During one of the debates I mentioned that my fellow Democratic candidates scare me. Hillary's speech last week to the Take Back America conference gives me yet another reason to be afraid.
In an indignant voice she decried the Bush administration's ''stunning record of secrecy and corruption, of cronyism run amok. . . It is everything our founders were afraid of, everything our Constitution was designed to prevent.'' Actually, our Constitution grants Congress the power to prevent these ills but Hillary and her colleagues weren't up to the task.
Our founders' legacy did not stop Hillary from voting for the Patriot Act and then supporting its renewal in 2006 despite revelations that the government was using it to infringe on the very liberties that our founders held sacred. Where was her commitment to our founders when she voted to gut our habeas corpus protections?
As for cronyism -- Hillary has repeatedly authorized billions that the Pentagon gave in no-bid contracts to Halliburton. Even though the Democrats have been in control of Congress for months, they still haven't summoned Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld and the other usual suspects to account for the missing millions in reconstruction funding.
When I think about how Congress enabled Bush's corruption and cronyism, I'm reminded of the lines from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar:
And why should Caesar be a tyrant then?
Poor man! I know he would not be a wolf,
But that he sees the Romans are but sheep:
He were no lion, were not Romans hinds.
In the same frightening speech, Hillary went on the blame the Iraqis for the mess in their country: "The American military has succeeded. It is the Iraqi government which has failed to make the tough decisions that are important for their own people.''
Let me get this straight. The Iraq disaster is not the fault of the delusional neo-cons, the greedy oil companies, or the gullible and cowardly Congressional warhawks. (Most senators including Clinton didn't even bother to read the 90-page National Intelligence Estimate). According to Hillary, the real culprit is the Iraqi government that we created virtually overnight and left to govern a fractured, impoverished society. Talk about blaming the victim!
Hillary, as an active supporter of the war, you are one of many Americans who are guilty. And now all Americans are left responsible, regardless of whether we supported or opposed he war. When we pull out, our hands will drip with the blood of the tens of thousands of American casualties and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi dead. The Iraqi government didn't start this, we did.
Of course we can continue to compartmentalize ourselves from the truth, remove the troops and blame the rubble on the Iraqis. We can feed the collective fantasy that our good intentions and heroic efforts were thwarted by the cowardice and incompetence of others. But if that's what we take from our experience in Iraq, we will never learn the true lessons and we will be condemned to repeat the same mistakes.
The inability to admit a mistake and assume responsibility is not just a morally bankrupt way to walk through life; it is a dangerous and deadly way to lead a nation. When I am president, I will open up all secret files relating to the Iraq war and expose all officials who lied to the public in promoting it. (That's right, Dick, your files too.) My Justice Department will prosecute everyone who lied under oath or ripped off the American taxpayer by exploiting the Iraq reconstruction effort. And I will pardon to no one.