Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Missing the Point of Bob Schaffer's Powerful Zing on Mark Udall's Iraq Record

The most striking blow in today's debate between Bob Schaffer and Mark Udall came when 9News moderator Adam Schrager read a question submitted by a viewer: Why are we in Iraq, and how will we know when we we've won the war?

Bob Schaffer answered the first part of the question by reading from a Congressional resolution that included many of the charges against Saddam Hussein's regime - including his chemical weapons program, his state sponsorship of terrorism, and his treatment of the Kurds. A campaign press release said:
Schaffer then asked the crowd to raise their hands if they agreed with the resolution. Udall supports sneered and chuckled until they were told the resolution was introduced by Congressman Udall. An audible gasp was heard from the crowd.
Mark Udall's resolution called for more diplomatic action, but clearly left the military option on the table.

The point of this elucidating moment? That even in opposing the war, Udall clearly acknowledged the reasons that 296 other Congressmen (including 81 Democrats) reasonably relied upon to make their judgment for authorizing military force. And as Schaffer himself explained in the debate, those who voted to support the war didn't want to telegraph our nation's intentions to the regime that had perpetrated the things highlighted in the resolution.

The disagreement was not over the facts in evidence that justified the invasion of Iraq. But Schaffer's question to the audience demonstrated that those supporting Mark Udall fail to recognize the pertinent facts before the nation in Congress and 2002 that were weighed as we debated whether or not to depose the Saddam Hussein tyranny. And those facts remain, even if some conveniently seem to have forgotten them.

Over at the Dead Governors blog, one paid Lefty propagandist thought he caught Bob Schaffer in a gotcha moment - claiming that the Republican candidate "just makes stuff up." The propagandist may have a legitimate disagreement about a foreign policy decision, but he utterly missed the point. Still the Big Blue Lie Machine tries to churn out distractions to hide their candidate's pathetic showing on the debate stage today.

Well, for the sake of an honest debate, I suggest the paid Lefty propagandist give a more careful viewing of the video. But the outcome might just be too painful to watch.

For open-minded independent voters, the debate is a worthwhile watch. They can decide for themselves.


alan said...

You know, Ben, this isn't complicated, sorry you feel the need to make it so in order to justify this audacious dishonesty from your chosen candidate. Let me try to help you.

It's true that many people on both sides of the aisle viewed Saddam Hussein's regime as a threat in 2002, generally with consistent reasons for it that you'll find in both Udall's bill and the one Schaffer voted for (which ultimately passed).

The difference is that Udall's bill was not the last stop before war, a war we now know was launched on false pretenses. Udall's bill would have required confirmation and diplomatic initiatives that the bill Schaffer supported ignored. The bill Schaffer voted for gave the president the authority he needed to invade Iraq without further legislation. Udall's didn't.

And knowing what we now know, that Iraq had no ongoing WMD development program and the justifications offered for invading Iraq were false, it's reasonable to postulate that Udall's bill requiring further confirmation of these programs may have prevented the Iraq war. Instead, Schaffer twists it into Udall sharing his blame? It's absurd.

Now if Schaffer had read any further into this bill than he felt necessary to land his ridiculous and deceptive little barb, people would have realized that. As it was, he omitted the most important part, completely reversing the true intent of Udall's bill--which sought a very different outcome than war.

Which means Bob Schaffer lied, a lie of omission still being a lie, and synonymous with "lie" is the term "makes stuff up."

Ben, you're not stupid, but I do pity you having to shill for people like this arrogant, dishonest punk Bob Schaffer. It's evidently not clear to you yet, but he's insulting your intelligence, too.

Ben DeGrow said...

Thanks for the attempted distraction, Alan. But you still miss the point: Readers can go back and peruse my post to see what the instructive purpose of Schaffer's quote of Udall's resolution accomplished as a rhetorical strategy. And they can go back and watch the video on 9News site.

Have you seen the video? Because your portrayal of Schaffer twisting something so that Udall shares the blame is less than accurate. What did Schaffer make up exactly? Nothing. And if he did, Udall missed an easy opportunity to explain what that might have been.

"And knowing what we now know, that Iraq had no ongoing WMD development program and the justifications offered for invading Iraq were false, it's reasonable to postulate that Udall's bill requiring further confirmation of these programs may have prevented the Iraq war."

That's a generous interpretation at best. How about "some of the justifications offered for invading Iraq were false"? Okay, because many of them weren't false. But you also ignore who was responsible for perpetuating the falsehoods that had duped Western intelligence agencies of many countries: Saddam Hussein himself.

Would your failure to point this out be a "lie of omission"?

Are you saying that Mark Udall voted against the war because he above all others confidently recognized Hussein was calling our bluff and that the case for war wasn't so strong? Or that he recognized the same problems Bob Schaffer did, but just didn't feel they justified the use of force so soon?

Might Udall's resolution have avoided war? We can speculate on that until the cows come home, and never come to a conclusion. It's a separate issue from the point Schaffer was seeking to make - which, for whatever reason, you can't bring yourself to see.

In the future, please take time to distinguish between the following:
A) The case for going to war and the debate of 2002-2003
B) The way the war has been conducted strategically and tactically - the shortcomings, the failures, the adjustments, the successful turnaround
C) The implications of future actions to Iraq and the region

Food for though: What if our revised military strategy ultimately brings success to Iraq, as looks more likely with each passing week? What then?

The only intelligence being insulted here is my readers' intelligence by your comments. I invite you to read more carefully first.