John Edwards, Dove?
The VP candidate once called Saddam Hussein's Iraq an "imminent threat." What will he say tonight?
12:00 AM, Jul 28, 2004 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES
According to previews of John Edwards's much-anticipated speech tonight, the junior senator from North Carolina will attempt to establish his foreign policy bona fides. At the center of the address, naturally, will be Iraq. The issue will be a tricky one for Edwards. Along with Senator Joseph Lieberman, Edwards was an unapologetic defender of the war throughout the Democratic primaries, even as John Kerry began his efforts to distance himself from his support of the war-efforts that culminated in Kerry's embrace of the "antiwar" label.
Later that year, on the first anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, Edwards said that the "time has come for decisive action" on Iraq-a statement still posted on his Senate website. "With our allies," he said, "we must do whatever is necessary to guard against the threat posed by an Iraq with weapons of mass destruction and under the thumb of Saddam Hussein." And what if the U.N. Security Council were to refuse support for such decisive action? "Then we must act with as many allies as possible to ensure Iraq meets its obligations to existing Security Council resolutions."
Edwards continued: "The terrorist threat against America is all too clear. Thousands of terrorist operatives around the world would pay anything to get their hands on Saddam's arsenal, and there is every reason to believe that Saddam would turn his weapons over to these terrorists. No one can doubt that if the terrorists of September 11 had had weapons of mass destruction, they would have used them. On September 12, 2002, we can hardly ignore the terrorist threat and the serious danger that Saddam would allow his arsenal to be used in aid of terror."
"No. I didn't get misled," he said on Hardball with Chris Matthews on October 13, 2003, almost a year to the day after he voted to authorize the Iraq war and some six months after major combat ended. "As you know," he went on, "I serve on the Senate Intelligence Committee. So it wasn't just the Bush administration. I sat in meeting after meeting after meeting where we were told about the presence of weapons of mass destruction. There is clearly a disconnect between what we were told and what, in fact, we found there."
Edwards used that same Hardball appearance to reiterate his support for the war, even without more support from our erstwhile allies. "I think we couldn't let those who could veto in the Security Council hold us hostage."