Dean Was Right
By Cenk Uygur
General Eric K. Shinseki was right when he said we needed more troops for the war in Iraq. General Anthony Zinni was right when he said our preparations for the war were so negligent that it was a dereliction of duty. George H. W. Bush was right when he said we would be perceived as “an occupying power in a bitterly hostile land” if we went into Iraq. But most of all, Howard Dean was right because he had the most complete warning – don’t do it!
For this Dean was labeled an extremist. I assume the mainstream media would like to apologize now for being so wrong about Howard Dean. They apologize at the drop of a hat if conservatives complain they got any detail of a story wrong. Where’s the apology to Dean -- you were right about Iraq, we were wrong!
If you don’t believe that Howard Dean was right about the war, then read his February 17, 2003 address at Drake University a month before the invasion:
“The stakes are so high, this is not a time for holding back or sheepishly going along with the herd.
And I firmly believe that the President is focusing our diplomats, our military, our intelligence agencies, and even our people on the wrong war, at the wrong time, when our energy and our resources should be marshaled for the greatest threats we face. Yes, Saddam Hussein is evil. But Osama bin Laden is also evil, and he has attacked the United States, and he is preparing now to attack us again.
What happened to the war against al Qaeda?
Why has this Administration taken us so far off track?
I believe it is my patriotic duty to urge a different path to protecting America's security: To focus on al Qaeda, which is an imminent threat, and to use our resources to improve and strengthen the security and safety of our home front and our people while working with the other nations of the world to contain Saddam Hussein.
To this day, the President has not made a case that war against Iraq, now, is necessary to defend American territory, our citizens, our allies, or our essential interests.
The Administration has not explained how a lasting peace, and lasting security, will be achieved in Iraq once Saddam Hussein is toppled.
We have been told over and over again what the risks will be if we do not go to war.
We have been told little about what the risks will be if we do go to war.
If we go to war, I certainly hope the Administration's assumptions are realized, and the conflict is swift, successful and clean.
I certainly hope our armed forces will be welcomed like heroes and liberators in the streets of Baghdad.
I certainly hope Iraq emerges from the war stable, united and democratic.
I certainly hope terrorists around the world conclude it is a mistake to defy America and cease, thereafter, to be terrorists.
It is possible, however, that events could go differently, and that the Iraqi Republican Guard will not sit out in the desert where they can be destroyed easily from the air.
It is possible that Iraq will try to force our troops to fight house to house in the middle of cities - on its turf, not ours - where precision-guided missiles are of little use.
It is possible that … our efforts to minimize civilian casualties will be far less successful than we hope.
There are other risks.
Iraq is a divided country, with Sunni, Shia and Kurdish factions that share both bitter rivalries and access to large quantities of arms.
Iran and Turkey each have interests in Iraq they will be tempted to protect with or without our approval.
And, perhaps most importantly, there is a very real danger that war in Iraq will fuel the fires of international terror.”
This was a speech before the war! My God, how right does a guy need to be before the press concedes they were wrong for labeling him an extremist? CBS and Newsweek offered apologies and retractions for far less.
I encourage you to read the whole speech. My guess is that you will be surprised at how right he was on every one of the topics he discussed. And the mainstream media labeled this guy “out of the mainstream.” It shocks the conscience.
Even the Bush administration has now admitted that Dean was right on every point. They have conceded that Iraq had no link to the attacks against us on 9/11. They have conceded that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction (and obviously we didn’t have any secret evidence of such weapons as they originally claimed). And now, finally, in last Sunday’s Washington Post they conceded that we will not have democracy in Iraq:
“The Bush administration is significantly lowering expectations of what can be achieved in Iraq, recognizing that the United States will have to settle for far less progress than originally envisioned during the transition due to end in four months, according to U.S. officials in Washington and Baghdad.
The United States no longer expects to see a model new democracy, a self-supporting oil industry or a society in which the majority of people are free from serious security or economic challenges, U.S. officials say.
"What we expected to achieve was never realistic given the timetable or what unfolded on the ground," said a senior official involved in policy since the 2003 invasion. "We are in a process of absorbing the factors of the situation we're in and shedding the unreality that dominated at the beginning."”
It was “never realistic.” I remember someone saying that before the war – when it mattered. The mainstream press and the Democratic establishment have never understood why Howard Dean is so popular among the people when they find him distasteful. It’s so simple – he has the courage to tell the truth in the face of political pressure.
He was vilified and labeled “unelectable” because he stood up for what was right. And they still wonder why people look up to him.
Remember when Howard Dean said capturing Saddam Hussein wasn’t going to make us any safer. Again, the media pounced. How dare he?! Again, they were wrong, and he was right.
After the Iraqi elections, Newsweek ran a cover story called, “What Bush Got Right.” This comical premise was based on the idea that since the Iraqis had elections, which was the bare minimum we were promised, that everything else Bush said about the war might also be right. Isn’t it time for Newsweek and similar magazines to run the far more accurate story about how Dean was right on almost all of his pre-war predictions? I’m still waiting for the real story: “What Dean Got Right.”