US Politics

John Edwards: I Made a Mistake

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I can’t imagine that I will support John Edwards in his quest for the Democratic nomination in 2008, but I am deeply impressed with his recent op-ed about the Iraq War.

George Bush won’t accept responsibility for his mistakes…Because of these failures, Iraq is a mess and has become a far greater threat than it ever was. It is now a haven for terrorists, and our presence there is draining the goodwill our country once enjoyed, diminishing our global standing. It has made fighting the global war against terrorist organizations more difficult, not less.

Edwards has taken a necessary step–and a critical one, by acknowledging that he made a mistake supporting the war. It’s a risky, principled move that I applaud, and just the thought of a President who can entertain the idea that he could ever make a mistake is an exciting one.

I was wrong.

Almost three years ago we went into Iraq to remove what we were told — and what many of us believed and argued — was a threat to America. But in fact we now know that Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction when our forces invaded Iraq in 2003. The intelligence was deeply flawed and, in some cases, manipulated to fit a political agenda.

It was a mistake to vote for this war in 2002. I take responsibility for that mistake. It has been hard to say these words because those who didn’t make a mistake — the men and women of our armed forces and their families — have performed heroically and paid a dear price.

The world desperately needs moral leadership from America, and the foundation for moral leadership is telling the truth.

While we can’t change the past, we need to accept responsibility, because a key part of restoring America’s moral leadership is acknowledging when we’ve made mistakes or been proven wrong — and showing that we have the creativity and guts to make it right.

About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is a seventeen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

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