Fools Rush In — The Partisan ‘Patriots’
Vol: 12 Issue: 30 Monday, September 30, 2002
This week the Sunday talk shows were focused, not on Iraq, but on Washington, with some American lawmakers sounding “like spokespersons for the Iraqi government” as Senate Minority Whip Don Nickles put it.
Nickels is a politician and it is pretty much in a politician’s blood to exaggerate, but concerning the case in point, I’d have to accuse him of understating the situation somewhat.
Representative Jim McDermmot, (D-Wa) appeared on ABC’s “This Week” by satellite link from Baghdad. He was in Baghdad with two other Congressional colleagues, Rep. David Bonior (D-Mi) and Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA).
They went to Iraq, hoping to persuade Saddam’s regime to accept unfettered weapons inspections,avert a war and return as heroes.
The three, who previously have called the 12-year U.N. sanctions program against Iraq “barbaric,” oppose the proposed U.N. resolution that the United States is seeking.
They are equally opposed to the congressional resolution now being hammered out that would authorize U.S. military force against Iraq.
Jim McDermott took this week’s prize for the offering the most aid and comfort for the enemy in the name of ‘patriotism’, telling ABC’s George Stephanopolis that he believes that, when it come to Iraq, President Bush would be only too happy to lie to the public.
“I think the president would mislead the American people,” Mr. McDermott said on ABC’s “This Week” about the president’s campaign for support for a military campaign against Iraq.
He told CNN “We don’t have to pass a resolution in the Congress or in the Security Council right now. Things are moving forward.”
McDermott told Fox News that America needs to “take Iraq at its word” on weapons of mass destruction. In his view, it has nothing to do with Saddam, weapons of mass destruction or any potential threat to America.
Instead, McDermott believes “They keep saying they want a regime change because they want control of the oil fields.”
This is the same Jim McDermott who voted against impeachment for President Clinton.
When presented with Article I of resolution (H. Res. 611) to ‘impeach President Bill Clinton for perjurious testimony to federal grand jury on his relationship with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky’ McDermott voted no.
So if McDermott believes a president might lie, he has already proved that’s not such a big deal to him anyway.
For the rest of the Iraqi position, we turn to US Rep David Bonior. “We need to go back to an unrestricted regime,” Bonior said on ABC. “And we also need to do that without the pressure of Iraq or the United States. Let the U.N. inspectors do their jobs.”
Bonior and McDermott harmonized regarding Iraqi assurances. The Iraqis, said Rep. McDermott, “would allow us to go look anywhere we wanted. And until they don’t do that, there is no need to do this coercive stuff where you bring in helicopters and armed people and storm buildings.”
“The Iraqis,” Bonior chorused, “we have talked to have said basically [inspectors] will have that unrestricted ability to go wherever they want to inspect.” (Bonior was another staunch Clinton supporter during the impeachment hearings — lying is only bad if you are a Republican)
On ABC yesterday, George Stephanopoulos pointedly asked both Democratic congressmen why “should we take the Iraqis at their word they have a decade-long record of denying inspectors access and deceiving U.N. inspectors.”
Mr. Bonior responded: “We could go back and play the blame game here until the moon comes out. But that’s not going to do us any good.”
Ah. The ‘Blame Game’ — where have we heard that phrase before?
Unlike Bonior and McDermott, though, the third member of the Congressional fact-hiding party, Mike Thompson did criticize Saddam. Speaking of blame, Thompson said on CNN’s “Late Edition” that Saddam was ‘partly’ to blame for the Iraqi people’s sufferings in the past decade.
And, still speaking of blame, wasn’t Iraq under ‘barbaric’ UN sanctions for the entire two terms of the Clinton presidency? Or did those sanctions only start to hurt innocent Iraqi civilians after January 20, 2001?
Let’s set aside the fact that some will oppose war with Iraq based on deeply held convictions and that some will support it for the same reasons.
Instead, let’s take a look at the Big Picture. Al Gore came out to blast the administration on the war. Gore spoke of the ‘betrayal’ he felt when Bush the Elder failed to take out Saddam in ’91.
Except that back then, Gore applauded Bush 41 for staying within the mission goals of removing Saddam from Kuwait and then withdrawing.
Jimmy Carter has also been burning up his word processor writing columns for the New York Times decrying the Bush Doctrine as ‘war mongering’.
In the House and Senate, we find Tom Daschle and Dick Gephardt playing both sides of the fence, claiming to be united ‘as Americans’ behind the president. BUT using Al Gore, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton to get out the message.
And what, exactly, IS the message? Is it that Saddam is not a threat? All concede that he is a threat.
Is the message that weapons inspections will work? Hardly. To argue for weapons inspectors as a legitimate method of ending the Iraqi threat is more than building castles in the air. It’s closer to packing your stuff and trying to move into one.
Is the message that war can be avoided? I haven’t heard a single member of Congress that said they believed that was possible as long as Saddam rules Iraq.
Is it because Bonior, McDermott and company really believe Saddam is only ‘partly’ responsible for his people’s suffering?
These worthy gentlemen are aware of Saddam’s torture chambers. They are aware of Saddam’s history. They know he tested chemical weapons by wiping out forty Iraqi villages.
The mid-term elections are coming. The last thing the Democrats need is an America united behind a president from the other party — if they hope to pick up any new seats. Even if it means embracing Saddam.
So what is the message?
It’s that this president can’t be trusted. He is a liar who would do anything to help corporate America by securing Iraqi oil fields for American exploitation. That its about Big Oil. Or that it is about a cover up. Or its a personal matter between Bush 43 and Saddam.
Following this logic, Bush is about to start a war just to settle a grudge.
Is the message true? Is Bush a liar exploiting the Iraqis for political advantage and out of corporate greed? Is the war with Saddam a personal grudge match?
What does the evidence say? It says that Saddam was a threat before Bush got here. It says that Bush gave Saddam the same attention that Clinton did — until the attacks on September 11.
It says that this entire non-debate over a non-issue like whether or not Saddam needs to be removed is nothing less than putting party ahead of country.
The Congress is largely made up out of the Vietnam generation. The ones who keep yelling ‘No more Vietnams’. What MADE Vietnam a ‘quagmire’?
Dividing Americans is good politics, but lousy patriotism.
The Left scoffs that ‘questioning the president is tantamount to treason’ while loudly proclaiming their ‘patriotism’.
But for the life of me, I can’t find a single Democrat whose record suggests they genuinely disagree with the upcoming war or the reasons for it. Clinton and Carter both sent troops into harm’s way, Carter in Iran, Clinton in Iraq.
Bonior, McDermott and Company don’t agree with Saddam. They just disagree with Bush because he’s a Republican.
They didn’t take this stand when Clinton ordered Operation Desert Fox in 1998. Not Bonior, not Daschle, not McDermott, not Carter.
How do they spell ‘patriot’? P-A-R-T-I-S-A-N.
The hypocrisy is stomach-turning.