There must be 50 posts a day on this site to the effect that "I support Howard Dean, and I can't support Kerry or Edwards because they voted for the war."
There have been quite a few lies coming out of Burlington during this nomination race, but this one is the big lie.
First, let me say up front that Howard Dean spoke out against the war earlier and louder than any of the other major candidates. If you want to support Dean for this reason, I can certainly respect that. But supporting Dean because Kerry and Edwards voted for the war resolution is confused, to say the least.
What follows is slightly involved, but it's really pretty straightforward.
The first war resolution that circulated on Capitol Hill was called the Biden/Lugar resolution. This was a bipartisan resolution supported by Kerry, Edwards, and Dean.
The Biden/Lugar resolution differed very little from the resolution eventually passed. It required any one of three conditions for Bush to go to war: a UN resolution authrorizing war, a letter from Bush to Congress stating that Iraq had WMD's, or a letter from Bush to Congress stating that Iraq was a grave threat to the U.S. It did not require Bush to return to Congress for a second vote.
Considering that Bush repeatedly claimed both that Iraq had WMD's and that Iraq was a grave threat prior to war, it is obvious that the resolution would not have prevented the war in any way. And since Bush and Cheney 'sexed-up' the CIA reports, they had a ready made excuse as to why these claims turned out to be false.
Biden/Lugar would have been a slightly better resolution than the one that eventually passed, but would not have prevented the war, or held Bush significantly more accountable than he is right now. The fact that it was slightly better is why Kerry, Edwards, and Dean all supported it.
Dean offered public support for Biden/Lugar multiple times. After Biden/Lugar was shot down by a combination of solid Republican opposition, and the opposition of certain Democrats like Gephardt and Lieberman, the current war resolution was produced. Dean was silent about the new resolution. But considering how similar it was to Biden/Lugar, and considering that everyone in the Senate who supported Biden/Lugar ended up supporting the resolution that eventually passed. it defies common sense to think that Howard Dean would have voted against the resolution had be been in Congresss.
Dean did not start speaking out against the war, or the war resolution vote, until several months later. As I stated above, he certainly spoke out against the war earlier and louder than the other major candidates. But had he been in Congress, he almost certainly would have voted in favor of the same war resolution that Kerry and Edwards did.
If you don't support Kerry and Edwards over their war position, I respect that. But base your oppposition on the facts, not the lies coming out of Burlington.