Edwards Avatar 2.x SOLD the 'War onTerror' frame and the war
by NuevoLiberal, Sun Apr 29, 2007 at 07:19:01 AM EDT
Regarding the "Global War on Terror"(GWOT frame) show-of-hands question in the first debate for the Democratic nomination, Matt Stoller wrote: Global War on Terror: Clinton Fails, Edwards Shines and an Edwards promoter goes on to explain to us why that frame is so bad (didn't we know this since it was coined first?)
While the current version of Edwards ("Edwards 3.x") is apparently exciting to many in the blogosphere, it turns out that the former avatar of Edwards ("Edwards 2.x") was, as with the war, at the forefront of championing the GOP/neocon frame, "GWOT", as seen in the extensive evidence presented below the fold.
They then diverted their attention from the very people who attacked us, who were at the center of the war on terror, and so Osama bin Laden is still at large.
-- John Edwards, Vice Presidential Debate, Cleveland, Ohio, October 5, 2004. Link
Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards said on ABC's "Nightline" program. "The war on terrorism is absolutely winnable."
-- John Edwards, circa Aug 31, 2004
Whether it is winning the war on terror; strengthening and leading strong alliances; or finishing the job in Afghanistan and Iraq.
To win the war on terror, we need three things: a strong offense, a strong defense, and strong alliances.
And we must start by finishing the job we started in Afghanistan and in Iraq. Afghanistan is in many ways a forgotten front in the war on terror.
-- Senator John Edwards, D-N.C., Wilmington, N.C., August 30, 2004: Remarks on National Security
EDWARDS: And as a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, I know that we have to do more to fight the war on terrorism and keep the American people safe. We can do that.
And we're here to make America respected in the world again so that we can bring him home. And American soldiers don't have to fight this war in Iraq or this war on terrorism alone.
-- John Edwards, July 28, 2004, Acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention.
SNOW: Well, Senator, during the debate about the Patriot Act -- the section that you're talking about is called Section 215. Russ Feingold, one of your colleagues...
EDWARDS: That's correct.
SNOW: ... actually put together an amendment to tighten it up. You voted against that amendment and for the act.
EDWARDS: I did. I think there are some things in the Patriot Act that are actually very good. You know, for example, we've got some -- there were some serious information-sharing problems before September 11th with respect to intelligence, between law enforcement and intelligence agencies. That was changed in the Patriot Act. That's a good thing. Some of the provisions of the Patriot Act updated our ability to use technology. I think that's a very good thing.
And specifically on Russ Feingold's amendment, at least from my perspective, it didn't approach this deficiency in the problem in the law the right way. I think it went further than we needed to go. And I think there has to be the correct balance between making sure that we're prosecuting the war on terrorism and protecting people's civil liberties.
-- Senator John Edwards, D-NC, September 28, 2003. Appearance on 'FOX News Sunday'
We must work with the world to win the war on terrorism and to finish the job in Iraq.
-- Senator John Edwards, D-NC, Announcement of Candidacy for President, September 16, 2003. Robbins, NC. Link
Q: What will be America's greatest foreign policy challenge in the next 20 years?
A: Our highest priority is to protect the American people -- and therefore the greatest challenges will be to win the war on terrorism and halt the spread of weapons of mass destruction.
-- Senator John Edwards, D-NC, May 25, 2003. Question and Answer with the Los Angeles Times
I reject the false choice between fighting the war on terrorism and containing the threat posed by weapons of mass destruction, specifically the looming danger of Saddam Hussein.
When it comes to fighting the war on terror around the globe, we have to keep the big picture in mind, and stay true to our principles.
-- John Edwards, December 18, 2002. Homeland Security Address, Brookings Institution, Washington, D.C. Link
On a related note, in the speech above, Edwards proposes a new domestic spying agency, which he would later put forward as this bill:
Title: A bill to establish the Homeland Intelligence Agency, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Sen Edwards, John (NC) (introduced 2/13/2003) Cosponsors (None)
In a speech in October 2002 at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, in Washington, D.C., Senator Edwards articulated the details of his strategy. The Senator called for action to eliminate the threat of weapons of mass destruction, win the war on terrorism, and promote democracy and freedom internationally, particularly in the Middle East.
-- Source: johnedwards2004.com
But the first responsibility of any government is the safety and security of its citizens. I believe that, today, that responsibility imposes three challenges above all others: first, to eliminate the threat of chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons; second, to win the war on terrorism; and third, to promote democracy and freedom around the world, especially the Middle East.
The first thing we need to do with regard to the war on terror is to recognize that, like the fight against weapons of mass destruction, it will never be won through unilateral American action.
In addition to global leadership against Iraq and weapons of mass destruction, and in the war on terror, the United States should lead a global coalition to promote democracy.
-- Senator John Edwards, D-NC, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington, D.C., October 7, 2002. America's Role in the World
In fact, in this February 2002 interview, Edwards injected the frame "war on terrorism" before anyone else did or asked there (as the reader can verify by searching for "war on terror" while visiting the link), and proceeded to declare Saddam Hussein "the most serious and imminent threat" to start his extended Kabuki in promoting the invasion of Iraq:
EDWARDS: Well, the death of Mr. Pearl is a terrible tragedy and something that actually is a good indication of what we have just been talking about, the need to go forward with this war on terrorism, the brutality of the way he died is a terrible thing.
But I do think that the more serious question going forward is, what are we going to do? I mean, we have three different countries that, while they all present serious problems for the United States -- they're dictatorships, they're involved in the development and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction -- you know, the most imminent, clear and present threat to our country is not the same from those three countries. I think Iraq is the most serious and imminent threat to our country.
And I think they -- as a result, we have to, as we go forward and as we develop policies about how we're going to deal with each of these countries and what action, if any, we're going to take with respect to them, I think each of them have to be dealt with on their own merits.
And they do, in my judgment, present different threats. And I think Iraq and Saddam Hussein present the most serious and most imminent threat.
-- John Edwards, CNN LATE EDITION WITH WOLF BLITZER, February 24, 2002 - 12:00 ET. Link:
Here is only a partial sampling of that kabuki:
Edwards' obsessive war-hawking record
1. Starts with: "in my judgment, present different threats. And I think Iraq and Saddam Hussein present the most serious and most imminent threat." (2/24/02),
- Co-sponsored Lieberman war resolution along with all the lies it contains,
- Voted against the Byrd Amendment which would have limited IWR authorization to one year renewal-needed terms,
- voted for the IWR,
- Sidelined the UN weapons inspector report saying there were no WMD and continuing his war support,
- Said: "I would have voted for the resolution knowing what I know today, because it was the right thing to do to give the president the authority to confront Saddam Hussein."in October 2004. He was apparently speaking for himself here and in fact seems to have been a prime advocate for this tack for the Kerry/Edwards campaign in the fall of 2004 according to this Boston Globe article.
In November of 2005, apparently after making a strategic decision,
Support for the Iraq war caused Edwards trouble in the 2004 Democratic primary. So in the spring of 2005, the former North Carolina senator asked aides to begin rethinking his policy on the war. The result: a Washington Post op-ed saying "I was wrong" and calling for a drawdown in troops and increased engagement with Iraq's neighbors in the Middle East
The Iraq Primary
Edwards issued a 'Mea Culpa'
However, the said apology itself contains various contradictions with what he said and did during 2002-2004. We will explore them in a future diary, but here is a preview: Edwards says he was misled on pre-war intelligence in the said apology. However, on this he contradicts himself as argued at that link.
The basic fact to remember in this context is that Saddam Hussein was never an imminent threat to the US because even if he had any WMD/nuclear weapons, he never had the means to deliver them to the US since he did not have missile that could reach even a tenth (or so) of the distance between Iraq and the US and neither did he have known connections to terrorist networks such as Al Queda. Furthermore, Saddam did not have a known motive or established inclination; in fact, one would gather precisely to the contrary from Sen. Bob Graham's oped where he said: "As to Hussein's will to use whatever weapons he might have, the estimate indicated he would not do so unless he was first attacked."
Further, while Edwards did offer condolences to the fallen American troops as he should have, he didn't extend the same courtesy to the hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqi civilians as a result of the needless war.
For these reasons, I see his "apology" as a calculated political gimmick/repositioning for the 2008 presidential race.
While the readers must reach their own opinions and dispositions, and towards that end, I implore them to spend a few hours to visit all of the links given here and thinking through them, I find that the evidence is clear, compelling and even overwhelming that Edwards sold the GOP/Neoconservative snake oil on not only the Iraq war but also the associated GWOT and WMD frames.
Getting behind such a candidate, in my opinion, will doom the progressive movement, which I care deeply about.
Should he be the nominee, I believe that his grossly shifting, slick, inconsistent and highly contradictory record on the war will be a trivially easy target (several fold worse than the "flip-flopping" meme in 2004) for the Republicans to pounce on and to ensure a landslide defeat for the Democratic party in not only the presidential election but also the 2008 congressional races. Clearly, the Democratic party, the country and the planet can ill-afford such a defeat at this critical juncture.