The Rude Pundit puts Bush’s Dem quotes in context

By | November 17, 2005

The Rude Pundit can be quite fun to read. But as you dig through his biting humor and scathing attacks, you find someone who is very intelligent about politics, and willing to do much more research than I ever would. For example, take President Bush’s speech where Bush quotes “Democratic leaders” who made statements supporting the war in Iraq.

But who were those Democrats? What was the context for the statements that Bush quoted? Leave it to the Pundit to track down the details! Put into context, the three statements obviously do not mean what Bush wants us to think they mean. For example:

The second quote is from Senator Carl Levin, who was not really beatin’ the Iraq war drums when he said, on CNN’s Late Edition With Wolf Blitzer on December 16, 2001, in answer to Blitzer’s question about whether or not Saddam Hussein was a terrorist: “I agree, but exactly the way Senator Kyl put it. The war against terrorism will not be finished as long as he is in power. But that does not mean he is the next target. And the commitment to do that, it seems to me, could be disruptive of our alliance that still has work to do in Afghanistan. And a lot will depend on what the facts are in various places as to what terrorist groups are doing, and as to whether or not we have facts as to whether or not the Iraqis have been involved in the terrorist attack of September 11, or whether or not Saddam is getting a weapon of mass destruction and is close to it. So facts will determine what our next targets are.

(Emphasis is mine)

Ah, now in context, Levin was actually not endorsing the war we got into at all. Levin wanted proof, proof that Iraq was involved in the 9/11 attacks (which we now know they were not) and proof that there were weapons of mass destruction (ditto). This is not the smoking gun Bush seems to think it is. Instead, it’s more proof that Democrats only voted for the war because Bush manipulated intelligence to make it seem like Iraq was a threat.