Howard Dean Is No Pacifist

Dean was the loudest, and the only anti-war candidate in 2004. The image has stuck and for good reason. But his stand has also been slightly misunderstood.
  1. We knew all along it was not Saddam but Osama that was behind 9/11. But a majority of Republicans before the Iraq invasion believed otherwise, because they had bought into the W-Cheney propaganda. In a very recent speech W alluded to the "innocent lives lost on 9/11" when he meant to boost support for the Iraq war effort. That is fundamentally misleading. And he apparently has not changed course.
  2. Not long after Baghdad was seized, it became obvious there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq that Saddam was supposed to have had. Looks like Saddam was pulling a W also on his neighbors. As in, don't have it, but talk like you do, they will stay away from you.
  3. W complained on the campaign trail in 2000 about the few cruise missiles that Clinton fired into Iraq after a Saddam plot to assassinate his father while on a visit to Kuwait was found out and foiled. As in, Clinton's response was not enough. Clinton should have done more. The son was angry. Immediately after he got into the White House he made it clear he wanted to do something about Saddam. "He tried to kill my daddy!"
  4. On W's watch both North Korea and Iran have acquired nuclear weapons, or Iran is very close to it. So maybe he is not awfully concerned about the spread of WMDs. And if he is, he does not have the ability, the skill to do the job.
  5. Osama is very much alive and very much active. (3 Bomb Blasts Each: London, Delhi, Jordan)
  6. Colin Powell's presentation at the UN was cooked. Who cooked it?
  7. The intelligence the US Congress looked at was tampered with. Who did the tampering?
  8. Tomland Ridge pulled a security stunt to make sure Kerry did not get a boost after his damn convention in 2004. How irresponsible is that? (Bloomberg: No Mr. Security)
  9. George W and Dick Cheney are both roundabout draft dodgers. You have to look at their brave talk in that light.
  10. The effort in Iraq has cost $200 billion, 2000 American lives, and tens of thousands of Iraqi lives.
  11. Iraq today exports terrorists to the entire region.
War is an option, that is why there is a military. But war always has to be the weapon of the very last resort. The very last resort, the utmost last resort. W's war was waged like a weapon of first resort, it was done in such a hurry. The accusation that there was a deliberate misleading of intelligence is serious.

Not only that, the US went into Iraq without a clear strategy in mind. Some in the W administration talk of perhaps being there for a decade. That sounds like a stay strategy.

Go in in a hurry and stay forever. That is not a smart war strategy.

Troops sent out to war by a country have to be supported. But W is not asking for that. He is asking that his critics be silenced, their patriotism be questioned. Is misleading a country into war patriotic? Is not having a clear exit strategy so as to minimize casualties patriotic? Is the idea of snuffing democratic debate and questioning a legitimate inquiry into the most important act by this president patriotic?

It is important for the country to get to the bottom of this so as to better tackle the challenge that the War On Terror is.

Dean was totally behind the US going into Afghanistan, because that was Osama country, and he was behind 9/11. Iraq became a diversion that let Osama slip into god knows where.

Dean is not saying all wars are wrong, he is saying some wars are necessary. But he is saying a war has to be the weapon of last resort, because through a war you put your troops in harm's way. People are going to die. So you better have a very good reason to get into it in the first place. Once you do send the troops in, support them. And Dean supports the troops in Iraq today. He just does not support W. Big difference. And he is concerned the likes of W and Cheney can be so callous about the countdown to war.

Saddam was a bad guy, but that was not the stated reason for the war.

Democracy is a good thing to spread, but that was not the stated reason for the war.

So what went so wrong? Why was the intelligence presented to the Congress so off the mark? So far there seems not to have been a trace of WMD stuff in Iraq.

More importantly, what is the nature of the War On Terror? Is acting like the Al Qaeda is a standing army the best way to wage this war? Is the Al Qaeda weaker today?