Daily Kos
Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation

Tuesday | March 18, 2003

Chickenhawks pile on Daschle

So Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, a Vietnam veteran, says:

I'm saddened, saddened that this president failed so miserably at diplomacy that we're now forced to war. Saddened that we have to give up one life because this president couldn't create the kind of diplomatic effort that was so critical for our country.
Nothing there is untrue, nothing there is subversive, nothing there criticizing our troops. Nope, everything in that statement lays the blame for this war squarely where it belongs -- on Bush's shoulders. Every life that will be lost, regardless of national origin, will be on Bush's shoulders.

Yet the Chickenhawks are aghast:


I was disappointed to see Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle's comments. Those comments may not undermine the president as he leads us into war, and they may not give comfort to our adversaries, but they come mighty close.
Fleischer proved today that he's not completely idotic:
[Daschle's] essentially blaming President Bush for the fact that we may be on the verge of war.
Cute about how we "may" be on the verge of war, but he finally got one right. Though I am wondering why the outrage. We wouldn't be in this situation if we had President Gore. Or President Clinton. Or President George Herbert Walker Bush.

Daschle responded the right way:

Well, I stand by my statement. I don't know that anyone in this country could view what we've seen so far as a diplomatic success. A diplomatic success is what we saw in 1991. A diplomatic success is getting a broad coalition of countries. We had nearly 20 countries in 1991. A diplomatic success is having 200,000 international troops present instead of the 225,000 U.S. troops, which are present today.

A diplomatic success is getting other countries to pay 90 percent of the costs incurred. All of that happened in 1991; none of that is happening in the year 2003. Let me just simply say, as a veteran, there is no question that I stand strongly with the troops. I always will. I feel very strongly about our obligation to support the troops, and I have said in every way, shape and form that will continue. But I do think we have to be honest and open in a democracy.

I think to do anything less is unpatriotic. And I'm going to continue to speak out where I think I have a responsibility to do so.

Pelosi also didn't mince words:
In expressing his views, Tom Daschle is being patriotic. The Republican leaders are being partisan.
Damn right. Isn't this wonderful? Democrats being Democrats. Would Gephardt have defended Daschle this strongly and unambiguously?

But ultimately, we cannot end this discussion without harkening to the Crown Prince of Hypcrosy, Tom DeLay, who today issued this press release:

House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R- Texas) today expressed his lack of surprise at Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle's (D-S.D.) second-guessing of our commander in chief on the eve of war with Iraq.

“Is Tom Daschle the official Democrat hatchet-man or just a taxpayer-funded pundit?” DeLay asked.  “Fermez la bouche, Monsieur Daschle.”

But just four years ago, with a Clinton White House prosecuting a war against Serbia, DeLay played the role of "taxpayer-funded pundit" with gusto, even as US forces were engaged in combat operations:
"The administration's campaign has been a disaster. ... [It] escalated a guerrilla warfare into a real war, and the real losers are the Kosovars and innocent civilians."


"I had doubts about the bombing campaign from the beginning. I didn't think we had done enough in the diplomatic area."


When asked whether they would authorize Clinton "to use all necessary force to win this war, including ground troops," Lott and Nickles --who had voted a month ago, along with 70 percent of the Senate GOP, not to support the NATO air campaign--said they wouldn't.


[G]iven NATO's desperate need to "bring Milosevic to the table," DeLay cautioned, "It is not helpful for the president's spin machine to be out there right now saying that Milosevic is weakening." The truth, said DeLay, is that "nothing has changed."


DeLay called [Clinton's refusal to negotiate directly with Milosevic] "really disappointing" and a failure of "leadership. ... The president ought to open up negotiations and come to some sort of diplomatic end." Lott implored Clinton to "give peace a chance" and, comparing the war with the recent Colorado high-school shootings, urged him to resolve the Kosovo conflict with "words, not weapons."

There's more, of course. But at the time, with Clinton in the White House, dissent was patriotic and the duty of all Republicans to advocate peace and diplomacy.

Sort of underscores Pelosi's comments, huh? GOP outrage is nothing more than rank partisanship.

Anyway, be sure to check out (or re-read) this Saletan piece from three weeks ago. Make sure you read to the end. It has renewed significance these days.

Posted March 18, 2003 06:06 PM | Comments (59)


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