President Bush started the Iraq War, not Senator Maria Cantwell. It was a preemptive war that was started based on false and erroneous information. Senator Cantwell has previously acknowledged that, “If we knew then what we know now there probably never would have been a vote by Congress to go into Iraq.” At the time the majority of Democrats voted 29 to 21 to support Bush.
Mark Wilson, who was an anti-war candidate running against Cantwell on the war, ended his campaign on Sunday. He has joined forces with Cantwell, believing that they share similar goals of ending the war. In a Seattle PI article he is quoted as saying they agree that “there must be no permanent American bases in Iraq.”
Mark Wilson position is welcomed by those of us that believe the primary objective of this election year must be for Democrats to gain control of the Senate and the House. Politics is the art of compromise and practicality. Mark Wilson has realized that while he has made the Iraq War a campaign issue he did not have the resources or supporters to mount a serious challenge. Continuing his campaign would have done more to hurt efforts to end the war than help.
Senator Cantwell has not been a lover of Saddam Hussein, and in fact voted to support the current President’s Father in what is now known as the “Gulf War”. There is no way a thinking, caring person is going to say that they supported the type of dictator Saddam Hussein was or the murderous way he kept power in Iraq.
Cantwell took a tough vote along with many other Democrats in 2002. As CNN noted on Oct. 11, 2002 , “the Senate early Friday voted 77-23 to authorize President Bush to attack Iraq if Saddam Hussein refuses to give up weapons of mass destruction as required by U.N. resolutions. ….The Bush administration and its supporters in Congress say Saddam has kept a stockpile of chemical and biological weapons in violation of U.N. resolutions and has continued efforts to develop nuclear weapons. Bush also has argued that Iraq could give chemical or biological weapons to terrorists. “
As we now know this rationale, has since been discredited and was based on faulty information. But at the time many Democrats joined with the Republicans in voting to give Bush authority if necessary to invade Iraq based on what they were told by the Bush Administration. In fact 29 Democratic Senators voted yes, not just Maria Cantwell.
Here is a list of those Democrats: Baucus (MT), Bayh (IN), Biden (DE), Breaux (LA), Cantwell (WA), Carnahan (MO), Carper (DE), Cleland (GA). Clinton (NY), Daschle (SD), Dodd (CT), Dorgan (ND), Edwards (NC), Feinstein (CA), Harkin (IA), Hollings (SD). Johnson (SD), Kerry (MA), Kohl (WI), Landrieu (LA), Lieberman (CT), Lincoln (AR), Miller (GA), Nelson (FL), Nelson (NE), Reid (NV), Rockefeller (WV), Schemer (NY), and Torricelli (NJ)
If you still really feel passionate about this issue log onto Act for Change and send Cantwell an e-mail about how you feel about her vote. But at some point we literally need to move on. Cantwell has and is looking for solutions to get us out of Iraq. Cantwell’s Republican opponent is not going to oppose Bush’s war policies. If Cantwell loses it will be an affirmation for the war, not a vote against the war. A Republican win is another vote to support Bush.
Senator Cantwell is calling for setting milestones for getting out of Iraq. On David Goldstein’s show Sunday night on KIRO 710 she said that “This year is the time to turn the sovereignty and security issues over to Iraq”
She emphasized that last year’s 79 to 19 vote by Democrats and Republicans calling for starting to bring the troops home this year was a turning point. It was a contrast to Bush’s “head in the sand approach.”
Sound leadership means setting goals and expectations. Cantwell is committed to a structured withdrawal from Iraq based on setting milestones , holding people accountable and ending Bush’s blank check policy of war in Iraq.
Because that is what the Republicans just voted for in opposing a timetable to get out of Iraq. They voted for blank check warfare.
Iraq has become the never ending war George Orwell wrote about in 1984. A perpetual war keeps the people in fear and allows for their domination. War is Peace was a Government slogan. . When you say it, “war is peace”, isn’t this what Bush is saying because otherwise to him the only alternative is “cut and run”.
Senator Cantwell is opposed to this idea of a never ending war that the Bush lack of leadership is foisting on the American people. Cantwell sees’ “lots of twists and turns” and acknowledges that there is less water, less electricity and less oil than before the war. Yet she sees optimism in the recent vote of Iraqis for their government. She called it “impressive.” She witnessed people bringing their children with them as they voted. Children were sticking their fingers in the blue ink, taking part in the process.
The number one priority Senator Cantwell sees is to get the Iraq Security Forces trained, which she says General Casey has said will be happening by the end of the year.
In addition Senator Cantwell believes more effort needs to be made to get other countries who pledged support to follow through. She noted some $13 billion of outstanding commitments from other countries exists. “Let’s get it into Iraq” says Cantwell.
She believes our countries best interests are served by trying to get more more countries involved and supports a bipartisan effort by previous Presidents Bush and Clinton getting involved.
Listening to Senator Cantwell speak on Goldstein’s show let’s one see why Mark Wilson would quit his candidacy to support Cantwell. On the radio Mark Wilson acknowledged to Goldstein that his chances had been a long shot. He also reached the conclusion that working to elect a Democratic majority in the U S Senate would more likely happen by working to re-elect Senator Maria Cantwell than by continuing his efforts to debate the issues. Besides he noted, he’s not independently wealthy nor was there a large enough network of moneyed supporters for him to wage a serious primary challenge.