Reading from the statements of all five Massachusetts candidates yesterday regarding the 10th anniversary of the Iraq War you’d be hard pressed to find an outward declaration of support for the war.
Both Markey and Lynch voted in favor of the Iraq War Resolution, even though the Democratic caucus voted against the resolution 81-126 and given the past ten years it would be hard to believe they (especially Markey) would make the same choice again. How progressives square their support for Markey on this count, I’ll never understand.
What about the Republicans?
Each issued statements on the war today and each purposely avoided a direct question posed by email: would you have voted for or against the Authorization of Military Force in Iraq.
Gomez, the former Navy Seal, offered a simple brief statement “honoring the sacrifice of the 62 who gave their lives from Massachusetts”. His campaign declined further comment. Less is more, as all candidates attempted to avoid politicization of the issue on the anniversary.
Winslow issued a decidedly hawkish comment: “There is no doubt that the world is a better and safer place with the end of this dangerous dictator who was an exporter of terrorism.” Not hard to conclude where he stands or would have stood, even though he still dodged the question. The Republican caucus went 215-6 in favor of the resolution.
But it was the Sullivan statement that strikes me as an equivocation: “Sullivan supported the goal of helping to build a free Iraq”.
He supported? As in in the past tense? What is his position now? Does he believe the the Iraq War a mistake?”
So I asked Sullivan spokesperson Lisa Barstow to clarify: “The statement speaks for itself. Not saying he would have voted for it, not saying he would have voted against it”. So why issue a statement that touches at all on your prior position? Why not go all Gomez and say very little?
I can’t true that up with the official comment, “Sullivan supported the goal”, that statement carries the very implication that Sullivan would have voted yes in 2002, but now thinks differently.
At least three times now, Sullivan has shifted when pressed on big issues.
The first instance came as a result of the Walsh ambush on same sex marriage, the second came last week on abortion (covered well by Adam Reilly) and now the Iraq War.
That is a disturbing trend to see in any candidate.
The full candidate statements.
“The country owes the deepest debt of gratitude to the courageous servicemen and women who fought in Operation Iraqi Freedom to protect our liberty. What we should be doing today is honoring the sacrifice of the 62 who gave their lives from Massachusetts in this conflict. It is now our responsibility to ensure that our returning veterans have the job opportunities, training and treatment they deserve.”
Mike Sullivan supported the goal of helping to build a free Iraq that would respect the human rights of its people and create a more peaceful and secure Middle East — benefiting not only that region but the world.
The cost to America has been significant and personal — 4,600 American lives and many more wounded warriors who deserve our ongoing support. And an American taxpayer investment approaching $1 trillion to build a new, more stable region, which serves to honor the sacrifice of our men and women for generations to come.
Mike takes war and the sacrifice of our servicemen and women very seriously. Mike has traveled to Baghdad and witnessed first-hand the faces of our nation’s patriots. His daughter Kelly presently serves in the Army National Guard and his father and father-in-law both have served. Mike and his wife understand the gravity of the sacrifice of not only the men and women in uniform but also their families.
Even during challenging economic times, Mike is committed to ensuring our military men and women have the right training, equipment and support to execute their dangerous missions successfully, and as safely and quickly as possible so they can return home to their loved ones.
Today’s explosion killing seven Marines in a training operation further underscores the dangers and heroism our men and women in uniform undertake to keep America secure. Our hearts and prayers go out to their families on this sad and consequential day.
“Every man and woman who served our Nation in Iraq, especially those who lost their lives or who were injured, deserves our eternal admiration and appreciation. They ended the reign of Saddam Hussein who was a destabilizing presence in the Middle East. There is no doubt that the world is a better and safer place with the end of this dangerous dictator who was an exporter of terrorism and who no longer controls one of the most important countries in that region.”