You know, I've said many times if I had known then what I know now, I never would have given President Bush the authority. It was a sincere vote based on my assessment at the time and what I believed he would do with the authority he was given. He abused that authority. He misused that authority. I warned at the time it was not authority for a preemptive war.''

First, let me point out that Obama DID know then (2002) what Hillary only found out later. I'll get back to that in a minute.

But notice what Douglas types next....

That hasn't been good enough — especially among the more self-righteous of the Democratic Party. They smell political calculation.

Those who opposed the unprovoked act of U.S. military aggression against Iraq..... those who used their brains to understand that invading and occupying Iraq was not in America's overall interest.....those, like Obama, who didn't trust George W. Bush in 2002.....are called "the more self-righteous of the Democratic Party."

No...Michael....not self righteous. Smarter, more honest, truth tellers......people, if listened to, who would have saved trillions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of lives. That's not self-righteousness.....Michael.....that's true American wisdom and patriotism.

Why it is that a Beacon Journal editorialist seeks to defend the indefensible through talk of self-righteous anti Iraq war Democrats and gobblygook suggestions about "coercive diplomacy".....are above my pay grade to explain.

But I do know this.....if an editorialist wants to endorse Hillary Clinton over Barack Obama....then just say so.

Cul-de-sac rationalizations to justify the unjustifiable, and name calling of those who were correct in the first place...... not fine.

Those who don't accept Hillary's flimsy answer to why she voted for Bush's war of choice are said to "smell political calulation" on Hillary's part. Why wouldn't they?

During the exact same time, the fall of 2002, two potential presidential candidates, Hillary and Obama, took a stand on Bush's pre-emptive war of choice. Obama went against the popular grain and spoke out definitively against the militaristic venture. Hillary went with the grain of political and public opinion at the time and voted for a resolution called The Resolution to Use Military Force in Iraq.

I ask you.....which decision, given the timing, was a political calculation? The answer is transparently clear.

Politics as usual suggests a politico can never state publicly that they have made a mistake. Hillary personifies politics as usual through nonsensical justifications of a misguided vote. Obama says politics like that are no longer "good enough." No one need be an editorialist to know who's right.

Triangulating, not only her vote, but her defense of that vote for years, is not a good enough answer. Not anymore. There's no "coercive diplomacy" wisdom for an editorialist to squeeze out of such a blatantly political calculation, either.

Hillary Clinton made a choice in 2002. A choice based on her understanding of how it would go inside Iraq once the bombs were dropping. It was the wrong choice. There's no legitimate defense of that choice. It was simply the wrong decision.

And nothing any editorial writer can say will change that fact.

Here's the final nail to the coffin lid....

Hillary put her trust in George W. Bush in October of 2002. She blames him now, but right then and there, in 2002, she placed her trust in the guy who has proved to be the worst American president in history. Obama did not trust George W. Bush in October of 2002. Hillary went the easier, more popular media driven route believing it would make her look strong and thus pay off in an election campaign. Obama spoke the truth even though it was extremely unpopular to do so.

What the hell should those facts tell a newspaper editorialist?



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