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Dean and War
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Well, I finally read Dean's supposedly big foreign policy speech, and I have a couple of questions.

First on this comment about the war with Iraq:

Let me be clear: My position on the war has not changed.

The difficulties and tragedies we have faced in Iraq show that the administration launched the war in the wrong way, at the wrong time, with inadequate planning, insufficient help, and at unbelievable cost.

Checking back through public comments made by Dean, this is a common refrain, which makes me wonder why he's always referred to as "anti-war".

Because he's not.

If you listen to him, he grouses about every aspect of the way the war was initiated and carried out, but he never says he was against war with Iraq per se. Presumably, if we'd planned a little better and had a couple more European allies on our side, he'd be all for it. So how exactly is this position "anti-war"?

And is this really the position of most of the hardcore anti-war Left that Dean supposedly appeals to? I tend to hear more voices on that side of the aisle saying war would not have been justified, even under such circumstances. Is this an incorrect assessment?

He follows that up with this:

An administration prepared to work with others in true partnership might have been able, if it found no alternative to Saddam's ouster, to then rebuild Iraq with far less cost and risk.

Again, sounds like if we only had a few more countries willing to sign up for the coalition, the war would have been hunky-dory in Dean's book. As for an "alternative to Saddam's ouster", what might that have been? A few more years of Blix running around in the desert while Saddam continued to brutalize his people, all the while skimmiong money off the oil-for-food travesty?

Under what conditions would Dean have said enough is enough? If the standard for going to war is proving a verifiable threat to America, I'd presume never. Dean seems to remain unconvinced that Iraq was a threat to America, so the status quo would have been Dean policy, would it not?

But wait...what about Bosnia?

During the past dozen years, I have supported U.S. military action to roll back Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, to halt ethnic cleansing in Bosnia, to stop Milosevic's campaign of terror in Kosovo, to oust the Taliban and al Qaeda from control in Afghanistan. As President, I will never hesitate to deploy our armed forces to defend our country and its allies, and to protect our national interests.

How exactly do these two statements gel? Dean supports military efforts to halt ethnic cleansing in Bosnia and to stop Milosevic's campaign of terror in Kosovo. But how exactly does that defend our country and its allies, or protect our national interests?

By nearly all objective standards, Hussein's legacy of brutality was worse than Milosevic's. His suppression of the Shiites and Kurds was genocidal, and by all estimates that I've seen, on a greater scale than what occurred in Bosnia. And do we not have greater national interest in the Middle East (yes, I'm talking about oil) than in Eastern Europe?

So by Dean's own standards for justifying military conflict, wasn't military intervention in Iraq far more justified than that in Bosnia, which Dean supported?

Can somebody explain this to me?

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