At Sunday’s Democratic presidential debate, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked the candidates if they would be willing to kill innocent civilians in order to kill Osama bin Laden.
Blitzer posed the question directly to Rep. Dennis Kucinich first. Kucinich said that he did not approve of using assassination as a tool, which I think can be taken as a “no”.
Sen. Barack Obama said that he didn’t “believe in assassinations” but a “military target” like bin Laden should be taken out.
Blitzer called for a show of hands. It’s difficult to tell from the video in Part 3, but it looks as if everyone on the stage but Kucinich raised their hand. Biden made a comment about the number of civilians, Sen. Hillary Clinton pointed out that the abstract nature of the question made it difficult to answer (and then mentioned President Clinton’s attempts to kill bin Laden). Former Sen. John Edwards said there wasn’t enough information.
But really, there was no need to ask the question of people like Edwards, Clinton, and Biden, who were serving in the Senate when the Iraq authorization to use military force was passed in October 2002. They all voted for it. There was no way that an attack on Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein would kill even just a handful of civilians. Thousands of Iraqi civilians were going to die in any invasion, no matter how smart our bombs were. The votes of those three Senators — based on their own gullibility, their pathetically incorrect assessment of the threat Iraq posed, their acquiescence for reasons of geopolitical strategy, or their political gamesmanship to look strong — doomed not just thousands of American soldiers but tens or hundreds of thousands of Iraqis to death. Of course they’d be willing to kill innocent civilians to get Osama bin Laden; they were more than willing to authorize the deaths of civilians to kill Saddam Hussein, who had never attacked the US.