Johnny Come Lately

Listening to Democratic politicians talk about Iraq these days is alot like when an old boyfriend — who seemed to be just not that into you before — suddenly starts calling again, singing a different tune, and with a lot more sweet talk than before. It’s flattering in a way, and a little vindication certainly feels good. It’s just hard to shake the sense of disappointment that they didn’t come round sooner.

The latest former suitor phoning it in is former candidate for Vice President, John Edwards.

I was wrong.

Almost three years ago we went into Iraq to remove what we were told — and what many of us believed and argued — was a threat to America. But in fact we now know that Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction when our forces invaded Iraq in 2003. The intelligence was deeply flawed and, in some cases, manipulated to fit a political agenda.

It was a mistake to vote for this war in 2002. I take responsibility for that mistake. It has been hard to say these words because those who didn’t make a mistake — the men and women of our armed forces and their families — have performed heroically and paid a dear price.

He has a bit more to say in this profile from The Nation.


In an interview after the UNC speech, Edwards finally utters the words he’d assiduously avoided during the last campaign: “I voted for the resolution,” he says. “It was a mistake.” So far, so good. But he goes on, “The hard question is, What do you do now? Looking back, it’s easy to say that it was wrong and based on false information. Anybody who doesn’t admit that isn’t honest, and that’s the truth.” So what now? “I myself feel conflicted about it,” Edwards replies. “But we have to find ways–and I don’t mean just yanking all the troops tomorrow–but we have to find ways to start bringing our troops home. Our presence there is clearly contributing to the problem.” So does he agree with Senator Russ Feingold that Washington should set a withdrawal deadline? “No. Even if we’re going to say that internally, that we’re gonna have our troops out by X date, there’s no reason to announce that to the world. I think that’s probably a mistake.” He doesn’t agree, either, with Senator Clinton’s call for more US troops to finish the job? “No sir!” Edwards says, sitting straight up in his chair. “Did she really say that?”

First, Kerry finds his voice on Iraq well after November, then Gephardt also comes around. Now here’s comes little Johnny Edwards, hat in hand. It’s nice that they’ve come around, but I gotta ask where was all of this when it might have mattered more? It’s a bit easier now to speak up when the president’s rating are in the toilet and a majority thinks he’s dishonest. But it takes a real pair of stones to speak up when facing an immensely popular president, hell bent on war, and the simple truth is that when it came right down to it these guys just didn’t have the yarbles.

But, again, with Edwards it’s the old rebounding ex-boyfriend thing. I mean, it’s definitely nice to hear from him again, especially since the current marriage arranged by the other 51% isn’t going all that swimmingly. It’s clear he has designs on the future, with visions of 2008 dancing in his head, and saying all the stuff we wished he’d said years ago. And it’s not like there are any great prospective suitors lined up at the moment.

So maybe it’s OK to invite him back in just to see how things go, and if he’s really changed. But it’s probably also a good idea to keep a bit of daylight between us, one eye on the door, and one foot always on the floor.

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About Terrance

Black. Gay. Father. Buddhist. Vegetarian. Liberal.
This entry was posted in 2008 Election, Current Events, Iraq, Politics, War on Terror. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Johnny Come Lately

  1. Julia says:

    Don’t be too hard on Edwards.  I was fooled.  I couldn’t believe any President would lie like that.  I was wrong. 

  2. Jude says:

    I believe you are wrong about Senator Edwards. He was the first to publically proclaim, in the pages of any major newspaper, that his vote was a mistake.  This is no Johnny-come-lately – this is the first political leader to put his honesty in BLACK and WHITE.

    Since Sen Edwards wrote that op-ed, even President Bush has been forced to admit his own mistakes in public. 

    Oh, that this courageous admission of Sen Edwards were as simplistic as a rebounding boyfriend!  
    I think we should see our leaders as human beings rather than carelessly tossing them around rhetorically.
    I ask you to read this and give it some thought:
    Why You Are Wrong Aboput John Edwards.

    Thanks.

  3. Terrance says:

    A Senate Intelligence Committee veto in October, 2002?

    I DON’T THINK SO.

    The nation was one year removed from the 911 attacks. The nation was still reeling – and misled by the President and his administration. The scenario of a veto is preposterous, and yet John Walsh is forwarding it in a Counterpunch article.

    Sorry, didn’t buy it then, and not buying it today. I’ll say the same thing to Edwards and other Dems that I said to Bush voters now feeling buyer’s remorse.

    I’ll tell you what happened. You let them scare you. It’s that simple. You let them scare you just enough that you forgot everything else you believe in. You let them make you believe that they, and only they, could keep you and yours alive one minute longer. They repeated “terror” and “9/11″ just enough to to get you marching along with them, and now…only now are you wondering just where they’re actually headed. Now that they’re marching along, full-tilt boogie, trampling a lot of other stuff underfoot in the process; now you wonder if you made the right decision.

    Let me make it very plain. No, you didn’t. And you fucked it up for the rest of us in the bargain.

    There is nothing we no now that wasn’t known then, or that wasn’t as easy to find out now as it was then if anyone had bothered to look and to think about it. Most Americans didn’t, and after seeing the reception Barbara Lee got for merely suggesting that Congress do its job, most Member of Congress — even those who should have known better — gave in to the mob.

    That might be easy enough to excuse except for two things. None of what’s come to pass since then had to happen, but there are some bells that cannot be un-rung once they are sounded (to the tune of thousands of lives). That’s why there must be some consideration before sounding them.

    Edwards and others, who should have known better, quite simply let fear rule the day. Now they rue the day, as many sane and reasonable people told them they would.

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