WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The vote in October of 2002 to authorize military action against Iraq passed 297 to 133 in the House of Representatives.
Six months later, the United States was at war.
Of all the hundreds of votes Mark Foley made in his six terms in Congress, the vote to give President Bush the authorization to use force in Iraq is the one the former Congressman struggled with the most, before and after-the-fact.
"You are absolutely realizing you're committing America's most sacred, the kids, to a battle that you, yourself won't fight," said Foley, who resigned his seat in Congress in 2006 and is now a radio talk show host at a local radio station.
Although conflicted, he had spoken with the Secretary of State and with the commander-in-chief just days before the vote.
Foley looked the president in the eye and said, "Mr. President, are you sure?"
The president responded, "Yes I am."
Foley assumed it would be a short fight, one that wouldn't take eight years, nearly 4,500 American lives, or cost almost a trillion dollars.
But it was one death, that of Army Capt. Adam Snyder of Ft. Pierce, that convinced him he'd made the wrong choice.
He had appointed Snyder, who died at 26, to West Point.
"I went to his funeral, and I sat there and they had this picture of me and their son, shaking hands when he got his appointment. it was stunning. I felt so complicit in the loss of his life."
Foley says he feels partly responsible for all the deaths the United States suffered in Iraq, and for the the uncertainty in the Middle East.
Foley just visited with wounded vets in Washington, and says there is at least one thing we can all applaud.
"They're still telling you, 'I'd go back Congressman if you'd let me. I would, I want to fight with my men.' That's an amazing part of this country that no one should forget," said Foley.
Copyright 2011 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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