To cleanse the palate, via RCP, skip ahead to 6:00 and see for yourself the depths to which this guy will sink to defend interventionism once there’s a Democrat giving the “go” order in the Middle East instead of a Republican. Remember, in 2003, Dean-o was the anti-war candidate, the guy who galvanized the nutroots by lashing Bush on Iraq. Fast-forward eight years, past a stint as party chairman, and now he’s mumbling about having to “take chances.” When Joe Klein calls him on the hypocrisy, he waves him away with leftist boilerplate about having been lied to about WMD. In fact, though, Dean opposed the Iraq war before we knew anything about the fate of Saddam’s weapons program; he was thinking about running for president and saw an opening among the anti-war crowd and he filled it. The whole reason progressives hold him in such esteem is that he questioned the war before the WMD issue came to the forefront — just as Obama did, long before his own metamorphosis into a humanitarian interventionist. Here’s a choice excerpt from a foreign policy speech Dean gave in February 2003, weeks before an American boot had set foot in Iraq:
I do not believe the President should have been given a green light to drive our nation into conflict without the case having first been made to Congress and the American people for why this war is necessary, and without a requirement that we at least try first to work through the United Nations…
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.
Nor has the Administration prepared sufficiently for the possible retaliatory attacks on our home front that even the President’s CIA Director has stated are likely to occur. It has always been important, before going to war, for our troops to be well-trained, well-equipped, and well-protected. In this new era, it is as important that our people on the home front also be well-protected.
The Administration has not explained how a lasting peace, and lasting security, will be achieved in Iraq once Saddam Hussein is toppled.
And the Administration has approached the United Nations more as an afterthought than as the international institution created to deal with precisely such a situation as we face in Iraq. From the outset, the Administration has seemed oblivious to the simple fact that it clearly would be in our interests for any war with Iraq to occur with UN authorization and cooperation and not without it.
Replace the part about treating the UN as an afterthought with treating Congress as an afterthought and you’ve got a noninterventionist argument that’s easily adaptable to the present circumstances. Why didn’t Dean-o adapt it? You know why.