I don't tend to decide for a politician based on a single issue. Our society is complex, and governing it is complex. But a single issue can decide against a politician for me, a single issue can illustrate such a singular lack of character that I know I can never support that person for office.
“Sorry about that”
Hillary Clinton adamantly refuses to say that her vote permitting the invasion of Iraq was a mistake. Edwards takes the opposite tack and seems to take pleasure in admitting that his vote was a mistake. Both, however, blame the vote on having been given “bad information.” Bullshit. Pardon my language, but no other word describes my utter disgust with that argument.
The reason that was being given for the invasion of Iraq was that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction and that he posed a direct and imminent threat to this country because of them. A whole bunch of other reasons have emerged since that reason proved to be false, but that was the sole reason that was being posited at the time.
Yes, there was talk from the Bush Administration of Saddam’s ties to Al Queda, but that was only to include the threat that he might give them some of his WMD’s. The threat that he posed was the WMD’s, the reason for the invasion was the WMD’s and all of the other rationalizations for the current horror in Iraq have arisen only since that one rationale proved to be false.
The IAEA was not only unconvinced of the presence of WMD’s, they reported that their inspections had found none. France was unconvinced. Germany was unconvinced. I watched Colin Powell’s presentation to the United Nations and was embarrassed for my country – that presentation was utter nonsense. In a discussion with my neighbor, months before we invaded but after it was apparent that nothing would stop Bush from doing so, I predicted that no WMD’s would be found.
Clinton’s vote, and that of Edwards, were the product of laziness, stupidity, or cowardice. Laziness because they did not take the time or effort to look beyond the information that was given to them within the cloistered environment of Congress, stupidity because they did not know how to read or interpret the simplest of information, or cowardice in that they dared not dissent.
In any case, sorry or not, that vote renders them unfit to serve as president of this country.
The “all options” issue
I served in the Navy during the Cold War, when the Soviet Union had nuclear missiles aimed at us, as we did at them. We had an absolute “no first strike” policy which stated that, under no circumstances whatever, would we be the country that initiated the use of nuclear weapons in the event of armed conflict. We did that once and we swore that we would never, ever, do it again.
I've never liked the fact that my country even had nuclear weapons, but I rested easier knowing that the “no first strike” policy was in place.
Then George W. Bush revoked that policy with his “no options are off the table” policy, and everyone on the campaign trail in both parties is now following in his footsteps with the same exact words, the same foul threat. For all his promise of a new way of government, Barack Obama has embraced that same exact world-destabilizing phrase.
Anyone who utters that inhumane statement is unfit to serve as president of this country. I can never vote for anyone who is not willing to say that he/she would never use a nuclear weapon in a first strike, who would not vow that the nuclear option was utterly “off of the table.”