Guess which American political leader made the following statement?
"Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process. The responsibility of the United States in this conflict is to eliminate weapons of mass destruction, to minimize the danger to our troops and to diminish the suffering of the Iraqi people...I believe in negotiated solutions to international conflict. This is, unfortunately, not going to be the case in this situation where Saddam Hussein has been a repeat offender, ignoring the international community's requirement that he come clean with his weapons program."
Figured it out? How about this one?
"We must recognize that there is no indication that Saddam Hussein has any intention of relenting. So we have an obligation of enormous consequence, an obligation to guarantee that Saddam Hussein cannot ignore the United Nations. He cannot be permitted to go unobserved and unimpeded toward his horrific objective of amassing a stockpile of weapons of mass destruction. This is not a matter about which there should be any debate whatsoever in the Security Council, or, certainly, in this Nation. If he remains obdurate, I believe that the United Nations must take, and should authorize immediately, whatever steps are necessary to force him to relent--and that the United States should support and participate in those steps."
If you named President Bush, Vice President Cheney or any member of the current administration, or any Republican or conservative opinion-shaper, you'd be wrong. The first statement was taken from a December 16, 1998 press release from then-Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi following the U.S. air strike on Iraq ordered by then-President Clinton. You can find the full press release at http://www.house.gov/pelosi/priraq1.htm - better hurry before they take it down!
The second statement was from a speech given on the floor of the U.S. Senate in November 9, 1997 by Senator John F. Kerry of Massachusetts.
I wanted to bring these statements to the public's attention because a comment from a spokesperson representing Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards got under my skin. In an attempt to deflect attention from Mr. Edwards' $400 haircuts, the spokesperson said, "He didn't lie about weapons of mass destruction or spring Scooter Libby; he just got some expensive haircuts." I'm getting pretty tired of the whole "Bush Lied" mantra the Democrats love to pull out when attacking the President on Iraq. There are a lot of legitimate issues to debate about the progress of the war, but if Bush lied about the weapons of mass destruction, then all the Democrats who made similar statements in the years leading up to the war are liars, too.
The facts are that 1) Saddam Hussein used chemical weapons against Iranian troops and his own people in Kurdistan, mostly women and children, 2) and he thwarted the U.N. weapons inspectors at every turn throughout the 1990s and again when they returned in 2002-2003, acting as if he had something to hide. The major foreign intelligence agencies and most Western leaders assumed he had weapons of mass destruction and his behavior reinforced that belief. It's apparent that a lot more people than President Bush were caught in a "lie."
More troubling to me is the apparent unwillingness of the press to call the Democrats on their disingenuous statements regarding the President's truthfulness. If we cannot depend on the press to hold these politicians accountable when they are being dishonest with the American people, then are we to assume their motto of "comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable" only applies when the "afflicted" are liberals and the "comfortable" are conservatives? It's oversights like this that make the average citizen question the objectivity of the press, their protests of impartiality to the contrary.