One Year Ago

October 10, 2003

One year ago this weekend, Congress wrote President Bush a blank check for pre-emptive war in Iraq. As I made clear in last night's debate, that momentous decision was a turning point not only in this election but in the country's history.

At that time, some Democrats spoke out, questioning the wisdom of the doctrine of pre-emptive war and the rationale for invading Iraq before exhausting other options. But too many were silent, standing by the President in the Rose Garden as he signed the war resolution, voting for it, or urging others to do so.

I opposed the President's preemptive war because I thought the threat wasn't imminent and because I thought it would make us less safe here in America.

The opinion polls were against me, but I knew I had to stand up for what I believed.

Today we know the American people were badly misled over the past year. We've now learned that Saddam was not involved in the September 11th attacks, that there was no strong evidence Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction that presented an imminent threat to the United States, that Iraq did not try to purchase nuclear materials from Africa, that Saddam was nowhere near developing nuclear weapons, and that the Bush administration had no real plan for reconstruction once Saddam was gone.

100 days from now, the Iowa caucuses will take place and the Democratic Party's nominating process will begin. The real test of leadership is standing up for what is right, even when that stand is not popular. Last night, the Democrats in Congress who wrote the President's blank check a year ago continued to scramble to make up for that failure, hoping the people will forget their actions at the moment of truth. But the Democrats who will begin selecting our nominee 100 days from now have not forgotten—and by their votes, I believe they will speak with a clear voice of the need for change and for a clear alternative to the failed policies of the present administration.

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