Janet's Conner

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Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Politics: REPUBLICANS BEAT THE WAR DRUM

There they go again!

Hoping for a reprise of the 2002 and 2004 elections, when they rolled over Democrats by claiming they were soft on terrorism, leading Republicans are once again portraying the invasion of Iraq as brilliant, denouncing their critics as traitors, and claiming anything less than enthusiastic support for "staying the course" is tantamount to saddling up with Al-Qaida.

working for change dot com
By: Cynthia Tucker
Universal Press Syndicate
August 14, 2006

Recently, GOP heavyweights used the victory of anti-war political novice Ned Lamont over three-term incumbent Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CONN), in last week's Democratic primary---Lieberman had remained a staunch defender of the war---to portray the Democrats as a bunch of America-hating wimps. With so many Republican incumbents struggling to distance themselves from President Bush and the war, you'd think the GOP leadership would have a qualm or two about that strategy. But if you only know one tune, you sing it.

According to Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman, Lieberman's loss means "defeatism and isolation are now Democratic Party orthodox." Vice President Dick Cheney even suggested Lieberman's defeat might encourage "al-Qaida types," according to The New York Times.

AL QAIDA TYPES? They've been closely watching the outcome of the contest between Lamont and Lieberman, seeking encouragement? You've got to be kidding.

First off, the vast majority of Texans couldn't tell you who won the race between Lamont and Lieberman, much less the rank-and-file of al-Qaida. Second, jihadists seem to be getting all the encouragement they need from a heavy-handed American presence in Iraq; an Iran emboldened by Iraq's breakdown; and a disproportionate Israeli response to Hezbollah in Lebanon. The mujahadeen couldn't care less about Connecticut.

But Cheney and his ilk---the vice president utters a pronouncement at least once a week that ought to qualify him for 72 hours' observation in a mental facility---continue to beat the war drum because it worked for them before. In 2002, then-U.S. Rep. Saxby Chambliss (-GA), defeated incumbent Sen. Max Cleland (D-GA)---a Vietnam triple amputee---by questioning his "courage." Chambliss ran an ad linking Cleland to Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. (Incidentally, Chambliss, who walks with the brisk stride of a fit man, escaped service in Vietnam with a medical exemption for a bad knee).

Simply, Bush defeated John Kerry two years ago by constantly resurrecting the searing memory of 9/11 and questioning Kerry's toughness against terrorism. In the months leading up to the election, the Bush administration issued a terror alert once a week. Oddly, there have been precious few terror alerts in the 2-1/2 years since Bush's re-election; the most stringent of those related from plots carried out or interrupted in Great Britain.

This time around, the GOP leadership is going to have a much more difficult time painting Democrats as cut-and-run, bed-wetting pantywastes, because Republicans want to leave Iraq, too. In June, Republicans staged a for-the-cameras debate on the floor of the House, where they insisted U.S. troops must "stay the course." U.S. Rep, Gil Gutknecht (R-MINN), upbraided anyone who thought otherwise: "members, now is not the time to go wobbly," he declared.

But last month, Gutknecht returned from a visit to Iraq with a bleak assessment of the war and called for at least a partial withdrawal of U.S. troops. "Baghdad is worse today than it was three years ago," he said, adding, "All of the information we receive sometimes from the Pentagon and the State Department isn't always true."

REALLY? The voters had already figured that out. According to a poll conducted for CNN this month by Opinion Research Corp., 60% of Americans now oppose the war in Iraq, the highest number since the invasion began in March 2003. Sixty-one percent favor the withdrawal of some U.S. troops by the end of the year.

Last Thursday, Bush used the news of a thwarted plot involving aircraft bound for the United States from Great Britain as a "stark reminder that this nation is at war with Islamic fascists." That is certainly true. But the President forfeited the moral authority to lead that war when he misled the American people about Saddam Hussein and his connection to those Islamic fascists, especially al-Qaida. The war he led us into has set off shock waves throughout the Middle East that will roll the region for years to come.

The damage is already done---even if we start withdrawing U.S. troops tomorrow.


***The Republicans just don't get it, do they? The American people have finally woken up and see what they are up too! Their scare tactics aren't going to work anymore. There are so many reasons not to vote the Republicans back into power this election season, it's pitiful. They have not taken one recommendation from the 9/11 commision to keep this country and its occupants safer. And there were a lot of recommendations. If they continue to run on national security, they will lose for sure. Hopefully they will lose anyway. And when it comes to Republicans saying that they are against the war, I don't believe them. That is just a strategy for them to gt reelected.

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