What a Difference a Decade Makes: Commas–er, Comments from the 90’s

From the AP: “Thirteen U.S. soldiers have been killed in Baghdad since Monday, the American military reported, registering the highest three-day death toll for U.S. forces in the capital since the start of the war.”

From CNN: “Admittedly, it seems like a decade ago,” Bush went on. “I like to tell people when the final history is written on Iraq, it will look like just a comma because there is — my point is, there’s a strong will for democracy.”

A decade ago he said: “Victory means exit strategy, and it’s important for the President to explain to us what the exit strategy is.” Of course, Bill Clinton was President, and the war was in the Balkans.

A decade ago, came this from another famous Republican: “I cannot support a failed foreign policy. History teaches us that it is often easier to make war than peace. This administration is just learning that lesson right now. The President began this mission with very vague objectives and lots of unanswered questions. A month later, these questions are still unanswered. There are no clarified rules of engagement. There is no timetable. There is no legitimate definition of victory. There is no contingency plan for mission creep. There is no clear funding program. There is no agenda to bolster our over-extended military. There is no explanation defining what vital national interests are at stake. There was no strategic plan for war when the President started this thing, and there still is no plan today.” That was Rep. Tom Delay. Those Texans sure like to cut and run, don’t they?

Why is the Bush war “a comma” and the Clinton war (which we won, if I recall) a “failed foreign policy?” Could it be just politics? Not being given to cynicism, I would never suggest such a Machiavellian approach on the part of our elected leaders. But here are some other, interesting quotes:

Senator James Inhofe (R-OK): “(P)resident [Clinton] has decimated our ability to defend ourselves.” (USA Today, 4/5/99)

Representative Randy “Duke” Cunningham (R-CA): “This is the most inept foreign policy in the history of the United States.” (Washington Times, 4/29/99)

Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN): “This is President Clinton’s war, and when he falls flat on his face, that’s his problem.” (New York Times, 5/4/99)

Representative Tom Campbell(R-CA): “We are presently at war and it is an unconstitutional war.” (R-CA) (New York Times, 4/14/99)

Rep. John Kasich (R-OH): “Escalating this war doesn’t make any sense because starting this war did not make any sense.” (Washington Times, 5/7/99)

But the best one of all is this:

Rep Tom Delay (R-TX) “You can support the troops but not the president.”

I’ll grant you that.

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