Kit Bond and the credibility of war supporters

The Missouri senator's statement this week highlights how war supporters have been misleading the country for four years.

Published July 22, 2007 12:23PM (EDT)

Sen. Christopher "Kit" Bond of Missouri, one of George Bush's most blindly loyal Senatorial servants, wrote a letter yesterday to the New York Times which contained a startling admission tossed in as a throwaway line:

It is clear that if we abandon Iraq as some want us to do right now, Al Qaeda will establish a safe haven there. This would give terrorists the resources of the petroleum-rich country to finance their operations, significantly increasing the threat of future attacks on the United States.

While I agree that we had the wrong plan for three years, we now have the right one, and the right man to lead it. The proper conclusion to be drawn from the N.I.E. findings is that Congress and the American people must remain vigilant and committed to the war on terror and its central front in Iraq.

Bond told AP the same thing:

"The strategy we had before was not the right strategy," he told reporters at midweek. "We should have had a counterinsurgency strategy."

By his remarks, Bond made it clear he meant the strategy was wrong from the time Saddam Hussein was deposed until this past January, when Gen. David Petraeus was installed as top military commander. That's a span of nearly four years.

So, according to Bond, we (by the way) had the "wrong plan" for the last three years as we waged war in Iraq. That's all -- we just spent the last three years waging war with the "wrong plan." But no worries, because now -- Bond assures us -- we have the right plan.

That being the case, one would expect that Kit Bond spent the last three years protesting our war strategy, lamenting our lack of progress, and demanding that we change course. Needless to say, he did exactly the opposite. While he now claims that the last three years were a failure because we had the wrong strategy, Bond -- like the vast, vast majority of the Republican Party and war supporters generally -- spent the last three years telling Americans that we had the right strategy and were winning in Iraq, while attacking and demonizing those who suggested otherwise:

Bond's January 13, 2006 Press Release:

On Thursday, U.S. Senator Kit Bond returned from a week-long trip to the Middle East where he saw first-hand the political and military situation on the central front in the War on Terror. . .

"The recent and historic elections in Iraq were fair and marked a very promising step forward for Iraq. We have made great progress towards the establishment of a new government," said Bond, who met with members of the Independent Election Commission in Iraq during his visit. "American officials told us that with the improved readiness of Iraqi military forces they are now optimistic about the prospects for stability in Iraq."

After meeting with military officials in Iraq, Bond said there has been significant progress combating the insurgency. He said the United States and Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) have been successful in cleaning out insurgents, turning the areas over to the ISF to prevent the return of extremists and using funds to create new jobs, particularly in Sunni areas. Plans are to focus on training more Iraqi police forces in the coming year, said Bond.

Hardball, December 15, 2005:

MATTHEWS: Let me go to Senator Bond. Same question. A big bet on the table, lots of chips, lots of American lives lost, endangered, lots of casualties, a half trillion dollars in expenditure. Has the bet paid off? Do we have a working democracy on the way in Iraq?

SEN. KIT BOND, (R) MISSOURI: We're moving in that direction. Now the president has gone on record to talk about what's going right in Iraq. . . .

MATTHEWS: So you, Senator Bond, believe it's still a good bet that sometime in the next couple of years we're going to have a working democracy in Iraq? Because that's what it's all about. It`s not home hospitals we have, or how much electric power. Is that going to be a working democracy or the same old kind of tyranny we've had before over there?

BOND: It's our best hope for safety and security in the world. If we don`t eradicate the Baathists and the Sunni hard-liners and the al Qaeda, Ansar al Islam terrorists from Iraq, then future generations are going to experience the same kind of tragic terrorist attacks that we experienced on 9/11 here in America.

And the best hope for it is to continue to build up Iraqi security forces and to work with them to bring them into a political process . . .

MATTHEWS: I'm having a hard time getting an answer from either of you senators. Do you believe that based upon the huge evidence today that the Bush policy is working? Yes or no, Senator Bond?

BOND: Yes. Oh, yes. It's yes. But the process isn't over with. Yes. We've made tremendous progress to date. And it looks very good.

June 28, 2005 Press Release:

The last thing we need is to be setting timetables on withdrawing our troops. Our troops should leave when Iraqis themselves are capable of running their country and protecting their citizens from the terrorists. A timetable, while it may be politically convenient in the short-term, would in the long-term boost the morale of the insurgents.

There will always be those who want to cut and run, but President Bush understands the need to fight and win and that will continue to be his message to the American people. Reports from the field show that progress is being made despite what CNN says.

Press Release, July 14, 2004:

It's time the Democrats stop attacking the President. We ought to be strengthening our troops, supporting our agencies here at home and not trying to phony up charges of pressure to win political points. There is no question we are safer because we have deposed Saddam Hussein.

And just as an unrelated bonus, while on the subject of Kit Bond, one to which we are highly unlikely to return any time soon, here is just a sampling of the brilliant insight he offered when demanding that we invade Iraq as soon as possible, from his Senate Floor Speech, January 30, 2003:

I would like to flip the question on my colleagues and ask: How much time do we have? Every minute we wait, Saddam Hussein's efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction and to share them continue. Every minute we wait, the surviving al-Qaida terrorists plot their next attack. We fear it may be a weapon of mass destruction, particularly chemical and biological attack. . . .

The American people will not forgive us if another attack comes when we dither with procedures and process in the corridors of the United Nations. What do we say to the victims then? What words of comfort could we possibly give to widows or children who have lost their parents? Can we say: I am sorry, but we had to enlist the support of the French before we could act? What solace would that provide a family mourning a loved one lost forever?

At its core, the history of the Iraq War has been authored by an indescribably deceitful and very intellectually limited political and media elite, perfectly symbolized by Kit Bond. These are people who spent four years hailing the Great Progress the Leader was making in Iraq, claiming we were "clearing and holding" neighborhoods of all the Terrorists, that Freedom was on the March, that anyone who questioned any of this was either brainwashed by the war-hating media or a Friend of The Terrorists.

And now, four years later, with the War plainly having been a failure, and their assurances all exposed as false, what are they doing? Hailing the Great Progress the Leader is making in Iraq, claiming we are "clearing and holding" neighborhoods of all the Terrorists, that Freedom is on the March, that anyone who questions any of this is either brainwashed by the war-hating media or a Friend of The Terrorists. Nothing ever changes. It just plods along with the same idiot slogans and the same people spouting them. And they do it with no shame, no acknowledgment of their own past behavior, and no loss of credibility.

By Glenn Greenwald

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