Friday, November 18, 2005

“History is clear, keeps repeating”

By most standards, the Traverse City (Michigan) Record-Eagle is not part of the SCLM. Their editorial board has reliably supported Republicans in federal, state, and local elections. So it comes as a bit of a surprise to read this editorial published today.

The more things change in Washington, the more they stay the same.

As politicians mislead and obfuscate – if not outright lie – tax dollars are wasted and precious American lives are often lost.

It happened in the 1960s when Lyndon Johnson led a weak Congress by the nose into a deepening Vietnam morass; it happened again in the 1970s when Richard Nixon conducted – and lied about – a secret war in Cambodia, and it’s happening now.

George W. Bush and Dick Cheney wrap themselves in the flag , bullying everyone, including a mostly supine Congress, into believing the nation’s tragic misadventure in Iraq is a just cause.

The president can sternly lecture us from military bases across the country and Cheney can snarl his way from one friendly audience to another, but the fact remains: Rationale for going to war shifts like the desert sand, leaving the nation in a deadly conflict with no end in sight.

The president and vice president accuse those who question their conduct of the war of “rewriting” history and, worse, of being unpatriotic.

Even members of their own party are rebelling against such repugnant rhetoric. “The Bush administration must understand that each American has a right to question our policies in Iraq and should not be demonized for disagreeing with them,” admonished Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.), a Vietnam veteran.

The Bush and Cheney ranting aside, history thus far shows:

– The administration almost from Day 1 had its eye on Iraq;
– The administration with absolutely no evidence continues to link Saddam Hussein to the 9/11 terrorists;
– The administration campaigned for and received from a puppy-like Congress authorization to attack Iraq;
– The administration, despite claims of existence, found no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq;
– With no war-justifying WMD, the administration shifted its argument to ridding the world of a ruthless dictator;
– As the insurgency grew and the death toll climbed, the administration shifted again, arguing it is its mission to create a democracy in the Middle East.

History makes it clear that it was the Bush/Cheney team that led this country into Iraq.

They are responsible for the state of affairs we are slogging around in, to use Donald Rumsfeld’s terminology.

The president, as he continually likes to remind us, is the commander in chief. This horrendous venture that has led to the deaths of more than 2,000 Americans and has brutally injured thousands more is of his making.

History shows he got what he wanted – a war with Iraq. No rewriting is necessary.

When a Republican president loses the support of a paper like the Record-Eagle, he is in deep shit.