“I was wrong….It was a mistake to vote for this war in 2002. I take responsibility for that mistake.”
In today’s Washington Post, Senator John Edwards is telling you that if he knew then what we all know now about the deeply flawed and politically manipulated intelligence, he never would have voted for the Iraq resolution in 2002.
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. The world desperately needs moral leadership from America, and the foundation for moral leadership is telling the truth.
This could never have been easy for Senator Edwards to admit. Most political leaders in Washington still won’t admit what we all can see – that they were mistaken. I admire Senator Edwards’ honesty and humility. He’s a man of outstanding moral character. It isn’t the first time he’s publically communicated his regret, and it may not be the last. It isn’t so much the regret that we should focus upon – instead it is the ideas for bringing our troops home with full honor intact and with something we can all identify as “success” brought to Iraq that should be in focus.
I’d like all of my readers to put themselves in the position of being a responsible leader. All of you who’ve been calling for the troops to be sent home – what would you honestly do if you suddenly came to power? I’ve heard a lot of cocky answers on both sides of the political fence, but when I look reality straight in its face, the political leader who is speaking directly to my heart and mind is Senator Edwards.
The urgent question isn’t how we got here but what we do now. We have to give our troops a way to end their mission honorably. That means leaving behind a success, not a failure.
Senator Edwards gives us a plan for success in Iraq, focusing on three interlocking objectives:
1. Reducing the American presence. (We’ve reached the point where the large number of our troops in Iraq hurts, not helps, our goals.)
2. Building Iraq’s capacity. (A more effective training program for Iraqi forces, implementing a clear plan for training and hard deadlines for certain benchmarks to be met.)
3. Getting other countries to meet their responsibilities to help. (To create a unified international front.)
He honors the families who have lost their loved ones in this war by promising to implement clear plans for a definitive success, while removing the image of an imperialist America from the landscape of Iraq – even if that means asking American contractors who have taken unfair advantage of the turmoil in Iraq need to leave the country and hand the work over to Iraqi businesses.
More than 2,000 Americans have lost their lives in this war, and more than 150,000 are fighting there today. They and their families deserve honesty from our country’s leaders. And they also deserve a clear plan for a way out.
I’m proud of Senator Edwards for sending this message to the people of America – to Washington D.C. – and to the world. Integrity, honesty, courage, humility, and truth are values that are largely missing in Washington D.C. today. Clear ideas born of ethics are even more of a rarity. Is it any wonder that our vision has been lost? The vision has been emptied of all the values that give meaning and moral force to it. I believe that Senator Edwards can bring the vision back and make it work.
Jude is the blogger known as Iddybud