Urbin Report

Friday, November 18, 2005

You don't have to be an amnesiac to be a Democrat, buddy, but it helps

Gerald Baker writes in the Times:

PERHAPS THE biggest weapon in the arsenal of America’s critics is carefully selective amnesia. Conveniently forgetting important historical facts enables tactical amnesiacs to make claims about US policy that seem to support their contention that the country’s government is uniquely evil.

The latest evidence that George Bush is a war criminal has apparently come this week with the acknowledgment that the US military used white phosphorus (WP) on enemy positions in Fallujah. This is deemed an outrage, something decent countries never do, yet more proof that the Bush-Cheney cabal is sedulously destroying the very foundations of American civilisation. . . .

In fact, WP is not a chemical weapon, not even banned by any treaty to which the US is signatory. It has been used by the armed forces in all countries in wars for decades. Indeed, if you look up the roll of US Congressional Medal of Honour winners, you will discover that quite a few received this highest military decoration precisely because they used “shake and bake” to such successful effect. . . .

But the “Bush lied to us” whine is much worse when it comes from the mouths of those who insisted only three years ago, in voting for the war, that they were taking a heroic stand in defence of national security. Half the Democratic members of the Senate — oddly enough, including all those with serious presidential aspirations — John Kerry, John Edwards, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden — voted for the war in 2002. The awful truth about many of these people is that their cynicism in distancing themselves from their support for the war is only matched by their cynicism in originally supporting it.

Let me be clear: some Democrats — Joe Lieberman springs to mind — supported the war for the right reasons, and continue to do so. Others — Ted Kennedy, Russell Feingold — opposed it all along. But most of those now recanting made a straight political calculation in voting to authorise force in the first place.


Read the whole thing.
HT to Mr. Reynolds