‘Wash Post’ Columnist Admits Wrong on War — But, Unlike Hillary, Won’t Blame Bush

By: E&P Staff

Richard Cohen, the longtime Washington Post columnist, has admitted in the recent past that he was dreadfully wrong in supporting the Iraq war back in 2003. But he did so in an even more abject fashion in his latest column, suggesting that he was fully to blame for a lapse in judgment — unlike Sen. Hillary Clinton, who now claims that it was mainly President Bush’s for misleading her before she voted to authorize force.

“I don’t want to know how Bush failed her,” Cohen writes. “I want to know how she failed her country.”

Here is an excerpt.


“From almost the first day they got into office,” Clinton said last weekend in New Hampshire, the Bush administration was “trying to figure out how to get rid of Saddam Hussein.” If that was the case — and indeed it was — then how come she now says she did not think Bush, armed with a congressional resolution, would hurry to war?

I certainly did. It was about the only thing I got right about the war, which, the record will show, I supported. If I were running for the presidency, I might call my position “a mistake” and bray about being misled. But it was really a lapse in judgment. For reasons extraneous to this particular column, I thought the war would do wonders for the Middle East and that it would last, at the most, a week or two. In this I was assured by the usual experts in and out of government. My head nodded like one of those little toy dogs in the window of the car ahead of you.

So I do not condemn Clinton and other Democratic presidential candidates — Chris Dodd, Joe Biden and John Edwards — for voting for the war because I would have done the same. I fault them, though, for passing the blame to Bush as the guy who misled them. They all had sufficient knowledge to question the administration’s arguments, and they did not do so. Not a single one of them, for instance, could possibly have believed the entirety of the administration’s case or not have suspected that the reasons for war were being hyped. If they felt otherwise, they have no business running for president.

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