Anti-War Candidate, Pro-War Cabinet?

November 21, 2008

“I don’t want to just end the war; I want to end the mindset that got us into war.”
— Barack Obama
Feb. 19, 2008

Parry is editor of, a reader-supported
investigative webpage. His recent pieces include “The Danger of Keeping
Robert Gates” and “Obama Risks Clinton-Era Mistakes,” which states:
“After a masterful campaign, Barack Obama seems headed toward some
fateful mistakes as he assembles his administration by heeding the
advice of Washington’s Democratic insider community, a collective group
that represents little ‘change you can believe in.’ …”
Parry’s books include “Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of
George W. Bush,” written with two of his sons, Sam and Nat. Parry broke
many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press
and Newsweek.

Naiman is senior policy analyst and national coordinator at Just
Foreign Policy. He recently wrote the piece “For Middle East Peace,
Dennis Ross Is Not the Change We Seek.”

Professor of politics at the University of San Francisco and a
contributor to Foreign Policy in Focus, Zunes has written numerous
pieces on Obama’s foreign policy. See:

Communications director of the Institute for Public Accuracy,
Husseini said today: “‘Diversity’ is now often being twisted into a
euphemism for Obama including Republicans in his Cabinet. While Obama
repeatedly referenced his 2002 speech against the invasion of Iraq
during the campaign as evidence of the flawed judgment of others, he is
now reportedly considering numerous individuals who supported the
invasion and/or made false claims about Iraq to fill high-level foreign
policy positions.
“In fact, it looks like there will be little diversity on this
critical count. Obama has already chosen Biden, who voted for war and
enabled it in many ways, and Rahm Emanuel, who pushed for it. Meanwhile,
23 senators and 133 House members who voted against the war — and
countless other notable individuals who spoke out against it and the
dubious claims leading to war — are apparently not even being
considered for these crucial positions.”

Background: Here are some claims by named and possible officials in an
Obama administration:

JOSEPH BIDEN: Voted in 2002 to authorize the invasion of Iraq. In his
floor speech at the time he claimed: “[Saddam Hussein] possesses
chemical and biological weapons and is seeking nuclear weapons.” As
then-chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he oversaw
hearings which excluded former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter and
other individuals who where highly critical of claims regarding Iraq’s
alleged possessions of weapons of mass destruction. See: “Biden: What
Kind of Foreign Policy ‘Experience’?”

HILLARY CLINTON: Voted for the 2002 authorization for the Iraq war. In
her 2002 floor speech, she stated that “intelligence reports show that
Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons
stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program.” (Oct.
10, 2002)

RICHARD HOLBROOKE: Was ambassador to the United Nations toward the end
of the Clinton administration. Claimed shortly after Colin Powell’s
speech to the UN: “It was a masterful job of diplomacy by Colin Powell
and his colleagues, and it does not require a second vote to go to war.
… Saddam is the most dangerous government leader in the world today,
he poses a threat to the region, he could pose a larger threat if he got
weapons of mass destruction deployed, and we have a legitimate right to
take action.” (MSNBC, Jan. 23, 2003)

DENNIS ROSS: Mideast envoy during the Clinton administration, he made
numerous appearances on Fox News Channel during the build-up for the
Iraq invasion pressing for war, for example: “And the fact is that
[Hussein] felt he was able to continue to pursue weapons of mass
destruction, even while all of the resolutions demanding his disarmament
were put into play, and you had inspectors on the ground.” (Fox News
Channel, Dec. 22, 2002)

JOHN KERRY: Voted for the 2002 authorization for the Iraq war. Stated at
the time: “Why is Saddam Hussein attempting to develop nuclear weapons
when most nations don’t even try? … According to intelligence, Iraq
has chemical and biological weapons … Iraq is developing unmanned
aerial vehicles capable of delivering chemical and biological warfare
agents…” (Oct. 9, 2002)

SUSAN RICE: Assistant secretary of state in the Clinton administration.
Before the invasion of Iraq, she claimed: “I think he [then Secretary of
State Colin Powell] has proved that Iraq has these weapons and is hiding
them, and I don’t think many informed people doubted that.” (NPR, Feb.
6, 2003)

BILL RICHARDSON: Was ambassador to the United Nations during the Clinton
administration in the late 1990s during which time he claimed Iraq was
developing weapons of mass destruction: “We think this man is a threat
to the international community, and he threatens a lot of the neighbors
in his region and future generations there with anthrax and VX.” (Feb.
11, 1998)

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Rumors About War Hawks in the Obama Cabinet

November 20, 2008

What will change really look like?

We’ll know when we see those faces around the table at that first cabinet meeting.

I’m sure you’ve heard the rumor mills churning: There are exciting names being floated alongside some downright disturbing rumors. Bush’s Defense Secretary Robert Gates, an Iraq war loyalist and a hawk on nuclear weapons, is being talked about as a possible Obama Defense Secretary. In the last two weeks, this rumor has morphed from a trial balloon to something more likely.

The peace movement helped elect Obama president, and we need your help now to see this chance for change through. Tell Obama’s transition team that it’s too risky to put Obama’s Iraq withdrawal plan in Gates’s hands by clicking here and leaving your personal message for Obama on his transition site.  Then, tell 5 of your friends about this action.

During the campaign, Obama drove home that this era’s signature test of foreign policy judgment was whether or not you supported the invasion of Iraq.  Gates failed that test. Gates has also been vocally opposed to Obama’s withdrawal plan. It takes a vivid imagination to picture Gates implementing and successfully defending a timeline for troop withdrawal.

I’m also very concerned about Gates’ positions on arms control – especially nuclear weapons. At a time when people like Henry Kissinger and George Shultz are calling for steps towards a nuclear weapons free world, Gates been calling for a new generation of nuclear weapons.

As I told the LA Times, we can be sure that the Obama team is under pressure to dial back plans to withdraw from Iraq it is our job to hold him to his campaign promises to withdraw.  That is why your voice, right now, is so important. The best time for you and I to impact the appointments process is now, not after the President-elect makes his nominations public, so please send the Obama team your message right now.

I am truly hopeful about the potential for change that a new president embodies. And at Peace Action we will do our part to make sure the momentum for a better, wiser and more just foreign policy keeps going. Please send a message today to the President-elect’s transition team, and remind them that voters want fresh leadership at the Pentagon here.


Kevin M. Martin
Executive Director
Peace Action

P.S. Don’t forget to tell your friends!


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 16,769 other followers

%d bloggers like this: