Case sees Iraq war in a new light now
He says his earlier support was based on the faulty WMD threat
U.S. Rep. Ed Case said yesterday he would not have supported the invasion of Iraq if he had known there were no weapons of mass destruction in that country.
In October 2002, while campaigning for the 2nd Congressional District seat, Case said he supported the Iraq war and a resolution authorizing the use of military force in Iraq.
During a news conference at his South Beretania Street campaign headquarters yesterday, Case was asked if he has changed his opinion of the Iraq war.
"I would not have voted for that resolution. I would not have voted for that resolution had I known there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq," Case said.
Case, who had generally supported the Bush administration's pursuit of the war in Iraq, said, "I don't think my position on Iraq has changed during the entire time I have been in Congress."
Case is challenging U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka in the Sept. 23 Democratic primary. Akaka and U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye voted against the resolution in 2002 and have been consistent critics of the war.
Andy Winer, an Akaka campaign spokesman, said Akaka "got it right the first time."
"Now you have someone who finally -- four years later -- is admitting he got it wrong," Winer said.
Akaka is in Washington and was not available for comment.
Case explained that he thought many supporters in 2002 have changed their minds.
"Would a lot of people who voted for that resolution have voted for it today, if they had known what they know today? The answer is no and I fall into that category," Case said.
Had he been in Congress, Case said the dual threats of Saddam Hussein and weapons of mass destruction would have led him to support actions against Iraq.
"The fundamental determinant was the combination of a dictator sworn to do us harm and weapons of mass destruction or at least the possibility of weapons of mass destruction," Case said.
"If you simply took a look at the facts as we knew them in October of '02, it was represented to Congress by their president, our president, that the likelihood was high that there were weapons of mass destruction," Case said.
Case said that given the limited knowledge of the Iraq situation in 2002, he would have voted for the war.
"It is a very difficult thing to say and politically unwise thing to say that had I been in Congress at the time, looking only at the facts at the time, I likely would have voted for it as did a majority of both the House and Senate," Case said.
But if Bush had said that although Saddam Hussein "was a bad guy but there are no weapons of mass destruction, and I want the authority to invade, I would have voted no," Case said.
In response, Winer said yesterday that Akaka voted no because of his experience.
"When voters are evaluating who they want to serve in the Senate, one of the critical things they need to look at is who has the wisdom to serve in that position.
"Sen. Akaka was correct in 2002 when he voted against authorizing the war in Iraq and laid out his reasons; most prominent was what (he) would do at the end of the war; what was the exit strategy?" Winer said.
On his campaign Web page, Akaka said he was one of 23 senators who voted against the resolution four years ago.
"We are far past the time for a clear and definite exit strategy for Iraq. The Bush administration's policy of no plan, no end, is a failure and offers no incentive for the Iraqi people to work towards a safe, secure, united country," Akaka said about the ongoing war.
Last year, after Bush defended the war in Iraq, Case said he agreed with much of the strategy.
Case said Bush was "articulating a set of goals that are pretty much what I have been articulating for three years."
Abercrombie holds election fundraiser
U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie formally kicked off his campaign for re-election with a fundraiser at the Hilton Hawaiian Village last night.
The Democrat, who is running for his ninth two-year term in Congress, also celebrated his 68th birthday during the party, which according his campaign attracted 1,200 supporters.
Abercrombie is being opposed by Democrat Alexandra Kaan in the primary election for the 1st Congressional District (urban Honolulu). Republican Richard Hough is another candidate.
Abercrombie is the ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee.