During August 8 coverage of the Connecticut Democratic Senate primary election, Fox News host Gregg Jarrett offered a stream of Republican talking points, suggesting that a win by Ned Lamont would be a sign of Democrats “becom[ing] the sort-of modern-day George McGovern, who got really creamed politically for his anti-war stance.” Jarrett’s rhetoric was accompanied by a series of onscreen graphics that suggested a Lamont victory would be “bad news for democracy in [the] Mideast,” and would show that the Democratic Party has “forgotten the lessons of 9/11” and is “soft on terror.” ~Media Matters
Yes, McGovern “got really creamed.” I’m glad to see FoxNews has such perceptive and incisive analysis to offer. Now we are seeing the beginning of the GOP noise machine’s latest campaign to smear opponents of the Iraq war, which is what Lamont is, as “soft on terror” because, as I’m sure those reading their scripts from the RNC must know by now, the Iraq war has done so much to reduce terrorism in the world. If anyone has “forgotten the lessons of 9/11,” it is the people who think an occupation of indefinite length in a Muslim country with sites holy to at least one of Islam’s two main sects will not provoke more of the same horrendous attacks on America. If anyone has “forgotten the lessons of 9/11,” it would be the people who think turning Iraq into the front line for jihadis everywhere, as the Soviets did with Afghanistan, is a good recipe for future stability and the weakening of Islamist power.
For the rest of us who don’t get our analysis and understanding from Rupert Murdoch talking points, Lamont’s commitment to withdrawal not only seems reasonable but, if Washington were to adopt his view, would represent a positive contribution to antiterrorism by depriving al-Qaeda et al. of their chief recruiting tool in the occupation of a part of the Islamic world. Someone might ask Mr. Lieberman why he continues to support a policy that enables and strengthens Islamic terrorism, which is what Iraq policy today does, and why he does not want to undermine these terrorists. The Democrats, for their part, need to ask themselves which sort of Democratic Party they want when it comes to foreign policy: the party of LBJ and escalating warfare or the party of McGovern and the American interest?
For all the talk about Mr. Lieberman representing the “moderate Democrats” and Mr. Lamont representing the left and far-left, which is designed to make Lieberman seem and feel safer and make Lamont seem possibly unhinged, there is no more dangerous revolutionary idea on the table today than the policy Mr. Bush is attempting to carry out in the Near East with the support of people like Mr. Lieberman. If you want to see the face of an irresponsible, dangerous person with respect to foreign policy, look at the face of the war supporter nearest you. Everyone has to remember that in our drab, consensus politics “responsibility” is the codeword for silent obedience to the interests of the warfare state. To suggest that the Iraq war is not and never has been in the national interest is to become “irresponsible,” not because ending the war would endanger the United States, but because it threatens the interests of the government, whose interests seem to rarely coincide with those of the country.
Since the administration has already let it be known that the U.S. would withdraw in the face of full-scale civil war anyway, even the administration has effectively conceded that the collapse of Iraq into warring factions itself would not make a significant difference in the primary war on al-Qaeda that would outweigh the continued costs. Mr. Lamont argues that withdrawal should be even sooner, and he happens to be right.