The Democrats, both the base and the politicos, have gotten a lot of mileage out of attacking the 2003 decisions that led to the U.S. invasion of Iraq. A multivolume book could be written about the events then, the revelations (and absence of revelations since then), and the way in which Democratic politicians (especially Hillary and Kerry) have been skipping nimbly around, trying to satisfy their base while not looking like flip-floppers, liars or fools. It’s gotten to the point where the Democrats remind me of Civil War reinactors, constantly marching out onto a battlefield that’s rapidly fading into the past.
This position is all well and good if you want to attack a current candidate’s decision-making abilities. Thus, in 2004, the challenge to the decision to enter the war was a valid, although ultimately unsuccessful attack against a sitting President running for reelection. The whole campaign strategy could be boiled down to “He made a really stupid decision, so you shouldn’t reelect him.” It’s a much less valid campaign stategy when the man charged with making that decision (whther for better or worse) isn’t running for President. At this point, it becomes a strawman argument, and one that is particularly problematic for Hillary Clinton, who is trying to disassociate herself from her warrior’s stance.
The obsessive focus on events several years ago also highlights the fact that the Democrats, while remarkably critical about the war, have no ideas about resolving the situation. I was unimpressed when the Dems, after running on an anti-war platform and taking Congress, suddenly announced that the President got us into the war and it’s up to him to get us out of it. If that turnabout — implying to the voters that the Dems would end the war and then washing their hands of responsibility — isn’t lying to the voters, I don’t know what is.
In any event, one who does get it — “it” being that the war isn’t just a distant battle to be refought in the imagination for current politication benefits — is Liz Cheney, who writes with a clear voice in this Washington Post op-ed, although I’d quibble with her attempt at partisanship in claiming the Republicans are just as bad as the Dems. They’re almost as bad, but not just as bad:
I’d like to ask the politicians in both parties who are heading for the hills to stop and reflect on these basic facts: