Franken half-answers the questions about Iraq


My esteemed former colleague Pat Lopez of the Strib got Al Franken to do what he wouldn’t do for me — talk about his “evolution” from Iraq war supporter to critic to opponent.

Trouble is, he didn’t answer the questions I raised, nor many of the questions Pat raised.

As I previously documented, Franken has moved around quite a bit on the war. He supported it during the run-up and after it started. He told Pat (and this did answer one of the questions I had raised) that if he had been in the Senate in the fall of 2002, he would have voted for the resolution to authorize the president to use force in Iraq. But, Franken explained that’s not because he favored the use of force ( although the resolution was officially titled “The Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002.”)

He told Lopez “I didn’t 100 percent say we gotta go to war. I would have voted for the resolution to get the weapons inspectors in.”

Okay sir, so you wanted to pressure Saddam to allow the U.N. inspectors back in, so they could verify whether there really were weapons of mass destruction. And they did get back in. And they were allowed to look everywhere, including where the U.S. intelligence suggested they look. And they found no weapons. But you still favored the war as it started. Why?
Eric Black :: Franken Half-Answers the Questions about Iraq
Blix_Hans.jpgYou have half-answered that one in the past. It’s because you believed Colin Powell when he said U.S. intelligence showed there were weapons. And you believed President Bush, whom you didn’t believe on much else, because you didn’t think a president would lie us into a war.

Which brings us back to one of the questions you didn’t answer: Why did you believe Colin Powell and Pres. Bush, who had no inspectors in Iraq, and not believe Hans Blix and the U.N. inspectors, who were on the ground in Iraq and were perhaps a bit more objective on the question?

And, to add a new question based on your previous answer:

Why did you want to get the inspectors in if you weren’t going to believe them when they said they couldn’t find any weapons?

During 2003, Franken became a skeptic, then a critic of the conduct of the war, and over the next few years became a very outspoken and satirical critic. But not until 2005, did he say that it was a mistake to go into Iraq.

During 2006, he took the position while it was a mistake to have sent the troops in, it would be a mistake to withdraw them. According to Lopez, Franken said on his radio show in 2006, he feared a breakdown of what little civil order remained in Iraq if U.S. troops left.

060522_iraqRamadi_hmed_4p_hmedium.jpgOne of the other questions I had raised was what, specifically did he propose now for U.S. policy in Iraq. See if this answer is precise enough for you:

Now, he says, “I am for starting to leave now.” He told Lopez that he’s “for a timeline” for withdrawal, but declined to specify any of the dates that should be on the timeline. “I want us to get out of there as quickly as possible, but as responsibly as possible.”

I guess if I could follow up on that one (and I have, by the way,renewed my request for an interview with Franken to go over these questions): If the killing continues in Iraq, how would you try to mediate between the desire get out quickly and the desire to get out responsibly.

I fully acknowledge that that’s a very difficult question, with no easy answer. But as you seek a Senate seat you, and all of your opponents, are obliged to describe your answer.