This morning, MSNBC host Joe Scarborough correctly pointed out that many Democrats supported the Iraq war before turning against it. But in his lineup of Democratic flip-floppers, which showcased Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, he also included Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan and Rep. Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco — two lawmakers who expressly voted against the Iraq War Resolution in 2002.
"The very same people who spent years beating up George Bush were the very ones beating the drum for Iraq’s regime change and Saddam’s ouster," says Scarborough, as Pelosi and Levin’s faces appeared on the camera. The video then singles out four lawmakers — Pelosi, Clinton, Levin and Kerry — in a montage of their public statements before and after the war.
The clip has been passed around favorably on Twitter and picked up by National Review‘s Andrew Johnson, who called it a "look back at the war’s most vocal critics who were once its most ardent supporters, including John Kerry, Nancy Pelosi, and Carl Levin." In reality, that view is much more difficult to support when applied to Pelosi and Levin.
To rewind the clock, the clip featuring Pelosi includes her applauding George W. Bush for "focusing on this issue [nuclear proliferation]." However, if you read her full statement, she adds this a few seconds later: "I say flat out that unilateral use of force without first exhausting every diplomatic remedy and other remedies and making a case to the American people will be harmful to our war on terrorism."
Levin was an even stronger opponent of the war, telling Meet the Press in 2002 that Saddam Hussein wouldn’t likely use WMD. "He would not, in my judgment, initiate an attack with a weapon of mass destruction, because it would lead to his own destruction…. He’s a survivalist. He is not a suicide bomber," he said. It’s unclear why other Democratic targets such as Harry Reid weren’t chosen for the video, but that’s for Scarborough to explain. The segment ends with a popular adage reformulated by Scarborough:
Victory has a hundred fathers, but defeat is an orphan. And on the day that President Bush strode around the USS Abraham Lincon in his flight suit to declare victory, Republicans and Democrats alike were lining up with papers to prove their paternity. How short our memory is.
Josh Rogin covers national security and foreign policy and writes the daily Web column The Cable. His column appears bi-weekly in the print edition of The Washington Post. He can be reached for comments or tips at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Previously, Josh covered defense and foreign policy as a staff writer for Congressional Quarterly, writing extensively on Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, U.S.-Asia relations, defense budgeting and appropriations, and the defense lobbying and contracting industries. Prior to that, he covered military modernization, cyber warfare, space, and missile defense for Federal Computer Week Magazine. He has also served as Pentagon Staff Reporter for the Asahi Shimbun, Japan's leading daily newspaper, in its Washington, D.C., bureau, where he reported on U.S.-Japan relations, Chinese military modernization, the North Korean nuclear crisis, and more.
A graduate of George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs, Josh lived in Yokohama, Japan, and studied at Tokyo's Sophia University. He speaks conversational Japanese and has reported from the region. He has also worked at the House International Relations Committee, the Embassy of Japan, and the Brookings Institution.
Josh's reporting has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, CBS, ABC, NPR, WTOP, and several other outlets. He was a 2008-2009 National Press Foundation's Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellow, 2009 military reporting fellow with the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism and the 2011 recipient of the InterAction Award for Excellence in International Reporting. He hails from Philadelphia and lives in Washington, D.C.| The Cable |