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Friday, June 09, 2006

Pro-War Pols Don't Deserve a Political Future - by Ted Rall

DENVER--The congressmen and senators who lined up to cast their yeas and nays on October 11, 2002 knew that they were casting one of the most, if not the most, important votes of their political careers. Public Law 107-243, 116 Stat. 1497-1502, the result of the vote to authorize the Bush Administration to attack Iraq, would have incalculable moral, economic and geopolitical implications for the long-term future of the United States. But not every congressman put the interests of his country ahead of his career prospects. With George W. Bush still riding high in the polls less than a year after 9/11, it took courage and foresight--the ability to see a future in which the public would sour on Bush and his wars--to defy him.
 
As is often the case during times of crisis, when history tests the mettle of men and women, courage and foresight were in short supply. Fewer than a third--156 out of 529--dared to vote no.
 
Four years later, the Iraq war resolution reads like a classic of embarrassingly brazen propaganda. It says that Iraq posed a "threat to the national security of the United States," something that anyone with access to a map knew couldn't possibly be true. (Iraq's longest-range missiles had a maximum range of 500 miles.) It includes the debunked statements that Iraq had "a significant chemical and biological weapons capability" and was "actively seeking a nuclear weapons capability" [presumably a reference to Bush's phony Niger yellowcake uranium claim].
 
It's obvious to the 59 percent of Americans who think the war was a mistake that the 296 representatives and 77 senators who voted for this ridiculous tripe showed a spectacular lack of good judgment. As a result, nearly 2500 American troops are dead. So are 200,000 Iraqis. Between 18,000 and 48,000 U.S. troops have been wounded. We have no idea how many Iraqis have been crippled--perhaps over one million. Nearly $300 billion--more than 100 times the total amount spent to protect American cities from another 9/11--has been wasted.
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