Mike’s War

After Mike’s less-than-totally-clear position on the Iraq war emerged more clearly as a campaign issue yesterday, a Bloomberg aide emailed over some remarks of his from August which, while still not totally clear, give a somewhat fuller picture of what he thinks.

He doesn’t, exactly, say this, but as I read the remarks he’s in the same camp as many others: Backed the war, now thinks it was a mistake, doesn’t want to cut and run. Which puts him, incidentally, to the left of New York’s two Senators.

But he’s avoided any deliberate break with the White House on the issue.

If you read the transcript below, there is one interesting little break with Bush. Asked if the administration was lying, he doesn’t defend the President, but instead says “I don’t have any idea.”

Anyway, on August 29, the day after he’d gotten into trouble by appearin to say, in response to a question about Cindy Sheehan, that the war isn’t a local issue, he said:

“I haven’t been reticent to say what I believe. I think everybody has very mixed emotions about the war that was started to find weapons of mass destruction and then they were not found. …

“I – it’s not a question of supporting the president, it is supporting our troops. They are there and I said, our national leaders have to find a way, and hopefully they are working as hard as they can, to bring our troops home. At the same time, trying to get another democracy in a foreign country, trying to stabilize a part of the world where there has been terrible atrocities taking place over many years. We are where we are and let us hopefully all work together to get us out of there….

“I think, just like Congress, I had mixed emotions but our leaders chose to go to war and I think pretty much a majority of Americans said, if that’s the case, if we’ve got to go look for weapons of mass destruction and if there are reasons to believe that they’re there, we should go ahead and do it. I don’t think anybody was in favor of a war. The question is, did you agree that it was necessary at the time. A lot of people did. I think now a lot of people have more mixed emotions but we have our men and women over there fighting and I want to make sure we get them home safely. Sir?”

He was then asked, “A lot of New Yorkers feel like the Bush administration was dishonest with the public about the reasons for going to war. Do you?”

“I don’t have any idea – at the time it looked like, based on the intelligence that I read in the paper that there was a distinct possibility of weapons of mass destruction. The president chose to go to war and Congress voted to support that. Those are the ones that have better knowledge of it than I do. I do know that we were attacked here and I do know that it’s a dangerous part of the world and I do know that losing any American, any one soldier, is a great tragedy and you have to have enormous sympathy for the parents in particular of the men and women who have given their all to fight and to protect our democracy. They’ve been asked to go and they answered the call. Remember, we have a volunteer army and they didn’t set the policies but they’re the ones that are over there every day facing the dangers.”

Not much their for either supporters of opponents of the war to like. If you’re in the confused middle, it’s an easy stance to identify with.