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Kristen Breitweiser Headshot

Where Were You in '02? Bush's War and the Prince of Darkness

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Back in September 04, I had a meeting in the Senate Intelligence Committee offices. I was there to discuss 9/11 issues. The war in Iraq came up in our discussions. I clarified and said, "Oh, you mean Bush's war?" The republican staffer said, "The president? The president isn't responsible for this war. Congress voted for this war. It is Congress' war."

The staffer's wry, spooky smile (I actually call him the Prince of Darkness) oozed with absolute pride over his new Rovian spin of who to blame for the Iraq war.

I bluntly looked at him and said, "Congress' war? Are you kidding me? Do you mean to tell me you guys are going to try and sell that line of garbage to the American people? That is was Congress who created and took us to this war? That it was Congress who started this mess? Do you really think you are going to get away with that? You will get destroyed. Everyone knows that Bush is responsible for this war! He started it! He owns it! It is his war! And nobody will ever forget that!"

And yet in 2008 we Democrats seem to have forgotten that it was George Bush (along with the Republican war machine) that brought us first and foremost to the war in Iraq.

I wonder if the Republicans ever imagined the success of their spin.

Remember back in 2002. There was a drumbeat for war with Iraq. First it was a link between Iraq and 9/11. Then it was WMD. Then it was Saddam was a bad man and needed to be eliminated. And remember how the vast majority of the country fell for it hook, line, and sinker.

Indeed, more than 75% of our Senate voted for the authorization to go to war -- including Senators Daschle, Dodd, Kerry, and Rockefeller I might add -- all of whom work as advisors on Barack Obama's campaign. And yes, so did Senator Hillary Clinton.

So where did you stand back in 2002, 2003 and 2004? Do you remember the fever? The frenzy? The momentum? Do you remember the call to speak with one united voice? That was Senate Majority Leader Daschle's plea to the American public back in 2002. Yeah, the same Tom Daschle whose advice and judgment Barack Obama seeks out daily on the campaign trail.

I remember it all. And, I know where I stood. I was down in Washington fighting for a 9/11 Commission and I was steadfast against the war in Iraq.

But back in '02, for those of us who dared to speak out against President Bush and his war in Iraq, we stood virtually alone. There was no resounding chorus of people calling "bullshit" on Bush's folly. No, back in 2002 you were called unpatriotic if you dared to question the president; labeled as helping the terrorists if you raised doubt about his divine call to action.

Now forgive me, but I do not recall the help (or the voice) of any Barack Obama from Illinois. Indeed, I cannot recall hearing or feeling the impact of any one speech from the Illinois Senator. Did he attend the rally on the mall in Washington? The marches and protests in NYC? Did he conduct national press interviews? Did he write any editorials? Organize any protest rallies? Mobilize the people? Did he write any petitions? If he did, I never saw any of them.

Yet according to Barack Obama, because he spoke out in 2002 against the war in Iraq, he is better qualified to be president.

And according to Barack Obama, since Hillary Clinton voted to authorize the president to go to war in Iraq, she is unfit to be President.

As Democrats we need to remember exactly who took us to war in Iraq. We need to remind ourselves exactly who is to blame for the huge price tag our soldiers and their families have paid. We need to never forget that it was George Bush who created this debacle. Costing us billions in dollars and worldwide respect.

Maybe that's what bothers me most about Barack Obama. He keeps talking about working with the Republicans. Reaching across the aisle. Compromise. Well, I've been to Washington. I have fought battles in Washington -- most of them against the Republicans -- to get 9/11 legislation passed into meaningful law.

And if there is one thing I know for sure right now, I do not feel like reaching across the aisle and finding compromise with Republicans particularly on any of the following issues: Roe v. Wade; torture; FISA surveillance and illegal wiretapping; unfounded wars with Iran, Syria, or any place else; stem cell research; the erosion of our constitution; alternative energy and global warming; and/or healthcare reforms.

So why does Barack Obama want to compromise on such issues? Doesn't he get it?

To me, those issues are non-negotiable. To me, after 8 long destructive years of Republican rule, there is no wiggle-room left for Republican taint and ruin. I remember all too well that it is the Republicans who are to blame for our nation's current precarious state.

That's why the Democrats must win the WH back in '08. We cannot afford another term of Republican ruin. That's why the only place I am willing to compromise is when it comes to figuring out the best way--the surest way--to get the Democrats in the WH.

So would somebody please tell Barack Obama to stop talking about shaking hands with Republicans and start talking about shaking hands with Hillary Clinton and her half of the Democratic party so we can all start working together to beat the Republicans.

Unity Ticket '08.