From NYT's David Sanger:
President Bush issued a stark warning to Democrats on Tuesday about how to conduct the debate on Iraq as midterm elections approach, declaring that Americans know the difference between "honest critics" and those "who claim that we acted in Iraq because of oil, or because of Israel, or because we misled the American people."
"Honest critics," apparently, aren't allowed to address the issues honestly. In their letter to President Clinton in January of 1998, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, John Bolton, and others in the Project for the New American Century couldn't have made their motives clearer. If Saddam Hussein were allowed to remain in power, they warned, "our friends and allies like Israel and the moderate Arab states, and a significant portion of the world’s supply of oil will all be put at hazard."
The American people--and the rest of the world--were told that Saddam Hussein had close ties with al Qaeda and possessed a robust weapons of mass destruction program. If that's not being "misled," cigarettes are a cure for coal miner's lung.
In some of his most combative language yet directed at his critics, Mr. Bush said Americans should insist on a debate "that brings credit to our democracy, not comfort to our adversaries." That follows a theme that Vice President Dick Cheney set last week, when he said critics of the administration's conduct of the war risked undercutting the effort to defeat the insurgency.
The best way to "comfort" our adversaries and undercut the effort to defeat the insurgency would be to stop criticizing the administration and let them continue to mismanage this woebegone war of theirs.
"We have a responsibility to our men and women in uniform, who deserve to know that once our politicians vote to send them into harm's way, our support will be with them in good days and in bad days," Mr. Bush said. "And we will settle for nothing less than complete victory."
Responsibility to our men and women in uniform? Two words, Mr. Bush: body armor. And when you get around to it, could you explain once and for all what exactly "complete victory" constitutes? It wouldn't happen to have something to do with, um, oil, would it?
By referring to a vote, Mr. Bush was apparently alluding to the Congressional resolution authorizing the use of force against Saddam Hussein, if necessary. Part of the White House strategy in recent months has been to note how many of the administration's critics voted for that resolution, and turned against the war only after it became difficult.
It wasn't Mr. Bush, or Dick Cheney, or Donald Rumsfeld, or Paul Wolfowitz who wanted to invade Iraq. Those dadburn Democrats in Congress made them do it.
The "nonpartisan" crowd of 425 Veterans of Foreign Wars members gave Mr. Bush a standing ovation. No doubt that's Bush's idea of "honest criticism." And his idea of "taking responsibility" for the Iraq fiasco is to blame it on Congress.