Changes Tune On The War
By JULIET WERNER
Prior to the 2004 election, “flip flop” was a term that
called to mind footwear. Then John Kerry came along. Here was a Senator
whose votes on the Iraq War appeared contradictory. His most famous
“flip flop:” voting against an $87 billion supplemental
appropriation for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. He
had previously voted for it.
Maloney, Joe Crowley and Gary Ackerman.
Weiner, Nydia Velazquez and Gregory Meeks.
the Iowa primary just a week away, and the War on Terror far from
over, presidential candidates find themselves in a position not that
distant from Kerry’s. Democratic candidates Joseph Biden, Hillary
Clinton, Christopher Dodd and John Edwards all voted to authorize
military force in October of 2002. Then, in 2007, they all voted against
a troop increase. Whether speaking from the debate stage or the stump,
all democratic candidates support withdrawal, only with varying timelines.
The vote to authorize the President the power to invade came on the
heels of a National Intelligence Estimate, which found that Iraq possessed
a Weapons of Mass Destruction program. Support for the War was further
gathered by emphasizing a connection between Saddam Hussein’s
regime and the Al Qaeda network responsible for the attacks of Sept.
In October of 2004, two years following the initial vote, the Iraq
Survey Group led by Charles A. Duelfer released a report that found
Saddam had ended his nuclear weapons program by 1991. ISG later announced
that weapons inspectors had not found WMD stockpiles
Sen.Chirs Dodd from Connecticut succintly described how Congress was
mislead in an October 2006 speech.
“Had we known before the war what we know today – that
there were no weapons of mass destruction; that there were no links
between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda; that there was no imminent threat
from Iraq to America’s security or vital interests – Congress
would never have considered, let alone voted to authorize, the use
of force in Iraq,” Dodd said.
The majority of representatives from Queens voted in favor of authorization.
In the years since, Reps. Gary Ackerman (D-Bayside), Joe Crowley (D-Jackson
Heights), Anthony Weiner (D-Kew Gardens) and Carolyn Maloney (D-Astoria)
have all taken steps toward limiting a continued military presence
In June 2006, all four representatives joined U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks
(D-Jamaica) and Nydia Velázquez (D-Ridgewood) in voting against
declaring Iraq part of the War on Terror with no exit date.
In May of this year, they all voted for redeploying U.S. troops and
contractors out of Iraq starting in 90 days, but the House Resolution,
introduced by James McGovern, failed with a vote of 255 to 171.
The surge’s reduced violence levels have done little to encourage
“It’s almost a stalemate,” he said, adding that
he regrets his 2002 vote, and echoing what has become a catchphrase:
“If I knew then what I know now.”
The Congressman places a certain amount of blame on the Intelligence
“Clearly this administration has not been served by this intelligence
committee, nor has the Congress been served by it,” Crowley
In an effort to bring home Americans as soon as possible, Crowley
voted against an Iraq Funding Bill last week.
“Today, I voted my conscience, I voted against another blank
check for the war in Iraq and will continue to fight for a political
solution that removes our brave men and women from harm’s way,”
Crowley said. “President Bush’s failed policies in Iraq
have wasted taxpayer money, destroyed the credibility of the United
States around the world and, worst of all, taken thousands of American
Crowley was joined by 141 other lawmakers in voting against the spending
bill, which eventually passed in the House after having passed in
the Senate. The bill allots an additional $70 billion to fund military
operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Looking ahead to the next year, Crowley wonders what the funding will
“Militarily we can do whatever we want,” he said, “but
to what end?”