But there is a difference between honest public dialogue and partisan appeals. There is a difference between questioning policy and questioning motives.
Let me say it plainly: I not only concede, but I am convinced that President Bush believes genuinely in the course he urges upon us.
Only later did Kennedy realize what a liar Bush was, and how important it was to question his motives. Well, Bush fooled 'em for a while....
[Mini-UPDATE: The rest of the Kennedy speech is cogently anti-war - folks looking for a Michael Moore tirade will be disappointed (I was disappointed). However, as TigerHawk observed, if Kennedy, a respected senior Democrat, was able to penetrate the shroud of Bush's lies, why weren't other Dems?]
Here we go from Oct 2002. This is pretty martial stuff, so don't read it aloud to your kids:
We also have to acknowledge that any military operations against Saddam Hussein pose potential risks to our own homeland, too. Saddam’s government has contact with many international terrorist organizations that likely have cells here in the United States.
Say it ain't so - a connection between Saddam and terrorists?
There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years. And that may happen sooner if he can obtain access to enriched uranium from foreign sources -- something that is not that difficult in the current world. We also should remember we have always underestimated the progress Saddam has made in development of weapons of mass destruction.
...this time, our nuclear foe would be an unpredictable and often irrational individual, a dictator who has demonstrated that he is prepared to violate international law and initiate unprovoked attacks when he feels it serves his purposes to do so.
The global community -- in the form of the United Nations -- has declared repeatedly, through multiple resolutions, that the frightening prospect of a nuclear-armed Saddam cannot come to pass. But the U.N. has been unable to enforce those resolutions. We must eliminate that threat now, before it is too late.
Pretty scary. I blame Karl Rove's mind rays.
...He is working to develop delivery systems like missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles that could bring these deadly weapons against U.S. forces and U.S. facilities in the Middle East.
And he could make those weapons available to many terrorist groups which have contact with his government, and those groups could bring those weapons into the U.S. and unleash a devastating attack against our citizens. I fear that greatly.
I fear your second thoughts.
I am forced to conclude, on all the evidence, that Saddam poses a significant risk.
Some argue it would be totally irrational for Saddam Hussein to initiate an attack against the mainland United States, and they believe he would not do it. But if Saddam thought he could attack America through terrorist proxies and cover the trail back to Baghdad, he might not think it so irrational.
...At the end of the day, we cannot let the security of American citizens rest in the hands of someone whose track record gives us every reason to fear that he is prepared to use the weapons he has against his enemies.
Now remember, Rockefeller was on the Intelligence Committee.
As the attacks of September 11 demonstrated, the immense destructiveness of modern technology means we can no longer afford to wait around for a smoking gun. September 11 demonstrated that the fact that an attack on our homeland has not yet occurred cannot give us any false sense of security that one will not occur in the future. We no longer have that luxury.
Oh my goodness, no - the dreaded link between Saddam and 9/11! What terrible hold did Bush have over this poor man that could make him utter these falsehoods?
This is a difficult vote, but I could not sleep knowing that faced with this grave danger to the people of my state and to all Americans, I had voted for nothing more than continuing the policies that have failed to address this problem in the past.
...At this point, America’s best opportunity to move the United Nations and Iraq to a peaceful resolution of this crisis is by making clear the U.S. is prepared to act on our own, if necessary, as one nation, indivisible. Sometimes the rest of the world looks to America not just for the diversity of our debate, or the vitality of our ideals, but for the firm resolve that the world’s leader must demonstrate if intractable global problems are to be solved.
Acting unilaterally? Inexplicable - shouldn't we at least try to assemble a fraudulent coalition?
By my vote, I say to Saddam Hussein, "Disarm, or the United States will be forced to act."
Apparently in the margin of the original draft, an historian from the DNC saw this:
Note to self: Strike "Disarm", substitute, "Waltz with Hans Blix".
The Senator builds to his big finish:
September 11 has forever changed the world. We may not like it, but that is the world in which we live. When there is a grave threat to Americans’ lives, we have a responsibility to take action to prevent it.
Again with the forbidden 9/11 link? How can he show his face?
Well, that was then, when the Dems had an election to focus on. The Captain has the transcript with the current laugher:
WALLACE: But you voted, sir, and aren't you responsible for your vote?
SEN. ROCKEFELLER: No.
Bring it on. Send in the clowns.
UPDATE: Turn off the mind rays! Nancy Pelosi's tin foil needed refreshing on Feb 5, 2003 when she said this:
"Any decision about going to war against Iraq must reflect the fact that the clear and present danger to our national security is terrorism. The presence of al Qaeda operatives in Iraq and in so many countries in the Middle East and the rest of the world is troubling.
Fortunately, she was able to get back on message by June 2005:
Iraq is now what it was not when the war began - a magnet for terrorism - because the President invaded Iraq with no idea of what it would take to secure the country after Baghdad fell.
MORE: The Heretik's wife had an aneurysm after cussing a blue streak - I question the patriotism of her arteries.