About a week ago, this diary brought to our attention an article on TheHill.com documenting Hoyer's opinion on his AUMF vote. Here's a recap, dated November 8th, 2007 (sic):
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), the number two Democrat in the House, says he stands by his vote in favor of the 2002 "use of force" authorization that led to the war in Iraq.
"Removal of Saddam Hussein was an appropriate policy," Hoyer said at a breakfast meeting with reporters Thursday sponsored by The Christian Science Monitor. "I still believe that."
But he added that he would not have voted for it if he had known "how incompetently it would be executed."
The idea that one of the key leaders of an opposition party would take such a, dare I say, Republican approach to our current foreign policy is alarming at the very least. It generates many hypotheses: That either a) Hoyer is, in fact, a neoliberal with a (D) next to his name, b) This is a calculated move because somewhere, somehow, the majority of Democratic strategists firmly believe that supporting the Iraq war is the right way to act "tough" on terror or c) Hoyer's actions are actually controlled by someone else. Either of these three hypothesis suggests that in whatever part of Washington, D.C. Hoyer's lair is, he is not surrounded by anything resembling the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party. And this is dangerous. The people in power now still believe Iraq war the right thing to do. And therein lies the disconnect.
This is the problem with our leadership. I do not doubt that the war's management was abysmal, but the failure of many of our top Democrats to acknowledge the moral hazard of going into Iraq in the first place is hazardous to our nation and hazardous to progressivism. An opposition party's duty is not to grab the reins of power and corruption and continue failed policies - it is to revolutionize, change and critically think about national policies and national debates, and I believe that our party has failed miserably in doing so. How disappointing it is, for me, to view the opposition party's leadership as a simple reflection of the Republican leadership! What got Democrats elected was neither a neoliberal nor a neoconservative foreign policy stance - it was a progressive one. And I dearly wish that our leaders would acknowledge that.
I feel that I've made an unsubstantiated claim in this diary: Is support for the "removal" of Saddam Hussein the same thing as supporting the Iraq War? YES. In fact, I'd argue that this is more dangerous than the media run-up to the war - the premise that WMDs existed in Iraq and needed to be recaptured immediately.
What Hoyer's reasoning in support of the AUMF resolution shows is that for Democrats like him, it didn't even matter whether or not Saddam Hussein had WMDs or not - as the meme now goes, "The World is Safer Without Saddam Hussein" - and that's justification enough. So House Majority Leader Hoyer, you weren't really voting to take out nuclear weapons were you? - you were voting to take out Saddam Hussein. And here's the key - what we were being told the war was about was completely the opposite people in Congress wanted the war to be about. That should scare you.
Majority Leader Hoyer, please understand this: the war in Iraq was the wrong thing to do. Your AUMF vote was not simply about removing Saddam Hussein from power, it was about whether or not a regime without weapons of mass destruction was an imminent threat to the United States. And you are wrong.
I leave you with one last disconcerting statement. If the Democratic leadership in Congress believes that the justification for the AUMF vote is that the world is safer without Saddam Hussein, what's to stop the Democratic leadership to use the same line of reasoning to say that the world is safer without Mahmoud Ahmadinejad?
Joe Biden said something incredible in the debate last night:
The vast majority of Republicans think this war stinks as well. The vast majority of Republicans out there think that our foreign policy is a shambles. The vast majority of the independents think that. Folks, this is not going to be that hard. This is like not -- this isn't pushing a rope. They're sticking with George Bush out of loyalty.
Here's the kicker: What if the Democratic leadership thinks the Iraq War was the right thing to do, and is sticking with us just out of loyalty? Think about it - it's a horribly dangerous place to be for Progressives.