October 6, 2002
AND THAT'S THE WAY IT IS:
: Watching a trio of Democrats criticize the president from Iraq made them look like a bunch of `Hanoi Janes' (Eleanor Clift, 10/04/02, NEWSWEEK)
WATCHING DEMOCRAT JIM McDermott hold forth from Iraq on how President Bush is misleading the American people made me wonder how such a smart person can do such a dumb thing. The trio of Democratic House members who traveled to Iraq-and then, while still on enemy soil, gave numerous interviews critical of U.S. foreign policy-are learned people with significant life experience.
There's not a lawyer among them. McDermott is a psychiatrist, Michigan's David Bonior is a former seminarian and California's Mike Thompson is a former college professor. All served with distinction in Vietnam. McDermott counseled troubled troops; Thompson was awarded a Purple Heart. They know the face of war, and they were seared by it. Their arguments against a preemptive military strike on Iraq have merit, but Baghdad is not the place to wage the debate.
Democrats are having a hard enough time challenging President Bush's high-flying war policy. The imagery of these lawmakers broadcasting livefrom Baghdad invited unflattering comparisons to "Hanoi Jane," Jane Fonda's trip to the Vietnamese capital during the height of the Vietnam War. But Fonda was a confused, young actress, Sen. John McCain reminded us this week. McCain was a prisoner of war in Vietnam, and it took him decades to forgive Fonda, if he has. What his fellow lawmakers did was worse, he said, because they should know better. Maybe the peace wing of the Democratic Party, such as it is, will applaud McDermott and company for standing up for what they believe. But before anybody sings too many hosannas, it should be pointed out that two of the three are in safe Democratic districts, and the third (Bonior) is a lame duck. They had nothing to lose. But their colleagues in less secure situations have a lot to lose if the peacenik label or the loony-left image that dogged the Democratic Party for years is revived
As Jon Fulbright, who sent this, said: LBJ said back in 1968 that when he lost Walter Cronkite on the Vietnam War, he had lost the nation and decided not to run for a second term. Democrats who oppose Bush on the war in Iraq ought to be saying today "If we've lost Eleanor Clift, we've lost the nation."
Posted by Orrin Judd at October 6, 2002 7:09 PM
I'm sure I've read that McDermott did not serve IN Vietnam, but DURING Vietnam - in Colorado. Thompson must have served someplace with action to have gotten a purple heart, but Bonier also is said to have served far from the conflict.
Northwest Veterans Newsletter, which comes out of McDermott's district, has been following his record on 9/11 and Iraq. They have a McDermott page here: http://members.aol.com/g603nhra/mcdermot.htm.
Scroll just short of halfway down to see this incredibly hokey McDermott speech from 9/13/01 in support of the Joint Resolution authorizing force against those responsible for 9/11. This excerpt gives you a flavor of the whole: "Let me make an important point here: I strongly believe that America should respond and severely punish those responsible for these heinous acts. But we must move carefully. Bin Laden, if he is the one, used his brains, not his strength. We, too, should use our brains, not just our strength and power. Your brains must be your strength. "
This is straight from McDermott's web page under Military Service:
U.S. Navy Medical Corps, Lieutenant Commander, Chief Psychiatrist, Long Beach Naval Station, California, 1968-70.
So he didn't come anywhere near Viet Nam. Giving him the benefit of the doubt, he probably helped some vets out with psych treatment, but he sure didn't "serve[d] with distinction in Vietnam".
Bonior slung hash as a navy cook stateside. I am not demeaning his service in the military. Just saying baghdad bonior never got close to combat.
A simple challenge to the Brothers. Please supply one quote from Baghadad from Rep Thompson from California that is critical of the US or President Bush. Methinks you have broad brushed all three when two was sufficient. Sloppy thinking and careless accusations like yours are often occasions for fisking if the culprit is an idiotarian. Why shouldn't you hold yourselves to the same standard?
Are you guys serious? Do you WANT to start assessing military service as a qualification for debating Iraq? You may as well kiss the entire Republican leadership in Washington goodbye. There'll be a few like Rumsfeld and AWOL Bush in the administration and quite a few Senators and Representatives, but the entire House and Senate leadership consists of prime chicken hawk. They weren't even slinging hash or serving as psychiatrists. They just plain dodged, or like Rush, had such an anal cyst problem they couldn't possible do duty. Cowards they might be, but that doesn't disqualify them from debating sending your kids to die. It never has and it never will. By they way, the only Senator with a child in the Armed Forces is Democrat Tim Johnson from South Dakota. Here's a link
Ms Clift says they served "in Vietnam" which appears not to be true. We honor their service and there's no need for her to embellish it.
My point exactly, OJ. I have an uncle who served in Arizona during the Vietnam war. He never says he served in Vietnam. He says he served during Vietnam, if he says anything about it at all. I think these politicians were the first to embellish their own careers. There's nothing wrong with clarification when they have used their service to defend their political mudslinging.
Also, since Thompson has not made any move to criticize the horrid things Bonier and McDermott said about the president, he is indeed guilty by association. This wasn't some locker room chat he overheard. He went all the way to Iraq with these men with certainly seems (to me anyway) like a show of support for their views.
Suppose we let Thompson off the hook entirely, there's your slogan for the '02 Democrats: "Vote Democrat: Only two out of three are appeasement-minded nutjobs!"