Apologizing before he goes

U.S. Rep. Doug Bereuter (R.-Neb.) wrote his constituents to say the invasion of Iraq was a mistake. Why does this GOP congressman have the guts to do this? Apparently because he’s not seeking re-election.

You at least have to give Bereuter, vice chair of the House Intelligence Committee and senior member of the House International Relations Committee, credit for being intellectually honest enough to admit we were wrong. That’s something we’re not even seeing from the Democratic side.

I previously lambasted Stephanie Herseth for saying that even knowing what we know now we should have invaded Iraq. Kerry has said basically the same thing, although trying to spin a nuance (he would have voted to give Bush authority to invade but it was handled wrong). And Tom Daschle is reported to have said after the Senate Intelligence Committee report was released that he still would have voted to authorize the war knowing what we know now. Why are Democrats so afraid to state a simple, truthful fact: knowing what we know now, it was a mistake to invade Iraq.

The Iraq debacle was sold on the basis pre-emptive action was needed to avoid a looming, dire threat (WMD, ties to al Qaeda, etc.). None proved true. As a result, the only current rationalization is regime change. If that is the standard for pre-emptive war, then we better plan on years of continuous warfare.

Politicians probably fear that admitting we were wrong also says close to 1,000 American lives have been wasted and that is no way to “support our troops.” I would wager, though, that a significant majority of Americans would agree that, in hindsight, the Iraq war was a mistake. In fact, undecided or swing voters might favorably view a candidate who said: “Knowing what we know now, we made a mistake. But we can’t undo that action now. As a result, our focus needs to be on dealing with the situation we have created to produce the best result for Iraq at the lowest cost in American lives.” Instead, Kerry, Herseth and too many others seem determined to blindly insist we were right despite all evidence to the contrary.

If you’re interested, the text of Bereuter’s letter is available here. Maybe Kerry, Daschle, Herseth, Thune and Diedrich should read it and take it to heart.

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