Checking Candidates’ Votes on War


Publish Date:
January 29, 2008
Publication Title:
San Jose Mercury News
Op-Ed or Opinion Piece Pages 12A
  • George Fisher, Checking Candidates' Votes on War, San Jose Mercury News, January 29, 2008, p. 12A.


The statute of limitations on Iraq war votes expires Feb. 5. With party nominees probably fixed, there will be no more political accountability. Voters have one last chance to judge how candidates fared on their most telling character test.

The concern is not that candidates who favored war in 2002 were wrong. Yes, they were wrong to think Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction threatened our security. They were wrong to think the president’s plans included winning the peace.

If these candidates were simply wrong, we should question their judgment, not their character. But what if they were right? What if they doubted the justice or wisdom of war – and voted to authorize war anyway? What if they supported war to avoid seeming weak and un-presidential?