“WE CAN SAY WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION, NO WEAPONS OF MASS Destruction,” Coors said. “Clearly we should be more worried today actually, about Iran and North Dakota than we are — that is, North Korea — than we are about Iraq, based on weapons of mass destruction”
This from a report covering a discussion between Tim Russert, Colorado State Attorney General Ken Salazar and Pete Coors on Meet the Press by T.R. Reid in the Washington Post today.
Coors, who has been one of the most stalwart anti-gay forces in the Republican Party while his company pumps a gushing amount of money into gay-themed causes and events for marketing purposes (and had employed Mary Cheney to help direct the effort), may have stumbled and tripped while getting through his sensible comment on the war resolution, but he got there.
I give him credit because very few Republicans have the willingness to say that the Iraq Resolution which Bush used to get us into war would not have passed if we had been smarter and better informed about the WMD issues and the consequences of this invasion and occupation.
Salazar, in contrast, doesn’t get it.
As reported by Reid, Salazar said he “would vote today for a resolution giving the president authority to act in Iraq. But Salazar criticized Bush’s management of the war.” This is typical ‘shades of gray’ dissembling by many in the Democratic Party who are afraid of being counted as real opponents to this war.
Mr. Salazar — Osama bin Laden and the 60-nation network of al Qaeda were the clear and present danger. What should have been next?
Pakistani proliferation was probably the second biggest threat to the country. I would argue that implementing a more systemic level strategy to move North Korea on an alternative course was third. Fourth, the problem of a missing but needed Palestinian state and assembling a new court of stakeholding regional powers stabilizing Israeli-Palestinin tensions would be next. Removing deployed troops in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and Djibouti to U.S. ships in the region should have been next. Fast-tracking a new relationship with Iran mixed with a reassessment of carrots and sticks should have also been high.
We have been so distracted by Saddam Hussein, who was not a threat of the order of these other problems, that we have created a climate where potential peer powers — Russia and China in particular — have moved to fill power voids in parts of the world we are neglecting. This is particularly evident in China’s charm offensive in Southeast Asia.
Listen — I want the Republicans to get knocked back in this election because I want the Republican Party to exile its fundamentalist wing before it gets more political control.
But when I hear this kind of discussion between Coors and Salazar, it’s frustrating.
On one hand, Coors is homophobic and countenances intolerance but seems to have a higher bar in mind when giving the President war powers. And Salazar who has laudable and important messages of tolerance and inclusion in domestic policy seems unable to say that this war was bad and that it undermined the mystique of American power. For many, these problems with the Iraq Resolution were obvious without hindsight.
Democrats don’t want to sound weak in matters of war and defense. However, I think that standing up for the right military objectives such as going after bin Laden while at the same time doing all that could be done to earn back the aspirations and affection of people in the Middle East and stifling the nascent connections between Islamic fundamentalism and Arab nationalism is a far stronger and more effective security strategy than what we got.
I’m sure I will hear from Salazar’s people today and have his comments clarified — but this war was wrong from the beginning; it was not just “Bush’s management of the war” that deserves condemnation.
— Steve Clemons