Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Talk about getting things right

As I have said before, I am a big fan of Russ Feingold (see here, here, here). If any of you want yet another reason for why I feel this way, you only have to read poputonian's piece at Digby's today. Russ Feingold made this speech on October 9, 2002 and it's the kind of thing every presidential candidate with dreams of 2008 wishes he/she had made. Read the whole thing on Feingold's web page. Here are a few excerpts:
The facts just aren't there, or at least they have not been presented to me in the situations where they should have been presented to me as an elected Member of this body. In other words, the Administration appears to use 9-11 and the language of terrorism and the connection to Iraq too loosely, almost like a bootstrap.


In any event, I oppose this resolution because of the continuing unanswered questions, including the very important questions about what the mission is here, what the nature of the operation will be, what will happen concerning weapons of mass destruction in Iraq as the attack proceeds and afterward, and what the plan is after the attack is over. In effect, Mr. President, we're being asked to vote on something that is unclear. We don't have answers to these questions. We're being asked to vote on something that is almost unknowable in terms of the information we've been given.


Mr. President, we need an honest assessment of the commitment required of America. If the right way to address this threat is through internationally-supported military action in Iraq and Saddam Hussein's regime falls, we will need to take action to ensure stability in Iraq. This could be very costly and time consuming, could involve the occupation -- the occupation, Mr. President, of a Middle Eastern country. Now, this is not a small matter. The American occupation of a Middle Eastern country. Consider the regional implications of that scenario, the unrest in moderate states that calls for action against American interests, the difficulty of bringing stability to Iraq so we can extricate ourselves in the midst of regional turmoil. Mr. President, we need much more information about how we propose to proceed so that we can weigh the costs and benefits to our national security.


But right now, after all of the briefings, all of the hearings, and all of the statements, as far as I can tell, the Administration apparently intends to wing it when it comes to the day after or, as others have suggested, the decade after. And I think, Mr. President, that makes no sense at all.


I am concerned that the President is pushing us into a mistaken and counterproductive course of action. Instead of this war being crucial on the war on terrorism, I fear it could have the opposite effect.
Even the advantage of hindsight in December 2006, I don't think that there are many speech writers who could have done a better job today than Russ Feingold did in 2002. As poputonian concludes:
Each Senator now running for president had an opportunity to hear Feingold's floor speech. But for some, presidential ambition carried more weight and clouded their thinking.

And now they have blood on their hands.


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