Posted on May 15, 2004
"Dis Iz Wahw!"
No more coddling disloyal Democrats
If our soldiers were fighting terrorism with the same grit and determination with which Republicans wage their political battles, the war really would be going as badly as the network news would have us believe. Sometimes it's a wonder that the Jellyphants of the GOP have won the majority in both houses of Congress, as timid and reflexively apologetic as they tend to be.
Say what you will about the Democrats, and much will be said about them by the end of this column, but at least they are willing to stand up for themselves. If only they would view themselves as Americans first and Democrats second, and direct some of their ferocity toward our foreign enemies instead of their political opponents, America would be as powerful a unified force as it was during the Second World War.
When Clinton administration hatchet-man James Carville famously declared, "Dis iz wahw!" the object of his hostility was not the Middle Eastern terrorists who struck American targets several times during the Clinton presidency. It was special prosecutor Ken Starr, and by extension, all domestic enemies of the Democrat administration.
The Clinton years may be over, but his and Carville's party remains at wahw to this day. In waging this battle against their Republican foes, some Democrats have taken to heart the Arabic proverb that says, "the enemy of my enemy is my friend," and have thus taken positions and made statements that have favored the terrorists. Since success in the War on Terror would benefit President Bush and his party, it follows that American and coalition failures would behoove the Democrats. Therefore, they've done all they can to incite disharmony on the homefront, while downplaying our military triumphs and exaggerating our setbacks.
Sen. Ted Kennedy (D, Mass) announced this tactic to the nation when he charged that the war in Iraq was "a fraud made up in Texas to give Republicans a political boost." The senator, an icon of his party, had previously opposed an invasion of Iraq by comparing it to Pearl Harbor, casting Saddam's dictatorship as the U.S.A. of the Forties, and today's United States as Imperial Japan.
There was, of course, substantial opposition to U.S. involvement in the last World War also, primarily from the America First movement. Once American soldiers were in the field, however, most of these activists rallied around the war effort. The most infamous among the America Firsters, aviator Charles Lindbergh, not only suspended his criticisms of the war, but fought heroically in dozens of combat missions in the Pacific.
Such loyalty is conspicuously lacking among Democrat opponents of the war against terrorism. Even in the face of mounting evidence of pre-war al-Qaeda activities in Iraq, they continue to deny that our operations there and in Afghanistan have anything to do with each other, instead calling the Iraqi invasion a "war of choice."
In late April, the Jordanian government captured a cell of al-Qaeda terrorists trying to transport explosives and chemical weapons across the border from Syria. Their aim was to destroy a series of government buildings in Amman, including the United States embassy, while killing tens of thousands of innocent Jordanians.
In videotaped confessions, the terrorists explained that the plan had been hatched, and the weapons procured, in Iraq in 1999. This, they say, was done at the orders of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi -- the same man who is now suspected of beheading American civilian Nicholas Berg, also in Iraq. Al-Zarqawi, remember, is the one believed to have written the intercepted al-Qaeda communication lamenting the effectiveness of the U.S. presence in Iraq, and its hindrance of terrorist recruiting efforts.
Despite this, the Democrat position continues to be that: (a) Saddam had no weapons of mass destruction, therefore Bush led us into war under false pretenses; (b) there were no al-Qaeda terrorists in Iraq until they swooped in to attack American soldiers after Saddam's overthrow; and (c) the Iraqi "adventure" is a dangerous and costly distraction from the real war on terrorism.
Not content to merely deny the validity of the war's purpose, they have tried to dampen morale by refusing to acknowledge our victories. Critics had forecast that the armies of Afghanistan and Iraq were too fierce to be overtaken. To their surprise, our military routed both the Taliban and the Baathists with remarkable proficiency. Still, Sen. Kennedy describes the war as a "quagmire" and "George Bush's Vietnam."
Even after the fight in Afghanistan had begun, elected officials like Reps. Cynthia McKinney (D, Ga.) and Jesse Jackson Jr. (D, Ill.) attended and spoke at Communist-sponsored "anti-war" rallies, alongside vitriolic anti-Americans of every stripe. Sen. Fritz Hollings (D, S.C.), Rep. Charles Rangel (D, N.Y.) and Rep. John Conyers (D, Mich.) introduced bills in their respective houses of Congress to institute a draft, for the express purpose of turning American sentiment against the military.
Reps. Jim McDermott (D, Wash.), David Bonior (D, Mich.) and Mike Thompson (D, Calif.) traveled to Baghdad before the war, where they served as mouthpieces for Saddam Hussein's regime. While there, McDermott told ABC News, "I think the president would mislead the American people" to provoke a war against Iraq. He was evidently nowhere near as distrustful of Saddam and his Baath Party goose-steppers.
Some Democrats have gone as far as to become apologists for our mortal enemies. Sen. Hillary Clinton (D, N.Y.) claimed that the women of Iraq were better off with Saddam in power. "He was an equal opportunity oppressor," she said, conceding that he'd been a brutal despot, while finding him innocent of the (presumably more serious) offense of sexism. "But on paper, women had rights. ... As long as they stayed out of his way, they had considerable freedom of movement." On paper, they had rights, in a dictatorship? "As long as they stayed out of his way?" Some freedom.
Mrs. Clinton's willingness to see the sunny side of Saddam's Iraq seems mild, compared to what her colleague, Sen. Patty Murray (D, Wash.) had to say about Osama bin Laden. "We've got to ask, why is this man so popular around the world?" she gushed to a group of high school students. "Why are the people so supportive of him in many countries that are riddled with poverty? ... He's been out in these countries for decades building roads, building infrastructure, building day care facilities, building health care facilities and the people are extremely grateful. He's made their life better. We have not done that. How would they look at us today if we had been there helping them with some of that rather than just being the people who are going to bomb in Iraq and go to Afghanistan?"
Once in a while, some lardhead will try to temper condemnations of Hitler's atrocities by reminding us that he'd built the Autobahn. At least this point, while insignificant, has the advantage of being true. Sen. Murray becomes more creative in her defense of bin Laden, crediting him with building day care centers for women who weren't allowed to be employed or educated. Furthermore, she ignores the massive quantities of foreign aid given to Afghanistan and other third-world countries by American taxpayers.
At least Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D, Ohio) doesn't portray Americans as inferior to al-Qaeda. She allows that our founding fathers are roughly equal to the mass-murdering terrorists. "One could say that Osama bin Laden and these non-nation-state fighters with religious purpose are very similar to those kind of atypical revolutionaries that helped cast off the British crown," she told the Toledo Blade. How many of our soldiers are aware that they're fighting the War on Non-Nation-State Fighters with Religious Purpose?
With a few exceptions, the Republicans have refused to hold their opponents accountable for these and other outrages. All that Democrats have to do to divorce themselves from their unpatriotic words and actions is to indignantly huff, "Are you questioning our patriotism?" Once the Jellyphants retreat from this challenge, the issue is buried. After all, if you're not going to condemn statements like Murray's and Kaptur's as unpatriotic, what else could you possibly say about them?
Patriotic Americans find it unsettling to think that there are those walking among us who don't share their loyalty. That's why we see so many awkward denials of the existence of such people. In fact, it's not uncommon for an otherwise sensible person to watch protesters desecrating an American flag and nonsensically chirp, "What could be more American than that?"
Ironically, those who are most willing to level the accusation are the Democrats -- many of whose own unpatriotic attitudes have lifted the taboo from the subject as far as they're concerned.
Former vice president Al Gore bellowed in a speech to Tennessee Democrats that President Bush "betrayed this country!" During a brief presidential run, Sen. Bob Graham (D, Fla.) called Bush's conduct of the war "anti-patriotic to the core." One of Graham's primary opponents, Gen. Wesley Clark, agreed. "I don't think it was a patriotic war ... and I think that the President of the United States wasn't patriotic in going after Saddam Hussein."
Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D, N.J.) led an orchestrated attack against G.W. Bush and Dick Cheney as "chicken hawks." He even brought a cartoon of a chicken to the Senate floor to somehow illustrate his point. "When it was their turn to serve, where were they?" he asked, making a thinly-veiled reference to unsubstantiated criticisms of Bush's National Guard service. "AWOL, that's where they were."
Rep. McKinney has actually claimed that President Bush knew about the terrorist attacks ahead of time, but allowed them to happen in order to start a war that would raise oil prices and enrich his cronies. Vermont governor and Democrat presidential candidate Howard Dean called this a "most interesting theory" during his primary campaign.
While campaigning in New Hampshire, Gov. Dean declared that "[Attorney General] John Ashcroft is not a patriot." Theresa Heinz has recently called Vice President Cheney "unpatriotic" for criticizing her husband John Kerry's military service (which Cheney hasn't even done).
So the Democrats don't think it's generally unacceptable to question the patriotism of others; they only think it's a breach of decorum if and when such remarks are directed at them. There's no reason for the Republicans to let them get away with this double-standard a minute longer. They ought to announce their intention to fight it right now, by publicly observing that the Democrats have set the ground rule that challenging an opponent's patriotism is fair game.
They can start by taking Sen. Kerry to task for having the crust to refer to corporations that outsource jobs overseas as "Benedict Arnolds." Let's see, Benedict Arnold was an American military officer who was twice wounded in battle. He was widely praised for his bravery in the war, but was just as widely considered to be personally unpleasant. He began living extravagantly after marrying his second wife, who came from a well-placed family with political connections in Pennsylvania. At the end of his military career, he betrayed the American soldiers who had fought by his side, and went down in history as a traitor. Where have we seen this biography before? If only ol' Bennie had denied owning an SUV, it would be a perfect fit.
No prominent Republicans have yet made the obvious Arnold-Kerry comparison. Perhaps they think he was setting a trap for them, luring them into criticizing his postwar activities so that he could justify dredging up the National Guard story again. But he has nothing to back up those allegations, while the Republicans could counter with documentary evidence of his own disloyalty. Besides, he's been trying to revive the "AWOL" accusations anyway. The best way to deter those references is to sock him between the eyes with the words "Jane Fonda," "VVAW" and "Winter Soldier Investigation" every time he challenges Bush's honorable service in the Guard.
It's time the Republicans recognized that success in the War on Terror depends on winning the wahw in Washington. That means no more denials of their opponents' disloyalty. No more depictions of anti-American blowhards as wholesome free speech enthusiasts. No more yammering, "we're not questioning your patriotism, we're questioning your judgment," when they should be questioning their patriotism instead.
That's the way to fight a wahw. When your enemy seeks your annihilation, it makes no sense to hold anything back out of a fear of provoking a response. He'll be doing everything he can to destroy you anyway. You might as well fight back with the most overwhelming force you can muster.
That's the lesson that history will take from civilization's struggle against savagery. Hopefully, that lesson won't be learned the hard way: through cynicism, relativism, dereliction, appeasement, and ultimate defeat. That's the path we'll be on if John Kerry becomes Commander-in-Chief, and turns his responsibilities over to the corrupt and ineffective United Nations -- a body which, like many of the Democrats mentioned here, has no loyalties other than to itself.
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