Republican has to vote for John Kerry

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About a year ago I left Pittsburgh. I wasn?t sure if I?d be back, but I was sure of one thing: I was sick of this town, sick of this school, and especially sick of the political apathy. I didn?t feel connected here. I didn?t feel like I was part of anything.
I also left CMU as a Republican who supported President Bush and the war in Iraq. In fact, my picture appeared on the Post-Gazette?s website as a College Republican who stood with our President to rid Saddam Hussein of his alleged weapons of mass destruction. Many people came up to me that day and asked me why I supported the President; why I supported sending people my age to die in a foreign land; why I myself wasn?t going over there to fight for what I believed in? I shrugged them off. In all honesty, I didn?t know what to say.
Back then, millions of Americans, including me, had been deceived by what is now being called ?inaccurate? intelligence. I had watched as Secretary of State Colin Powell made his appeal to the United Nations after months of inspections by UN weapons inspectors. I was convinced that the war in Afghanistan was going to hell and we ought to fight to oust a man who had no regard for his people or the rule of law.
Today, I?m compelled to believe that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. I no longer support this President. However, I do believe that for myself and countless other Americans at the time, it was very difficult to disagree with the President. Besides, wasn?t he fighting the same masters of terror who devastated our country on September 11, 2001? Wasn?t he eliminating a man who had clear ties to, and funded, Al-Qaeda? Wasn?t he doing the right thing ? the only option after Hans Blix and his corps of inspectors had failed to find the WMDs?
No, no, and no. The Bush administration acted out of frustration. At the time, U.S. troops faced great adversity in Afghanistan. Bush needed a quick and easy solution to boost morale for the war on terror. The administration picked Iraq. Convenient enough, right? After all, it was part of the ?Axis of Evil.? But it wasn?t Bush who picked Iraq. No, lucky for him ? the conservatives were there for him. This brings me to my main point ? the think tanks.
David Frum, a former Bush speechwriter, and now a resident scholar at an ultra-conservative think tank called the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), coined the term ?Axis of Evil? for President Bush. Frum is a member of the neo-conservative movement, which supplies the rhetorical cannon fodder and ?research? to justify our policies. These policies are not the result of careful planning and analysis by our President and his staff. They are policies which we now know are not based in reality. Iraq was part of Frum?s axis of evil, the neo-conservative axis of evil.
Of course! How could we be so stupid? This war was waged based on a different reality than the one we know. You can?t fault President Bush for placing his faith (and our soldiers? lives) in an alternate reality, can you?
Yes, you can.
Why John Kerry? When I came back this fall and I attended that rally, I finally felt connected to something. At the Kerry rally that took place two weeks ago, I stood on the same grass where I had stood a short time earlier in favor of the war. I watched as thousands of blue-collar workers, professionals, students, professors, the elderly and disabled gathered around a man named John Kerry. I could feel their resolve, their anger at this President. I could hear John Kerry?s hope and I felt myself nodding in agreement. That is why on November 2, I will hold George Bush accountable for misleading our country down this dark road.